Reviewed By: Mercury
Review Date: 3/25/19 12:04 pm
1 out of 1 found this review helpful.
This is the first part of a two part story which is one of my all time top 10 Doctor Who TV stories. It is absolutely superb in every way. It also introduces a main character, River Song, who would go on to be very important in the whole Doctor Who universe.
I will first discuss River Song as she is a somewhat divisive subject but be warned this contains MAJOR SPOILERS regarding River's storyline:
To me there can be no doubt Alex Kingston is an excellent actress who portrays River to perfection. The character too surely cannot be seen as bad because she is a strong, intelligent and interesting female character who adds a lot of quality. In this two parter she is completely mysterious and adds huge interest as a result. It is clear she is a fantastic character for this story. However, when Steven Moffatt who wrote this wonderful two parter took over as Showrunner he went on to use River in repeated appearances which continued to be in a non-chronological order and maintained the mystery before finally revealing her back story. That back story is hugely problematic for me. It was established that River was the daughter of Amy and Rory who was conceived in the TARDIS. Moffatt bizarrely decided that being conceived in the TARDIS made her effectively a Time Lord with the power of regeneration. Dunb and illogical idea. Moffatt also had her kidnapped as a baby (unpleasant story for a family show) and brought up to kill the Doctor but then to do an inexplicably quick flip to fall in love with him and her 'attenpts' to kill him were hugely stupidly handled with one being 'poisoned lipstick' and another being totally out of her control trapped in a spacesuit! Neither of these remotely explained the need or desire to steal her as a child and raise her as a killing machine! Just to make a lame attenmpt that ANYONE could have made! Moffatt TOTALLY lost it with River's storyline which is such a shame because she was a great character. I find myself wishing that after this fabulous mysterious introduction we had River eventually turning out to be the Rani or Romana. Either story would allow for a strong, intelligent rival for the Doctor who could believably be explained as trying to bring about his downfall at some stage. The Rani could have been a new incarnation of his old enemy who tries to kill him but could believably have a storyline where she ends up falling in love with him. Romana could have been made to use her past friendship to trick the Doctor and defeat him, perhaps forced by the Time Lords and could also believably fall in love with him. Both stories could have been infinitely better and more logical than Moffatt's one whilst maintaining all the dynamics and sparkling personality of River.
The rubbish development of River's story arc has no impact thankfully on this two parter and she is just a tremendous guest character here adding great mystery. The rest of the guest characters are fun whilst Catherine Tate puts in an awesome performance with Donna at her peak of brilliance as a top companion.
Tennant is also at the peak of his excellence as the Doctor and the whole story with the little girl and the library is clever, entertaining and ultimately logical. There are exciting thrills, moving scenes of touching drama as well as intelligent dialogue and witty humour. This is top notch Doctor Who. The Vashta Nerada are a fantastically menacing alien threat and the skeletons in space suits are a cool aspect.
Overall this is basically as good as it gets. Russell T. Davies in charge continued to bring great success and Euros Lyn directs perfectly. Writer Moffatt is at his very best in the days before he let too many of his ideas run away with him as Showrunner. 10/10.