|Originally Broadcast 4th June 2011|
Written by: Steven Moffat
A Good Man Goes To War is one of those tricky little episodes that you come out of on first airing thinking “well that wasn’t very good”, but after a couple days and a rewatch or two you start thinking “that was awesome” and it really is.
I think holding off on showing the Doctor for almost twenty minutes was quite good, especially as you can reach over five minutes through before thinking “hang on, I’ve not seen him yet!” but maybe twenty minutes is a bit of a stretch.
Once the Doctor arrives, whilst I love the scene, I can’t help feeling Moffat was just trying to regain any sort of “epic scene” he could to rival the Pandorica speech the previous year, making the scene feel a bit less special overall. I don’t really like Moffat’s way of bringing back everything all the time. It worked when RTD did it for Journey’s End as it was a finale of sorts and it just about works at a push for the overdrawn goodbyes for Tennant, but Moffat’s pulled the same stunt twice in two years for episodes that don’t really hit as high a margin for epic as RTD’s two swansongs.
The two River Song scenes are brilliantly written and performed, with amazing ‘trailer-like’ lines such as “This is the day he finds out who I am”, I still get a shiver down my spine when Kingston delivers that. And her speech to the Doctor when she arrives at Demon’s Run is pretty spectacular, only able to come from this character. The effects of what she tells him have the potential to become a bigger changing point in the Doctor’s life than his soul being revealed back in 2008’s Journey’s End if Moffat plays it right. I don’t think it’s something the Doctor can shake off like most things he does.
I don’t like Lorna Bucket as a character. She’s there to forward the story and prove a point, but as a character she’s a bit bland and doesn’t do much for herself. But I can’t help but fall in love with the rest of what DWM’s calling the Doctor’s ‘Barmy Army’! The Sontaran who’s a Nurse is incredibly funny and provides an emotionally packed punch for Rory on his deathbed. And as for Vastra/Jenny, well everyones saying spin-off series…
The episode is Matt Smith’s finest hour (so far) as the Doctor, every scene he performs is magical. We get the Colonel Runaway scene, the moment where he tries to shake off River’s lecture and more, I really think Matt proves himself as the best Doctor if judged on this episode alone, he’s just a fantastic actor.
Speaking of Colonel Runaway, I really dislike the moment where everyone has to chant, “we are not fools” and I dislike even more the army the Doctor puts together of Silurian and Judoon. Paired with the music it feels lazy, just a ‘raid the wardrobes’ set of costumes and I’d expect to see this in the live shows, but not in the middle of a finale.
As for the cliffhanger, it wasn’t as amazingly game-changing as Moffat promised, I think the previous ‘shock ending’ was much bigger and would’ve provided more want for the show over a summer break than this one.
Just a final note: On the end credits everyone gets their creation credited such as “Cybermen created by Kit Pedler and Gerry Davis” but it says “Ood and Judoon created by RTD”.
Can anyone tell me: Where was the Ood in the episode!?!?