By Heather S. Vina
Written by: Steven Moffat
Previously: The Doctor wonders who the little girl in the astronaut suit was (6.02, “Day of the Moon”). The Doctor reveals to Rory and Amy that the Amy with them is a Flesh puppet, and the real Amy has been missing for months (6.06, “The Almost People”). And is, in fact, going into labour, wherever she is. He promises Amy that they will come for her and then cuts off the connection between Amy and her Flesh doppelganger. The Flesh falls to its original form. Amy wakes up and realizes that she’s going into labour.
Recap: The episode opens with Amy talking to her baby daughter, whom she has just given birth to. And let me just say, what an adorable baby! Very nearly a newborn, she’s so tiny! Anyway, Amy is telling her that she wishes that she could tell her that she will have a safe and loved life, but that she can’t lie to her. The camera pulls back and we see that Amy and Melody are being watched and held by armed soldiers, monks in brown-hooded robes, and the woman with the eyepatch (Frances Barber), who informs Amy that she has two minutes.
Amy informs her baby girl – Melody – that she will have to be brave, but not as brave as the people who are holding them hostage, because someone is coming for them.
Meanwhile, “Twenty Thousand Light Years Away”, there’s a Cyberman ship being sabotaged by a hand with a Sonic Screwdriver. The Doctor, perhaps?
Back with Amy. She continues to tell her baby about the man that will “never let us down.” The woman with the eyepatch, Madame Kovarian, comes towards her to take the baby away, ignoring Amy’s pleas to leave her daughter. A young female soldier (Christina Choung) watches with a pained and sympathetic look on her face.
Back on the Cyberman ship, they are quickly realizing that their ship is being sabotaged and invaded. But by whom?
Baby Melody is now in a white carrier, and Amy bends down to kiss her on her head. She continues to try and reassure her little girl, telling her that this man is known as the “Last Centurion” on their world, and that he is her father.
Back with the Cybermen again, the Cybermen’s saboteur is revealed and it’s Rory, dressed in his Roman garb. Why is he dressed in his Roman garb? Is that his “go to battle” outfit? I know it was his outfit when he was the Roman plastic guy from Amy’s enemy creation (5.12: “The Pandorica Opens”/5.13: “The Big Bang”) and I know he wore it for their honeymoon (“A Christmas Carol”), but it still seems a bit strange for him to be wearing it here. Regardless, he’s wearing it. He tells the Cybermen that he has a message for them from the Doctor, and a question from him. He wants to know where Amy is. He tells them that he knows the 12th Cyber Legion monitors the entire quadrant and would have heard where she is being held. The Cyber Leader asks Rory what the message from the Doctor is. Right after he does, ships start to explode behind Rory. Rory smirks a little and says, “Would you like me to repeat the question?” And I do a little fist pump and shout, “Go, Doctor and Rory!” ‘Cause, yea, that was pretty badass.
On a deck of a large spaceship, two soldiers are talking about a mysterious “he” and how he blew up an entire Cybermen legion, just to make a point. One soldier points out to the other that they are being paid to fight this man, not praise him. Praising him “costs more.” The other fanboys about how “he” chased the Atraxi off a planet then “called them back for a scolding.” Unlike Amy’s red-herring-laden opening speech to baby Melody, this particular “he” IS the Doctor (5.01: “The Eleventh Hour”). The soldiers pass the same young female soldier who was stricken by Amy with her baby, only, instead of looking upset this time, she smiles and looks pleased over the heroic tales of the Doctor. She seems to be embroidering a pillow or something. Nice to see in the future, that people still embroider and hand-sew!
On a bridge, two different soldiers are practicing telling the difference between Psychic paper and the real thing. Soldier #3 chastises Soldier #4 for being bored over the practice, telling him that they’re on “Yellow Alert.” Soldier #4 whines they’ve been on Yellow Alert for 3 weeks.
The first two soldiers are still walking on deck. You know, I’m going to call them ‘Laurel’ (Charlie Baker) and ‘Hardy’ (Dan Johnston). Why? ‘Cause I feel like it. Anyways, two of the monks walk by them and Laurel warns Hardy against staring at them. Laurel tells him to stay away from them, because they are scary dudes that will kill you for trying to look underneath their hoods. Hardy wonders why they are called “the Headless Monks” because they can’t really be headless. The young female soldier tells them that the monks believe that the “domain of faith is the heart and the domain of doubt is the head. They follow their hearts.” You know, that would be interesting and very philosophical in a kind of beautiful way, if they didn’t carry around flaming swords to kill people with at the drop of the hat, as well as participate in stealing newborn babies from their moms. So, not so beautiful.
Hardy knows the young woman’s name, ‘Lorna Buckett’. He introduces himself and his friend to her, telling her that he’s the “thin one” and his friend is his husband, the “fat one”. When Lorna bemusedly asks why they don’t have names, Laurel tells her, “We’re the thin/fat/gay/married/Anglican Marines. Why would we need names, as well?” Yeah, Laurel? I think I like my names for you guys better. Lorna looks a little disturbed, but the trio are interrupted when some monks come up to them. Laurel remarks that it’s time for his “conversion tutorial” and happily goes off with the monks.
Hardy and Lorna continue to talk and Hardy realizes that Lorna has had an encounter with the Doctor. She explains that it was when she was a young girl and the only word he said to her was “run”, and he said it quite a lot. Hardy points out that she’s from the Gamma Forest, and that they’re neutral, so what is she doing here? She tells him that 30 seconds of the Doctor was the only thing that ever happened there.
Meanwhile, Laurel is off with the Monks and a voice explains to him that it’s typical for visiting armies of other faiths to offer up people for conversion to their order. And Laurel has been selected! One of the monks comes up to him with a box and the voice talks of “donations”, and yeah, that just can’t be good. Goodbye, Laurel! I’m sure Hardy will miss you.
Interesting. On Laurel’s shirt is the word “cleric.” Could these be the same “clerics” that held River prisoner in 5.04, “The Time of Angels,” and 5.05, “Flesh and Stone?” In fact, the Headless Monks were mentioned in that episode, too, as the ones who created the monastery the Angels were hiding in. If I remember correctly, that’s how River and the Doctor realized that there was something wrong with the statues: They had heads.
Hardy asks Lorna if she really thinks the Doctor will show up there. Where could he be? Lorna tells Hardy that he could be anywhere in time and space.
Speaking of…London, 1888 AD. A hooded woman (Neve McIntosh) climbs out of a coach and tells the coachman that she won’t be needing him for the rest of the night. She enters a house and her maid Jenny (Catrin Stewart) comes out, commenting that she’s home early, with “another case cracked.” Said lady carefully puts a sword on a platform, and tells her maid to send a telegram to Inspector Abiline and inform him that “Jack the Ripper has claimed his last victim.” She throws back her hood and reveals her face. She’s a Silurian and she not only killed Jack the Ripper, she ate him, as well. The maid congratulates her, but tells her a “matter has arisen in the drawing room.” The “matter” is the TARDIS, sitting brightly in the drawing room. Jenny asks her what it means, and Madame Vastra tells her that it means “a very old debt is to be repaid.” She happily tells Jenny to pack the swords; they’re going to need them.
The Battle of Zaruthstra, 4037 AD: a futuristic time zone with laser weapons, but the humans fighting are all wearing Civil War-ish outfits. A soldier (Richard Trinder) comes running into a building and tells the Madame President that they need to leave, now, before “they” come. But she’s more worried about an ill boy lying on a table, and getting him medical help. Luckily for them, in walks the nurse: a Sontaran Commander named ‘Strax’ (Dan Starkey). He heals the boy. When the boy asks him if he’s going to be okay, Strax cheerfully tells him that he will be fine. Maybe, one day, Strax and the boy will “meet on the field of battle” and Strax will “destroy him for the glory of the Sontaran Empire.” Lovely bedside manner!
As Strax is leaving, the human soldier, Captain Harcourt, questions him on being a nurse. Strax explains that he is serving a penance to “return the honour” to his clone batch. Helping the weak and the sick is the greatest punishment that can be visited on a Sontaran. As the soldier wonders who would have thought of that, you can hear the sound of the TARDIS materializing. Strax perks up, and tells the human that his time of penance might just be over. He wishes the guy well in the ways of Sontaran and takes off towards the TARDIS.
From a battle to a prison ship. The alarms on the prison ship where River is being held are going off as she’s happily dancing down the hallway, dressed in a 19th/18th-century dress. She picks up one of the phones and tells them to turn off the alarms: She’s “breaking in, not out.” She continues dancing down the hall, when she sees Rory the Centurion standing in front of her. He asks her if they’ve met yet, because he’s confused by the whole “time stream” thing. She bemusedly answers that they have, but she stares at him as if she’s seeing him for the first time. He asks her what’s wrong, but she shakes her head and tells him it’s her birthday. The Doctor showed up and took her skating on the River Thames in 1814, the “last of the Great Frost Fairs.” He got Stevie Wonder (good choice, Doctor!) to sing for her. Rory tells her that the Doctor needs her and she immediately guesses that it’s Demon’s Run. When Rory asks her how she knows, she explains that she’s from the Doctor’s future; she always knows.
River asks Rory why he’s wearing the Roman outfit and he explains that it’s the Doctor’s idea. Aha! An answer at last! He tells her that “they’ve” taken Amy and their baby, and River looks heartbroken. He tells her that the Doctor is getting some people together to go after her, but he needs River, too. She tells him she can’t, not yet. “This is the Battle of Demon’s Run, the Doctor’s darkest hour. He’ll rise higher than ever before and then fall so much further. But I can’t be with him until the very end.” When Rory questions why she can’t come, she walks into her cell and tells him that this is the day the Doctor finds out who she is.
At a bar, we see black market trader Dorium Maldovar (Simon Fisher-Becker), the guy who River tricked into selling her a vortex manipulator in 5.12, “The Pandorica Opens”. He’s packing up and trying to leave, but Madame Kovarian, Colonel Manton (Danny Sapani) and her soldiers show up to stop him.
Madame Kovarian quizzes Dorium on what he has heard and he admits that he heard she “pricked the side of a mighty beast.” Madame points out rather testily that they’ve been waiting for months, but the Doctor has failed to come. Dorium asks if she’s sure? There are people all over the galaxies that “owe that man a debt,” and who is to say that the Doctor hasn’t called in those debts? Colonel Manton sarcastically asks if Dorium thinks the Doctor is raising an army. Dorium sarcastically replies back, “You think he isn’t?” Dorium is rather amused at the naivete of Madame Kovarian and Colonel Manton, and their arrogance in being able to face the Doctor. Especially when he points out to them that the name of the asteroid belt where they are hiding, “Demon’s Run”, comes from the old saying: “Demons run when a good man goes to war.” Disgusted, they leave.
Dorium continues his escape, before being stopped by the arrival of the TARDIS. Dismayed, he shouts that he isn’t needed, he’s fat and he’s blue, the Doctor can’t need him!
Back at the battleship, Colonel Manton is giving his troops a speech about how the Doctor is “just a man” and that the soldiers can defeat him. It’s all a very “blah, blah, blah/rah, rah, rah, us” speech.
Lorna goes to see Amy, who is alone in her room. Lorna apologizes for disturbing her, but she wanted to give Amy something that she made. The little sewing project she was working on earlier is for Amy: It’s a prayer leaf. On it, she embroidered the name of Amy’s daughter, in the language of her people. It’s a tradition in her culture and they believe that if you keep it with you, your child will always come home to you. Amy is decidedly unimpressed with Lorna’s gift. She turns back to watch Colonel Manton’s speech from outside her window. She tells Lorna that they are talking as if the Doctor’s famous, but he’s not. Lorna says that he’s like a “dark legend”. Amy scoffs and asks sarcastically if she’s met him. She’s surprised when Lorna says that she has, but when she was a little girl. Amy tells her that she met him when she was a little girl, too. Lorna asks if Amy was with him for a long time, but Amy tells her that he came back for her. Lorna tells her that she must be very special. Amy replies that “you can wait a long time for the Doctor, but he’s worth it.” She tells Lorna that the Doctor is coming for her, so for Lorna’s sake, she had better be on the right side. She takes the prayer leaf that Lorna made for her and sincerely thanks her for it.
Colonel Manton continues with his speech, telling the soldiers that the “Doctor will fall.” He tells them that he knows some of them have wondered why they allied with the Headless Monks, but it’s time that they know what the Headless Monks have sacrificed in the name of faith. It’s a crime to push back the hood of a Headless Monk, but he received papal dispensation to show them this once. He starts pushing back the hoods to reveal stumps where heads should be. It looks like there is a tied-off cloth there where the neck would be. It’s very creepy and all of the soldiers react in horror, ’cause, you know, gross! The Colonel continues pushing off the hoods, explaining that the Monks “can never be persuaded, they can never be afraid, and they can never ever be….”
The Doctor reveals himself to be one of the Monks, which is really no surprise to the viewers but a surprise to the others. Both happy (Amy), nervous (the grunt soldiers) and ticked off (everyone else).
The Doctor tells everyone to point a gun at him if it helps them relax, which they promptly do. He smiles at them, and looks very pleased and confident.
In the control room, where Soldier #3 and Soldier #4 are still sitting, Madame Vestra and Jenny take them hostage, and Jenny asks them where the controls for the lights are. For a 19th-century human maid, she seems remarkably unfazed by aliens and space travel and technology.
On the stage, Colonel Manton puts a gun to the Doctor’s head and tells him that he will come with him. The Doctor shrugs him off and says “3 minutes, 40 seconds.” Then he shouts out, “Amelia Pond, get your coat!” before he throws on his hood and the lights go off. When they go back on, the Doctor is gone and everyone is freaked out as his disembodied voice points out that he’s in a Monk’s outfit. The soldiers start pointing their guns at the Monks and the Monks start aiming their swords at the soldiers. One of the soldiers gets skittish and shoots a Monk. In retaliation, a Monk shoots a soldier. Madame Kovarian sneaks out, while Colonel Manton screams out, “No!” He quickly loses control of the situation, which was the Doctor’s plan all along.
In the control tower, Jenny remarks that the Doctor was very smart and Madame Vastra comments that he’s attractive. Jenny points out that he’s a man (So, they are a lesbian/interspecies pairing?), and Vastra says that mammals all look alike, hurting Jenny’s feelings. Vastra shoots her tongue out and knocks out one of the soldiers, who was trying to sound the alarm, before turning back to Jenny and remarking that she doesn’t know how Jenny puts up with her.
Colonel Manton tries to get control of the crowd, while Lorna – who was the only soldier that didn’t pull out her gun – sees the Doctor ducking out of the room and follows him. The Colonel manages to regain control by putting away his gun and encouraging everyone else to. As the soldiers gradually lay down their weapons, the Monks power down their swords and stand down. While they do that, the Doctor’s Army materializes around everyone and Commander Stark gleefully informs the Colonel that the base is now under their command.
Colonel Manton tells Stark that the base is set up with a fail-safe to send out an automatic distress call, but the Doctor tells him that they won’t be able to send that out if he knocks out their communications array. The Doctor calls to someone named ‘Danny Boy’ to take out the array and you see the 20th-century WWII Spitfires from 5.03, “The Victory of the Daleks”, come sweeping down and destroying the array. A fleeing Madame Kovarian tells her escort that she needs to escape, and to bring her the child.
Colonel Manton is dismayed that the array is gone, but both Stark and the Doctor are happy about it. Unfortunately, Madame Kovarian has her hands on Melody and tells her soldiers to go back in with the others. Ominously, she tells them, “Remember, the Doctor must think he’s winning, right until the trap closes.”
Just as it looks like she will escape with Melody, she is stopped by a sword at her throat. It’s Rory! I was wondering where he was! She asks him how he thinks he can stop her, since she has a crew of 20, when the doors slide open and out pops one of her crew, tied up, and behind him, Henry and Toby Avery from 5.03, “The Curse of the Black Spot”. Captain Avery informs her that the ship is theirs. Ha! I really enjoy seeing all of these former characters show up like this!
Stark brings Colonel Manton to the control room, where the Doctor, Vastra and Jenny are. The Doctor apologizes to Manton for lying: It was 3 minutes, 42 seconds for him to take over the base. Stark tells Manton that he is to give his soldiers the order to withdraw, but the Doctor changes that to “run away.” He rants to the Colonel that he wants the Colonel to be known as “Colonel Run Away”, so that when people come to him to ask him if using the people that the Doctor loves against him is a good idea, he can tell them his name as a clue that it is not. And boy, is the Doctor pissed! He even comments that being angry is new for him. Which is true; I don’t remember ever seeing Eleven this angry before. Mad, yes, but never this angry, where he looks like he wants to set fire to the ship. Madame Kovarian comes up, now a prisoner, and tells him that the “anger of a good man is not a problem” because good men have “too many rules.” The Doctor tells her that now is not a good time to find out why he has so many rules. She turns to the Colonel and tells him to give the order, calling him “Colonel Run Away.”
Amy is still trapped in her room when she hears banging on her door. She grabs what looks like an electric toothbrush and warns the person at her door that she’s “armed” and “really cross.” We hear Rory’s voice going, “Like I don’t know that,” and the sound of him trying to work the sonic screwdriver. Any happiness she feels at his saving her is overrun by the fact that she has to tell him that they took Melody away. Rory finally gets the door open, and we see why he had such a hard time with it: He has baby Melody. He brings her to her mother and both parents are overjoyed to have their little girl back with them. Rory has tears in his eyes. Amy happily assures him that a “crying Roman with a baby is definitely cool.” It’s a beautiful and happy reunion between the little family.
Rory and Amy kiss just as the Doctor arrives in the door. He makes a little face and tells them, “Kissing and crying, I’ll be back in a bit.” Rory calls him back and introduces the Doctor to his daughter. Amy tells them her name is Melody, and when Rory tries to call her “Melody Williams,” Amy says her name is “Melody Pond,” because that name is the name of a superhero. The Doctor is thrilled to meet the baby and reveals he speaks Baby. Amy and Rory look at him in disbelief, but he insists he does, that Melody should call her mom “Mummy”, not “Big Milk Thing”, and that bowties are “cool”. Madame Vastra runs in and tells them that the enemy is running. They took over Demon’s Run without a drop of blood spilled. Which isn’t, strictly speaking, true, since there were a couple of Hooded Monks and soldiers who were killed, but I guess since they killed each other and none of the Doctor’s Army killed anyone, it is true that THEY never spilled a drop of blood.
Anyway, Madame Vastra tells the Doctor that he has “never risen higher,” and Rory looks worried and scared over those words, remembering what River had told him.
Back on the hangar bay deck where the TARDIS now is, Amy is walking a fretting Melody out, when Rory asks her what’s wrong. She tells him that Melody doesn’t like a sound in the TARDIS, but when she asked the Doctor to turn it off, he said, “But I don’t want to punch a hole in the time-space continuum.” Jenny comes running up and tells Rory that the “Judoon have escorted the Clerics out of the quadrant, the spitfires have returned to their own time, Avery and his men have….” She is interrupted by a crying Melody. Stark tells them that he can feed the baby, as he has been gene-spliced for all nursing capabilities. And, yuck! Rory rightfully looks squicked out about that and tells him, “No.”
The Doctor comes out of the TARDIS holding a cradle, telling them that Melody doesn’t need changing or feeding. She’s tired. He apologizes to the baby for them not listening to her and sets the cradle down. Amy notices that it’s old, really old, and she asks the Doctor if he has children. He places Melody in the cradle and says, “No.” She asks him if he’s ever had children, but rather than answering her, he answers something Melody said, telling her that “no, it’s real; it’s my hair.” Amy asks him whose cradle it is, but the Doctor doesn’t answer. Vastra calls him to the control room, and he starts to head off, telling them that they can’t leave until they find out what this base is for. Amy stops him and asks him to confirm that this is where she was. The whole time she thought she was on the TARDIS, she was here instead. The Doctor asks Rory jokingly for “permission to hug” and Rory grants it. The Doctor hugs her and tells her that she was on the TARDIS, too. Her heart and soul were with them, but physically, she was on the base. He theorizes that they took her a while back, probably before America. Me, I’m thinking she was taken during the America trip, but I’ll get into that later.
Rory realizes that that means that they were projecting a control signal right into the TARDIS. The Doctor remarks that they were “very clever”. Rory and Amy are disturbed that they still don’t know who wants their baby. Rory calls the Doctor on knowing that Amy wasn’t real for a long time and not telling them. The Doctor tells him that he couldn’t be sure that no one was listening. Amy pleads with the Doctor to not hold out on them this time, like he always does, and to tell them “one little thing”. He tells them that the cradle was his; he’s the one who slept in it. The Doctor leaves and Amy is delighted that it was his cradle, but her and Rory’s cooing over Melody is interrupted when Stark walks in, holding a gun on Lorna.
The Doctor returns to the control deck where Vastra and Dorium are. The Doctor asks Dorium if he managed to hack the systems. Dorium informs the Doctor that he “sold it to them.” Vastra expresses concern about the Doctor’s anger and reminds him of his old quote that “anger is the shortest distance to a mistake.” She asks him if Melody is human, shocking the Doctor, who assures her that the baby is “completely human”. Dorium tells the Doctor that the bad guys have been scanning her since she was born and it looks like they found something: In Melody’s DNA, mixed in with the human DNA, is Time Lord DNA.
Lorna desperately tries to tell the others that this is a trap, but they are suspicious of her since she’s a soldier. She informs them that she only joined the Clerics so that she could meet the Doctor again. Jenny sarcastically points out that she joined an army to meet the Doctor, and Lorna tells her, “How else do you meet a great warrior?” Amy is shocked, and tells her that the Doctor’s not a great warrior, but Lorna asks, “Then why is he called ‘The Doctor?'”
Suddenly, the lights start going out and Lorna begs them to listen to her, because it’s starting.
The Doctor protests to Vastra and Dorium that Melody is human. He protests that she’s Amy and Rory’s daughter. Vastra points out that the Doctor told her that his people became who they were because of prolonged exposure to the time vortex. He protests that it was over billions of years. It didn’t “just happen.” Vastra asks if Melody could regenerate, and the Doctor tells her, “No,” though he seems unsure about it. He doesn’t even know how it happened. Vastra asks when Melody was conceived. Between bouts of stammering out the events of the past year with his companions, the Doctor realizes that Amy and Rory were first together in this reality, on the TARDIS, on their wedding night. Aha! Melody is a honeymoon baby!
Strax scans the base and tells everyone that the only registered lifeforms are them and the Silurians. Lorna explains that the Headless Monks aren’t alive, therefore they don’t register as life forms. Meanwhile, I’m screaming at them all to run into the TARDIS, but no one listens to me.
And here they come….
The Doctor protests to Vastra that you can’t just “cook yourself a Time Lord.” Vastra says, of course not, but the Doctor gave them a head start, and they’ve been working on it ever since. Dorium worries that the enemy gave in too easily. Yeah, ya think? I know the Doctor is amazing, but that was too easy.
The Doctor remembers Amy worrying over the possibility of what could happen to any baby she would have after she had been traveling through time. Vastra chastises the Doctor for ignoring “the instincts of a mother.” He asks why anyone would even want a Time Lord and Vastra points out, “For a weapon.” The Doctor is surprised and asks why a Time Lord would be a weapon. Vastra and Dorium share a look before she says, “They’ve seen you.”
The Doctor sits down in shock at her answer, and Vastra tells Dorium that he’s right, they should return to the others. They leave, and the Doctor starts flashing back on the little girl in the astronaut suit from 5.02, “Day of the Moon”, how River told him that it looked like the little girl had torn her way out of the suit, and was very strong. As he’s remembering, Madame Kovarian pops up on the screen. She informs him that she is far away, but she likes to keep tabs on him. When the Doctor asks what Melody is, she tells him that Melody is “hope.” “Hope” for their bitter war against him.
The Headless Monks begin the attack on deck. They put a forcefield around the TARDIS so that no one can run into it (I told them they should have gone in there!) and then lock the doors. They’re all trapped and cut off from any means of escape. The Monks are chanting. Dorium recognizes it as their attack prayer. Rory places Amy and Melody behind some crates and Amy jokingly tells him to “let the others all die first.” Lorna finds a crate of weapons to arm themselves with, but Dorium decides to try and reason with the Headless Monks so that he can save himself, instead of fight. They’re not interested in listening and they cut off his head instead.
The Doctor is furious over the idea of them using a child as a weapon. Madame Kovarian assures him that, give them time, they will turn her into one. He tells her that they already lost her, and he won’t let them get their hands on Melody again. Madame Kovarian laughs and tells him, “Fooling you once was a joy, but fooling you twice, the same way? It’s a privilege.” The Doctor is horrified when he realizes what she means and he takes off.
We see the others battle the Headless Monks and the Doctor running to get to the deck. As all of that is happening, River’s voice speaks the poem that goes with the “Demon’s Run”, saying:
Demons run when a good man goes to war.
Night will fall and drown the sun,
When a good man goes to war.
Friendship dies and true love lies.
Night will fall and the dark will rise,
When a good man goes to war.
Demons run, but count the cost.
The battle’s won, but the child is lost.
While the fighting is going on, Amy is desperately trying to comfort a crying Melody, when the same thing happens to the baby that happened so many times to Amy: Melody sees Madame Kovarian appear in the wall. Just as the Doctor makes it to the door, screaming Amy’s name, the baby she is holding falls to a white puddle: Baby Melody was never there. She was never really saved and reunited with her parents. She was just a Flesh decoy, while Madame Kovarian made off with the real Melody.
That was a horrifying and heart breaking moment for me. Especially since we saw the face of the real baby, and not the doll stand-in, right before she disappeared. Amy starts screaming for Rory as she holds the empty blanket her daughter had been wrapped in.
The Doctor finally breaks into the deck, screaming Amy’s name and telling her that Melody is just a Flesh avatar. The battle is over, bodies lie strewn on the floor, and Rory informs him that they already know. Rory bends down next to a dying Strax and tries to encourage him to not give up; he’s a soldier. But Strax knows that he’s dying, and tells Rory, “I’m a nurse,” before he passes.
The Doctor goes over to speak to Amy, who is being comforted by Jenny. The Doctor tries to apologize and goes to hug Amy, who pulls back from him. Jenny gently tells her that it’s not his fault. Amy tells her she knows, but she still walks away from him. The Doctor looks sadly on while Rory hugs Amy.
Vastra tells the Doctor that Lorna wants to see him. He bends down near her and scans her with the Sonic Screwdriver. By the look on his face, he knows she’s dying. He looks heartbroken. She comes around and he thanks her for helping his friends. She tells him that she met him once, in the Gamma Forest, then sadly tells him that he doesn’t remember her. He smiles and denies it, telling her that he remembers everyone. She doesn’t believe him, but he tells her that they ran, boy, did they run. And for a brief moment, before she dies, she believes that he remembers her.
Griefstricken, the Doctor looks up at Vastra and asks who Lorna was. Vastra says she doesn’t know, but she was very brave. The Doctor sadly tells her, “They’re always brave.” This was another scene that broke my heart. I love that the Doctor made Lorna believe that he did remember her, but I thought it was tragic that he didn’t, really. He had meant so much to this young woman and he couldn’t remember her at all. No one that she fought for and died for knew her. She died alone among people she wanted to be friends with, but who thought of her as a stranger.
Vastra tells the Doctor that they will have taken Melody to Earth, to raise her in the correct environment. The Doctor tells her that they already have and it’s too late. She protests him giving up, telling him he never does that, and he angrily tells her that doesn’t she sometimes wish he did? Just then, a bright light appears, and River’s voice rings out, “Well, then, soldier, how goes the day?”
The Doctor is pissed at River. He demands to know where she was. Every time she has needed him, he’s been there. She tells him that she couldn’t have prevented this. He yells at her that she could have tried. She points out that he could have, too. River looks at Amy and Rory, and tells Amy that she knows she’s not all right, but that if she holds on, she soon will be.
River gives the Doctor a speech about what he has become. Did he ever think, when he went off exploring all those years ago, that he would ever become this, a man who can turn away an army at the mention of his name? She points out that the word ‘Doctor’ has come to mean ‘mighty warrior’ in the world where Lorna came from. Now, his enemies have taken a child to use as a weapon against him, all because they fear him so much.
The Doctor doesn’t acknowledge her words, but instead presses her on who she is, looking a bit dangerous and deadly as he does. She backs away to his cradle and tells him that she hasn’t seen it for a very long time. He ignores that and insists that she tell him who she is. She gently says, she IS telling him. She puts his hand on the cradle and says softly, “Can’t you read?”
While Rory and Amy look on in puzzlement, the Doctor finally realizes who River is and starts to laugh. He’s thrilled, and a tad embarrassed as he realized they had once kissed (5.02, “The Dark Of the Moon”). But he’s revitalized, and tells Vastra and Jenny goodbye, tells Rory and Amy that on his life, their baby will be fine, and then instructs River to get everyone home. He heads off into the TARDIS, ignoring Amy’s shouts, and, with one last, laughing glance at River, takes off.
A devastated Amy confronts River, picking up a gun to aim at her and demanding that River tell her what she told the Doctor. Rory tries to stop her, but River tells him that it’s okay. It’s the TARDIS translation device; it sometimes takes a bit to “kick in with the written word.” Amy has to concentrate. Amy tries to read the writing on the side of the cradle, but can’t. River explains that it’s Gallifreyan and won’t translate. She picks up the prayer leaf that Lorna had given Amy and gently places it in her hand, telling her that this will translate.
“It’s your daughter’s name, in the language of the forest. Except they don’t have a word for ‘Pond’. Because the only water in the forest is the river. The Doctor will find your daughter and he will care for her, whatever it takes. And I know that. It’s me. I’m Melody. I’m your daughter.”
As River is talking, the words on the prayer leaf translate into Melody’s name in the language of the people of the Gamma Forests: ‘River Song’. Rory and Amy looked at her in shock and the episode ends.
To be continued…in Autumn, 2011.
Review: Well. What to think about this episode? I’ve had to sit with it for a few weeks and I’m still not quite sure. As with “The Rebel Flesh”, I feel like I need to see the second part to really know how I feel about everything that happened.
That being said, wow, there are some doozies in this one!
I guess I should start with River being Melody Pond, Rory and Amy’s daughter. I have to say that it didn’t shock me. Mainly because I had seen it theorized by a few people that River would end up being their baby, way back when it was revealed that Amy was pregnant. Or maybe pregnant. I honestly wasn’t sure if they would go there, or if they wouldn’t. The fact that they did makes me wonder: When did they decide this? Back when River was first created? Back when Amy was first created? When?
My biggest issue with this is the way that River has always presented herself to the Doctor. She has pretty much consistently presented herself to him as the woman he had a relationship with, whom he loved, and possibly even married. To me, that doesn’t at all gel with her true identity being the daughter of his companions. I just can’t see the Doctor ever getting romantically involved with her, with who she ended up being. It was hard enough for me to see anything happening with Ten and Rose (and I really hated that storyline), but with Eleven and the baby of his current companions? I just don’t see it. Sure, I get her having feelings for him, being in love with him, etc. I just have a hard time seeing it being true in his case.
That being said, time IS moving differently for both of these people. There are things that have happened between them for River that we still haven’t seen yet. And for me, the thing with River has always been that we only have her word to go on for what their relationship was. She – in effect – has all of the power in their relationship, because she holds all of the knowledge cards, and she has taken great delight in that fact. So, it would be quite easy for her to set things up the way she wants them to be, because the Doctor would have no idea what is accurate and what is not. In a way, River would be molding her relationship with the Doctor the way she wants it to be, because she is setting up all of these preconceived notions in his head, so that when he gets to that point, he thinks that was the way it was because that is the way she TOLD him it was.
As Ten would say, time is a big “timey-wimey ball”, and boy, does it hurt your brain trying to figure it out, sometimes!
I do hope that somehow – despite what happened to the little-girl Melody/River in 5.02, “Dark of the Moon” – that Rory and Amy end up getting their daughter back as a baby to raise. Because honestly, the idea of them being denied raising their daughter and Melody/River’s childhood really being as tragic as it looked like it was is just too much for me. Doctor Who has never been that tragic, not for one of their own like that (Yes, they’ve killed a couple of companions, but never something as horrible as stealing away a child to be nightmarishly raised), and I hope they don’t start now.
I also wonder where they are going to go with this whole “Melody/River has Time Lord DNA in her” issue. It seems a bit too simplistic to me that, just because she was conceived on the TARDIS, she was turned into a partial Time Lord. I don’t think I like that. They made such a big deal out of Time Lords being unique and original, that the idea that humans can give birth to a new race of Time Lords if they just happen to conceive on the TARDIS, is too much. Actually, I’d like it better if the TARDIS knew that River had to be and it did something to River in gestation to make that happen. That would have made more sense for me. Between River’s affinity for, and ability to, run the TARDIS, and the fact that we now know what the TARDIS meant when she told Rory, “The only water in the forest is the river,” it would just fit so much better.
And speaking of River, I had a real problem with her speech to the Doctor, implying that he had caused all of this because of what he does. Because the truth is, what SHOULD he do? He never goes looking for a fight; they always just happen to him. He’s never been one for mass murder, or trying to start a war. He has only ever stood up for what he believes in, tried to save people, tried to right the wrongs he sees happening, tried to broker peace. He is about exploration, not about fighting, but if he has to, then he will do it. He will stand up for what he believes is right. And River’s speech seemed to be about condemning him for doing just that.
That was a real “WTH” moment for me, and watching it again for this review, I still don’t understand what they were trying to say there. It made no sense to me and it still doesn’t. Because everything she is saying of the Doctor is not a bad thing to me: His enemies do fear him, and rightfully so, because if they are trying to wage war and take lives, he will stop them. Should he just let the Cybermen and the Daleks destroy the universe, simply because they might come to dislike him? Should he have let Lorna and her people die, simply so they don’t call him a ‘mighty warrior’? I just don’t get it and I don’t like the implications of that speech, that somehow, the Doctor is responsible for everything that has happened because he will stand up for what is right and do what he can to save lives. He’s only ever been a warrior when he was pushed to, not because he wanted to. To walk away when he could stop something horrible from happening would not be the Doctor.
Some other thoughts…I like Amy. She’s not a perfect person, but she is an entertaining character and, overall, a good person, and she’s been a good companion. That being said, these past few episodes have found me getting a wee bit irritated with her. First, her attitude towards the Flesh Doctor and now, her attitude towards the Doctor when she realized that Melody was gone. I know it’s an emotional reaction to a horrible situation, but it still bothered me that she looked at him as if it were his fault. Perhaps this is a set-up to her taking the hero-worshiping blinders off of her eyes towards him, and making her realize that a settled life with Rory and her daughter is what she wants more than running around with the Doctor. But either way, it bugged me to see her look at him like that. Especially considering the life she leads with the Doctor is one that she has fought for since she was a little girl. It’s not like he dragged her into that life.
I really enjoyed seeing old characters come back and make new appearances! There were a few new ones, too. I don’t remember seeing Strax before, or Vastra and her companion Jenny. I’d love to see more of Vastra and Jenny, and judging by the fan reaction to these two, I’m not the only one! I really liked Lorna. I felt so bad for her when she passed away. There were a lot of great supporting characters in this episode that really connected emotionally for me. I was sad to see Strax die, as well.
The Doctor theorized to Amy that she had been taken by the enemy before America, but I actually think she was taken during America. There was that three-month period where the Doctor was in custody, and River, Amy and Rory were running around, trying to track down the Silence aliens. That was the time period between when Amy admitted to him she might be pregnant and when she told him that she was mistaken. I think she was taken sometime there, when they were all split up. The Amy who came to America with Rory to track down the Doctor, who saw him killed and who told the Doctor that she was pregnant, was the real one.
I loved how they have tied so many things from the past into this episode. Bringing up the Headless Monks, bringing back in the Clerics. But this episode still left so many questions:
Will we find out why River is in prison? What “good man” she killed? Was it the Doctor? Was it Rory? Did she, as a little girl in the astronaut suit, kill that futuristic version of the Doctor in “Dark of the Moon”?
Who created the Headless Monks? Who is Madame Kovarian and how does she tie into the Silence aliens from 5.01, “The Impossible Astronaut”?
Why do these people all hate the Doctor so much?
So many questions and we have to wait until Autumn to find out! I’m really not liking this break between the first half and second half of the season.
Amy to Baby Melody: I wish I could tell you that you’ll be loved. That you’ll be safe and cared-for and protected. But this isn’t the time for lies. What you are going to be, Melody, is very, very brave. But not as brave as they’ll have to be. Because there’s someone coming. I don’t know where he is, or what he’s doing. But trust me, he’s on his way…There’s a man who’s never going to let us down. And not even an army can get in the way…He’s the last of his kind. He looks young, but he’s lived for hundreds and hundreds of years. And wherever they take you, Melody, however scared you are, I promise you, you will never be alone. Because this man is your father. He has a name, but the people of our world know him better as the “Last Centurion”.
Rory: Doctor Song. It’s Rory. Sorry, have we met yet? Time streams, I’m not quite sure where we are.
River: Yes, we’ve met. Hello, Rory.
Rory: What’s wrong?
River: it’s my birthday. The Doctor took me ice skating on the River Thames in 1814, the last of the Great Frost Fairs. He got Stevie Wonder to sing for me on the London Bridge.
Rory: Stevie Wonder sang in 1814?
River: Yes, he did, but you must never tell him.
Rory: I’ve come from the Doctor, too.
River: Yes, but at a different point in time.
Rory: Unless there’s two of them.
River: Now, that’s a whole different birthday.
River: This is the Battle of Demon’s Run, the Doctor’s darkest hour. He’ll rise higher than ever before and then fall so much further. And I can’t be with him until the very end.
Rory: Why not?
River: Because this is it. This is the day where he finds out who I am.
Colonel Manton: You think he’s raising an Army?
Dorium: You think he isn’t? If that man is finally collecting on his debts, God help you. And God help his debtors.
Colonel Manton: Why?
Dorium: Colonel Manton. All those stories you’ve heard about him? They’re not stories; they’re true! Really, you’re not telling me you don’t know what’s coming.
The Doctor: Hello, everyone, guess who? Please, put a gun at me if helps you relax. You’re only human.
Jenny: Clever, isn’t he?
Madame Vastra: And rather attractive.
Jenny: You do realize he’s a man, don’t you, mum?
Madame Vastra: Mammals, you all look alike.
Jenny (sarcastically): Thank you.
The Doctor: Colonel Manton, I want you to tell your men to “run away.”
Colonel Manton: What?
The Doctor: Those words, “run away.” I want you to be famous for those exact words. I want people to call you “Colonel Run Away”. I want children laughing outside your door because they found the house of “Colonel Run Away”. And when people come to you and ask if trying to get to me through the people I love is in anyway a good idea…I want you to tell them your name. Oh, look, I’m angry. That’s new. I’m really not sure what’s going to happen now.
Madame Kovarian: The anger of a good man is not a problem. Good men have too many rules.
The Doctor: Good men don’t need rules. Today is not the day to find out why I have so many. Hmm?
Madame Kovarian: Give the order. Give the order, Colonel Run Away.
Amy: Who’s that? Who’s there? You watch it because I am armed and really dangerous and…cross.
Rory: Like I don’t know that.
Amy: Crying Roman with a baby, definitely cool.
The Doctor: Hello, baby.
Amy: Uh, Melody.
The Doctor: Melody! Hello, Melody Pond.
Rory: Melody Williams.
Amy: Is a geography teacher. Melody Pond is a superhero.
Amy: Okay, what are you doing?
The Doctor: I speak Baby.
Amy: No, you don’t.
The Doctor: I speak everything. Don’t I, Melody Pond?
Rory: Hey, what’s wrong?
Amy: She doesn’t like the TARDIS noise. I asked him to turn something off, but he’s all, “but I don’t want to punch a hole in the time-space continuum.”
The Doctor: So, what have we learned?
Madame Vestra: That anger is always the shortage distance to a mistake.
The Doctor: I’m sorry?
Madame Vestra: The words of an old friend.
Vestra: When did this baby…begin?
The Doctor: Oh, you mean…?
The Doctor: Well, how would I know? That’s all human and private stuff. It just sort of goes on. They don’t put up a balloon or anything.
The Doctor: No, no, impossible! It’s all running about, sexy fish vampires, and blowing up stuff, and Rory wasn’t even there at the beginning. Then he was dead and then he didn’t exist and then he was plastic and then I had to reboot the whole universe -long story. So, technically, the first time they were on the TARDIS together in this version of reality was their…wedding night.
The Doctor: Even if you could get your hands on a brand new Time Lord, what for?
Vestra: A weapon?
The Doctor: Why would a Time Lord be a weapon?
Vestra: Well…they’ve seen you.
The Doctor: Me?
The Doctor: You think I wanted this? I didn’t do this. This wasn’t me!
River: This was exactly you, all this, all of it. You make them so afraid. When you began, all those years ago, sailing off to see the universe, did you ever think you’d become this? The man who can turn an army around at the mention of his name. Doctor. The word for ‘Healer’, and ‘Wise Man’, throughout the universe. We get that word from you, you know. But if you carry on the way you are, what might that word come to mean? To the people of the Gamma Forests, the word ‘Doctor’ means ‘mighty warrior’. How far you’ve come. And now they’ve taken a child. The child of your best friends. And they’re going to turn her into a weapon, just to bring you down. And all this, my love, in fear of you.
The Doctor: Who are you?
River: Oh, look, your cot, haven’t seen that in a very long while!
The Doctor: No, no. You tell me, you tell me, who you are.
River: I am telling you.
The Doctor: How do I look?
The Doctor: I’d better be!
River: Yes, you’d better be!
You can watch this episode, and the rest of season six of Doctor Who, on Amazon.com.