Shropshire Star

Doctor Who: A Good Man Goes to War review

Sometimes could really hate the people behind Doctor Who.


Warning: There's oodles of spoilers in this – just thought we'd better warn you. On your own head be it…

Sometimes I could really hate the people behind Doctor Who.

All week I've been looking forward to a Good Man Goes to War, safe in the knowledge that this series is back on track after the disappointing/cobblers (delete according to opinion) opening two parter with its flash pyrotechnics but lack of sense or reason.

After all, we've had The Doctor's Wife, one of the best episodes so far, and the past two weeks have also been strong.

And then, a few minutes in to A Good Man… it seemed that, actually, I was wrong again and we were indeed back to flash effects and no logical plot.

Why was Rory back in Roman costume as The Last Centurion? He became the Roman when he spent 2,000 years protecting the Pandorica while Amy was inside it. Since then the Doctor has rebooted the universe and Rory has gone back to being – er, a bit rubbish, frankly. He's a decent bloke, but the character is the sort of man who very much lets the missus wear the trousers. So why is it when he puts on the skirt he becomes Charles Bronson, a man who can walk in to a room full of Cybermen and give them orders? That doesn't make sense. (And, by the way, there's a comment box below so feel free to offer your own opinion – but be civil, eh? There's a good chap.)

So I'll presume that this is the pre-reboot Rory, in which case how can Amy have been pregnant, and where's the 'real' Rory? We were only a few minutes in and already we were overloaded with questions. This is Doctor Who – we shouldn't need a set of Brodie's notes or Doctor Who Confidential in order to follow it.

And, while we're on the subject of dodgy characterisation, since when did the Doctor go psycho? Yes, I know he's clearly fairly cheesed off with the whole 'Amy and her baby have been kidnapped and replaced with a ganger' thing (always a bummer), but he'd never be the sort of character to blow up a fleet of Cybermen just to deliver a warning. Or have I missed something?

Possibly I have. Perhaps my heart was too busy sinking as another flash, loud, and deliberately clever clever episode plopped out of my TV. (Oh, please God not the World War II Spitfires again. That was just stupid on ice the last time around.)

Yep, Steven Moffat's done it again, I thought. He has a great imagination, and is a wizard at dialogue, but it's as though he has a cracking idea for a set piece but cannot be bothered to lay the groundwork in the plot. Therefore he just jumps in and if you cannot keep up, tough. If he's written himself into a corner - tough, he's not even going to bother trying to write his way out of it. If he's added new characters but not really given you enough to care when he kills them off, tough. Sorry, but that's no way to manage a popular TV series if you want it to remain popular. I'm not asking to be spoonfed, but I am asking to be credited with some intelligence.

The nadir came when the Headless Monks were revealed to be, er, Headless Monks and the Doctor was disguised as one of them. I know he was 'allowed' to be there because it was all part of the plot against him, but the resulting shoutyfest was just awful. I'm sure it's supposed to be crowdpleasing, but it just rings hollow with me.

So, there we were, halfway in and the off switch was calling out like a long-lost friend.

And then – and then - about 30 minutes in we got past the bitty, the confusing, the silly, the shouty, and we got to the talky.

The episode stepped back a bit, was allowed to breathe, and we found out more about baby Melody Pond. Now it was interesting again. Suddenly, when little Melody was transformed into a couple of litres of yoghurt, this episode of Doctor Who was firing on all cylinders and playing at the top of its game. The Doctor was forced to confront what he had become, the hurt he had caused, the deaths, and I was hooked once more.

And that River Song revelation? I'd guessed. I think most of us had (River Song/Melody Pond – s'obvious, innit?), but it was nice to have it confirmed. (Although it's slightly Woody Allen/Soon-Yi, if you think about what happens between them.) And wasn't Matt Smith brilliant?

So, then, a few months' break and then we're on to Let's Kill Hitler, which should be worth watching for the title alone.

As I say, sometimes I really hate the people behind Doctor Who. But, damn them, they always keep me coming back for more.

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