Review and Recap: Doctor Who’s 2015 Christmas Special Was Both Lackluster and Beautiful

Saturday, 26 December 2015 - 10:47AM
Doctor Who
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Saturday, 26 December 2015 - 10:47AM
Review and Recap: Doctor Who’s 2015 Christmas Special Was Both Lackluster and Beautiful
The long awaited return of River Song has finally taken place in this year's 2015 Christmas Special, and though it was found lacking in many regards, it made up for it with a rather beautiful ending.

'The Husbands of River Song' detailed some of the famed archaeologist's and wife of the Doctor's exploits during her time away from the love of her life. Evidently, just as the Doctor had married some notable names throughout history, she had too - it's just that one of the men she married turned out to be a genocidal maniac. Admittedly, she "married the diamond" that was embedded in this particular man's head, and her goal throughout the episode was to take his head to a wealthy buyer. Of course this didn't involve murder, however, as his head could be detached from his robot body, which quite literally had a mind of its own.

Throughout the episode, River had no clue that the man she was with was the Doctor. She had been told that he'd only have 12 faces (which was quite a reasonable belief before the Doctor was granted an extra set of regenerations in the 50th anniversary special), so she was totally unaware of the fact that the man she was adventuring with was indeed the Doctor himself. Of course she learns the truth when things took a turn for the worse towards the end of the episode, but this made for a sort of interesting new dynamic between the two.

The ending, however, is just what we guessed it might be after the series 9 finale. The Doctor finally takes River to the Singing Towers and gives her the same sonic screwdriver which was crucial in uploading her consciousness to the Library after her death in the series 4 episode, "Forest of the Dead." With the clear indication that River had only known the 12 incarnations before Capaldi's, it's obvious that this truly was a final goodbye to one of the most beloved characters in all of New Who.

Judging by the story alone, however, this episode was undoubtedly one of the worst Christmas specials in a while, and most certainly the worst special to take place after Moffatt took over for Russell T. Davies. The robot who 'upgrades' human beings was too similar to the premise of cybermen, and this whole idea about an important diamond being lodged in a genocidal king's head simply wasn't intriguing or compelling in the least. Likewise, it was hard to suspend disbelief concerning River not noticing that Capaldi was the Doctor - she arguably knows him far better than any other character in Doctor Who and yet she didn't see the countless hints he dropped over the course of the episode? He even comes right out and says "I'm the Doctor!" and yet she remains totally clueless!

It was clear that the fact that this was River's final goodbye was supposed to carry the episode, and even though the rest of the story was almost a waste, it admittedly did just that. There were no spoilers leaked by the crew that this would be River's last act, but anyone who knows how the show works was at least wondering if this could be the episode that River finally gets the sonic. Moffat mentioned in the past that he thought her time on the show was perfectly concluded in the 50th anniversary special, but basically the entire fanbase disagreed. Whovians would never have total closure until they saw the Doctor personally hand River that sonic screwdriver at the Singing Towers, as referenced in her first episode.

The ending of the episode did real justice to the conclusion of one of the greatest unconventional romances of sci-fi television. The conversation they have at the Singing Towers is definitely emotional, but the tear jerking started long before. When the two crash landed on the planet that the Towers were located, the Doctor stepped outside while his wife remained unconscious. Once he realized he was at the site of the future restaurant, fans knew that the moment had finally come to say goodbye to Professor River Song. Undoubtedly one of the most highly anticipated DW moments of the past few years, the Husbands of River Song definitely delivered, providing the closure that any fan of River's has been dying to receive for so long.

Born Melody Pond during the battle of Demons Run to the Doctor's companions, Amy and Rory, she was given the name River Song due to the fact that one of the soldiers who created a personalized gift for the newborn couldn't directly translate the words 'melody' or 'pond' in her native language. She was named after her mother's childhood friend who, incidentally, was herself. She was abducted and essentially brainwashed into trying to kill the man she would later marry, but yet when the time came, she didn't go through with it and quite literally almost broke the universe because she was altering a fixed point in time. Every meeting she had with her husband was out of synch due to the fact that they were both time travelers, with his first meeting in the Library being her last. Now the Doctor has met with her for his final time, bringing a close to one of the craziest timey-wimey relationships in Doctor Who history.

Goodbye, River Song. You'll always hold a special place not only in the two hearts of a certain Time Lord, but also in those of your myriad fans.
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