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!

Rate this episode
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(89 Votes, Average: 4.69/5)
237 comments on this article
  1. shawn
    June 12th, 2011 at 1.53pm | #1

    @Emilyy x
    i think it was just to make us all worried and scared its probebly a miss leading clip making u think something that infact has a different meaning thats all i think it means n e ways

  2. Lozinozz
    June 12th, 2011 at 6.10pm | #2

    Brilliant!

  3. shawn
    June 12th, 2011 at 8.47pm | #3

    i can say with 95% certain that the silence r still behind this and will show up in the series finale after the summer when it comes back on

  4. ema
    June 12th, 2011 at 10.54pm | #4

    @PRB
    Thank you :D
    I will try that site soon and maybe start the collection :P My mum probs wouldn’t be too happy with more “clutter” but hey ho.
    I’ll have to look how much they are. :D

    The Dr, has given out his screw driver before… maybe he gave it to someone but they die.. However could it be related to the Vashta Nerada? Cause when the Vashta Nerada “ate” people all that was left was bone…

  5. Tony
    June 13th, 2011 at 12.26am | #5

    @Kiki
    That’s funny because my children are all in their 20s and really love her! Go figure – I’m just very surprised at how many people do not like her performance. I still maintain that she is wonderful. A large part of it may be her subtlety- she is very subtle and perhaps that’s why she is not liked?

  6. Tony
    June 13th, 2011 at 12.27am | #6

    @Kiki

    That’s funny because my children are all in their 20s and really love her! Go figure – I’m just very surprised at how many people do not like her performance. I still maintain that she is wonderful. A large part of it may be her subtlety- she is very subtle and perhaps that’s why she is not liked?

  7. Tony
    June 13th, 2011 at 12.29am | #7

    @The 13th Doctor
    I think it might be her subtlety – although you probably won’t agree wig me on that – fair enough : )

  8. Little miss annie
    June 13th, 2011 at 1.09am | #8

    Wow! Listen to everyone in here fighting! @ Steve you keep bringing up the fact that people are shoving their opinions down everyones throat when you are the one who keeps bringing it up… I feel everyone is entitled to their own opinion.. I understand you don’t care for karen’s acting.. That is fine.. But you should stop pressuring every to hate her.. I for one think she did a swell acting job! She always showed emotion in everything! When the ganger baby got crushed she reacted like any other mother would.. She was mortified! And the way she treated the doctor when it happened was very well done.. She wouldn’t even let him near her.. In the 11th hour she showed great emotion… What about when the doctor got shot! She was amazing in that! When they were in the cafe.. Her feelings were very appropriate… But any who I am not forcing you to believe what I am saying.. Or anyone for that matter… That is. What this page is all about.. People can come and say what. They want.. So good for you… If you don’t like her acting that’s fine she can’t please everyone… But I for one think she is a great companion.. I would hate to see her go…

  9. Little miss annie
    June 13th, 2011 at 1.37am | #9

    Wow! Listen to everyone in here fighting! @ Steve you keep bringing up the fact that people are shoving their opinions down everyones throat when you are the one who keeps bringing it up… I feel everyone is entitled to their own opinion.. I understand you don’t care for karen’s acting.. That is fine.. But you should stop pressuring every to hate her.. I for one think she did a swell acting job! She always showed emotion in everything! When the ganger baby got crushed she reacted like any other mother would.. She was mortified! And the way she treated the doctor when it happened was very well done.. She wouldn’t even let him near her.. In the 11th hour she showed great emotion… What about when the doctor got shot! She was amazing in that! When they were in the cafe.. Her feelings were very appropriate… But any who I am not forcing you to believe what I am saying.. Or anyone for that matter… That is. What this page is all about.. People can come and say what. They want.. So good for you… If you don’t like her acting that’s fine she can’t please everyone… But I for one think she is a great companion.. I would hate to see her go…

  10. bron
    June 13th, 2011 at 6.23am | #10

    I’m not even bothering to read a large part of the comments because of all the bickering. Overall, not one of my favourite episodes, but i like it more now that i’ve watched it a couple more times.
    I really don’t care whether people think KG can act or not. She does well playing the character she is given and that is all she is required to do. Over-analysing and then fighting with each other is not going to change anyone’s opinion of her, so why bother?
    I like the way they have strengthened Arthur’s character. He makes a great Roman!
    And Matt Smith is very well suited to the role, and although he can never compare to the likes of David and Jon in the role, he is perfectly suited to this regeneration of the Doctor.
    Anyone want to argue?

  11. josh
    June 13th, 2011 at 10.13am | #11

    u got it right on

    Im gona rate the episodes

    The Impossible Astronaught: 9/10
    Day of the moon: 8/10
    Curse Of The Black Spot : 5/10
    The Doctors Wife: 8.5/10
    The Rebel Flesh: 7/10
    The Almost People: 8.5/10
    A Good Man Goes To War: 10/10

  12. Calli Arcale
    June 14th, 2011 at 4.36am | #12

    I just finally saw this episode, and it was AMAZING! I’ll go back and read this actual thread later, but I just had to ooh and aah over it first. The moment when the flesh avatar of Melody dissolves . . . I’ve had nightmares hauntingly like that, within the first few weeks after having a baby. (I’ve had two.) I would dream I was sitting in bed holding my baby. Then I’d wake up, still in bed of course, and as the dream faded and my brain tried to sort out what was real and what wasn’t, I’d have this incredibly realistic sensation of the baby actually melting away until I would be left frantically searching the sheets to find her for several seconds before reality asserted itself and I realized that she was safely in her cot.

    And to have something like that happen, for real, while you’re hiding as people die to protect you and your child…. That was probably the most visceral moment in the episode for me. Lots of other good stuff too.

    I have to admit, though, that was one of my leading theories of who River was. I’d pretty much abandoned the “his daughter” and “his mother” theories as being too weird with all the flirting and kissing. But did she really kill the doctor? In the suit? We know she killed a good man, and in this episode, a good man went to war — but Moffatt did a pretty good job of obfuscating who was the good man in this one. And one of the Doctor’s lines seems to imply he maybe isn’t the good man of the episode’s title: “Good men don’t need rules. Ever wonder why I need so many?” (or words to that effect). Is the good man Rory, who most definitely also went to war in this episode, and who could quite possibly continue that war without the Doctor now, becoming that legendary centurion once again?

    If River kills the Doctor, how could it be her in the suit in Utah? Never mind Blinovitch; she never got close enough to the suit to invoke it. But she didn’t seem to remember the event, and it would have to have been in her past. It’s possible that when she said “Of course,” and put the empty gun down, she was finally putting all the pieces together, and remembering it from the other perspective. But that doesn’t square with her confinement in Stormcage, which has always been implied was *because* she killed a good man. Ergo, it had to have happened fairly recently in her personal history (i.e. not in her childhood). And then there’s her relationship to the clerics (who are clearly of the same order as the ones planning to kill the Doctor in this story). They’re okay with working with the Doctor in “The Time of Angels”. Well, not totally sanguine perhaps, but they’ll accept his help. But they know something about River which should make him not want to help, and we still don’t know what that is….

    Perhaps the biggest surprise, and one which hasn’t completely settled in for me, is that the Doctor just neatly rid himself of his companions for a bit. Obviously they’ll be back; that story HAS to be resolved. But I doubt very much we’ll see them in “Let’s Kill Hitler”. More companionless stories! Interesting.

    There are other interesting things percolating in my brain right now, but that’s enough for now.

  13. Patrick
    June 14th, 2011 at 6.43am | #13

    @Calli Arcale
    She did remember the event but just couldn’t tell the Doctor a lot about it cause it was yet to happen to him. The Doctor on the beach was a future version of the Doctor that we’ve been seeing since and as for the astronaut its NOT RIVER because the little girl who we now know is River escaped from the Astronaut suit in Day of the Moon as it even showed the little girl just moments after the Doctor and Co arrived to save Amy who had been abducted by the 2 Silents.

  14. Glenn
    June 14th, 2011 at 1.49pm | #14

    I too think River kills Rory and thats why she’s in stormcage.

  15. Calli Arcale
    June 14th, 2011 at 3.53pm | #15

    Patrick — or is that what we’re MEANT to think? I no longer put anything past Stephen Moffatt in terms of red herrings. ;-)

  16. Calli Arcale
    June 14th, 2011 at 3.59pm | #16

    BTW, what I actually meant about all that was that it seems unlikely she climbed back into the suit at some point and killed the Doctor, since it would have had to have happened either recently enough to get her put into Stormcage (though these Clerics don’t seem to like the Doctor enough to imprison someone for killing him) in which case she’d've remembered right away and never bothered unloading her revolver at the “astronaut”, or so early in her childhood it would have to have been during her original confinement.

    So it really doesn’t make sense that it’s still the little girl in the suit at that point, or older River climbed back into it. With the sun visor down, it could be almost anybody, but I don’t think it’s her. She doesn’t remember the event during the picnic because it has never happened to her; she’s not the one in the suit.

    Still, I won’t put it past Moffatt to blow our minds on that. ;-)

    And then there’s the Silence. We haven’t seen the last of them, I’m sure; as with the trap in this episode, they were defeated a little too tidily. Either they were unwitting stalking horses (sort of like the hapless Vardans in “The Invasion of Time”) or they aren’t as defeated as the Doctor thinks. Either way, there is more to their story, as their plan has not yet played out — and we still haven’t seen who tried to blow up the TARDIS, not for sure.

  17. shawn
    June 14th, 2011 at 6.43pm | #17

    @Calli Arcale
    i think the silence r still behind every single thing thats happening even now they will diffenetly be back if not in the finale then at some point :)

  18. shawn
    June 14th, 2011 at 7.31pm | #18

    i wonder wheather r not we get to actually get to see hitler in the eipisode

  19. Larell
    June 14th, 2011 at 10.15pm | #19

    Brillant. It was ablsoultly an amazing episode. and wow for steven moffat for having this absolutly smashing idea in his head since David Tennant!!! Speculate as u will whovians I think its a waste of time making any predictions or raising anticipation through questions. the best part of Doctor Who I being blown away! I’m just plain excited right now. 3 months wont pass fast enough!

  20. Kiki
    June 14th, 2011 at 10.42pm | #20

    @Glenn
    Why would killing Rory get her a sentence in Stormcage? Who is he to warrant such a sentence?

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