While we mourn the loss of one ‘Doctor Who’ companion, we do know another is returning this Christmas in the form of Professor River Song!
It wasn’t too long ago when the announcement was made that the 12th Doctor (Peter Capaldi) would be meeting his wife and if past episodes are any indication, the encounter will be quite the adventure! Needless to say… there will be spoilers, sweetie.
Those who have been following the love affair between the two know that their timelines run in opposite direction of each other: River’s past is the Doctor’s future. However, it was the 11th Doctor (Matt Smith) that River saw last as it was this incarnation who took her to the Singing Towers of Darillium before she left with an expedition to The Library where she encountered the 10th Doctor (David Tennant) and ultimately became a data ghost (‘Forest of the Dead’).
Keeping this in mind, it’s no wonder that when the 12th Doctor sees River, she has no idea who he is! Here’s the official synopsis for the episode:
It’s Christmas Day on a remote human colony and the Doctor is hiding from Christmas Carols and Comedy Antlers. But when a crashed spaceship calls upon the Doctor for help, he finds himself recruited into River Song’s squad and hurled into a fast and frantic chase across the galaxy. King Hydroflax (Greg Davies) is furious, and his giant Robot bodyguard is out-of-control and coming for them all! Will Nardole (Matt Lucas) survive? And when will River Song work out who the Doctor is?
All will be revealed on a starliner full of galactic super-villains and a destination the Doctor has been avoiding for a very long time.
If you were wondering when does all this happen in River’s timeline, Steven Moffat explains:
“It doesn’t really matter, but for those who care, it’s immediately after The Angels Take Manhattan … River’s just seen Matt Smith’s Doctor lose Amy and Rory, and obviously before The Name of the Doctor  because she’s dead in that.”
While some may have thought seeing the 11th Doctor with River a bit cougarish, Moffat is excited and states that the 12th Doctor and her are the “perfect couple”:
“It’s strange because they’re now, in our human terms, the perfect couple. They’re both sexy older people… It’s always been slightly strange before with Matt Smith. Now, yeah, they could actually be married. It works. If you’re a long term fan of the show you might be interested because there’s been a lot of talk about the Doctor and River’s glory years but we’ve never seen them. Here at last we see them as Mr. and Mrs. Who at the height of their powers. It’s great fun.”
Unbelievably, the reason for River’s return actually brings a lot of questions, at least behind the camera. “I’ll be honest,” reveals Moffat, “I brought River Song back in because I thought there was a possibility I’d never write it [Doctor Who] again so that’d be my goodbye.”
Never write for the show again? There were rumors that a new showrunner was being looked at for Season 10 and that the season would be filled with specials much like Season 4 was during David Tennant’s run. However, the shortened season rumor has been debunked by Peter Capadi, so it sounds like the turmoil behind the camera has been resolved.
It will be interesting, however, to watch what would have been Moffat’s last episode for ‘Doctor Who.’ But as Whovians know, anytime River Song is in an episode, you are in for a fun ride!
The ‘Doctor Who’ Christmas Special will air on BBC America on Christmas Day, December 25.