Doctor Who/Recap/S32/E07 A Good Man Goes to War

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A Good Man Goes To War 9669.jpg
This is the Doctor's darkest hour. He'll rise higher than ever before, then fall so much further. This is the day he finds out who I am.
River Song

Night will fall and drown the sun, when a good man goes to war.

Friendship dies and true love lies, night will fall and the dark will rise... when a good man goes to war.
River Song

The finale of the first half of series 6. "Spoilers!"


Last episode, we found out that the Amy we've been seeing was not, in fact, Amy. It was an avatar, making her constantly believe that she was walking around unharmed, while her real self was held captive in a place called Demon's Run. She's given birth there to a baby girl named Melody, guided by Madame Kovarian—the eyepatch lady—and surrounded by an entire military. But she's not scared. Because she knows that the baby's real father will come for them. A man who has travelled across the galaxy. A man who has lived for centuries. A man known as the... Last Centurion.

The soldiers are quite nice, actually, and simply believe that the Doctor is a fearsome warrior that should be killed. That doesn't mean they can't be his fanboys, too. One of them, Lorna from the Gamma Forest, met him once when she was young and only joined so she could see him again. She's happily embroidering a little piece of cloth with the words "Melody Pond", as a religious good luck charm for Amy.

The Doctor and Rory (dressed magnificently in his Last Centurion gear) prepare to raise an army. On his quest, Rory defeats a random Cybermen fleet without even a hint of fear. In her cell in Stormcage, River Song sadly acknowledges that the time has come at last. Today will mark the Battle of Demon's Run and the Doctor's darkest hour. Both sides will make their sacrifices and River Song must finally reveal her most closely guarded secret to the Doctor: her identity. She's unusually happy to see Rory, but she can't come with him.

The Doctor gathers friends with old debts in his TARDIS: a Silurian woman named Vastra from Victorian London and her human girlfriend, a Badass Sontaran nurse whose clone batch met the Doctor once, Captain Avery and Toby, the Judoon of the Shadow Proclamation, Churchill's spitfire fighters, and Dorium Maldovar, the owner of the Maldovarium.

Lorna sneaks out, finds Amy and hands her the little embroidered cloth. Amy is too traumatised to talk to her much.

The Headless Monks, a religious faction, are seemingly allied with the Demon's Run army, but the Doctor interferes and starts manipulating the soldiers effortlessly. As Amy watches, he vows to rescue her. "Amy, get yer coat!"

Rory, still in Centurion gear, reunites Amy and little Melody while crying Manly Tears. The Doctor follows soon after. He talks to young Melody for a bit ("I speak Baby. I speak everything.") and the two quickly bond. The Doctor gives Melody a little Gallifreyan baby cot. Amy asks him where the hell he got that from. Why would he have a baby cot? Did he have kids? Does he have kids right now? He mumbles a bit of denial before revealing that alright, yes, it's his... cot. From when he was a baby. And little Melody will be quite safe.

Chaos quickly ensues again, however, and the Doctor is questioned by everyone on whether or not he's responsible for the child. Because it's got Time Lord DNA. And there are not a whole lot of ways for little babies to become half Time Lord. Simply put, when a girl travelling with a Time Lord has a half Time Lord baby, people tend to draw conclusions.

The Doctor is genuinely confused, because no, he did not sleep with Amy. And he can't see any way for the child to be part Time Lord, even when it's pointed out by Vastra that the Time Lords themselves evolved from continuously being close to the time matrix. That doesn't apply here, he states, because Time Lords evolved over billions of years, not just nine months. And even if this baby was somehow influenced by Amy being in the TARDIS, it's just not how evolution works. Besides, how could it even have been conceived on the TARDIS? Rory wasn't there, and then he was dead, and then he never existed, and then he was a plastic Roman for two millennia, and then it was their wedding n--

Oh.

The Doctor realises quite suddenly why Amy was so worried about her baby being messed up by the time stream or having a "time head" or something. Little Melody was conceived on the TARDIS, and the TARDIS added quite a bit of her own creative influence to the baby's DNA. And now this Time Lord baby will be raised as a weapon against him.

The Doctor: Why would a Time Lord be a weapon?
Vastra: They've seen you.

As the Doctor's makeshift army confronts the soldiers of Demon's Run, Lorna is shot. The Doctor rushes to her side and tells her to be brave. Of course he remembers her. They ran together, years ago. She dies in his arms. He quietly has to ask who she was, because he hasn't met her yet and he remembers everyone.

By now, the Doctor has gotten into a habit of hugging Amy tightly, and rubbing her back, while he's talking to her. With permission from Rory, of course. Because he can only give her one nasty revelation after another: little Melody is not little Melody. She's made of the Flesh, and the real baby is far, far away by now.

And then, just as the Doctor's friends are dying all around him again, River appears. And the Doctor is very genuinely angry with her. He's beyond Tranquil Fury and gone off into plain old rage. Why did she wait this long to show up? Why did she do nothing to prevent all this? Why is she just standing there? This carnage, this drama, this isn't him. River quietly replies that he's wrong. This is him. Gathering people around him, changing their lives, making them sacrifice themselves for him. As for the Demon's Run army: in the Gamma Forest language, "Doctor" has become the word for "Mighty Warrior". The Doctor's reputation has made him into a demon in the eyes of entire cultures. He's a true Memetic Badass, and they've become so scared of him, they're going to kill him out of sheer terror.

Almost blind with anger, he orders her to stop lying to him and to finally explain who she is. She takes his hands and leads him towards the baby cot. He looks down at his old cot, at the Gallifreyan text, at his little kinetic baby toy mobile. He looks up at River. He looks down again. And he starts to happily make incoherent Squee noises while she grins and nods at him.

It's all still a bit confusing to him—they've kissed and everything, and that's just weird now—but he's too busy being flabbergasted to even care anymore. He waves goodbye to the Ponds, promises to find little Melody, gets in the TARDIS and gives River one final Squee before dashing off. River can take the others home.

Amy has a full-on Heroic BSOD at that. She picks up a gun and prepares to shoot River right then and there. River calms her down with some effort, and tells her to take another look at the Doctor's cot. Because with written text, the TARDIS translation matrix can take a while to kick in. No, not the Gallifreyan text on the cot -- the TARDIS doesn't translate ancient Gallifreyan anyway. River means Lorna's beautifully embroidered cloth, and she shows it to Amy and Rory. The only water in the forest is the river. In Lorna's Gamma Forest language, the elaborate embroidered text says "Pond" on one side, and "Melody" on the other. "River", and "Song".

THE DOCTOR WILL RETURN IN
LET'S KILL HITLER

AUTUMN 2011


Tropes[edit | hide | hide all]

  • Action Prologue: The first four minutes of the episode has Rory infiltrate a Cyber-man fleet, and the destruction of said fleet. All before the title runs.
  • Adult Fear: Your baby daughter is a really a ganger, and she melts away in your arms.
    • Amy's baby is taken from her and all she knows is that the kid will be raised as a living weapon. There's also that chilling part at the beginning, when Amy holds her daughter and tells her how she wishes she could promise to protect her. And then the soldier tells her she has two minutes left before they take the baby away.
    • In a blink-and-you-miss-it example, having your spouse suddenly murdered, when you'd clearly thought that they'd been out for something innocuous and would be back by dinner, as the Thin Gay Anglican Marine did. While being converted to an order of Headless Monks is a bit of a Space Whale Aesop, you could easily apply the situation to something more mundane, like going out to the store or to a meeting at work.
  • Affably Evil: The Sontaran Combat Medic Strax.

Strax: Don't worry, my boy, you'll be up and around in no time. And perhaps one day, you and I will meet on the field of battle, and I shall destroy you for the glory of the Sontaran Empire.

  • Almost-Dead Guy: Both Strax and Lorna live long enough to express regret and drive a knife right through your heart.
  • Ambiguous Syntax: "Demon's Run - when a good man goes to war" or "Demons run when a good man goes to war"?
  • Anachronism Stew: Strax is introduced in the midst of a battle fought by humans in Ruritania uniforms wielding energy pistols.
    • Set in 4037.
    • "Stevie Wonder sang in 1814?" "Yes. And you must never tell him."
  • Arc Words: "The only water in the forest is the river" refers to a cultural translation issue. There is no word in the Gamma Forest for a pond, only for a river. Melody Pond becomes River Song.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: Not even intended, but this exchange:

The Doctor: Why would a Time Lord be a weapon?
Vastra: They've seen you.

Dorium: "You don't need me! Why would you need me?! I'm old! I'm fat! I'm blue!"

    • Also, when Amy pick up some sort of tool (that looks like an electric toothbrush) in response to a knock on the door of her room

Amy: "I'm armed, and dangerous...and...cross!"

The Doctor: "Good men don't need rules. Today is not the day to find out why I have so many."

The Doctor: "Amelia Pond, get your coat!" (In context.)

  • Badass Family: The Pond-Williams, consisting of Amy, who tells her captors to be very, very afraid of what's coming for them, Rory, who gets up in the grill of an entire Cyber Legion, and Melody, who grows up to be a woman that makes Daleks beg for mercy.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: Think about it. Whatever nefarious purpose Madame Kovarian wanted to achieve by kidnapping Baby!River set a chain of events that makes her a terrifying Action Girl whose mere name even causes fear in the heart of a freaking Dalek. River will still kill that good man, who in all likelihood, was Kovarian's target to begin with.
    • More immediately, Madame Kovarian gets away with the real baby.
  • Bait and Switch: At the beginning it seems as though Amy is talking about the Doctor when she's telling little Melody about the man who's coming to help them. She's actually talking about Rory:

Amy: "He's the last of his kind. He looks young, but he's lived for hundreds and hundreds of years. And wherever they take you Melody, however scared you are, I promise you you will never be alone. Because this man is your father. He has a name, but the people of our world know him better...as the Last Centurion."

    • When Amy asks the Doctor to please, please tell them what's going on his head re: Melody, he replies "It's mine," - and then clarifies that he was talking about the cot he found for her in the TARDIS.
  • Battle Butler: Jenny to Madame Vastra. Possibly a Swashbuckler Maid. Not so much Les Yay as official couple.
  • Battle Couple: Vastra and Jenny.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: A Sontaran who regrets dying in battle? Talk about playing against your planet's hat.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: It's what the episode title means, so you can expect a lot of it. Rory kicks much ass and the entire episode is basically showing us this about the Doctor. The 'Colonel Runaway' scene and his What the Hell, Hero? to River are all about showing the Doctor when he's really at the limit of his restraint.

The Doctor: "Good men don't need rules. Today is not the day to find out why I have so many."

    • As Rory notes in the opening teaser;

Rory: I have a message and a question. A message from the Doctor... and a question from me. Where. Is. My. Wife?! Oh, don't give me those blank looks! The 12th Cyber Legion monitors this entire quadrant. You hear everything. So you tell me what I need to know, you tell me now. And I will be on my way...
Cybermen: What is the Doctor's message?

  • The entire fleet explodes*

Rory: Do you want me to repeat the question?

  • Big-Budget Beef-Up: Series 6 has maintained the new programme's reputation for excellent special effects but they take it up a notch for the mid-series finale with appearances from several old enemies and allies, and CG effects galore.
  • Big No: Colonel Manton, when all hell breaks loose between the clerics and the monks.
  • Body Horror: Dear mother of God, the Monks.
    • and a bit more with gangers, this time having a baby explode into goop.
  • Break the Cutie: Amy Pond has to deal with this while she's alone on Demon's Run, mostly involving her baby. Of course, we've seen Amy snap before, so we know this isn't a good idea. Cue Beware the Nice Ones, Mama Bear, and most other revenge tropes.

Amy: "Can I borrow your gun?"
Lorna: "Why?"
Amy: "'Cause I've got a feeling you're gonna keep talking."

    • Also:

Kovarian: "Wakie waaakiiiieeeee...." *pop*

  • Call Back: The hooded men with the laser swords are the Headless Monks. Their future final resting place is the Delirium Archive where River once left a message for the Doctor.
  • Cardboard Prison: Really... River can just waltz in and out (literally), use the phone to announce she's breaking in and order room service, and can gallivant off whenever she pleases. A Cardboard Prison would actually be more secure than what she's in right now.
  • Chaste Hero: The Doctor is completely oblivious to the notion that Melody might have been conceived in the TARDIS until pushed by Madame Vastra. He works through the fifth season and comes to the realization that the first time they were together on the TARDIS after the reboot was... their wedding night.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The baby carrier. It's actually a Ganger control harness.
    • The prayer leaf.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Lorna. When she first appears, she just seems like a young soldier being nice to Amy. Then Lorna gives Amy the leaf, which shows up at the end for the final revelation.
  • Cherry Tapping: The Doctor wants Colonel Manton to order his men not to fall back, but to "run away". For the rest of his life, he would be known as Colonel Run-Away - to show what happens when you mess with the people the Doctor cares about.
  • Child Soldiers: Sontarans, sort of; as a cloned race of Proud Warrior Race Guys, they skip past anything we would recognize as childhood, both physically and mentally.

Strax: "It's all right. I've had a good life. I'm nearly twelve."

    • And of course Melody/River Song as well.
  • Christianity Is Catholic: Averted. Even though the sect called the Headless Monks follow decisions made by a "Papal mainframe", their Anglican allies are portrayed as a different sect where, if one of their number needs to join the former, they must first convert.[1]
  • Church Militant: Similar to "The Time Of Angels"—though Colonel Manton has a military rank rather than a clerical one.
  • Combat Medic: A Sontaran nurse. It started out as a punishment for something his clone-batch did, as taking care of the sick and weak is a Sontaran's idea of the perfect humiliation. In spite of that, he seems to have grown to like it.

Boy: "Will I be okay?"
Strax: [cheerfully earnest] "Of course you will, my boy, you'll be up and around in no time. And perhaps one day, you and I shall meet on the field of battle, and I will destroy you for the glory of the Sontaran Empire!"
Boy: [Beat] "Thanks, nurse."

    • And:

Strax: "Captain Harcourt, I hope someday to meet you in the glory of battle, where I shall crush the life from your worthless human form. [Beat] Try and get some rest."

    • And let's not forget the other nurse who also happens to be the Last Centurion...
  • Cool Plane: Danny Boy and his space spitfires make their return.

Doctor: (after explaining to Col. Runaway that all he needs to do to keep the rest of the fleet uninvolved is take out the comm array) And you've got incoming!
*radio static burst* Danny Boy to the Doctor! Danny Boy to the Doctor!

Doctor: Give 'em Hell, Danny Boy!

  • Cool Sword: Rory has a gladius, while Jenny and Vastra use katana.
  • Cruel Mercy: The Doctor's planned fate for Colonel Manton follows along these lines. See Fate Worse Than Death below.
    • Also General Strax's penance as a nurse.
  • Deconstruction, of sorts: It shows the consequences of The Doctor's having become a near Memetic Badass, with villains becoming scared at his very name: The villains have become so terrified of The Doctor that they're willing to kidnap a new born baby of his loved ones no less, and raise and turn the child against him; River even explicitly points out that the word "Doctor" means, well, "doctor" all through the universe, but in some places it means "warrior" instead.
    • On a different note, Strax's penance as a Nurse and how it plays out is rather unexpected from what we've seen of the (sometimes absurdly) militaristic and prideful Sontarans - a different working environment is apparently all it takes for a sympathetic outlook of other races (although the "glory of battle" bit is probably innate).
  • The Determinator: Rory, of course. Heaven help whoever is between him and Amy this time.
  • The Doctor Calls For Aid: The Doctor raises an army to help him.

Dorium: There are people all over this galaxy that owe that man a debt. By now, a few of them will have found a blue box on their doorstep.

    • After he says that, Dorium walks into the back room and, of course, finds the Doctor on his doorstep. "I'm old! I'm fat! I'm blue! You can't need me!"
  • Do Not Taunt Cthulhu: Remember, the Doctor is considered a Memetic Badass demigod in-universe. See Dorium's quote above, and his many Badass Boasts.

Lady Kovarian: What have you heard?
Dorium: That you pricked the side of a mighty beast, Madam Kovarian, and entirely failed to run.

    • The Cyber-Legion immediately pull their weapons on Rory, who offers them the chance to answer a simple question and he will be on his way. They fail to answer. Cue the entire fleet exploding.

Rory: Do I need to repeat the question?

Madame Vastra: [talking about Melody] "Which leads me to ask - when did it happen?"
The Doctor: "When?"
Madame Vastra: [scoffs] "I am trying to be delicate. I know how you can blush."

[Dorium chuckles]

Madame Vastra: "...When did this baby...begin?"

The Doctor: [realization finally dawns] "...Oh, you mean..."

Madame Vastra: "Quite."

  • Eternal English: Subverted. Among the people of the Gamma Forest the word "Doctor" has gone from meaning "Healer" to come to mean "Mighty Warrior" thanks to the badassery of the Time Lord himself.
  • Evil Knockoff: This is why Kovarian wants Amy's child: so she can make her into an Evil Knockoff of the Doctor.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: The Headless Monks, monks who don't have heads. Also the episode title itself.
    • Although the title is something of a subversion. It, of course, is implied to be the Doctor, but really it may as well be Rory.
  • Explain, Explain, Oh Crap: The Doctor insists that the baby can't have been conceived on the TARDIS. I mean, they spend far too much time running around fighting monsters for...that sort of thing, and anyway, in this version of reality they were never on the TARDIS together until their w-

Madame Vastra: Their what?
The Doctor: Their wedding night.

  • Eyepatch of Power: Madame Kovarian packs a cyborg version of one of these.
  • Face Heel Turn: Last time we saw the Clerics, they were working with Father Octavian to help the Doctor and River against the Weeping Angels. This time around...they're not nearly as friendly.
  • False Dichotomy: Melody Williams is a geography teacher. Melody Pond is a superhero.
  • Fantastic Racism: From the Doctor of all people. Let it be said, he's being very Tranquil Fury at that moment, his levity is clearly hiding the fact we see later that he is very pissed off.

The Doctor: "Please, point a gun at me if it helps you relax! You're only human."

The Doctor: No, Colonel Manton, I want you to tell your men to run away.
Manton: You what?
The Doctor: Those words. Run away. I want you to be famous for those exact words. I want people to call you Colonel Run-Away. I want children laughing outside your door, 'cos they've found the house of Colonel Run-Away. And when people come to you and ask you if trying to get to me through THE PEOPLE I LOVE is in any way a good idea... I want you to tell them your name.

  • A Father to His Men: Give Colonel Manton his due. When it looks like the Headless Monks are about to start carving up his troops, he's clearly horrified.
  • The Fettered:
    • Rory has been suppressing the Centurion's memories for his sanity. Not so much when Amy is missing.
    • The Doctor, as usual.

The Doctor: "Good men don't need rules. Today is not the day to find out why I have so many."

  • Foil: Rory to Colonel Strax, of all people. Rory was a nurse who became a warrior, Strax was a warrior who became a nurse.
  • Foreshadowing: Meta-example. From the BBC website:

River Song: "Demons run when a good man goes to war. Night will fall and drown the sun, when a good man goes to war. Friendship dies and true love lies, night will fall and the dark will rise...when a good man goes to war."

    • The poem has two more lines in the episode.

Demons run but count the cost. The battle's won but the child is lost.

    • "The only water in the forest is the river." The TARDIS said this while she was spouting gibberish, didn't she?
    • "'Melody Williams' is a geography teacher, 'Melody Pond' is a superhero." Yes, actually, she is.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: The Clerics do their darned best to not fear the Doctor's arsenal, which is neither sonic nor a screwdriver.
    • Also just before the Cybermen fleet is destroyed you can see a TARDIS flying by.
  • Friend in the Black Market: Dorium.
  • Genre Savvy / Only Sane Man: Dorium seems to be a rare antagonist version, in that he is the only one that realizes that antagonizing the Doctor is a really bad idea. He retains this after we find out he's working for the good guys, pointing out how they cleared out the fortress far too easily.
    • Dorium's savviness seems to degrade some when he walks up to the menacing Headless Monks, thinking that because they know him, they'll let him go. He does this after observing that they're chanting their war hymn.
    • When it looks like the Doctor is trying to start a shoot-out between his men and the monks, Manton is the first person to discharge his gun's battery as a sign of good faith. "We are not fools." He just had no way of knowing about the Doctor's real plan.
    • Keep in mind that Madame Kovarian's entire reason for kidnapping Amy's child is so she can be raised as a weapon against The Doctor. That they are so terrified of him they are willing to harm his Nakama to do it. When The Doctor invades Demon's Run, Madame Kovarian is quaking in fear from being in the Doctor's presence. She doesn't even start her Evil Gloating until she is far, far away from The Doctor.
    • Lorna met the Doctor when she was a kid. He's going to meet her again and have to know she's going to die in a few years.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: It's a Moffat episode, so there are several. Not the least of which is Vastra's Power Perversion Potential.

Madame Vastra: "Oh, all mammals look the same."
Jenny: "Gee, thanks."
Vastra: "Oh, I'm sorry dear, did I say something insensitive again? I don't know why you put up with me."
[cue a six foot long tongue whiplash to subdue a prisoner]

    • The exchange between River Song and Rory in the Stormcage Prison.

Rory: "I've come from the Doctor too."
River: Yes, but at a different point in time."
Rory: "Unless there's two of them."
River: "Now... that's a whole different birthday."

    • Or before that, when she sees Rory in the shadows and can only make out his Roman soldier outfit. She is delighted and comments that her jailers usually don't read her request memos.
  • Good-Looking Privates: The Centurion uniform is back on Rory to much delight, and there's also Lorna.
  • Gun and Sword: Rory dual-wields his gladius and a pulse pistol as they prepare for the Headless Monks to attack. Madame Vastra seems to have both her katana and a pulse rifle taken from the army, but she wouldn't be able to use them both at the same time.
  • Have We Met Yet?: Rory is Genre Savvy enough to ask this of River in the beginning.
  • He's Back: Rory the Roman, all pimped out in battle gear and seriously ticked off.
  • Heroic BSOD: A minor one when Madame Vastra tells the Doctor that the child can be a weapon because it's modeled after him.
    • A much bigger one after a scathing What the Hell, Hero? from River: the Doctor realizes that the rest of the universe sees him as a dangerous and potentially insane warrior because of his actions. We haven't yet seen the full extent of this one, however.
  • Hidden Agenda Villain: Arguably, Madame Kovarian. She's clearly a mysterious one, and outside of getting rid of the Doctor, she doesn't seem to have revealed any major ambitions... as of yet. It's not even clear exactly why she wants the Doctor gone. But what is clear, if she can play the Doctor like a fiddle, she's gotta be one Magnificent Bastard, and she must have things in store for the universe, and specifically Melody/Little!River.
  • Hitler Cam: Several, given the prevalence of balconies and grand speeches. One for Colonel Manton and, oddly, one for Madame Vastra.
  • Hot Chick with a Sword and Hot Chick in a Badass Suit: Jenny. And Madame Vastra, if you like that sort of thing.
  • Hypocritical Humour: Vastra. She frequently shows disdain for mammals and implies she devours ones who annoy her, though she is also involved in a lesbian relationship with a human woman. She does seem to try to catch herself when she's being rude at least, commenting "how do you put up with me?".
  • Idiot Ball: Dorium running towards the Headless Monks. Prior to that he'd been pretty Genre Savvy.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Vastra.
  • In Love with the Mark: If, as Madame Kovarian suggests will happen, Melody/River is raised as a Doctor-killing weapon, she falls under this trope. That said, there's probably more to this.
  • Interspecies Romance: Madame Vastra the Silurian and Jenny the human. They Fight Crime in Victorian England. Need more be said?
  • Jack the Ripper: Gets eaten by a Silurian off-screen.
  • Kid From the Future: River is Rory and Amy's.
  • Knowledge Broker: Dorium
  • Laser Guided Tykebomb: What Madame Kovarian wants River/Melody to become.
  • Laser Sword: The Headless Monks' lightning blades.
  • Leitmotif: The music that plays when River reveals she is Melody Pond is the same heard when the Doctor was given a Viking funeral in "The Impossible Astronaut" and the girl regenerated at the end of "Day of the Moon".
  • Let's Get Dangerous / Regained Several Levels of Badass: The baddies—not to mention the audience—get a vicious reminder that between being a nurse and being a companion, Rory was the Lone Centurion. Begins the episode by scaring the crap out of a legion of Cybermen to determine Amy's location, and only gets better from there.
    • As for the Doctor himself, this is not one of those episodes where he scares off his enemies by saying "You're in a library, look me up." No, this is one of the times when he shows exactly why everyone's so scared of him.
  • Lovely Angels: Vastra and Jenny, though with no subtext, it's right upfront.
  • Luke, You Are My Father: River reveals she's Amy and Rory's daughter.
  • Manly Tears: Rory, upon returning Melody to Amy. Even more heartwarming is that he does it while saying he was trying to be "cool" and not cry.
  • Meaningful Name: The asteroid Madame Kovarian has set up shop on is called Demons Run. As in "Demons run when a good man goes to war."
    • Melody Pond: Melody = Song and River is the closest translation by the Forest People because "The only water in the forest is the river."
    • According to Steven Moffat, Lorna Bucket: "Lorna the warner, the bucket that carried the pond to the river."
  • Mood Whiplash:
    • River and the Doctor trade WhatTheHellHeros and the audience is quite caught up in it. Then the Doctor looks at the crib and he's giddy as a schoolboy. He bounces out of the room and...

River: "It's me. I'm Melody. I'm your daughter."

  • smash to black*

THE DOCTOR WILL RETURN IN LET'S KILL HITLER AUTUMN 2011.

    • And after all this: a brief clip of a skeletal hand clutching a sonic screwdriver...
    • American viewers managed to get both moods at once when, during the scene where the Doctor is running to warn Amy about her flesh!Daughter, BBC America decided to speed up everything to a near comedic pace.
  • Mook Horror Show: One gets the impression the Doctor is the monster in this particular episode.
    • Even Rory gets this treatment in the Cold Open, particularly with this bit of dialogue:

Cyberman: "Intruder Level 11! Seal off Levels 12, 13 and 14! Intruder Level 15!"

Neil Gaiman: "I think Madame Vastra should act as well as solve crimes. Then she'd be a Victorian Silurian Lesbian Thespian."

  • Not So Different: Rory and the Doctor. When the chips are down, Rory will destroy anything in his path to get back the people who were taken from him. Despite being the person who usually tries to save everyone, you do NOT want to piss off Rory and underestimate the fury of the Last Centurion. Sound familiar?
    • "When A Good Man Goes To War", the title proves equally true of both Rory and the Doctor.
    • Rory and Strax. Both are Warriors who also act as Nurses.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Implied. If "Doctor" means "mighty warrior" in the language of the Gamma Forest, the Doctor must do/have done something pretty spectacular even by his standards during his visit there, especially if it's from only one visit.
    • Rory's entire fight with the Headless Monks. Particularly given how they fight with a Laser Sword while he's dual wielding a gun and sword.
  • Off with His Head: The Headless Monks.
  • Oh Crap: The Doctor when he finds out River is Melody and that he has a special relationship with Rory and Amy's daughter. That face just screams "They're going to kill me!".
    • Dorium, when he realizes the Doctor's recruiting him too.
    • The Doctor has one earlier, when he realizes that baby Melody that Amy is protecting is actually a Flesh avatar, and that Madame Kovarian has successfully kidnapped the real child.
  • One-Scene Wonder: A number of the Doctor's allies, including the Judoon, the Space Spitfires and the pirate captain and his son.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: The Thin One and the Fat One. Lampshaded.

The Fat One: "We're the thin/fat, gay, married Anglican Marines. Why would we need names as well?"

Madame Vastra: "Was I being insensitive again, dear? I don't know why you put up with me." *knocks out a mook from across the room with her prehensile tongue* *smiiirk*

Rory: "Where. Is. My. WIFE?"

  • Pyrrhic Victory: Definitely one for the Doctor. He raised an army, kicked the ass of the bad guys with them, took control of the army and even got back the real Amy without a single fatality up to that point. However, part of the mission was to save Amy and Rory's newborn daughter with them, which they failed and even some of the lives of the Doctor's army were lost in the battle. However, after finding out who River Song really is, the Doctor is reinvigorated to rescue her infant self. The battle may have been lost (or won, as the case may be), but the war is far from over.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Given to the Doctor by River Song no less. It basically consists of "you're so successful at what you do that it's starting to scare people, so that whole non-violent schtick of yours is starting to seem kinda flimsy from where everyone else is standing".
    • The 'Run away' speech the Doctor gives to Colonel Manton comes across as a sort of "The Reason You Will Suck Speech".
  • Red Baron: Rory, the Lone/Last Centurion. Post Big Bang 2, his standing guard over the Pandorica has become part of the Earth's official mythology, and will never be forgotten.
  • Red Herring: A magnificent one that had been building up for a year: whether or not the Doctor and Amy were doing it. Everyone around them assumed that they were, and it would have very neatly explained the baby. While everyone was busy fretting and Star Boarding over that, the real secret of the baby is something completely different.
    • Since the cot is the Doctor's, and River seems to point at its engraved Gallifreyan text when the Doctor asks her who she is, there are also hints that River could be a future incarnation of him. This was already hinted at in "The Doctor's Wife" when it was revealed that Time Lords can change sex when regenerating. It was David Tennant's personal pet theory while filming River's first appearance, and when he revealed that to Steven Moffat during the audio commentary, Moffat was amused enough to tease the fans with it a little in this episode.
    • The giant "door lock override" button. The guard dramatically inches his way toward it, almost making you think he'll succeed... and then Vastra tongue-whips him unconscious as if it's nothing.
  • Redshirt Army: Subverted. The human Mooks out to kill the Doctor don't look as if they'll stand a chance against the hordes the Time Lord can call up, but the Doctor takes the base without a drop of blood being spilled. Initially. (Just don't count the RedShirt and the Headless Monk killed when the Doctor briefly turned the two enemies against each other.)
  • Refuge in Audacity: "The Doctor will return in LET'S KILL HITLER Autumn 2011"
    • The Doctor makes a point by blowing the ever-loving crap out of an entire Cyber Legion.
  • The Reveal: River Song's identity. She's Amy and Rory's daughter.
  • Rousing Speech: By the Colonel to the Redshirt Army.
  • Rule of Seven: This episode was the 7th in the 2011 series, and was also the 777th in the show's famously long run. Three days after it aired, on June 7, the BBC officially announced Series 7.
  • Running Gag: Vastra's inability to tell humans' gender.

Melody Pond: \*gurgle\*
The Doctor: "No it's not." \*adjusts bowtie\* "It's cool."

Kovarian: "Fooling you once was a joy. Fooling you twice, with the same trick? It's a privilege."

  • Space Is Noisy: A couple of times, each involving Dalek Spitfires.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: The Doctor is more than happy to use explosions to make a point.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Kovarian really, really comes off like the Rani sometimes.
  • Sword and Gun: Rory when facing off with the Headless Monks, taking up a Badass pose to boot.
  • Tempting Fate:
    • "We are not fools!" Cue an entire army of Silurians and a bunch of Judoon teleporting in.
    • "There are twenty men aboard my ship. How could you possibly take control?" Cue the pirate captain.
    • Dorium pointing out that there are people all over the galaxy who owe the Doctor a favor, and now he's calling them in. Seems Dorium owes one as well.
    • From the Fat One's conversion, just before he loses his head.

'The Fat One: "Do you lot have Lent? I'm not good at giving things up."

Dorium: "Do you know why it's called Demon's Run? [...]Demons run when a good man goes to war."

The Doctor: "Where the hell were you today?!"

Dorium : "Colonel Manton, all those "stories" you've heard about him? They're not "stories", they're true! Really, you're not telling me you don't know what's coming?"

  • You Look Familiar: The Doctor's old acquaintences Strax and Vastra, even though we've never seen them before—but we have seen that actor playing a Sontaran and that actor playing a Silurian.
    • In Strax's case the two characters were clones so naturally they look alike.
  • Younger Than They Look: You wouldn't guess by looking at him, but Strax is less than twelve years old.
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle: Or in this case, your daughter is in another body.
  • Zero-Approval Gambit: River's What the Hell, Hero? speech paints the Doctor's adventures as a very gradual version of this trope. Yes, the Doctor has saved worlds and more, but his methods in doing so and the occasional genocide have slowly changed his reputation from a healer and wise man to a dangerous, unpredictable and possibly insane warrior that some feel must be destroyed.

Notes

  1. In the most literal sense of the word.