A Good Man Goes to War.
Everybody ready? (Spoilers await, folks.)
Okay, Good Man is straight-up, cracked-out, full-on rock’n’roll Doctor Who — I’m not sure how much caffeine Moffat pumped into his cast for this one but it is so totally absolutely worth it in every single possible way. It’s such a frenetic rollercoaster of goodness, in fact, that it’s kind of difficult to write anything about it.
I’m not even going to try to go over the story here. Suffice to say the big reveal is revealed: River is…well, River is River. She’s also Amy and Rory’s daughter but, really, you had ample time to figure that out during the season so it’s not worth holding your breath through the whole episode waiting for it.
That said, the final reveal scene — even without the reveal itself being a huge gasp-inducing moment — is just…really really great. There’s Amy and Rory and the Doctor and River and hugging and sexual innuendo and so much emotional energy passing between the characters that the screen practically crackles. It’s just…sweet in the best possible way.
Other points of interest…
The good man. Clearly, as self-identified, the good man is not the Doctor: “Good men don’t need rules. Now is not the time to find out why I have so many.” Okay, good, I’ll just be over here crouched in the corner whimpering gently, then.
This leaves us with relatively few options for the good man — so, really, it’s Rory. Which is kind of awesome because the show needs more Rory. Rory is coming from a relatively simple place: he wants to get his wife back and keep his family in one piece. It’s not exactly a revolutionary goal in life but, given the events at the end of The Almost People, you can’t blame him for being a bit tetchy: “Do I need to ask the question again?”
Rory has come such a long way from The Eleventh Hour — and then, in a way, he hasn’t. Rory has always been both observant and determined and, really, those qualities have only been enhanced by travelling with the Doctor, as the second half of the sixth season proves. He has a very handy knack of not being distracted by non-essentials: he sees the odd thing out or the thing that should be there and isn’t and his habit of dogged insistence is extremely useful.
And the Doctor is not a good man in this; he doesn’t even follow his own self-established rules, as Lady Vastra and Dorium Maldovar take a certain amount of pleasure in pointing out to him. The whole conversation with Colonel Manton (“Colonel RunAway”) is just fucking terrifying; it’s as close as the Doctor has come in quite awhile to losing it and it’s so very very bad when he does that. And, of course, he gets bitten in the ass for it as Madame Kovarian waltzes off into the wild blue yonder with baby Melody quite neatly.
The secondary characters in this episode are fantastic, some of the best in the season: Jenny, Madame Vastra, Dorian, the Headless Monks, the Fat One, the Thin One, and Commander Strax. The baddies, particularly Madame Kovarian — I wish I felt…better about. She’s a little…uncentered. It’s not clear why she’s doing what she’s doing or, even when Moffat tries to make it clear, it’s still unclear what she gets out of it.