Since River Song is coming back for the Doctor Who Christmas Special (hurrah!), I thought a bit of re-watching was in order. My sister had already suggested watching the episodes from River’s perspective, so that’s what we decided to do. Selecting an order is more difficult than it might seem, though, because there’s so much wibbly-wobbly happening that you can’t just watch them backwards by air date.
We decided to start with the episode when River met the Doctor (and was old enough to know it was him), then continue from there following her adult timeline. I used the timelines on Comparative Geeks and Tardis Wikia as references. What follows isn’t the exact order we watched them in, but it’s the one I’d recommend after re-watching them all.
Warning: watching in this order will leave you emotionally compromised by the end of “Forest of the Dead.” Like, even more than usual when watching Doctor Who.
River Song Episode Order
- “Let’s Kill Hitler” (first time adult River meets the Doctor)
- “Closing Time” (River appears in the final scene)
- “The Wedding of River Song” (events in this episode lead to River being locked up, but the final scene takes place after “Flesh and Stone”)
- “First Night”/”Last Night” (these minisodes cover 3 times periods – right after her imprisonment, 5 years in, and what may be the last time she sees the Doctor before “Silence in the Library”).
- “A Good Man Goes To War” (we’re following River’s adult chronology, but this one comes first on some timelines because she’s born in this episode)
- “Bad Night” and “Good Night” (minisodes where River is mentioned, but not seen)
- “The Pandorica Opens” and “The Big Bang”
- “Rain Gods” (minisode)
- “The Impossible Astronaut” and “The Day of the Moon” (two part episode where River appears as an adult at Lake Silencio, and as a child in 1969. She’s still in prison, but it shows their last/first kiss)
- “The Time of Angels” and “Flesh and Stone” (River earns a pardon from Stormcage)
- “The Angels Take Manhattan” (River says she’s was “pardoned ages ago”)
- “The Husbands of River Song” (according to an interview with Moffat)
- “Silence in the Library” and “Forest of the Dead” (first time the Doctor meets River)
- “The Name of the Doctor” (River references the events of “Silence” and “Forest”)
I love River’s relationship with 11, but I’m still looking forward to seeing how her meeting with 12 goes. I was going to ask where you thought this new Christmas Special would fit into River’s timeline, but it seems Steven Moffat has already answered this. In an interview with Radio Times, he said, “It doesn’t really matter, but for those who care, it’s immediately after The Angels Take Manhattan.”
Any Whovians out there, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this chronology. Are there episodes you’d watch in a different order? Are you looking forward to seeing River again this Whomas?