Recap The 2015 'Doctor Who' Christmas Special "The Husbands Of River Song" Before The Next

Simon Ridgway / BBC AMERICA

Another year gone, and another Doctor Who Christmas special to help us forget how difficult the year has been. It's all but guaranteed that while the beloved, long-running sci-fi adventure series is on the air, there will be a break around Christmas for The Doctor and his companions to enjoy the merry holiday. Oddly enough, it seems that Christmas in the Whoniverse is not limited to Earth, but in fact the magic of Christmas has followed The Doctor all over the known universe (as well as the unknown universe). While each special is worth watching in its own right, there seems to be some connection between the upcoming 2016 Christmas special and last year's holiday episode, so a recap of Doctor Who's "The Husbands of River Song" should be useful.

While many Doctor Who Christmas specials provide a bit of holiday fluff, the 2015 installment was actually an important life event for the Doctor — it seemed to be the closing chapter in his love story with River Song. She was a major part of the Doctor's life, especially for the Eleventh Doctor, but it seemed that after "The Husbands Of River Song," the two would never meet again. While River may not be coming back, there is a familiar face returning this Christmas to Doctor Who.


Here's what happened last Christmas on Doctor Who (Be warned, things get a little complicated. As the Doctor says in the episode "Most people need flowcharts"). It seemed that River Song had gotten herself caught up in multiple marriages in an effort to steal a jewel that was embedded in the head of King Hydroflax, a cruel tyrant with a human head and a robotic body that are both separately sentient... and that's just the first three minutes. Song's marriages — both to Hydroflax and to her ally Ramone — cause the Doctor to be jealous, because they had previously been married, though River Song doesn't recognize his latest regeneration.

After incapacitating King Hydroflax, River and The Doctor take his head (still alive, but separate from his body) to the spaceship Harmony and Redemption, where River hopes to sell the jewel in his head. Disaster strikes when all the buyers turn out to be worshippers of Hydroflax (and not happy to see his head removed from his body), and Hydroflax's body has regained sentience by using the head of Ramone — as well as the head of River's servent Nardole — as new heads.


Hydroflax's body, unaware that the Doctor is already there, concocts a new plan to find a head: Use River as bait for the Doctor, and use the Doctor's head upon his robot body (not realizing that The Doctor is already present). River then, in an impassioned speech, lets Hydroflax's body know that the Doctor would never come for her:

"When you love the Doctor, it's like loving the stars themselves. You don't expect a sunset to admire you back. And if I happen to find myself in danger, let me tell you, the Doctor is not stupid enough, or sentimental enough, and he is certainly not in love enough to find himself standing in it with me!"

Of course, he is, so they escape safely with the diamond. In their escape, they crash on Darillium, the planet where River Song and the Doctor are destined to spend their final night together. Instead of putting it off, the Doctor instead sets off a chain of events that results in an incredibly fancy restaurant being built on that planet (because four-year reservations are no obstacle when you have a time machine) and treats River Song to one last night out before their final adventure together. Oh, and nights on Darillium happen to last 24 years.


First off, let me establish that no one is crying. I'm certainly not crying. If I was crying at this selfless act of eternal live that transcends time and space, then someone would be crying and it's already been established that nobody is crying so I can't possibly be crying right now. More importantly, how would a story with such finality play a role in Doctor Who's 2016 Christmas special, "The Return Of Doctor Mysterio," especially if River Song isn't returning? Well she may not appear , but another face introduced in "The Husbands Of River Song" will be joining the Doctor for yet another adventure.

Nardole, River Song's servant whose head was last seen co-piloting the deprogrammed robot body of Hydroflax, will be joining the Doctor for "The Return Of Doctor Mysterio." He seems to be back to normal, but it's not yet clear how. Whatever the reason, it likely stems from the fact that no matter what wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey messes Doctor Who manages to get itself into, the Doctor can solve anything with the power of Christmas magic.