Merry Christmas (I Don’t Want to Fight Tonight): An Overanalysis of The Husbands of River Song
“It could be argued that, since taking over as head writer, Steven Moffat has actually only been writing one very, very long story: the story of Gallifrey’s return. The first episode Moffat wrote as head writer, “The Eleventh Hour,” featured the ominous warning from Prisoner Zero: “The universe is cracked. The Pandorica will open. Silence will fall.” This set off an entire plotline that would span the entirety of the Eleventh Doctor’s tenure, as we eventually discover that “Silence will fall” is a religious slogan from a church that is dedicated to ensuring that Gallifrey does not return. The Twelfth Doctor’s tenure, so far, has largely been about the negative consequences of Gallifrey’s return to the Universe. Steven Moffat has stated openly that the reason River Song appeared in this Christmas special was because, when he wrote it, he thought it might be the last episode of Doctor Who he ever wrote and, if so, he wanted to put River in it. We now know that Moffat will still be heading series 10, largely because he is having difficulty picking a successor, but “The Husbands of River Song” stands as a would-be finale to the Moffat era. Where “Hell Bent” ties up the Gallifrey plotline in a nice little bow for the next showrunner to follow up on, “The Husbands of River Song” ties up another thread in the Gallifrey return story. While River may predate Moffat’s tenure as head writer, she quickly became inextricably linked to the larger Gallifrey plotline, the deadly product of a cult dedicated to preventing Gallifrey’s return by absolutely any means necessary. A softer, gentler side of the plot, it’s a perfect way to put the finishing touches to the story on Christmas day. While there’s certainly some darkness to it, “The Husbands of River Song” is one of the most beautiful, romantic, dynamic episodes the series has ever done. It might even be my new favorite.”
Swing by Julie’s blog for some excellent (and spoileriffic, you’ve been warned!!!) analysis of “The Husbands of River Song!”
As a special bonus, this post includes a Spotify soundtrack curated by Julie of all the songs she used in her reviews this season. It’s fantastic!