Finales on Doctor Who, the cult British television show, are a mixed bag. For example, who can forget the tenth Doctor, played by David Tennant, breaking down at the controls of his TARDIS, telling us ‘I don’t want to go’. Yet just the season before, we had been forced to endure the terror of the TARDIS triumphantly dragging the earth across the universe, with no thought for safety, sense, or most of all science.
However sometimes, the quality of a finale can be foreshadowed by the quality of the series that preceded it. And this was the case with the ending to the sixth series, a fifty-minute episode entitled ‘A Good Man Goes To War’.
It started excitingly. The Doctor was going to war against those who wished to destroy him. Such a noble cause, such a noble Doctor. And thus he summoned his allies, which was exciting also. A lesbian Silurian*, a Sontaran medic, a big, blue, fat thing. Those flying WWII Spitfire spaceship things as well, if I remember correctly. To war! Then, just over halfway in, not only has the Doctor cleanly defeated all of his enemies, he’s also managed to save Amy’s baby, explain a load of plot developments, and generally act suspiciously goofy around certain questions in order to allow us to work out what the next episode will be about. Now what?
And that was the problem. As River Song said, he has never flown so high, and well, despite the fact that nothing actually happened, there was no suspense, and hardly a plot to string two developments together, it was very exhillarating. However, after that with the suspense still refusing to arrive, and still not much at all actually happening, things started to get a bit dull. Yes, there was a fight scene, but it was a short one, and there was no excitement in it. The allies managed to fend off the headless monks, while also running around like headless chickens, and the fat blue guy died. Then the Doctor arrived just in time to see the baby disintegrate and to chat to some girl who he never knew. A nice reference to there being no pond in a forest (But you can still get stagnant pools of water, and surely that represents a pond more than a river?) came slightly too late, and, well, I really can’t reveal the final secret, although yes, River Song is exactly who you guessed she would be.
And sadly this has been the case through much of the series. It began so well, the Silence were amazing, Song was fantastic, the Doctor was funny, the plot was intriguing, and then where did it go? Well, seeing ‘Sexy’, the TARDIS was nice, but it had little to do with the overall series. And the flesh episode was imaginative, although the ending seemed slightly stilted, as if two people were trying to write it – the episode writer and the series writer together, but not together enough.
But overall what was there? That creepy woman, yes, she kept on popping up, but, like the crack in the wall, she didn’t add anything to the story. It was almost like a game of where’s wally. Where’s Wall Woman? Oh, she’s there. But don’t let it worry you, her existence has no meaning.
However, I admit, despite my dislike, I am drawn in by the, as a certain character would put it, ‘spoilers’. And I’d like to put forward my guess as to what is about to happen.
The Doctor leaves Amy and Rory, but leaves behind his flesh counterpart, reborn as was foreshadowed as the two Doctors went their seperate ways. As with the people in the original flesh story, the effect of the TARDIS is to stabilise this Doctor into the real Doctor – the other real Doctor.
The Original real Doctor travels in time and space, lives to be 1300 and whatever, and then returns to earth, gathering his companions, to the events that took place in the first episode of this series. He is shot by a young River Song – the child we saw in the first episode – and burned. The other Doctor is then the only Doctor, and he reveals himself to the Wall Woman. She is furious, ’cause she thought she’d got rid of him, so she imprisons River Song. Not for killing anyone, as was originally thought, but for not killing anyone.
This would nicely tie up any loose ends, and would make for a coherant plot, although how this is revealed is up for question, and I’m only half certain that I’ve got all the plot features the right way round. And, as I’m sure the case may be, it’s probably far too obvious.
* Yes Silurian, because being as Homo Reptillia is wrong as well, I thought I’d just pick my favourite. Homo Reptillia is wrong because this would suggest that the Silurians were a part of the ‘homo’ genus, which they can’t be, on account of them being reptiles that evolved thousands of years before the first apes evolved. Equally, they are clearly from a completely different branch of the animal kingdom, being cold-blooded, covered in scales, etc. Taxonomy isn’t that hard to understand…