Going into “The Husbands Of River Song”, there were sneaking suspicions that something big was about to happen. Something involving a new haircut and a suit, a planet The Doctor was trying to avoid, and the eventual mention of how River was running out of journal pages all collided into one eventual nexus. Sure enough, our suspicions were confirmed, as this Christmas marked the end of River Song's story on Doctor Who. Strangely enough, as much as The Doctor tried to avoid this moment throughout their relationship, we saw him handle it with beautiful grace, accepting the ebb and flow of events for a change.
The Doctor, and show-runner Steven Moffat for that matter, could have easily ran away from this moment. Hell, this could have been dragged out for another couple of seasons, with events inching closer and closer to being realized. But instead of repeating this season's open ended finale, where the dead Clara could travel through all of space and time in the biggest loophole since the Tesselecta, Moffat wrote the beautiful finale that his love story was always going to end on. And yet, for as much as we were expecting it, the moment still caught us by surprise when Darillium was first mentioned, pretty much in passing, as the ship The Doctor and River were on board at the time was about to crash into it.
It was certainly a left field revelation, considering that for a good part of the first two acts of “The Husbands Of River Song” were focused on a caper involving an extremely rare diamond, a savage warlord, and a dashing thief – all of which were said to have been River's husbands. Yet her “true” husband, the one we knew about, was a man she didn't recognize. Apparently under the state of mind where The Doctor was only allowed his 13 regenerations, she was looking for Matt Smith's Eleventh Doctor during her journey. But by time the two of them were cornered by King Hydroflax, her warlord of a husband, she eventually realized that Peter Capaldi's Twelfth Doctor was her beloved time traveler. It's a beautiful moment, and you can watch it in the clip below.
The fact is, Peter Capaldi's Doctor was always going to be the one that brought River's story to its close. The last version of The Doctor she was familiar with before her debut in “Silence In The Library / Forest Of The Damned” was an older man, with that infamous new suit and a haircut. But besides filling the required details for Steven Moffat's pre-established chain of events, the maturity of Capaldi's character is what helps seal the deal. Matt Smith's fun, but extremely young and energetic, Eleventh Doctor wouldn't have been able to sell the moment with as much heart and gravity as Capaldi's Twelfth incarnation. That's not a knock to Smith's exemplary tenure, that's just a compliment to Capaldi's gravitas, which he uses every ounce of when laying down the reasons why this night had to happen when it did. With him, it just feels right.
For all intents and purposes, this is the end of River Song's story on Doctor Who, and it's a beautiful moment that will last for the 24 years the two will presumably spend on Darillium. Though with all of that time being their loophole, who's to say they can't pop here and there for a couple last adventures? Here's hoping we'll be seeing one, if not a handful, of said prospective adventures when Doctor Who comes back for Season 10 sometime next year.
CinemaBlend's James Bond (expert). Also versed in Large Scale Aggressors, time travel, and Guillermo del Toro. He fights for The User.
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