Doctor Who: “A Good Man Goes to War” Review (Spoilers)

I’ll have to admit to putting off watching this episode, even though it had already aired a week later here in the United States than in the UK. But as it was spoiled for me several times via Twitter, I almost didn’t watch it at all. But I’ve discussed people who post spoilers on Twitter at length, so won’t get into that again.

Instead, let’s talk about the episode, shall we?

So “A Good Man Goes To War” starts off where we left off in “The Almost People.” Amy is being held on some planet and she has given birth to her daughter, Melody Pond. Technically, though, she’s Melody Williams, but as this name was a plot device (and really… a WAY too simple one), that’s what they called her.

These people have captured Melody to use as a weapon against the Doctor. Because the Doctor has people running scared of him. Let’s face it, he can be very scary.

And in this episode, he’s pretty terrifying. I saw a lot of similarities to David Tennant’s Doctor during his final season and the special episodes in Matt Smith’s performance. And honestly, I don’t like this version of the Doctor, especially since we’ve only had 1 1/2 seasons of Smith. This dark scary Doctor, unfortunately, leads the stories in very dark and un-fun places and after awhile, the show stops feeling like a fun adventure and more like something that you have to watch, not out of fun, but out of duty.

However, Smith gives such an amazing performance in this episode, I can forgive he and the writers for that.

But I will not forgive them for River Song. My theory about River Song being the Rani was one million times better than the predictable answer that we got. Yes, River Song is Melody Pond, the daughter of Rory and Amy. And even when that was spoiled for me on Twitter, I was more disappointed at that fact than the actual spoiler. TOO PREDICTABLE.

Kudos to Alex Kingston, though, for still giving the episode some emotional gravitas. And Arthur Darvill’s Rory is getting very close to being my favorite companion, right up there with Donna Noble. This episode was not quite as Amy-centric as previous ones and for that, I was grateful.

But still, I would have been happy had my River Song theory been the answer. Because it was so much better than what we’ve been given.

In spite of my disappointment, though, I really did like this episode. I’ve honestly been displeased with most of this season, save for the excellent “The Doctor’s Wife.” But this episode managed to pull me in and tug at some heartstrings, all the same.

So what did you think? Were you disappointed or thrilled at the River Song reveal? Leave me a comment and let me know.

6 thoughts on “Doctor Who: “A Good Man Goes to War” Review (Spoilers)

  • June 14, 2011 at 8:01 pm

    It seems to me most of the new Doctor Who fans ( from 2005 and on ) … are totally on board with the idea of River being their child.  One can blame the series for that.  It seems to be pandering to the idea that tv shows have to have some element of romance/kissing and some emotional ties between ‘partners’ for it to be good tv.   Which is complete and utter junk.  It brings an emotional element to it, but now the newer fans will expect to have the same bs every season.   People at this point… are still expecting the Doctor and River to be married.  It seems like… thanks to RTD his stories were more written for children/teens.  With Moffat we actually have some adult science fiction ( with all the frightening stuff lately.. and dark aspects of the Doctor ) … but he still beings in that crappy… relationship garbage.  Classic Who didn’t need that to survive, but it seems like the rebirth since 2005 can’t get away from it.  Probably the only good thing to come of who River is…  it will force Amy and Rory ( not so good of a thing there ) .. off of the Tardis.  A baby will only find danger there.

  • June 15, 2011 at 11:26 am

    You know what’s worse? I missed the episode live because I was watching a Battlestar Galatica marathon. Everyone else went to watch it but we decided we’d rewatch the first two eps so we knew what was going on. When everyone came in and said “WTF!?” I said “Don’t spoil it, I’m going to watch it tomorrow”. 5 seconds later, I get told the ending. I was rather pissed off.

    I’m still arguing that I called it with the coma btw.

    • June 15, 2011 at 5:03 pm

      The coma thing did surprise me, but River Song’s identity did not and I really wanted it to. I wanted it to be something no one had thought of, but it turned out to be exactly what we all figured it would be. I hated that.

  • July 4, 2011 at 8:29 pm

    I too found out long before the episode aired that River was their daughter. I think that between RTD and SM, that it would be nice to have a series of Doctor Who that does not have a theme they are trying to run through it. But it is nice to know that the Doctor can be pushed too far sometimes and then we get to see how much he really holds back. I also feel that the TARDIS has been greatly neglected in the new series and needs to be brought back into the core of the show.

  • July 15, 2011 at 5:46 pm

    On Pond vs Williams. There was a joke earlier in the series about Rory becoming Rory Pond. And in this day and age, even married couples may use the mother’s name for a baby rather then the father. 

    Moving on, yes River = Amy’s baby is so predictable that I can bet you when they originally created River they didn’t actually have a plan as to who she was.  It’s one of those left so wide open things they don’t bother to settle until way later.  The whole mega plot mixed in with the minor stories just…I’m quite bored with the idea.  It was refreshing and new for a while for Doctor Who but now it’s getting over whelming.   More and more of the stories are about the doctor and his companions directly instead of about them stumbling into -other- people’s stories.  

    I’ve only seen this ep once, and I cringe at the idea of rewatching it because it seemed to be such a jumbled mess.  In fact that explaiins almost all of this half of the season.  I think each episode’s story this “season”  were muddled by this grander story and were worse off for it. 

    It’s like telling a love story with the backdrop of a war – but it’s a really interesting and clever war that we’ve never heard of before.  It’s different if they smack a love story in the middle of WWII we pretty much know what that back ground is, we’re familiar enough with it that we’re not left thinking: wow, they told two stories in one and I’m left wanting by both.

    I think that’s my point right there — They’ve made the stories so complicated that I just get left thinking…WTF just happened.

    And during the episode with the “silence” alians, where they were establishing all the background for the reveal at this episode – they wasted what could of been a wonderful episode.  They were in the US filming and…you wouldn’t know it if you weren’t told.   They got what? One shot with them out in the desert on one of the highways?   Nothing that said “THEY’RE IN THE US” most of it was interior sound stage filming. Hardly worth the trip and the money spent. 

    Grand stories are great but I think sometimes, less is more…

    • July 16, 2011 at 7:52 pm

      I am not feeling ANY of this season, except for “The Doctor’s Wife.” What’s funny is that episode was supposed to have aired last season. It is the only episode I’ve really loved this year.

      And in my mind, River will be The Rani. Because that would’ve been a million times better. 😀

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