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Spoiler Rich Thoughts: The only water in the forest is the River

June 13, 2011

So now we know the identity of River Song. Some of you called it, but I dismissed your theories like an ass. But you were right. But the question remains, which “Good Man” went to war? Spoilers ahead!

So River Song is Melody Pond. Raise your hand if you knew that the moment the name of Amy’s baby was revealed. As the camera panned over to the baby’s name written on the plastic crib, I knew instantly how this episode would end. I even said to myself a moment later, “The only water in the forest is the river.” The fact that River couldn’t/wouldn’t join the Doctor only cinched it. So the shocker end was a bit obvious to me after that clue. Sort of sad I missed out on the emotions of that revelation. In that moment it was more of “Oh, of course,” rather than, “OOOH MY GOD.”

When Lorna Bucket (her name should have been a clue she was going to kick is before the end of this episode) handed the prayer leaf to Amy, I had a story all set in my head. The baby is somehow lost with the prayer leaf, and whoever finds her misreads it as “River Song.” I was sort of right. But there is the plot hole now of the prayer leaf being with Amy and not the baby. So how did she get that name? Hopefully that will be cleared up.

Also, we now know one possibility of how River know the Doctor’s name. He said he would never tell that name to anyone, and he didn’t. She read it off the side of his cot. Of course she can read Gallifreyan. She’s an Almost Time Lord. So I was surprisingly spot on when I said that she was the closest thing to a Time Lord he’d ever have. Who knew?

Now there is something else that caught my attention, and that is Rory. Yes, he was bad-ass in a Good Man Goes to War. The scene of him bringing Melody back to Amy will be a shining moment in his character history. I had tears in my eyes when the whole little family was all together for the first time. But here’s something to think about…

Twice this season we’ve been given a Doctor/Rory fake-out. The first was in the Impossible Astronaut/Day of the Moon after Amy was kidnapped. Remember how she was mumbling for that wonderful man to save her? Everyone, Rory included, thought she was talking about the Doctor. She wasn’t. She was talking about Rory.

We get a call back to that moment in a Good Man Goes to War. At the beginning, Amy is talking about the bravest man she knows, the man who is going to save them. The Centurion. Rory.

Now remember the look on River’s face when she saw him in his Centurion get-up. She was startled and unsettled, and Rory asked if they’d met yet. River quickly shook it off and said they had, and the conversation went on as usual.

Here’s what I think:

This whole time we’ve been operating under the assumption that the good man that she killed, the greatest man River has ever known, is the Doctor. I am beginning to disagree. After all, if this religious order of warriors hates the Doctor, why would she be imprisoned for killing him? I’m going to need to go back and watch the Time of Angels/Flesh and Stone. But it would seem that she’s not being held at Stormcage for a crime, rather because the Order (or whatever it’s called) owns her as a weapon against the Doctor. Again, I have to go back and watch these again because it’ not jiving as neatly as I’d like. Hell, I have to go back and watch EVERYTHING again. But what I’m getting around to is this: who did River kill that would have made Father Octavian so upset?

River Song kills Rory. She was stunned to see him because last time they met, he died. I certainly don’t want that to happen. I love Rory. He’s awesome as hell and we are long overdue for a boy companion, and it’s cheap to have him die yet again. But I think that is going to be the twist. The last Doctor/Rory fake-out. After all, the greatest man any little girl knows is her father.

So who kills the Doctor? Now I have no idea. What do you think? Correct me where I need correcting.

Also: Did Strax have to die?? Can we have a Madame Vastra spin off, please?

21 Comments leave one →
  1. June 13, 2011 11:54 am

    Oh gods, do you think? That would be utterly awful and gut-wrenching. But you’re right, if she killed him she’d have killed a very good man. I’m still hoping that it’s somehow connected to the astronaut shooting.

    • June 13, 2011 1:36 pm

      I’m sure it’s connected. I am just utterly confused as to how.

  2. June 13, 2011 12:04 pm

    I had a similar thought too, but it would seem weird to me to ignore the whole Astronaut setup, with the connections between River, the suit, and the 1100 year old Doctor’s death.

    My current theory is that the good man is still the Doctor, and River does “kill him” in the suit, but it’s an elaborate setup between young River, old Doctor, and old River to stage his death, possibly to throw off the organizations that go after him through the people he loves (to give Rory and Amy some peace), or possibly for some bigger reveal. Then next season will have River as the full time companion, as the two of them do all the married life that has been teased.

    None of that answers your questions about the Order, but it’s all I got right now 🙂

    • June 13, 2011 12:17 pm

      The young girl is probably River, and she might have still killed him. I have to go back and watch, see if River was avoiding interacting with herself. She seemed confused by how the girl escaped the suit. And I’m starting to think the Silence still has a big role to play.

  3. June 13, 2011 12:33 pm

    I really need to go back and watch “the Silence in the library”, and pay more attention to “silence” references rather than library references. Damn you Moffat and your season spanning story arcs!

    ahh, the twist of how the Doctor never ever tells anyone his name, yet River knows it from his crib, that is absolutely brilliant, just the most perfect way for that to have happened. 🙂 And Rory getting to be totally bad-ass! and a companion loving her human partner over the Doctor! It’s always cute when a companion is head over heels for the Doc, but I was getting kinda sick of that. I think it’s funny that Amy is nearly always teasing him, but she rarely flirts with him, because she loves Rory!!!

    I was worried about the little girl in the suit being River, because aren’t you not supposed to be able to cross time streams? but if she doesn’t interact w/herself then it is OK?

    • June 13, 2011 12:42 pm

      I think so long as you don’t interact with yourself, everything is kosher. But the fact that she doesn’t seem to remember any of it is confusing. Maybe that has something to do with the regeneration? Or maybe, just maybe, that little girl isn’t River at all and we’re all just making assumptions again.

  4. lanchid permalink
    June 13, 2011 12:42 pm

    I have been saying all along that River kills Rory; I always thought the line “I killed the best man I knew.” was too easy to be the Doctor. I think that the River who sees Rory in the Roman costume is shocked to see him because this means she knows it’s time for Demon’s Run, the Doctor finding out, and whatever else is to come that we are currently unaware of. I also think Rory will be wearing that when she kills him.

    I’ve also been saying since “Day of the Moon” that we are *so* gonna see the Silence again. I also think that the Silence are good guys (in comparison to the Order, for example), and the Doctor will regret committing genocide in 1969. Maybe the Silence had gotten the Americans to make spacesuits because they had retrieved Melody from the order and she needed a special environment due to the Time Lord part of her genetics. What better way to protect and hide a child than having everyone who deals with her forget her – because the Silence are always with her?

    The thing that’s *really* throwing me though, is the wibbly-wobbly, spacey-wacey crap that’s going on: there are at least three (off the top of my head) time paradoxes already established, and this is without the HUGE paradox I’m thinking will be created when everything is resolved! Time paradoxes bug me. I try not to think about them, but they are little annoyances in the back of my head when I watch stuff. So why do I watch time travel and scifi shows? I’m a masochist, I guess. Tiny ones I can sortta hand wave and get over (Kirk’s bifocals in the movies, for example), but these 2 seasons are looking more and more like they are built on nothing but paradoxes. (And I love last season like no other season of a show, ever!)

    • June 13, 2011 12:59 pm

      But the Silence did kill that one woman in the bathroom for no apparent reason. The biggest plot hole for me at the moment is the beginning of the Day of the Moon. What the hell happened? Why were they being hunted if Nixon and Canton were in on it? Whaaa?

      Yes, the Silence still clearly has a part to play. Silence will fall, you will bring about the Silence, your part will soon be over, etc. Did Eyepatch hand baby River over to the Silence? Oooor is that little girl still someone else entirely? Bah, my head hurts.

  5. Chris permalink
    June 13, 2011 1:21 pm

    Vastra and Jenny in a spin-off would be maaaaaaarvelous. And the theme song can be some “Lizard Lesbians in Spaaaaaaaaaaaace!” affair. It would be wonderful.

    Almost as wonderful as magnificent quantities of lactic fluid.

    You know it’s funny, if you go to, then the same theories you’ve been coming to organically have already been debated and discussed over there since like the season began. I was kinda expecting River to be the baby as a result. I’m on board with your logic as well, it makes sense she doesn’t kill the Doctor himself. But no way do I want Rory to have any kind of perma-death.

    • June 13, 2011 1:34 pm

      Even back after the first ep of the season, I wasn’t wholly convinced River was the killer. Now I’m even less convinced.

  6. June 13, 2011 2:20 pm

    I called it! I called it! *bounces around like a moron* I So saw that coming a mile away. And yes, I too have worried that Rory might be the one who gets killed. But, god, I hope not. Also, that would not explain the whole ‘Doctor just got killed by a weird time-wandering astronaut” thing — so, for the moment at least, I’m still leaning toward the River killing the Doctor as a child. Maybe… On the other hand, you’re right that there’s really nothing saying that River has to be the astronaut. And I’m still bugged by the fact that River seemed completely SHOCKED in that scene when the astronaut shoots the Doctor. Who knows? River being the astronaut could be a total fake-out, especially since its so apparently obvious. So I guess we’ll just have to see.

  7. June 14, 2011 2:50 pm

    Great post and great discussion! Reading the name from the crib is a brilliant observation, Bex. I also think that River is referring to Rory at this point and I’m thoroughly enjoying the moments where it’s hard to tell whether someone is describing him or The Doctor.

    lanchid’s suggestion that the Silence might be good when compared to the Order is interesting and something may have changed them after their defeat in 1969. We should be seeing them again at least at the moment where the Doctor “dies” since I believe Amy saw one at the lake.

  8. June 15, 2011 12:41 am

    I dont know if this has been proposed yet, but does anyone remember the living flesh people? the doctor told his ganger “you could survive” and that ganger has Timelord DNA! And for some reason Flesh people seem to go Utterly Bat-shit Insane! So, it still could have been River that killed the flesh people, especially if the doctor goes Nucking-Futs!

    Although I do like Rory maybe its not just Rory that gets ‘offed” because as we all know, companions never meet with ‘happy’ endings 9/10 times. Since Rory and Amy have been around for 2 seasons, it seems only natural that RTD will be setting up their demise

    • June 16, 2011 3:22 pm

      RTD departed the show along with David Tennant. Stephen Moffat has been producing the show since Matt Smith’s first episode last year.

      Consider that in “The Lodger,” the Doctor found an strange alien-looking control room that resembled a TARDIS control room. In fact, it tried to compel the Doctor to pilot it. The Doctor says that humans cannot fly the ship — it needs a Time Lord.

      In “The Impossible Astronaut” and “Day of the Moon,” we see a nearly identical control room (it is the same set as used in “The Lodger”). Apparently, the Silence have something to do with it. We also see a little girl (who may or may not be Melody Pond/River Song) in a spacesuit — a little girl who we later see begin to regenerate, Time Lord-style, as River Song might be able to do.

      So, are the Silence behind this, or are they just another part of something larger, along with the Headless Monks? Did they — or someone — need a TARDIS for some (possibly nefarious, possibly benign) purpose, and then, having created one, did they need a Time Lord — or someone close enough — to pilot it, so they somehow arranged the creation of Melody/River (or at least divert her for their purposes) and THEN said girl/Melody/River needed a space suit for some reason, so they engineered the entire Apollo moon-landing program behind the scenes for that reason?

      The mind boggles. Moffat is very good at hiding things in plain sight. What else might we be missing?


      • June 16, 2011 11:09 pm

        Oooh. Interesting thoughts about the Lodger, Scott. I’m not wholly convinced that the girl is Rover Song, but I’ve been wrong before.

      • November 10, 2013 4:03 pm

        I’m laughing with future knowledge

  9. Rory fan permalink
    August 18, 2011 11:13 am

    I do hope that Rory is not the one killed, but I think he is not returning next season. It is possible that the “Impossible Astronaut” is the Ganger Doctor. River Song refers to the Doctor as “that impossible man!” several times. Besides getting the name off of the crib, I believe River knows the Doctor’s name from their marriage ceremony. It is the one time that you use your “true” name and not a nickname. Amy has asked River if she was the Doctor’s wife and River stated it wasn’t that simple. It is not. The Doctor helped bring her up as well as ending up marrying her. Not simple at all.

  10. Karen permalink
    September 4, 2011 5:03 pm

    Okay, I have a thought that has been bugging me. I need to go back and watch from the beginning of the introduction of River Song again in the Library/Forest of the Dead. (And doesn’t remembering her introduction/death make you just want to squall?)
    But, whatever happened to the ‘ganger’ that was made of the Doctor? The episode where copies of people were being made from a ‘living’ synthetic flesh to work on very dangerous acid and a copy of the Doctor was made. I have wracked my brain and I can’t remember what happened to him.
    If they never showed him actually dissolving, then we and Moffet have 2 doctor’s to play with.

  11. Karen permalink
    September 4, 2011 5:07 pm

    And it still upsets me to re-watch Forest of the Dead, moreso now than before.

  12. September 22, 2012 6:43 pm

    I know you wrote this ages ago, but I’ve had this theory since last series… and as next week’s episode is the last of the Ponds… I’m still thinking that it’s true. Last series we were constantly reminded by The Doctor that he’s “not a good man”.

    I think I’m gonna cry next week 😦 xx


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