Review: Doctor Who Series 6 Ep 7: A Good Man Goes to War

BBC One, June 4, 2011

SPOILERS!

The Doctor raises an army to rescue Amy and her daughter…

This is an episode that is bound to split fandom down the middle. If you liked The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang and the general slightly lunatic story ideas that populated that, chances are you’ll enjoy A Good Man… which takes many of the same ideas as that season-closer, and turns them on their head. Rather than all the Doctor’s foes teaming up to defeat him, this time he brings a load of them together to assist him in his quest.

There are so many good moments – the first appearance of this universe’s Cybermen, complete with warfleet; the wonderful steampunk Silurian adventuress and her sword-wielding lover; the reveal of the Doctor (even if it was telegraphed from a mile off); some terrific one-liners – but at its heart is a great central concept: has the Doctor effectively become the embodiment of everything that he hates?

As with The Pandorica Opens, Matt Smith is given a great deal of contrasting material to work with: his quiet scene with the young cleric at the end when he gives her the closure she’s been looking for is counterpointed with his seething anger at River before she explains who she is, and Smith carries both off in a way that some of his predecessors in the role struggled with and in the end simply couldn’t.

There are still plenty of questions for the second half of the season to answer: okay, River is a grown-up Melody Pond, but we still don’t know who the “good man” was that she was imprisoned for killing. Could it be patricide? Or is it the 1100 year old version of the Doctor? And why did the TARDIS explode on Amy’s wedding day? Hopefully the melodramatically titled Let’s Kill Hitler will start to provide some answers.

Verdict:  Crazy, mad fun.  8/10

Paul Simpson

Click here for our review of episodes 5 and 6

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