Fri, 10 June 2011
REPRINTED FROM WIKIPEDIA WITH THANKS AND RESPECT
The Doctor (Matt Smith) and Rory (Arthur Darvill) have discovered that Amy (Karen Gillan), Rory's wife and the Doctor's companion, has been taken from them and was replaced with a doppelganger made from 'the Flesh' ("The Almost People"). The Doctor has come to learn that the real Amy is being held on a secret asteroid base called "Demon's Run", and collects several old allies from across time and space, including Sontaran Commander Strax (Dan Starkey), Silurian Madame Vastra (Neve McIntosh) and her human companion Jenny (Catrin Stewart), and the black market trader Dorium Maldovar (Simon Fisher-Becker), to lay an assault on the base. Rory, after collecting information on the base's location from a Cyberman fleet, attempts to recruit River Song (Alex Kingston) from her Stormcage prison cell, but she refuses, saying she cannot be with the Doctor at this time as this battle is when he will discover her identity. Aboard the base, Madame Kovarian (Frances Barber), who has been watching over Amy during her pregnancy and taken her child, Melody, from her, prepares her human troops to fight the Doctor alongside the Order of the Headless Monks who reside at Demon's Run; the monks are literally headless and incapable of being influenced by emotions. Human soldier Lorna Bucket, who had met the Doctor as a young girl in the Gamma forests, attempts to befriend Amy and gives her a cloth good luck token with Melody's name on it in her language. Amy warns Bucket of the Doctor's fury if she fights against him.
Assisted by additional Silurian and Judoon forces, the Doctor and his allies launch a surprise attack and secure the base. The Doctor and Rory free Amy and retake Melody before Madame Kovarian can escape with her. As the Doctor celebrates, considering this his greatest achievement, Vastra and Dorium discover that Kovarian has been scanning Melody and has found that the child has both human and Time Lord DNA. The Doctor surmises that Melody was likely conceived on Amy and Rory's wedding night aboard the TARDIS, the baby's DNA influenced by the time vortex. The rest of the Doctor's allies regroup, and Amy and Rory tend to their daughter using an ancient wooden cot that the Doctor claims was his own. Kovarian, well away from the base, contacts the Doctor, explaining that they will be using Melody as a weapon in the war against him. She takes delight in telling him he has fallen into another trap, and that "fooling [the Doctor] once was a joy, twice in the same way is a privilege." The Doctor races to the hangar to warn his friends. Meanwhile, Bucket has arrived and warns the group of Kovarian's trap, but they are too late as the TARDIS is blocked by a force field and they are attacked by the Headless Monks. Dorium is killed immediately, while Strax and Bucket are fatally wounded in the battle. At the same time, Kovarian, appearing through a hatch opening in midair near where Amy and Melody are hiding, tells the baby to wake up. The baby dissolves into the Flesh liquid, leaving Amy distraught.
The Doctor arrives too late to help his wounded allies, and helps Rory to console Amy. River appears, and the Doctor berates her for not helping. She tries to explain that she could not, and tells the Doctor how these recent events were partially his fault, having been brought about by those that feared his reputation. The Doctor, angry and emotional, demands to know who she is. River shows the Doctor the cot, and The Doctor recognises River's identity. Elated, he goes off on his own in the TARDIS to rescue Melody, asking River to return everyone to their proper time stream. Amy demands that River explain what the Doctor learned, and she shows them the cot. Initially Amy believes River is referring to the Gallifreyan symbols engraved on it, but they cannot be read by humans even with the aid of the TARDIS translation systems. Instead, River shows them Bucket's cloth charm with Melody's name, still in the cot. The Gamma forest people only know of one source of water ("The only water in the forest is the river" quotes Dr. Song) and have no word for "melody", Bucket used the closest approximations: "song" and "river". River Song re-introduces herself to Amy and Rory as their daughter.
Dorium previously appeared in the opening to "The Pandorica Opens", selling River Song a vortex manipulator. Henry and Toby Avery, from "The Curse of the Black Spot", appear briefly to secure Madame Kovarian's ship. The space-worthy Spitfires modified by the Doctor and piloted by "Danny Boy" as shown in "Victory of the Daleks" are shown to disable the base's communication array.
Fat One and Thin One refer to the Doctor sending the Atraxi away from a planet before calling them back "for a scolding", an incident that took place in "The Eleventh Hour". The Headless Monks were previously mentioned in "The Time of Angels", added to that episode's script to help explain the Delirium Archive's monastic look. Bucket refers to her unit as "the Clerics" - this unit was introduced in "The Time of Angels" / "Flesh and Stone".
"The only water in the forest is the river," the phrase River uses to explain why the people of the Gamma Forest translate Pond to River, was first said to Rory by Idris in "The Doctor's Wife". Rory wears the armour of a Roman centurion, as in "The Pandorica Opens" / "The Big Bang" and "A Christmas Carol". Amy also tells Melody of Rory's nickname of "the Last Centurion", derived from his two thousand-year vigil over the Pandorica in "The Big Bang". In describing Rory's time in and out of the TARDIS, the Doctor refers to "sexy fish vampires" ("The Vampires of Venice"), Rory's death and erasure from time ("Cold Blood") and his time as an Auton before the universe was restored ("The Pandorica Opens" / "The Big Bang").
On 28 May 2011, immediately following the broadcast of "The Almost People", the BBC released a prequel to "A Good Man Goes to War". The prequel has Dorium talking to two Headless Monks. He gives them the brain of a Judoon, which contains a security protocol the hooded figures need. Dorium tells them that he knows what they are up to, as he hears a lot of rumours around the area. He asks them, "All this, to imprison one child? Oh, I know what you're up to, I hear everything in this place. I even hear rumours about whose child you've taken. Are you mad? You know the stories about the Doctor? The things that man has done? God help us if you make him angry!"
The seventh episode of series six was the 777th episode of Doctor Who, but there are no seven puns as the production team did not realise this until after shooting.
 Cast notes
Dan Starkey appears as the Sontaran Commander Strax. He previously played Commander Skorr in "The Sontaran Stratagem" / "The Poison Sky" (2008) and Commander Jask in The End of Time (2010). Neve McIntosh played the Silurian sisters Alaya and Restac in "The Hungry Earth" / "Cold Blood" (2010).
 Broadcast and reception
Gavin Fuller of The Telegraph said that the episode was good but lacked significant background motivation into the villains. Fuller also notes that the revelation of River Song being Amy's grown up child "is perhaps a narrative strand that would sit uncomfortably with a series where loss has often been brushed off as soon as the next couple of episodes". However, he did have praise for the performance of Matt Smith, commenting that "the last few weeks have seen Matt Smith’s Doctor in a welcome generally more serious vein, which he kept up here, with leavening at the right moments where his alien lack of comfort with human emotions, although used to comic effect, rang very true, as did his awkwardness when discovering the truth about River".
Dan Martin of The Guardian was less favourable, stating that that the producers "promised us a cliffhanger, and now we're left the whole summer long to contemplate whether our favourite show can really have just dropped the ball. Oh there was plenty to love about this mid-season finale, and even more to pick over. But as an hour of drama it was all over the place". Because the episode was so fast-paced with little being explained, he did not feel any emotional connection to the Anglican marines or Lorna Bucket. Unlike Fuller, Martin was not favorable to Matt Smith's Doctor, stating that "the non-event of the battle means that the Doctor never really gets to show this dark side we've been hearing so much about" and that Smith's predecessor, David Tennant, "got angrier most weeks". Martin did have praise for the final reveal of the episode, stating that although it had been "hidden in plain view from the very beginning as soon as its revealed Amy has called the baby Melody", he was unable to make the connection and was suitably surprised.