Last Friday’s Doctor Who Christmas special was a fascinating look at the contradictions of River Song. But it also gave her some much-needed closure, and her pairing with Peter Capaldi finally made the Doctor’s relationship with River feel like it had some weight.
River Song is arguably the most divisive character to come to Doctor Who in the past five years. She’s a swashbuckling archeologist who outwits almost everybody, and an unabashedly sexy older woman. She’s also so dependent on the Doctor as to be kind of a satellite.
For years now, Doctor Who has been exploring the dark side of the Doctor, that quasi-immortal time traveler from another planet. He turns people into weapons, he inspires his friends to be reckless, he makes his enemies worse, etc. But with this latest episode, we see the absolute worst indictment of the Doctor.
Tonight’s Doctor Who episode continues the show’s recent trend of deconstructing the Daleks, his armored “space Nazi” adversaries. And just like with the recent “Asylum of the Daleks” and “Into the Dalek,” we discover that Dalek nature is both sadder and more complicated than we’d previously thought.
This season of Doctor Who has been pretty tightly structured around a few big themes, and all of them were tied up in the season finale. A lot of them, not surprisingly, had to do with Clara Oswald — and we finally found out why she was chosen as the Doctor's companion. Spoilers!
I'm still kind of dazed by tonight's episode of Doctor Who. I can't decide if it's a fantastic work of genius or a shaggy-dog story. Maybe both. But it's clearly Steven Moffat turning all of his favorite tropes up to 11. And I came away feeling, more than ever, as though there's not much point debating Moffat's Who.