TV Review: Doctor Who (2011) A Good Man Goes To War [BBC iPlayer]

on Saturday, June 11, 2011
'Doctor Who' Series Six, Episode Six: 'A Good Man Goes To War' // Words: Saam Das

SYNOPSIS: "Science fiction drama. The Doctor assembles an army to face the Battle of Demons Run - and River Song has something to tell him." (

Excitement. Frustration. Relief. Heartbreak. All those emotions and many more struck me as 'A Good Man Goes To War' delivered a thrilling mini-series finale, before the series returns later this year. It might have left plenty of open-ended answers but the episode also brought together many of the mysteries of the series.

The reveal of River Song's (Alex Kingston) true identity was something of an anticlimax - with long-standing internet speculation proving correct - but almost everything up to that point was quite brilliant. Most of all though, Matt Smith demonstrated why he is my favourite Doctor of the new generation by combining his whimsy with a staggering array of emotions, particularly in one of the closing scenes involving Lorna Bucket (Christina Chong).

Up until that point, everything had been going rather smoothly for the Doctor - who had recruited a ragtag bunch (with a joyful Sontaran cameo) to challenge the Headless Monks and their assembled army of soldiers of faith. We learn more of the sliding panel woman's role too, as she masterfully manipulates her opposition - as River says early on in the episode, this is "the Doctor's darkest hour".

Okay, so it did feel a lot like 'Star Wars' - Karen Gillan's Amy being appropriately feisty as our very own Princess Leia. But much like that seminal sci-fi series, I suspect that this episode will be matched by future offerings. Although hopefully not suffer from as many questionable follow ups. The battle may have ended but the war has only just begun.

The first half of the series has had plenty of moments when it's been treading water (for example, 'The Curse Of The Black Spot') yet it's also had several highlights - from the initial chilling glimpse at the Silence to the brilliant insight into the TARDIS via 'The Doctor's Wife'. The only real disappointment is that the Doctor's "death" has been left to tantalise us throughout.

With the next episode entitled 'Let's Kill Hitler', I'm a bit concerned that we won't be picking up things where they were left in this episode. Of course, that new episode might prove fulfilling otherwise but I do hope that the series-wide arcs aren't quite as neglected as they were in the first half of this series. More killer, less filler please.

Watch 'A Good Man Goes To War' on BBC iPlayer until 19:29, 11 June '11.

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