Doctor Who’s sixth series is underway, and the promised reveal about exactly who and what River Song is was not delivered. It may well happen in Saturday’s Day Of The Moon.
One thing’s for sure, River’s statement about killing the best man she ever knew has taken on new meaning. The Doctor is shot by someone wearing a spacesuit, someone who clearly knew how to kill a Timelord in mid-regeneration, and someone he appeared to know. I mention that last part because he seemed to briefly talk to the space-person before he was shot.
Which leads me to this: I’m completely baffled about River Song’s timeline right now. As I understand it, River and The Doctor are passing each other in the opposite direction. The Doctor’s first meeting with River is her last meeting with him. To our knowledge, River hasn’t met The Doctor yet, but on the day that she does, it’ll be the last time he meets her.
Based on that, how does River’s timeline work? Here’s what (I think) we know…working backwards…
- First meeting: Not currently known. River says to Rory in The Impossible Astronaut that when he dropped into her life The Doctor knew everything about her.
- Impossible Astronaut: On her last meeting with The Doctor, River warned him that the next time they meet, he’ll find out exactly who she is, but that this is when everything changes. She witnesses The Doctor being shot and killed by someone in a spacesuit. Goes to 1969 with Rory, Amy and the current timeline version of The Doctor.
- Pandorica/Reboot of the Universe: Poses as Cleopatra in Roman Britain and is present when Gets trapped inside the TARDIS as it’s about to explode.
- Crash Of The Byzantium: Summons The Doctor to meet her on the wreckage of the Byzantium, where they face down the Weeping Angels again.
- Second last meeting: The Doctor supposedly takes River to the Singing Towers of Darillium and gives her a specially modified sonic screwdriver. This all occurs offscreen, but it implies that he cared enough about her to want to save her – this is in contrast to Father Octavian warning The Doctor that he wouldn’t trust River if he knew all about her.
- Silence In The Library: River meets the tenth Doctor, but sacrifices herself in order to save the inhabitants of the Library planet. In return, he saves her ‘memory’ to the huge hard drive on the planet’s computer.
Does this cover everything we know about River Song’s timeline? Help me fill in the blanks and we’ll update this post with what we know and what this means for the character. I’m especially interested about why Octavian would warn The Doctor that he didn’t know everything about River and that he wouldn’t help her if he did. By the same token, The Doctor must’ve gone on to set it up so that River would be saved in the library. So why the compassion at this stage? And wouldn’t River have known that she had no more meetings left in her diary?