Doctor Who: examining River Song's final "spoilers"

Feature Rob Leane 31 Jan 2014 - 06:41

Have we seen the last of River Song, or was her final "spoilers" a sign of things to come? Rob looks at the options

Warning: fittingly, this contains spoilers if you're not up-to-date with Doctor Who.

With all the excitement of The Day of the Doctor, and the heart-breaking regeneration in the Time of the Doctor, River’s final "spoilers" at the climax of The Name of the Doctor has been pushed from the centre of whovians' minds.

If we cast our minds back to that series seven finale though, there’s plenty to speculate about .The episode saw River, in post-library data ghost form, guiding Clara through the giant graveyard on Trenzalore to the Doctor’s tomb.

After Clara’s impossibility was explained as she leapt into the Doctor’s time-stream, River’s data ghost stayed in the room, providing one last mystery for the enigmatic Alex Kingston to leave us chewing on. She quizzes the Doctor, asking "I was mentally linked with Clara. If she's really dead, then how can I still be here?"

At the time, viewers may have thought this was merely a clue from River suggesting that Clara wasn’t really dead. However, in the months that followed, many theories have cropped up about this morsel of information. Let’s look at some of the options.

Option 1: More Alex Kingston adventures ahead

Since River’s introduction in series four, her appearances have generally followed the pattern of her personal timeline running in the opposite direction to the Doctor’s life. While a ‘young’ tenth Doctor saw her die in the library, the eleventh was present hundreds of years later from his perspective for her birth at Demon’s Run and later witnessed her regeneration into the Alex Kingston incarnation.

There is however no technical reason why this pattern has to exist, as far as we know. The fact that one of them is normally ahead of the other with untellable foresight is unavoidable, but they both generally travel around randomly with no particular rhyme, reason or pattern-following. The Doctor has witnessed the birth and death of planet earth, that doesn’t mean he can’t pop down there at any point in its history. Except 1930s New York, he definitely can’t go there.

So why can’t the same be true for his relationship with River? Although Moffat has tied up many time-stream lose ends through the Night and the Doctor mini-series, there’s no real reason River couldn’t pop up in series eight full of her usual swagger, probably mocking Twelve for looking so old, and then reveal in dialogue that she’s just had a bottle of wine with Amy after climbing out of the Byzantium, for example.

In this case then, River’s mystery at the end of series seven would be just reassurance that Clara wasn’t dead, or that somehow, because the Doctor hasn’t seen the last of her yet in his time-stream, he can still see her ghost, for some reason. Wibbly wobbly etc.


Option 2: Further Data Ghost Adventures

River’s big spoiler hinged around the fact that Clara’s absence didn’t hinder the existence of her data-ghost – could this mean that River has found a way to project her data-ghost from the library into the real world indefinitely?

This could mean River could literally pop up anywhere she wanted offering advice and sass This plot device would handily allow Moffat to keep using River without having to actually undo the dramatic events of Forest of the Dead.

The dynamic of the show would change have to change slightly though, seeing as River wouldn’t really be there. Unless we’re in for some more no-one-else-can-see-you snogging. It’s certainly a handy way for the Moff to bring back a popular character without repeating himself with more rebooting and changing of history. River would have no physical form, but could continue to help the show’s protagonist and offer romantic bickering despite being dead, like a saucy Arnold Rimmer.

Would Moffat really go for this option though? With two big emotional farewells surrounding River already, writing in a handy way for her to return as an indestructible assistant would surely seem like a cop-out. Until the day someone destroyed CAL and finished her off for good, anyway.


Option 3: The War River

In the very same episode as River’s big tease, mere moments later in fact, we learnt that it’s not impossible for a Time Lord to pretty much convince everyone that one of his regenerations didn’t exist.

If the Doctor can have Captain Grumpy sulking around in his time-stream – why can’t River do the same? Well, the only problem would be the when. Due to the fact we all know (or do we?) the various stages of River’s life, surely there’s nowhere to fit a secret regeneration. Unless we’ve all missed something…

Looking back at River’s timeline on the show there seems to be two opportunities where River could have turned into someone else. There’s a gap in the narrative where we don’t see River between being an infant at Demon’s Run and a young girl in a space suit. Could there have been a secret regeneration in between? Well if there was, she would have then regenerated into a young girl again, which isn’t impossible. If there were Doctor adventures for this secret incarnation though, some memory loss would have to be written in to account for the rather mute and useless girl in the suit.

Alternatively, when that young girl begins regenerating in the streets of New York, we don’t actually see her become Mels. However, Moffat’s writing in Let’s Kill Hitler retrofits some water tight information, when Mels tells the gang "Last time I did this, I ended up a toddler in the middle of New York". This pretty much nullifies the idea that there was a regeneration in between unless she went back and regenerated in New York again, which would seem a bit odd. Or she could just be lying.

Of course we all know the hot rumour for who would play this new/old incarnation of River – Orla Brady as Tasha Lem. She can pilot the TARDIS, she loves a row, doesn’t age like a normal person, has been fighting a psychopath in her own head for years – there are plenty of clues. Also, she ends up with a Dalek eye-stalk in her head – could this be why River has such a strong link to Clara, because she’s linked through the path-web to Clara’s Dalek Asylum incarnation?

The Doctor’s arch enemies accidentally uniting his companions? It’s practically poetic. And it’s certainly no more ridiculous than other aspects of the show. The only thing that would seem wrong with this option would be bringing back a popular character without the fan favourite performer who played them. But to be fair, that recasting process is exactly why we’ve managed to have Doctor Who for fifty years.


Option 4: Resurrection by the Doctor

We all remember when River gave all her remaining regeneration energy to save the Doctor in Let’s Kill Hitler. We also know the Doctor is pretty trigger-happy with his own energy because he used it to heal River’s wrist in The Angels Take Manhattan.

Well, now the Doctor has a whole set of regenerations, and a whole planet of Time Lords waiting to burst back into the universe. With this power, would the Doctor return to the Library, or wherever River is buried, to repay the life-saving favour and grant her a new cycle?

If the Master can return from certain death a multitude of times, and regeneration energy is now easy to come by, it’s not out of the question that the Doctor could bring River back. The Tasha Lem theory could work in this scenario too as River would have twelve new forms to get through.

The only thing stopping this theory is the fact that River wasn’t 100% Time Lord – she was a human who inherited those characteristics thanks to some post-marital TARDIS bunk-bed action. However, if the writing team can find a way out of the Doctor being shot during his regeneration cycle, or side-step issues like being trapped in his own time-stream, negating this plot-point would be easy if they really wanted to.

Most importantly: If the plot requires it…

So, we’ve gathered that there’s plenty of ways for Steven Moffat, or future show-runners, to bring back River Song if they wanted.

The main thing we should worry about though is why they would want to. River’s very introduction turned out to be a tragic farewell, and she’s had another one since. From a writing stand-point, the emotional impact of these losses is lessened every time she miraculously reappears. If she came back again, any attempt at writing her out in the future would surely be met with scepticism.

So far, Moffat’s team have been fairly good at avoiding the common Russell T. Davies-era criticism of loving your companions too much to kill any of them. The Ponds' swansong was a hugely emotional episode and so far Amy has only popped up for an hallucination since. For a period of the show featuring terrifying new monsters and regular monologues on death, The Angels Take Manhattan felt like a natural way to end a companion’s time on the show, rather than bringing them back repeatedly.

The writers need to decide whether they’re happy to follow the path of bringing people back, or if it’s time to move on. Does Tasha Lem need to be River in order to return as a companion, or is that character cool enough on her own? Certainly, the character garnered a great reaction from fans, even though nothing could stop the River speculation.

What plots could lead to this resurrection/return though? The Doctor is faced with some huge problem only River would know how to solve (the return of Kovarian?) – we could handle that. Or even, the Doctor truly loves River and needs her as a companion (after Clara’s death?), could work if it was written well. River pops up with a few unimportant guest appearances because fans like her? Not so much. One thing’s for sure, if they are bringing River back, they need to have a good reason or it could add a sour point to a much-loved character’s career.

Do you want to see more River? What’s your theory? Let us know in the comments.

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Well we know from SILT/FOTD that an 'older' Doctor has to give her the sonic before she goes back and that he will be wearing a new suit. So that's one story with Capaldi at least...

Just about to write this, if capaldi has a new screwdriver that looks like rivers in SOTL then We can assume we are in for at least 1 more appearance. that to me would be the most perfect goodbye as we've already heard about it

That was pretty much provided for in the First Night / Last Night mini episodes. If you haven't seen them, they're extras on the series 6 DVDs. Or there are transcripts available on the internet.
River didn't say he was older, only that it was a future version of him with a new haircut and a suit.
There's still room for manoeuvre, but it was pretty strongly implied in the mini that the Doctor who took her to the Singing Towers was the 11th.

Those minisodes were well-meaning continuity service, but I think we would have been better off without them really. It was all a bit fast and cheap - a necessity of the format, obviously, but an occasion when leaving it to the imagination (or future stories) would have been preferable.

A few things niggle at me here.
I like River Song's inclusion in the Doctor's arc, and Kingston is great in the role. But looking back, River's line in The Time of Angels - "it's so strange when you go all baby face" - rings hollow when we now know that most of her key interactions with the Doctor were with the 11th.
Surely Moffat could have foreseen at the time that he would have to make the most of Kingston's availability as an actress during Smith's run? So why write that line?

For me her "how can I still be here" is nothing more than giving the Doctor hope that Clara is still out there. But as I see it we will need River back for one key element of missing story:
When did the Doctor tell River his real name, and why was it the only time he could?

One more thing: this article seems to assume that all future stories with River would have to be post-Library. But why? It's perfectly possible for the Doctor to revisit River during her actual life, and I present the court with series 5 to 7 as evidence.

I agree, to an extent. They felt like a writer who has spotted holes and is plastering them over, which feeds into my longer comment elsewhere on this thread.
But personally I'm still glad we did get the holes plastered. Can't stand a hole.

"...probably mocking Twelve for looking so old..."
Which would be a bit rich since she looks older with every appearance than she did when she died. Not that the actress looks ancient or anything, but it is starting to become very noticable.
River just needs to disappear at this point. With a new Doctor it is time to move on to new things. River perfectly symbolised the Pond era of the show in that she was another character that Moffatt just couldn't let go of to the point where they all started to drag the show down. How many times can you say goodbye? Do we really need this to drag on to the point where another stupid "Oh, you can't go to this exact time or place (or fifty miles east of it where we'll meet you after recieving your letter from five years before) ever again," excuse to finally move on with the show?
I was never a huge fan of River, but I never used to hate the character either. With her popping up again as a ghost that opinion is starting to fall pretty heavily toward the hate side. Moffatt needs to stop now before he ruins the goodwill left among the fans.

To be fair to Moffatt (not that I often will be), his run has been filled with "oh wasn't that a great and exciting adventure we had, do you remember that other adventure we had? Let's go now and have an adventure on screen for a while before going on more unsseen adventures!"
For all we know he could have told her at any point leading to that appearance because they were forever off together when the Doctor didn't have a companion on board with him.

Granted, but that would be nothing short of cheating the audience. When the 10th Doctor uttered that line about his name we got a fantastic delivery on a secret that had held its breath for half the story, and it was all the better for promising something equally groundbreaking further down the line.
If they never deliver on that then it will make a piece of really outstanding writing simply look over-ambitious.

More River! However it is managed. She's my favourite character for a very long time. I'd like more Tasha Lem and more Donna Noble and more Madame Vashta too! But of course the real limit on this concerns Alex Kingston's other commitments, I suspect.

Keep in mind that we're dealing with Stephen Moffatt. His entire run on Doctor Who could be described as starting with great writing and then being over ambitious.

Normally I'm of the school of thought that forgives him these transgressions owing to the quality of stuff that hits our screens, and for the sake of continuing to enjoy a show I love.
But when it comes to River's inconsistencies I can see where his detractors are coming from.

I was the same at the start but as his run goes on I find myself less and less able to forgive his bad points. He has no idea how to deal with time travel, being completely unable to keep any internal consistency with its rules and doing things that make no logical sense, he insists on hiring (and re-hiring) really bad writers, he (and those writers) insists on introducing new characters and telling us that they are really important to the Doctor but doesn't give us any reason to care beyond telling us to care because the Doctor has known them for a long time and on top of all that he's so obsessed with this notion of Doctor Who as a fairy tale he has multiple episodes end with people saving the day through the power of love.
I loved Moffatt as a writer for the show and I still think he comes up with some great ideas for the show, but he is really really bad at running the show. He has no idea how to tease out the overarcing plot and forces it into all the "standalone" episodes in ways that make little sense and tend to lessen the impact of both those standalones and the overarcing plot. He gets overly attached to characters to the point of keeping them around long after their usefullness expires and drives any love for them into the ground.
I think it's time the torch was passed, to be honest. Let the man have one more season, but I can't see him improving any as he seems completely oblivious to any criticism people have of the show. That or he's just so far up his own ass he refuses to listen. Either way, Capaldi deserves a better show runner for his Doctor and the fans deserve the same.

Nice to see a critic who can state their case.

Thanks, I've had plenty of practice debating this particular point, lol.

Michelle Ryan was very River like in Planet of the Dead dears, that's worth considering. Would be great to get her back for more episodes.

Agreed! More Lady Christina would be great. :)

The whole river story line was very ambitious, (having two characters with reversed timestreams) and Moffat just about managed to pull it off, but I think its done now. I really hope Capaldoc starts afresh

Good article. Whilst I've nothing personal against the character of River, I do feel there should be a "clean break" with the start of the Capaldi era. It's time to create fresh allies as much as it is fresh opponents. Similarly I hope the Paternoster gang don't return for a while beyond the initial episodes of series 8. The early Tom Baker years did well to gradually drop UNIT. Moffat needs to move the series on. I've no problem with a future return for River Song but not for a series or two perhaps. By then there may be a different Show-runner who could legitimately bring back Moffat for the odd episode and he could deliver, arguably, a better script without the pressures of his current position.

Are people still banging on about the Tasha being River thing? Cos two completely different characters can't share a few traits without being the same person, right?

I always thought that River was mentally linked with Clara due to the sleepy time travel conference?

Yeah, if we're going on that criteria, then 90% of the female characters Moffat has created are also River Song.

Didn't even read this article. Just wanted to say, this character just needs to go away, and take her "spoilers" with her. Nothing more.

I thought it was obvious River was telling the Doctor that Clara was still alive and saving her would work. And Tasha is River? What hogwash. I'd like to see River again, because it was indeed implied she met multiple Doctors, but I think her story met a satisfying ending, and bringing her back would indeed lessen her farewells. I'm all for more of the Doctor's allies, but let's have some new ones, or really old ones. I'm still waiting for that River/Captain Jack Harkness crossover.

Really don't need to see any more of her. It would have made sense to have her interact with Capaldi's Doctor (just to re-enforce the point that she "looks past" the fact that he regenerates and always recognises him as The Doctor) but she popped up so much in Smith's reign, that I got sick of the sight of her.

And I really don't understand the point of reviving her from the library. She had an ending, she also had plenty of excuses to come back subsequently "before" that ending. Why muddle things with an ambiguity of showing her *after* that ending? Does the idea of "Death" mean a single thing in Moffat's Who?

Hey Inkwash - see option 1, that's the one where I mention we could have more stories from River's past :)

Indeed it does, my apologies for overlooking Option 1. I guess I'd focused on the conclusions drawn beneath the banana picture when I wrote that.

Sally Sparrow, I knew it!

Hopefully she won't be making any more appearances, and we won't have to put up with BBC describing her as 'feisty', as they do with all their female characters!

My god, that is the most reasonable, balanced answer I have ever seen on a DW thread.

Hats of to you sir, you're obviously a true fan.

They'll probably move it on a bit, but I fear it'll still be the same unmistakably whimsical Moffat Who. The plot lines that don't really make sense, the Weeping Angels back on merc villain duty, Vastra and co, characters saying "off your pot" and so on.

Reading this thread is very sad and I guess I am not a "true" fan...I love River and think they could keep going with it. There is something very Romana(time lady, snarky, all while being fabulous) about her, I won't even get into how I wish they would bring that character back

Random side point on companion deaths. I'm confused why either RTD or Moffat would be criticised for not killing companions.

I would discount anyone who was killed off in the story in which they were introduced, who I would argue aren't 'companions' in the sense of important long-running characters but guest characters created for a specific purpose - so that takes out Sara Kingdom and Astrid (can't remember what happened to Katarina). I would also discount anyone who lives until their 80s in the past, so that discounts the Ponds, and anyone who regenerates either in a Time Lord way or a different form of regeneration/immortality (Jack, Romana, K9, Grace Holloway in one instance, possibly Peri if I've understood what happened to her correctly). Doesn't that leave Kamelion and Adric as the only killed-off companions? 2 in 50 years? So why the insistence that companions ought to be killed off?

Please oh please can we just move on. I liked River when she first appeared but her time on the show has passed. Bringing her back yet again would make me cringe. I thought it was a bad move to have her in The Name of the Doctor. You could argue she was central to the plot as she knows the name of the Doctor. I would say it would be better for Cara to somehow remember it from when she read it in the Library as at this point some of her memories of that time where resurfacing.

The general feelings for killing characters off if that they generally never stay dead. Too many times the writers have decided it is too downbeat so back they come from the abyss to say hello.

Who and who is not a companion is a difficult discussion. Some have the rule you must have traveled with the Doctor. Others say the role of the companion is more to help the audience relate to the plot. So depending on which one you go with the list chances.

Katarina btw committed suicide by opening a airlock to prevent the Doctor having to give into demands as she was being held hostage. In many ways the same fate as Astrid.

I always felt that in the tennant episode it was heavily hinted that she had met several of his regenerations before she met 11's. So it would fit that she would be seen again, without any complicated story twists or reworkings.

As it was 12 she originally fell for would be interesting to see her 1st meeting with a new dr who wasn't the one she fell for.

Thanks, I thought I remembered her dying in some way! I'd definitely agree they don't stay dead often enough - another reason I only count Adric and Kamelion

I agree, I hope they use the opportunity with Capaldi to do some really fresh, new, fun and serious stories. With the potential return of the Time Lords there is the potential for some really fresh stories. One thing I thought about is that it seems pretty certain that the Doctor will eventually find a way to release Gallifrey the question becomes when in the timeline. This could lead to some great stories, does he bring them back in his present timeline where many races are afraid and hate the idea of their return, dose he bring them back sometime maybe far in the future when most have forgotten about them, does he bring somehow them back way in the past, maybe at the beginning to "reboot" Gallifrey to maybe avoid some of their mistakes. This decision alone, and its repercussions could lead to many great stories.

By 11 I mean Tennant and 12 Smith. Since Hurt I have no idea of numbers any more :s

I liked this article, except for one thing - comparing River with Arnold J. Rimmer. Now, Ace Rimmer, on the other hand.....

River deserves a series as top companion. She has previously said that one day The Doctor just dropped into her life with no warning - apparently he knew everything about her and she went with him to have adventures despite knowing nothing about him, I still think that needs to happen. The Doctor's now aged appearance may halt Clara's crush on him so much that she ends up with someone else - a young teacher from that school she works at perhaps - this could mean the departure of Clara is closer than we think. If Clara leaves after - let's say Capaldi's second series - River deserves to be the next top companion and deserves to be travelling with The Doctor for at least one series.

The return of the "feisty" Alex Kingston would be a logical step for the ineradicably smug bore-fest, Doctor Who has become. Too many time-line games has ruined the programme, for which I won't even be giving my usual cursory glance.

We're assuming that River would need to regenerate to change form to Tasha Lem. They established the use of projection equipment to make people look naked in "Time of the Doctor", but never did anything substantial with it. Tasha Lem is "against aging" like River Song - perhaps her secret is a projection field. I'm not convinced Tasha Lem is River Song though. We'll see.

As much as I loved River, I think having her return now would spoil her emotional goodbye :) we have a new doctor now, therefore its time for new companions (except for clara) :)

What I'm still wondering is where the heck the Doctor's Daughter is. The Moff wanted her to survive so what's his plan with her?

This article has some interesting ideas on how River can continue in the series, which I would like very much since she is my favourite character. Another possibility is getting her out of the Library using Flesh. Then she and The Doctor would be on a more even footing, neither knowing the future of the other beyond that point. Plus if she was in there for a long time, she and Doc would be closer in age. Maybe it is the similarity between Tasha and River, but I got the feeling there was some connection between the Library and the Papal Mainframe. If the latter was compromised by the Daleks, maybe the Library was too, and River would need to get out of there. Well, if fans can think of a million ways to do it, certainly the talented DW writers could manage it if they wanted to and if Alex Kingston can fit it into her schedule.

Remember this is Doctor Who, the show that loves to trample all over emotional goodbyes as much as possible.

River's done. Story played out and goodbyes said. It'll show a terminal lack of imagination if they have to resort to her in the future.

Cake's lovely too, but if you eat too much of it you end up feeling sick.

Still, not eating cake never again would be sad.

The time of her goodbye was rewritten. 11 didn't die on Trenzalore so he didn't go to his own grave there and he never said goodbye to River.

The numbers are still the same.

"Off you pop!"
Nobody's said off your pot.

I think River is suffering from diminishing returns, slightly. I think it was a bit of a mistake to bring her back post-library in The Name of the Doctor, and even more of a mistake to say goodbye. Better to just let her fizzle in the background, UNIT style - you might go for a few series without any River Song stories, and then she'll pop up for a two-parter in series ten and investigate the Tomb of a Billion Scythes (or whatever).

We've seen her beginning, her middle, and her end - I don't think her post-mortem appearance drove her story forward any. It was a bit of a P.S. - "Oh, yeah, also" - which slightly muddied a great ending (the library!), and I don't think I'd want it to lead to another arc. Cos River Song arcs... S6 was great in its ambition, I love the scope and the daring, but it suffered from River's entire life story being crammed into five episodes, and I think also from a lack of humanity. River's always been a bit superhero, which is great, and she's fun, but I think such an arc would have needed a more human element to really lift off - S6 was a bit like the facts of her life, rather than the story. More to the point, I think it was a bit of a sprint to get everything out of the way while they knew all the actors were still in place.

So if she does come back, I think the only option is to detach her from any kind of arc. We've done that, and it was intense. Now let's just have some adventures with a great character.

There isn't one - he just thought killing her was too obvious! It was an off-hand comment that Russell liked and incorporated into the show. I think Moffat had forgotten he said it.

Well, in the original script she just died, but then The Moff swooped in and chanced that. Also, what's the point of her survival if the Doctor doesn't know about it. Or what's the point at all?!

She gets to see the universe! It's just a bit nicer is all. Same reason Ida Scott survives The Satan Pit in an, "Oh, hello, she didn't collapse with the planet" kind of way, and Tony goes into stasis with the silurians rather than dying on the surface in Cold Blood. They're not going anywhere, or planned for a comeback, it's just a nicer way of ending the ep that people might not have seen coming. That's a point.

It's worth remembering that RTD was hoping to get Kate Winslet for River
originally (they'd worked on an early 90's Children's BBC serial together)
which would have pretty much ruled her out as a recurring character. As such, I suspect Moffat simply requested Jenny be kept alive, as a possible back up character for when he took over the series.

fine it's not a phrase I was familiar with (Scottish, what a strange language it can be sometimes), but the point still stands :D If it's gonna written and produced my Moffat, it's gonna be largely the same sort of spiel as we've been getting since 2010.

Scottish? facepalm

She's the ultimate Deus ex machina.

According to The Eternity Clock(game), River has met all the Doctors. She likes some, and finds others not so likable. Although if this is considered canon, not sure.

The Doctor could resurrect her by downloading her mind from the CAL~Matrix thingy into a Flesh body. I figured that or that the Doctor who died on the beach in "Impossible Astronaut" was going to be given the setup with "The Almost People". Or they could have an option where Clara almost dies and River merges with her somehow, or one of Clara's many doppelgangers split by the fuzzy energy time-steam thingy on Trenzalore and that body sparkles and turns magically into River. Maybe he builds a whole new River out of old body parts in a Frankenstein-esque episode... Or Dog knows what.

When you can get people to believe living beings freeze into rock and are quantum locked, you can weave just about any faery tale cloth you want.

Let's also not forget to bring back Dorium in his box and get him a new body too. I think he would be great to have back in his bar and the Doctor visits him from time to time for information and comic relief.

I vote the Doctor just runs into her: maybe at university, or between her release and becoming a professor, as we haven't really seen those periods.

One more thing: while I do prefer Moffat's run to RTD's, the Ponds have only been gone 10 episodes. It's a bit early to say you're glad they didn't come back...

Lets not forget that the doctor still hasn't given River Song the sonic screwdriver that she had in the library! That also can lead to another adventure with River. Personally I love River an I think the goodbye in 'the name of the doctor' was more closure for River than it was for the doctor since he knows that their timelines are all messed up and there is possibility that he will see her again. And I personally think that there is a big posinility that River is Tasha Lem and there is just another mystery! Lol soo yeah that's what I think!

I NEED river song back

I like the idea of her being resurrected. With the Doctor on a new regeneration cycle, having River evolve alongside the Doctor, with their time streams aligning a bit more. Having a character that can flit in and out that the audience are already kind of familiar with, that new writers and actresses can use to mould the character in different ways would benefit the show immensely. I liked the "Mels" incarnation of River and wouldn't be averse to seeing Tasha Lem being outed as the next regeneration of the character, stepping into Kingston's shoes for the Capaldi era...

I personally like this "spiel"... It is reminiscent to me of British classics that seem to have been long forgotten. Moffat manages to weave elements of Dickens and Wells, as well as base/childhood fears into a primetime Saturday show. Where else can you find monsters based on a major feature of every major city in the world (i.e. Statues), where can you find a monster that plays on the fear that we all have as children (Darkness). I am from Devon and say "off you pop" a lot... "Spiel" however is German. THAT is a strange language!

I think that it stems from the question of whether or not they are key traits. It wasn't so much for me that the character herself reminded me of River, but rather the interplay between Tasha and the Doctor. And we have to have something to talk about until we get more detail on series 8!

Yeah OK, but those people aren't the offspring of the Doctor!

Lem. Mel backwards. And Tasha means born on Christmas. Just saying. Maybe River is back for the December 25th Episode??

River will be back if not in series 8, def in series nine to boost viewing figures

Tasha Lem had never seen the 11th Doctor before. Next.

Is it confirmed that River has now 'First met' The Doctor during the last 3 seasons (Excuse me for losing track)? I remember when she met tenant she said the doctor she met was much older... I LOVE the die that this was Peter Capaldi and we got a new exciting insight into how they met. I personally like that she pops up occasioanlly as with Captain Jack - who I wish had appeared during Matt Smith's era. I really hope they both return during season 8.

Is it confirmed that River has now 'First met' The Doctor during the last 3 seasons (Excuse me for losing track)?!?

I remember when she met Tenant she said The Doctor she met was much older... I LOVE the idea that this was Peter Capaldi and we get a new exciting insight into how they met.

I personally like that she pops up occasioanlly as with Captain Jack - who I wish had appeared during Matt Smith's era. I really hope they both return during season 8.

I think by older she implied older in terms of experience and mental age not physical age.

The Doctor could still die on Trenzalore in the future. It was never said the 11th dies there just the Doctor. Therefore it could be the 24th Doctor on his last regeneration of his 2nd cycle that dies there.

I would presume the death of the Doctor would still be a fixed point in time so therefore can not be changed. Not sure though as the Silence created the fixed point when they attempted to kill the Doctor using River.

What returns me to River again is pure selfishness. Her concept is brilliant. And after her meeting tennant 'looking so young', I guess I just got my hopes too high. How cool if she knew him through several incarnations, maybe make her a one season companion for doctor #14 or #15. what an amazing thing that could have been. I know, I know 'Let's Kill Hitler' closes the book on that possibility, but what a shame, really. I guess even knowing that we don't want to ruin the impact of her goodbye like we did with Rose, my imagination wanted River to have known the doc longer, like it was implied.

"Off you pop." is a Scottish phrase???? Wow - who knew??? LOL

Nice counter argument - I would love to see those characters (River - Jack - Vastra, Jenny and Strax - maybe even Craig, Mrs Craig and Stormageddon) pop in from time to time - much the same way that Nicholas Courtney popped in with Peter Davison and Sylvester Mc Coy well after UNIT was done with as a main source of characters.

River could come in as her Data Ghost self - or her flesh an blood self - either would work. Her return could possibly explain the wedding looking ring that Capaldi as 12 seem so to be wearing in his 1 publicity shot with the new costume.

Moffat has create ridiculous scenarios (some we love) but all this chatter about the backwards time relationship (ala Time Travelers Wife) is really just very, very, VERY silly. HE IS A TIME TRAVELER PEOPLE! At any time ANY Doctor past, present, or future can visit and INTERACT WITH River Song. He is a TIME (& Space) TRAVELER! What limitation other than one contrived by the writers to prevent problems with actors that aren't willing to return for a role do you actually think are at play here!?!?! Point... #10 Doctor leaves the Library at the end of said episode. 300 years later in the Doctors time stream he returns to the Library and somehow manages to get River out of the machine and into a corporeal body. So what about that CAN'T HAPPEN???

And have they done "Jim the Fish" yet, or is that one I've missed? They made quite a big deal of him when they were syncing diaries in the episode that took place in the U.S. after the Doctor has supposedly just died and his body burned in that Viking funeral. But I don't remember any character in any episode being named Jim the Fish.

They are available on DailyMotion.

It is interesting to read post along the lines of "we have not seen this or that". It is generally understood that in Doctor Who a lot happens off screen. A classic example of this was we never saw the Doctor meet Mel but it happened (sadly)

Where is this important moment when she learns his real name, too? "Only one reason I would have told you my name, only one time I could," but when is it? They could have just slipped it into "Let's Kill Hitler," but River reacts more like he whispered something more personal to her than to The Doctor. If that was the moment, it feels like a cop-out. I don't want to see a whole new chapter in River's life, because she seems to hint that Matt Smith is the version she is most familiar with, and because she has had quite a story already. But this moment is key, and if it happened offscreen, I'd still like to know the circumstance. If it happened at the Falls, at their second-to last meeting, why then?

The one other clue that everyone seems to be forgetting.

From "Silence in the Library":

River: Look at you. You're young.
The Doctor: I'm really not, you know.
River: Oh but you are. Your eyes! You're younger than I've ever seen you.

This conversation would seem to indicate that River has seen more than just two regenerations of the Doctor.

In which case, she had to have bopped around the time streams of at least one other Doctor as well.

All I want to know is how she got to the libery then can we please move on and get some new ideas

The problem with her being able to know the name of the doctor is that she could have said it, instead of it being this well kept secret from everyone including the actors. It would be the opposite of dramatic irony which this series does play with a bit.

He could go through 10 regenerations on that planet with the rest of the time lords. Also another things about river/tasha lem argument, she remembers that the church tried to kill him during number 8 and as well she brought up the fact that there was a psychopath sent to kill him <- being river song.
Up to whoever which side this evidence goes.

She could have said it just like River did aka off shot so no one would have been any the wiser.

Entering the Doctors time stream could have then messed her memories up again and thus she forgets or at least she tells the Doctor she has forgotten it.

Lady Christina always reminded me of the potential future companion Andrew Cartmel and I think Ian Briggs worked out for Sylvester McCoy. A sophisticated 60s jewel thief who would unlock a large safe to find McCoy's Doctor hiding inside....

More River. Clara stinks.

Yeah, based on what she said in the library, she implies she has met alot more than 2 doctors, so it would seem like a lack of continuity if she doesn't pop up with Capaldi

I've just re-watched this episode and I don't believe River's story is over.. Whilst I agree that the Forest of the Dead ending is where River should die (it's poetic to think she dies whilst the Doctor doesn't actually know her) I think there's a lot more to get out of her character.. I've always felt that she has met multiple doctors, not just David and Matt, and I would really like to see the moment where she's about to go to the Library. River does say that when she meets David that it means the Doctor knew all along how it was going to end and so I would like to see her with Capaldi on an adventure and then at the end she would say that she's got an expedition to go to the Library, maybe she might even see him there.. If that happened I think that it should be the last time we see her though.. I don't want her to become used as a prop, she's an amazing character!

Jim the Fish happened somewhere in the 200 years that the Doctor was going about killing time before going to Lake Silencio.

Actually, we did see the first time the Doctor met Mel, we just didn't see the first time Mel met the Doctor. :-)

In this episode, We can guess that River can see the age of the Doctor by looking his eyes and she saw the Doctor several times (by her notebook and what she said) but it's not sure she saw more than 2 doctors (even if we can imagine she see more than 2)

The name isn't the only key thing we need River back for. We still haven't had the sonic handover...

I've always had a theory that involved Clara being seen in the library in the series 7 finale (although, by the looks of it, it was actually Oswin). I don't think Clara would have needed to be there for that particular period because it was River who saved him in the first place and it looked as if she was there at the end of Forest of the Dead. My theory is that one of the duplicate Claras sacrificed their life to bring back River. I think, that if they do bring back River, they should bring her back as an actual companion, because then they wouldn't necessarily need a big huge reason to keep bringing her back. There have been multiple times during Classic Who where the Doctor would have multiple companions (kind of like Amy and Rory) so why can't that happen with Capaldi?

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