The Husbands of River Song
The Husbands of River Song is the 2015 Christmas special for the British science fiction television show, Doctor Who, and will air on BBC One on Christmas Day, 2015. Although unconfirmed, it is expected to be written by Steven Moffat. This Christmas special will see the return of River Song, meeting this incarnation of The Doctor for the first time, in her timeline.
On Christmas Day 5343 on the human colony of Mendorax Dellora, the Doctor is mistaken by a servant, Nardole, for a surgeon appointed by River Song to attend to her dying husband, King Hydroflax. River Song, who has not yet met the Doctor’s present incarnation, fails to recognize him and increasingly frustrates him with her flirtations with Hydroflax. River takes the Doctor aside to discuss the operation he is supposed to be performing; the Halassi Androvar, the most valuable diamond in the universe, has become lodged in Hydroflax’s brain during a raid on the Halassi vaults and is slowly killing him. River wants ‘the surgeon’ to remove his entire head, considering it quicker and easier.
They are interrupted by Hydroflax who has listened to their conversation. He detaches his head from his mechanical body and orders it to kill them. While River defends herself the Doctor grabs Hydroflax’s head and threatens to put him in the garbage disposal, creating a stalemate and allowing Ramone, River’s actual husband, to teleport her, the Doctor and Hydroflax’s head outside of the ship. Believing Nardole to have information about River, Hydroflax’s body decapitates him to use his head as its own.
Although the Doctor is convinced that River knows who he is, she denies it. She reveals she purposely crashed Hydroflax’s ship in their location knowing the Doctor would be in the area with a TARDIS. Being unfamiliar with his new set of regenerations she has an incomplete set of his faces and Ramone has only been able to find the TARDIS, not its owner; River decides they will just have to borrow it instead. However the TARDIS’s safeguards prevent it from taking off when it detects that Hydroflax’s head and body are respectively inside and outside the TARDIS.
Hearing Nardole calling for help, Ramone is tricked and uploaded into Hydroflax’s body as well. Hydroflax’s head allows his body to locate the TARDIS, and using Ramone forces its way inside. With Hydroflax’s head and body now both in the TARDIS it is able to travel to the starship Harmony and Redemption, where River requests that the Maître d’, Flemming, deadlock seal the baggage hold in order to prevent Hydroflax’s body from pursuing them further.
Rather than return the diamond to the Halassi, River reveals that she intends to sell the diamond to a buyer named Scratch, who has secretly filled the meeting point with members of his own species. After receiving payment, River and the Doctor discover that Scratch and his compatriots worship King Hydroflax and are after the diamond in his honour. Despite attempts to hide the bagged head containing the diamond, they are stopped from escaping by Flemming, who was tricked into entering the baggage area by an under-duress Ramone. Flemming has promised Hydroflax’s body an even greater head, the head of the Doctor, and believes that River Song will be the perfect bait to get it.
Sensing that Hydroflax’s head is beyond recovery and will die imminently, Hydroflax’s body destroys it, leaving only the diamond. River is asked for the whereabouts of the Doctor, but she explains that although she loves the Doctor they are mistaken in thinking that he loves her enough to find himself with her, as she believes the Doctor to be incapable of falling in love. Seeing the steady gaze and mild smirk on the Doctor’s face, River realizes he’s been with her all along and the Doctor confirms this by saying, “Hello, sweetie.”
Being a time traveller, River is aware that the ship is about to be crippled by a meteor strike, which she uses as their escape plan, taking the diamond in the process. The Doctor uses Scratch’s universal bank transfer device to overload Hydroflax’s body, before heading to the ship’s bridge. While the ship is crashing, River realises that they are heading towards the planet Darillium – home to the Singing Towers mentioned by the future River as the place where she spent her final night with the Doctor (“Forest of the Dead”). Realising that they’re unable to save the ship, they flee back into the TARDIS, but the impact of the crash knocks River unconscious.
After avoiding taking River to Darillium for as long as possible to avoid their last date together mentioned by her future self, the Doctor decides to give in to the inevitable. After travelling to the next morning, the Doctor suggests to a man searching for survivors of the crash that he build a restaurant where they’re standing, with a view of the Singing Towers, and gives him the diamond to fund its construction. Travelling forwards in time once again, the Doctor books the table on the balcony for Christmas Day in four years’ time. When River awakes she is told that the Doctor is waiting for her at their table. Hydroflax’s body, now peacefully controlled by the heads of Ramone and Nardole, was pulled from the wreckage and put to work as a waiter in the restaurant.
The Doctor gives River a present; the sonic screwdriver she will use in the library. As the pair admire the Singing Towers, River asks whether the stories that this will be their final night together are true, to which the Doctor only responds by saying, “Spoilers”. The Doctor insists there’s no way to avoid the end of their times together and refuses to tell River the future, but informs her that one night on Darillium lasts for twenty-four years, giving them a long last date. As the two smile at each other, the words “And they both lived happily ever after” are displayed on-screen.