Rate & Discuss: A Good Man Goes to War

June 4th, 2011
Warning! This article and its comments may contain spoilers...

In her cell in Stormcage, River Song sadly acknowledges that the time has come at last – today will mark the Battle of Demons Run and the Doctor’s darkest hour. Both sides will make their sacrifices and River Song must finally reveal her most closely guarded secret to the Doctor.

Well, there we have it! The first half of Series 6 has reached its mind-blowing conclusion. There were twists and turns waiting around every corner, but did it live up to the hype?

Tonight’s epic episode has undoubtedly been one of the most highly anticipated of recent years, and, what with the return of several monsters, the culmination of various ongoing plot threads, plus the long awaited reveal of River Song and the fact that it was our last dose of the Doctor until the autumn, you can see why it had so much riding on its back!

Responsible for delivering the goods was Steven Moffat, the man universally acclaimed for his time and space defying brain. He had lots to get through in the mid-series finale, and from start to finish, the story went by at rocket speed, as the Doctor and Rory the Roman raced across galaxies and River acknowledged that her time had come at last…

For poor Amy, it was an emotional rollercoaster at the hands of Madame Kovarian, while all around them the Doctor’s enemies lay a carefully concealed trap as he called in long held debts and solemnly given promises. Both sides made sacrifices, but was it worth it?

We’ve had some exhilarating cliffhangers this series, and this one was no exception, but we’re now left to twiddle our thumbs until the autumn. Among all the shock revelations and surprises that hit us in tonight’s episode, we’ve been given plenty to think about until our heroes return, most notably River Song, whose true identity has at long last hit the airwaves. Was her secret the pay off we’d been promised? Were your theories right?

So, did you love it or loathe it? Were you blown away by the suspense and danger, or was Steven Moffat’s storytelling just too much to take in? The comments are waiting…

Please don’t read the comments if you haven’t yet seen the episode. Spoilers!

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(89 Votes, Average: 4.69/5)
237 comments on this article
  1. Bad Wolf
    July 1st, 2011 at 8.28pm | #1


    Yes, I was only talking about River, but there are an awful lot of unresolved mysteries (The Silence’s master plan, Amy’s house’s impossible 3rd floor, who killed the Doctor, why the regenerating little girl was dying…). I made a (long) list in the “Silences, Rivers and Songs” forum.

  2. Vanessa
    July 4th, 2011 at 9.19am | #2

    @Bad Wolf
    River was in the Tardis when it exploded. We don’t know whether that is part of why it exploded or if it would have exploded anyway. The date was when Rory and Amy were due to get married. If that never happened what would happen to River Song who was in the Tardis when it exploded.

  3. amy
    July 4th, 2011 at 4.08pm | #3

    River song calls the doctor “pretty boy” the first time he meets her. We all love ten, but I think we can agree that although good looking, he’s no Jack Harkness. perhaps she is used to calling a future doctor “pretty” ?

  4. 12th Doctor ♥
    July 5th, 2011 at 11.33am | #4

    This Episode didn’t give me much of a cliff hanger, && yes most of us guessed, or were told that River was going to end up being Amy and Rory’s daughter Melody. @Bad Wolf I agree to you that river indeed has alot of unresolved issues/mysteries and It will be interesting to see how it all works out.
    And my last point is that Amy Pond may not be staying for long as she was found naked and weary outside a hotel after a doctor who party and I’m pretty sure she was leaving soon anyway. She was a good comanion ;; The Red heads are the best :)

  5. Calli Arcale
    July 5th, 2011 at 8.47pm | #5


    This is possibly just me being dense, but you make an interesting point about the TARDIS exploding with River inside it on the date of Amy’s wedding. One thing that didn’t occur to me before was that we’ve now learned that Rory and Amy were, ahem, successful that night. So perhaps we’re focusing on the wrong thing — it’s not the date of their wedding, it’s the date of River’s conception. Someone setting up her conception and death to occur simultaneously, and with both occurring inside a TARDIS (the same TARDIS, in fact). An attempt at creating another paradox machine? Because the Doctor’s timeline is now so tangled up with the Universe, that in order to destroy him, they’d pretty much have to destroy the Universe — or build a machine that could create a Doctorless universe. And they were almost successful, but for Amy Pond.

    I bet that’s not it. ;-)

  6. samuel
    July 6th, 2011 at 7.19pm | #6

    ive got to be shore river kills the doctor because from the weeping angel epoisode that man told the doctor she murdered a good man and that was the doctor

  7. Steve
    July 9th, 2011 at 12.06pm | #7

    There has been no indication that the Doctor is the only “good man” in the universe, so I would think that would be open for debate.
    Also, what would be the point of killing off the main character in a long running series that is doing well?

  8. The Vortex
    July 9th, 2011 at 1.34pm | #8

    Having just watched “The Impossible Astronaut” again I think we can be reasonably certain that the little girl isn’t River. River was as confused as anyone else in that episode and if she had been the little girl then she would have known.

    So on top of all the other mysteries, we can add back in “who is the little girl”.

  9. Patrick
    July 10th, 2011 at 7.06pm | #9

    @The Vortex
    but the little girl was seen as a baby in a picture with amy holding her and river is part time lord whose able to regenerate and the little girl well melody did regenerate at the end of day of the moon. river knew who the girl was but she couldn’t say anything then because she has to follow the diary and whats in there.

  10. Zach
    July 11th, 2011 at 7.41am | #10

    Everybody thought River was the Doctor’s wife at some point, then eventually that theory slowly faded away, and we found out she was Melody Pond. Then there was episode 4, titled ‘The Doctor’s Wife’, even though there was no relevance to “the Doctor’s wife” anywhere in the episode (but we assume it was Idris/the TARDIS). What if River was the TARDIS, who in turn is also “the Doctor’s wife”?

  11. Patrick
    July 12th, 2011 at 10.32am | #11

    I’ve just realised that I haven’t given my opinion of this episode so I’ll just do it now even though its rather late lol. While its still fresh in my mind having watched it yesterday (bought series 6 pt 1 yesterday)I did expect more from it especially the final scene but the way that part was written was brilliant by Moffat so Rivers reveal was maybe yeah a bit of a disappointment but as I mentioned the way it was written was brilliant and the Doctor’s reaction in between of looking at River then Amy and Rory was a great part and typical of the Doctor’s reaction. I thought the monsters that appeared like the Silurians, Judoon etc could have been used a bit more though I did enjoy their brief appearances. What wasn’t explained was apart from Omegas symbol appearing yet again (first time being in Time of Angels) was why Kovarian wanted go to war against the Doctor and perhaps we’ll find that out in Lets Kill Hitler. I loved the characters of Vastra and Jenny who I hope have a spin off series or make another appearance and I also liked Lornas’ character as well. I hope we find more about the Gamma Forest because it is quite intriguing how the word forest has popped up. In series 4 forest of the dead, in flesh and stone there was a forest but was an oxygen factory and series 6 gamma forests and the only water in the forest is the river so what this gamma forest place is might not have yet happened to the doctor as he couldn’t remember who lorna was. i expected to know more about the monks than we did as they appeared in the big bang in the scene where amy meets her younger self and when the stone dalek gets more power from the pandorica to heal itself so a bit disappointed by that but overall the episode was amazing. one last bit then ill have finished my rant but i wonder how dorium appears in episode 13 as he had his head cut off by the monks unless the doctor travels before dorium got killed in an earlier timestream perhaps?

  12. Laine
    July 13th, 2011 at 3.23am | #12

    @The Vortex
    Since she regenerates, and we know the Doctor and River do it, then I think it’s their daughter…

  13. MeganSorcha
    July 16th, 2011 at 4.10pm | #13

    @Calli Arcale
    That is an AWESOME theory

  14. Neli42
    July 18th, 2011 at 7.54pm | #14

    Re: “And don’t even get me started with the Doctor, he’s obviously in love with Amy – Moffat knows that, so why does he show the Doctor having such great affection for her and knowing they cant be together.”

    IMHO Amy offers the best explanation for that with her speech about someone really, really old and really, really kind, and the last of his kind who can’t bear to hear the children cry. The Doctor’s affection for Amy is paternal, not romantic or erotic.

  15. Bad Wolf
    July 25th, 2011 at 8.45pm | #15

    @The Vortex

    River may have faked her confusion about the little girl in the opening two-parter to hide her true identity, because the moment of the big reveal hadn’t come yet for the Doctor. I know, it’s a pretty far-fetched theory, but why not ? After all, when she shot and missed the Astronaut by the lake, she muttered “Of course not”. These three words show that she had some knowledge about this whole Astronaut mess, so why not the little girl’s identity ?


    You may have a point here. The idea of the little girl being the Doctor’s and River’s daughter had never occurred to me before. Madame Vastra stated in A Good Man Goes To War that Melody/River was part Time Lord. So maybe it runs in the family, from the Time vortex to River, and from River to her daughter.

  16. Rosalie
    August 22nd, 2011 at 5.03am | #16

    @Bad Wolf
    If River was the girl in the space suit, which is very likely as the Doctor remembered the girl when talking about Melody’s Time Lord DNA, then she lived in an orphanage controlled by the Silence for much of her childhood. When Amy spent “many days” with the Silence during her captivity, the constant memory loss caused her to be unable to remember the details of any experience she had had with the Silence. The same would probably be true for River, which would make her unable to recall the events of her childhood, even if she was serving time in prison for them. (note: I actually believe that she’s in jail for killing Rory, but she could have been told that she killed the Doctor, too.) If she knew that she had killed the Doctor (whether or not he is actually dead is irrelevant, because this is based on how everything looks), and then saw the Doctor being killed, she would assume that she herself was the murderer. This would explain why she did not try to stop the Astronaut until it became clear that it was shooting the Doctor in the middle of his regeneration. Also, it would create a massive paradox if she shot and killed a younger version of herself, so it would make sense for either the TARDIS (remember the Master’s paradox machine?) or the universe itself (it adjusts for the Trickster’s Brigade…) to prevent her from hitting the Astronaut. By the time she said “Of course not,” she would have worked out that her younger self was inside the suit. However, her surprise at many parts of the episodes was real, because she would not have remembered being the girl, escaping the suit, etc.

  17. shawn
    December 13th, 2011 at 11.26am | #17

    i just watched this eipisode over again since it was on air on dvd and ive watched it and i have to say i liked it better the second time round than the first it is a good mid series finale :)

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