|Can we just look at how unpretty this poster looks? It's horrid.|
I'd made it fairly clear before that I wasn't happy about River Song coming back to the series - her story was convoluted, ridiculous and tiring. There were only so many times I could put up with River's smug caricature popping up as one of Moffat's go-to female archetypes. Strangely enough, though, that archetype seems to not be in effect here - River is a lot more clueless, a lot more fallible, even though this is supposed to be near the end of her adventures with The Doctor. While I wasn't happy that her timeline was being dragged up yet again, I did enjoy the slickness and subtlety with which the "Singing Towers of Darillium" prophecy was fulfilled - especially as that particular thread had already been rather less-than-satisfactorily explored in a DVD extra a few years ago (during the height of the show's River-mania).
And, of course, that level of continuity made those elements of the story a little impenetrable to a lot of watchers, who certainly don't remember minor one-line mentions from a story which aired seven years ago. Despite how much Moffat and his fandom claim that the show is as strong as ever, ratings are falling steadily, and there's a growing feeling, however accurate, that "it's not as good as it was." It feels a little arrogant of Moffat for this special to unload all of this continuity on us at Christmas without batting an eyelid towards explaining those previous connections, especially as the show has been trying it's best during Capaldi's run to forget the period of the show where most of River's adventures happened.
|Greg Davies works as a bumbling school headmaster, but does|
not have the presence to play a genocidal alien warlord.
I didn't expect much from The Husbands of River Song, and I didn't get much, either. Moffat apparently wrote this episode with the intention that it be the last thing he wrote for Doctor Who - until he decided to carry on and write Series 10. I was surprised given that description that this episode wasn't even more ridiculous than it turned out to be, although I don't think I want to know what that looks like. All I know is that however much Moffat's writing has changed to become a little more subtle and little less offensive, the general meh-ness of this episode is a clear demonstration if any was needed that Doctor Who really needs, if you'll pardon the reference, a regeneration.