River Song. The lady’s a mystery, wrapped in a riddle and sealed in an enigma. And that’s being nice. Ever since she brazenly stepped into the Doctor’s life during the events of Silence in the Library she’s made it clear that she knows way more than she is letting on.
What do we actually know about this mystery lady though? When it comes down to it, not a lot. She’s clearly travelled with the Doctor for many more adventures than we have had the pleasure to see and she definitely knows his name which apparently there is only one way to find out. Now we as viewers have had three stories featuring River and we’re halfway through a fourth but it still doesn’t seem like we know her any better.
Just Who the Hell is River Song?
She is someone from the Doctor’s future, we know that much. And, she is terrified about the moment when the Doctor will discover who she truly is. But why? What has she done in her past that is so awful that she has tried to run away from it so many times? She’s held in prison for killing “the best man she has ever known”, surely that’s got to be the Doctor as that is exactly what everyone who meets him ends up thinking about him (apart from the Daleks, The Cybermen, The Sontarans etc.) but we know the way that the Doctor Who Universe works and the way that Steven Moffat twists the obvious around, it simply cannot be that simple.
River knows how to fly the TARDIS; she seems to know how to do this better than the Doctor. She mentions in The Impossible Astronaut that when she meets the Doctor, she’s young and impressionable and mystified that he knows so much about her. Several internet dwellers are claiming that she is Susan, his grand-daughter whom he first travelled with when the series started in 1963. But we see in the trailer for this year’s Doctor Who that River and the Doctor share quite a flirtatious and passionate kiss, even if Susan was not his real grand-daughter the thought of the two kissing is so wrong on so many levels even if she did now look like Alex Kingston.
Others have speculated that Professor River Song is the Rani. We’re going to go out on a limb here and just say no to that one. The return of the Master was celebrated and fantastic as every good man needs a Moriarty character to reflect him but the Rani was very much shoehorned in during the 1980’s and her return would surely be overkill for the mysticism of the last of the Time Lords:
“The Doctor: But I thought you were dead!?”…
The Rani: No Doctor, I-the Rani, also used a chameleon arch to escape the Time War and hid out from it by posing as someone very close to you for a very long period of time for no apparent reason. And now the Loyhargill is miiiine again…”
(Excerpt from Almost Last of Time Lords but Not Quite)
Looking at this full on, the question of who River Song really is will be answered in but a few weeks. Or at least a part of it will. Maybe she had an unseen role in the Time War, maybe she’s the Doctor’s ex-wife and she just wants an out of court settlement, maybe she’s an android working for the Daleks but secretly working for the Cybermen, we just don’t know for sure.
But somewhere, out there in the universe right now, the Doctor is finding out what’s really happening. And it’s going to turn his world upside down.
Make sure you don’t miss it.
Doctor Who continues this Saturday on BBC One and BBC HD with Day of the Moon.