We're the thin fat gay married Anglican marines. Why would we need names as well?
I need to start this post with an apology. Seven years ago I accidentally spoiled the big reveal at the end of this episode to my friend and colleague Amelia Ross. She had specifically told me she hadn't watched the episode yet, so I had no excuse on that point. I simply blurted out in a conversation that <spoiler/> was <spoiler/>, at which point she gasped and said, "Did you just tell me that <spoiler/> is <spoiler/>?!?!?" I wanted to crawl under a rock and die. I still work with her virtually every day (although this week she is on vacation in Scotland and - I hope - having an amazing time), and I value her friendship and skillset more than I can ever say. I don't know if she has ever actually forgiven my for my indiscretion. All I can say is...
So anyway, yeah, let's talk about that huge spoiler.
A Good Man Goes to War
(TARDIS Data Core recap)
After the whole "Amy has been a sentient walking puddle of white goo" reveal at the end of the previous episode, this one kicks of with one of the best opening sequences in the show's history. As Amy is being forced to hand over her infant daughter to the Eyepatch Lady, Amy tells her daughter all about how a man is coming to save them. As she describes this man, it seems like she is talking about the Doctor right up to the point when she makes it clear that is in fact Rory she is praising. Simultaneously, Rory (in full Centurion attire) fearlessly strides onto the main deck of the flagship of the Twelfth Cyber Legion proclaiming that he has come with a message from the Doctor, and a question. His question is "Where is my wife?" When the Cybermen fail to respond, instead inquiring what the Doctor's message is, through the view port behind Rory they see the entire battle fleet explode in a fury of destruction. Without even flinching, Rory simply says, "Shall I repeat the question?"
From there it is a series of montages in which the Doctor is never directly seen, but he recruits several allies in his quest to free Amy and the baby. Among them, for the first time we meet Madame Vastra and Jenny in Victorian England. Vastra is a Silurian, and Jenny first appears to be her servant but is then quickly revealed to actually be her romantic partner. These two form the core of the so-called Paternoster Gang, which will ultimately be completed by a Sontaran nurse named Strax who is recruited a few scenes later.
I am on record as being fully in support of a Paternoster Gang spinoff series, although at this point it will certainly never happen. But I love these three so much.
So anyway, after all the setup the action quickly moves to the asteroid base Demon's Run where Amy and the baby are being held captive. The base is named after an old saying, which goes "Demons run when a good man goes to war." There's a wee bit of setup there as well, including the brief introduction of a pair of gay married soldiers, plus another female soldier who befriends Amy and the child. And then all hell breaks loose, and the Doctor has his greatest victory ever - completed in well under four minutes.
Greatest victory, that is, until it all comes crashing down. That same trick that Eyepatch Lady used to pass off Ganger Amy, she also used to pass off Ganger Baby. As the infant Melody Pond dissolves into a puddle of goo in Amy's arms, the Doctor is crushed by the weight of his defeat.
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.
And then, the big reveal.
River Song finally arrives, the Doctor furious at her for not being present when he needed her. And then...
The Doctor figures it out, looking at the writing on the crib the baby had been lying in.
It takes Amy and Rory a bit longer to see it, but then they do.
"The only water in the forest is a river."
The decorative cloth that the female soldier had made for the baby, with her first name stitched on one side and her last name on the other, suffers from translation bias. The soldier came from a forest planet with no ponds. Only rivers. Instead of "Melody Pond" the fabric reads "River Song".
Dun Dun DUNNNNN!!!
OMG, so so good! And again, Amelia, I am so sorry for spoiling that moment for you. I suck.
This story marks the first time the show did a mid-season finale with a break between the front and back half. It was done again in the following season, before going back to straight runs. So, when we watched that in real time seven years ago we had to wait several months for the rest of the season. It was such a horribly delicious wait.
But for this ridiculous project, I only have to wait until tomorrow morning for the episode with arguably the best title in the show's history.
Companion(s): Amy Pond, Rory Williams, River Song, Vastra, Jenny Flint, Strax
Episode(s): A Good Man Goes to War
Steps Walked: 7,474 today, 3,153,534 total
Distance Walked: 4.01 miles today, 1,646.45 miles total
Push-ups Completed: 100 today, 5,164 total
Sit-ups Completed: 0 today, 929 total
How Many Times has Rory Died?: 4
How Many Times has Amy Died?: 2
Is Anything Cool?: A Crying Roman with a baby is definitely cool
Weight: 250.22 lbs (five day moving average), net change -57.08 lbs