Whoydensday: hey, who turned out the lights?


Well, the spoiler warning simply had to be done properly for this one, didn’t it?

Professor Song - Spoilers

Wait until next week, those of you who haven’t seen the second episode of this two-parter yet.

My family just sat there mesmerised the first time we watched it (I’ve never heard them so quiet) and were grinning with pure excitement and adrenaline at the end. They were still very involved this time, looking for anything they might have missed first time around. And yes, the kids did do some Vashta Nerada walking.

What did everybody think about Professor River Song? There’s a lot more stuff to be revealed in the next episode, but I’d like to hear people’s first impressions.

Categories: arts & entertainment, fun & hobbies, relationships

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23 replies

  1. I love River Song, though I fear I could be in the minority.
    Some people objected to her on the grounds that she was excessively “smug” – and yet they love and squee at Tennant’s Doctor, who is a smug ‘n’ beans burrito with hot smug sauce and a smugarita on the side.
    I want more from her, more.

  2. I’m with Lauredhel, although I love Alex Kingston kind of unreasonably, so it would have been hard for her to irritate me.

  3. I really loved Professor Song, and I hope that we will get to see her again, some day, in some context.

  4. Mmm, me too 🙂 And I’m crossing fingers that given who will be at the helm in the next round, we may indeed be being set up for future fun!
    I adore her smugness too, Lauredhel. Not least because she becomes most smug at the doctor, and truly, the man deserves to be on the receiving end occasionally! And bemusement on his face is kinda endearing.

  5. Lauredhel, it appears so far you’re squarely in the majority camp in this forum.
    I liked River Song’s capable smugness too, and the way that it showed up the Doctor’s own smugness and how he didn’t cope especially well with it reflected back at him.

  6. It was a truly fabulous episode. I am restraining myself with difficulty from looking up what happens in Part II.

  7. Hated River Song (I’ve always disliked that actress, but even that cannot account for my dislike of the character), and loathed both these episodes.

  8. UnBeliever!
    Seriously, I get that this is a taste thing, but Prof. Song seems to be a highly polarising figure, with very few people just saying “meh”. I’m curious as to why that is.

  9. I loved River Song too, it was just so much fun watching the interactions between her and The Doctor.
    I have a vet nurse friend who has plans for the next time they get a pair of black kittens to re-home, she’s going to name them Vashta and Nerada.
    mimbless last blog post..As if it wasn’t bad enough already

  10. Before I saw the ep, I read some half-true spoilers that made me feel very ambivalent towards River Song, but she definitely won me over, especially after the second episode.
    What I find particularly intriguing about River is that she’s the first well-developed 51st century female that we’ve seen on the show. I was pleased to see that she is independent, omnisexual and (probably) polyamorous, although it’s not quite as explicit as it is in the portrayals of Captains Jack and John. I liked that, although she’s clearly travelled with the Doctor in her past/his future, she seems to have maintained an independent life– he’s clearly someone immensely important to her, yet she doesn’t define herself in relation to him. Even Donna does this, so it’s refreshing to see something different.
    I think that part of the reason that River Song’s reception has been mixed is that she is very unheimliche (or “uncanny” to use the English word). That is, River is both familiar and strange, and therefore unsettling. Moffat is a master of the unheimlich– taking familiar objects or images and making them strange and terrifying– but with River, he takes it in the opposite direction– instead of distrusting the unheimlich we’re required to trust it, which goes against the implicit interpretive practices that are ingrained in us.

  11. I really loved last week’s ep and Professor River Song in particular. It was really great to see the Doctor outranked and not in possession of all the facts for once. Even better to see someone withholding knowledge from him! That is a great way to develop his character. I find the whole near infallibility thing boring.

  12. What? I don’t have an altar to Steven Moffat hidden in my basement! I refuse to tolerate such accusations!

  13. Beppie:

    instead of distrusting the unheimlich we’re required to trust it, which goes against the implicit interpretive practices that are ingrained in us

    Fascinating. I’d never come across unheimlich as a litcrit term before. Thanks.
    The comparison with Captain Jack is also interesting. It reminds me of a post I saw somewhere on anime character Naruto, pointing out that if Naruto acted the way he does (selfish, whiny, aggressive, impetuous but still winning in the end) as a girl character then she would be despised.
    lala, LOLing at the Moff-altar. I’m imagining Sally Sparrow and Reinette as the High Priestesses of the cult.

  14. I loved Professor Song, too. And I loved the way the episodes appropriated the language of fansites and fandom, and so switched the usual relative positions of the character of Dr Who and the viewers of Dr Who.

  15. Rebekka, I liked the way that was played with too. I’ve heard some complaints that “oi, spoilers” was overused, but isn’t milking the joke kinda the whole point of giving that knowing wink to the cognoscenti?

    I was just thinking about the ending, which I have heard criticised because River ended up “just looking after kids” and that’s an assumption I don’t agree with (apart from the implication that it wouldn’t be worthwhile if that’s what she chose to do).
    When we see River reading the kids a story with three beds in the room, that’s CAL’s happy ending – the little girl who loved books, with siblings to play with and people to read her stories at bed-time. CAL deserves a happy ending too, after all her courage, surely?
    There’s nothing to imply that CAL has chosen only River to be her prime carer so that River cannot do anything else within the Library core. There’s four other adults there with River, and Doctor Moon as well. It’s very strongly implied that the whole group of adults are going to live together in the lovely house with access to every book ever written. So why can’t Auntie River just be taking her turn on the bedtime reading roster here, and it’ll be Uncle Dave’s turn tomorrow night?
    If we accept that there really was no way for the Doctor to save River bodily, that he had to let her die the way that she did in order to preserve the timeline and save all those other souls stored in the library, then isn’t life in a repository of the whole of human history a pretty good place for an archeologist to be? With companions as well?

  17. If you’ve read this far you’ve probably seen the ep, so this spoiler won’t matter too much.
    I assumed that since they were all saved to the computer that there may be some way to extricate them at a later date. More importantly, will Donna’s bloke pop up again?

  18. I assumed that since they were all saved to the computer that there may be some way to extricate them at a later date.

    The problem, as described by Miss Evangelista to Donna, is that she doesn’t have a body stored whereas Donna does. River and those eaten by the Vashta Nerada are only data strings. To be extricated they would have to have a body grown for them somehow.
    This is one of the problems I have with any SF that posits cloned bodies as a form of immortality – each of those cloned bodies would grow with a brain inside it, and the only way for the original to have the new body is to erase that body’s natural mind to replace it with their own. Certainly doesn’t strike me as an ethical solution (this is another issue that La Bujold has dealt with in her novels of the amoral culture of Jackson’s Whole).

    More importantly, will Donna’s bloke pop up again?

    Wasn’t he lovely?

  19. “I assumed that since they were all saved to the computer that there may be some way to extricate them at a later date.”
    I assumed so too, and I don’t think the problem of having no body is insurmountable.
    Perhaps if they’ve been through a transporter at some stage (I know they’re called something else, but the Star Trek term has stuck in my brain), the physical pattern of their body could be extracted, but the mind from CAL added to the previous body?

  20. That would appear to be more likely with Trek replicator technology, but replicators and transporters don’t necessarily go together.
    Androids. Doctor Who needs androids. Stat.

  21. Spoiler warnings are a little like “Beware! – Chocolate!” to me – I just can’t help myself.
    Spoilers below.
    So given that I haven’t seen the final episode of this series but have read lots of spoilers (nomnomnom), is River being saved to computer in any way analogous to saving Donna? Is it rather selfish or unethical to ‘save’ people in this way because again, he had no consent? I find the idea of immortality, and especially unembodied immortality, really horrible – nightmarish even. I guess if you are as long lived as the doctor the temptation to keep people alive is probably overwhelming. Do you think this series is attempting to deal with this ethical dilemma or are his messianic tendencies being presented as uncomplicatedly ‘good’?

  22. Su, I think that there was something deeply unsettling about River’s cyber-immortality, particualrly when it’s viewed in light of the Doctor’s views on immortality in general. BUT I think it’s one of those moral dilemma’s that’s put there so that the audience can find it if they think deeply about the episode, but it’s very easy to read it in an uncomplicated way too, if that is your preference.
    Speaking of the metafictive elements of Moffat’s writing– wasn’t CAL hiding behind the sofa cushions brilliant?


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