On December 25th, people all around the world celebrate the life of one incredible man – whose very existence transcends the laws of time, and space, and who brings peace and justice to all who accept him.
I’m talking, of course, about The Doctor.
December 25th is when the BBC traditionally air their Doctor Who Christmas Special.
This year, the episode was even more eagerly-awaited because it unexpectedly brought back fan-favorite River Song, the rogueish wife of the Eleventh Doctor, played by the absolutely stunning Alex Kingston.
River Song is one of the most amazing science fiction characters ever devised. As a time traveler, she and The Doctor never meet up in the ‘right’ order; so their relationship has generally played out in reverse order. When the Doctor first met River, for example, it was actually the last time she’d ever meet him (with tragic consequences.)
The end of Matt Smith’s tenure as The Doctor pretty much put the story of River Song to rest; explaining her birth, origins and the wild, roller-coaster ride of their lives together.
But part of the magic of River as a character is that much of her relationship with The Doctor played out off-screen; with both of them referencing all sorts of interesting-sounding events and characters that all have the potential to be spun off into complete episodes in the future. The Husbands of River Song was exactly that.
I won’t go into too much detail because, as River herself is fond of saying: “Spoilers.” But I’ll tell you this: It was epic.
Stephen Moffat is a wildly inconsistent writer who either hits all the right notes (Matt Smith’s first season as The Doctor, for example, was pretty much flawless) or misses the mark entirely (Matt Smith’s final season, and Peter Capaldi’s first.) Husbands, however, was a return to form. It was fast-paced, exciting, coherent and unapologetically emotional. In the final moments, I’ll admit that I had tears streaming down my face.
The question of whether River Song will return is a curious one. Theoretically she could; although if you examine the details of the episode, it kind of establishes that this is her first and only meeting with the Twelfth Doctor. Moffat often finds ways around narrative roadblocks like that (and sometimes, they even make sense) and this time I’m kind of rooting for him to do so.
River Song is an amazing character. Alex Kingston is an amazing actress. Pairing her and history’s most beloved Timelord together is the perfect pairing. I’m a tired and cynical old bastard these days, but seeing them onscreen together never fails to fill me with excitement; and I can’t wait to feel like that again soon.