I was pleasantly surprised by last night’s Doctor Who mid-season cliffhanger, A Good Man Goes to War. Not by the long-awaited revelation of River Song’s identity*, which wasn’t a surprise at all, but by how it all felt, by what the viewing experience was like.
On the one hand, there was an awful lot of chess-piece moving going on, and I find all of that to be inherently dull stuff. It’s the other hand stuffed full of character and subtext and ideas that I’m excited by.
Thankfully, this episode punched just as hard with the right hand as it did with the
wrong left one.
Some people, however, just didn’t like the episode at all. It looks, from a cursory glance at Twitter, than the big River Song mystery was the sticking point. This is what people were focused on, and this is where people wanted to be surprised.
But, as I said, the solution was completely obvious with no last minute “Zing!” There was some niceness around it – the little stitchwork memento vs. the TARDIS translation circuits, for example – but it was not even the tiniest bit surprising.
And neither did it bring in some long-lost Doctor Who favourite, like Romana or The Rani.
So, lots of excuses for fans to get a bit sniffy, which some of them did. Thanks to the open, public forums of the internet, these opinions were reaching Mr. Moffat in record time.
This afternoon, he tweeted his appraisal of the public reaction:
Only one death threat, two demands for my immediate resignation, and two for my suicide. IT’S A HIT!!
Yeah, very good. But still, he made a better gag later. Here’s the set up…
Last night, @DoctorWhoTweet issued:
RT if your River Song theory did turn out to be correct.
This was, unsurprisingly, retweeted by a huge volume of users including – dada! – Moffat himself. Tee hee.
*Well, not so much her identity as her provenance.