Doctor Who: The Death and Life of River Song?

River Song & Tasha Lem

Several months ago I was introduced to Doctor Who. At first, I didn’t really know if the show would stick with me. Flash forward to today, and here I am presenting a theory from ‘The Time of the Doctor’, the Christmas special where Matt Smith bid farewell to his famed role as The Doctor. Since 2009, Steven Moffat has done a spectacular job of tying up loose ends. The end of every season seems to always connect the dots in such a way where you wonder how much of his writing is planned, or just how well the man is at making the most of what he’s created. One of the main complaints of the show though is how The Doctors relationship with his wife, River Song (aka Melanie Pond) was shown. It is at best a fragmented love story, and at worst tragic as they very rarely connect in the same timeline. Doctor Eleven watches her “die” without even knowing who she is.

Coming into this Christmas special, I had no expectations of seeing River Song. And I might not have, or I might have, but there is more than enough evidence to support the idea that Tasha Lem is an incarnation of The Doctors wife. I will break down the evidence piece by piece, starting with the simple and then adding to the gaps.

1.) The name Tasha literally means “Born on Christmas“. Numerically, when added up using numerology, amounts to 13.  Her last name, Lem, is Mel backward. Melody Pond was River’s original name.

2.) At the end of Season 7, there is no explanation given as to how River can communicate with The Doctor once he’s in his time stream. It is considered a “mystery, to be solved”.

3.) The flirtatious nature between The Doctor and Tasha is eerily similar to how he interacts with River. Even the way he kisses her midway through the episode is the exact style of which he’d kiss his wife. They interact like two people who have known each other for a very long time. When Tasha asks to speak with The Doctor in private, his response is

“Anything you have to say to me you can say in front of Clara. Well…quite a lot of it, probably about half, maybe a smidge. Actually Clara would you mind waiting out here please”

4.) Tasha’s chambers in design are eerily similar to the way “The Library” appeared during Tennants run. In addition, the stained glass in her room is that of angels and heaven.  One important fact to note is the Church where Tasha is located is called “The Papal Mainframe”. We already know that the doctor saved her to a Mainframe before her “death”, as well as the connections to this group during the sixth season. Now, because she is the head of the church at this point, this would make her the head religious figure. (I don’t like bringing Religion into the discussion, but for the sake of argument I will) When Christ appointed St. Peter as the head of the church, his exact words were ” “Whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth, it shall be bound also in heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth, it shall be loosed in heaven,“. Why am I presenting this? I’ve had the thought that maybe Tasha was created by the Mainframe for the sole purpose of helping the doctor. By the way, as a casual reminder, the next time your in a library, do be quiet. They usually demand silence while you are visiting.

5.) The Doctor refers to Tasha as someone that has been “fighting the psychopath in her all  her life”. The only other person he’s even used that term to describe is River. In addition, exactly how would The Doctor know this? During an exchange early on, Tasha does refer to the fact that the church literally created a psychopath to try and prevent The Doctor from reaching this point. The two of them exchange a smirk.

6.) We know that The Doctor can push Rivers buttons quite easily. When he is attempting to get her to resist the Dalek transformation, he has to start egging her on in order for her to succeed. He even says that she could never resist a good fight. In addition, the fact that the Daleks were able to kill her repeatedly show that she does have some regeneration ability. The fact that the Doctor was on the planet for 300 years, also would mean that Tasha was fighting for him for an equal amount of time. He does state that she is “against aging”. In the episode “Angels take Manhattan”, River tells Amy that you need to hide the signs of your aging to keep The Doctor interested.

7.) Tasha can fly the TARDIS rather well. In fact, her quote regarding this toward Clara is “”Flying the TARDIS was always easy,” she tells Clara. “It was flying the Doctor I never quite mastered.”  If she is a figure from The Doctor’s past, then when exactly did she master flying The TARDIS? During the series, it’s shown that River can fly it sometimes easier than he can, even revealing that the iconic sound the ship makes when materializing is really just the emergency brake being on by accident.

So then we have one of the bigger questions that need to be answered. Exactly what is the connection between Clara and River?

For that, we have to look no farther than some very peculiar camera angles chosen for the episode. Notice something similar between those rings? They are the exact same, and are on the fingers of Amy and Clara’s grandmother. There’s also the question of why the camera would focus on them in the first place.

Super Evidence

Near the end of the Christmas special, Clara’s grandmother is asked how she met her husband. She was even urged to do so by her son “You know, tell the story with the Pigeons”. Instead, she tells the following story

“I just wanted everything to stop. I wanted nothing to change ever again. If he could just keep standing there, so beautiful… Long time ago”

It was that quote that reminded me of Amy’s fondness for The Doctor and how they departed. My natural resistance against this theory was dissolved when I looked back at Amy and Rory’s tombstone from “The Angels Take Manhattan”.

super super evidence

No dates on the tombstone.  We have no idea when they died, only that Amy lived longer than Rory. All we know (and we aren’t even sure when) is they were transported back in time .  If Amy does in fact perish at 87, then it would not be out of the realm of possibility for her still to be alive and be Clara’s grandmother.

I know some people are probably thinking “but why would they include such heavy references to Amy and River? I thought their story was over”. Well, besides the fact that Alex Kingston is returning for next season as River Song, we also finally have a reason why Clara and River have such a connection. In Episode 13, we have this wonderful teaser to end on:

River: ‘Til the next time, Doctor.
The Doctor: Don’t wait up.
River: Oh there’s one more thing.
The Doctor: Isn’t there always.
River: I was mentally linked with Clara. If she’s really dead then how can I still be here.
The Doctor: Okay, How?
River: Spoilers. Goodbye. Sweetie. -

There has always been a giant question mark about Clara from the beginning. We saw her die. We know that she always shows up at the right time to save The Doctor, even if she’s in plain sight or behind the scenes. We know that by being in his time stream, she was split into a number of clones, and each one having one purpose.

River: Whatever you’re thinking of doing, don’t.
Clara: If I step in there, what happens?
River: The time winds will tear you into a million pieces. A million versions of you, living and dying all over time and space. Like echoes.
Clara: But the echoes could save the Doctor, right?
River: But they won’t be you. The real you will die. They’ll just be copies.
Clara: But they’ll be real enough to save him. It’s like my mum said, “The soufflé isn’t the soufflé. The soufflé is the recipe.” It’s the only way to save him, isn’t it?

So yes, there is a lot here to go on. Then again, maybe this is all much to do about nothing. That’s the beauty of a show about time.

funny isn't it

Anything is possible. Anything can be related. Or

Purely

Purely.

Coincidence

Coincidence.



Categories: Rant, Television

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

9 replies

  1. Melody* Pond
    Pond=River
    Melody=Song
    Melody Pond=River Song

  2. Your timelines are off, Amy’s gravestone is present in 2012, meaning she can’t be the alive in 2013 as a 60-70ish old woman. However I would buy a great grandmother story as the Williams name can be lost on the female side and allowing Clara to be an Oswald.

    • I’ve thought about that as well. However, keep in mind we have no idea when The Doctor brought Clara back to for the Christmas Dinner. We know that the episode takes place in the past as Trenzalore had not yet turned into The Doctors gravesite. Also, I am not above the thought that it was a false grave stone. We already saw that River’s tombstone on Trenzalore was a fake one, so there are a few options. We really don’t even know if they’ve left his timestream just yet. That said, this is all conjecture, and I do agree that the tombstone being present in 2012 could present problems for my theory. It’s possible that the ring I pointed out in the screenshots could have been passed down, however the grandmother’s quote in the episode gives me pause.

      • Can’t that quote work equally well for River, if in fact that Amy is the great grandmother, passing on her ring to River, who wishes that time stood still so that they could have been together longer (rather than passing time lines). Then Clara and Susan reference at the end makes more sense as she may be the actually grand daughter. But then we have to think if Moffat would want to have the Doctor’s granddaughter having a fancy for her grandpa.

  3. But we’ve already met all of River’s regenerations: she dies in the library as Alex Kingston, before that she spent years being Amy’s best friend Mel making sure her parents are together in the first place and her first face was the little girl in the astronaut suit, it’s canon in the series that she only had these three faces. In Trenzalore, she appears because she’s linked to Clara’s mind after the conference call because the doctor saved her conscience (I believe) in the tardis database and actually says goodbye to the doctor as if they would never see each other again (she even says “say it like you’re going to come back” because she knows, or at least thinks, he won’t). What I think is that Tasha Lem is a relationship (don’t know what exactly what kind) that came before River, because she didn’t know Eleventh (she asks “new body ?”) and the doctor meets River for the first time as David Tennant and have no memories of her prior to that day in the library.
    And I don’t believe Amy could Clara’s grandmother. But you’ve made me curious so I picked up my calculator and started thinking. When they first met Amy was 7 years old and they’ve only met again 12 years later, meaning she was now 19 years old (this episode is set in 2008, and the final scene in 2010 making her 21 years old and when she starts travelling with him). The episode The Angels Take Manhattan, they’re in Central Park in 2012 (so she’s 23), the grave doesn’t have a date but it says she died at the age of 87. Assuming she was sent back in time to 1938 (because she did reunite with Rory, they were buried together after all) and had 23 years old, she would have died in 2002 and could possibly be Clara’s grandmother. But I really want this ring to mean something, because if it doesn’t that means that scene was pretty pointless and just wasted time of the special that already felt rushed :(
    My god, I just wrote down a bible. Sorry, not sorry.

  4. But we’ve already met all of River’s regenerations: she dies in the library as Alex Kingston, before that she spent years being Amy’s best friend Mel making sure her parents are together in the first place and her first face was the little girl in the astronaut suit, it’s canon in the series that she only had these three faces. In Trenzalore, she appears because she’s linked to Clara’s mind after the conference call because the doctor saved her conscience (I believe) in the tardis database and actually says goodbye to the doctor as if they would never see each other again (she even says “say it like you’re going to come back” because she knows, or at least thinks, he won’t). What I think is that Tasha Lem is a relationship (don’t know what exactly what kind) that came before River, because she didn’t know Eleventh (she asks “new body ?”) and the doctor meets River for the first time as David Tennant and have no memories of her prior to that day in the library.
    And I don’t believe Amy could Clara’s grandmother. But you’ve made me curious so I picked up my calculator and started thinking. When they first met Amy was 7 years old and they’ve only met again 12 years later, meaning she was now 19 years old (this episode is set in 2008, and the final scene in 2010 making her 21 years old and when she starts travelling with him). The episode The Angels Take Manhattan, they’re in Central Park in 2012 (so she’s 23), the grave doesn’t have a date but it says she died at the age of 87. Assuming she was sent back in time to 1938 (because she did reunite with Rory, they were buried together after all) and had 23 years old, she would have died in 2002 and could possibly be Clara’s grandmother. But I really want this ring to mean something, because if it doesn’t that means that scene was pretty pointless and just wasted time of the special that already felt rushed :(
    My god, I just wrote down a bible. Sorry, not sorry.

    • The thing about the show is a) There is no official canon for it, and b) they do and have changed events to fit the direction they have gone.

      You are giving me dates and times for your argument when in reality, this is a show about time travel. Dates and Times are completely irrelevant. We still don’t know WHEN the Christmas Special took place, or even if it happened in his time stream or not.

      I can appreciate the passion behind your comment, but my theories are just that; theories.

  5. *coldn’t possibly be clara’s grandmother.
    sorry

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