In the prequel, Dorium Maldovar (Simon Fisher-Becker) is talking to two Headless Monks, giving them the brain of a Judoon which contains a security protocol. All this, he wonders, to imprison one child? God help us if you make the Doctor angry.
The Doctor (Matt Smith) has discovered that Amy Pond (Karen Gillan) has been abducted. He and her husband Rory (Arthur Darvill) track her to an asteroid base called Demon’s Run and gather allies to attack. Rory asks River Song (Alex Kingston) to help, but she begs off because it is here that the Doctor will discover her true identity. At Demon’s Run, Amy is held by Madame Kovarian (Frances Barker), who takes her daughter Melody. Amy befriends a human soldier Lorna Bucket (Christina Chong) who knows the Doctor from her childhood. She gives Amy a token with Melody’s name written in the language of the Gamma Forests.
Aided by Silurians and Judoon, the Doctor’s allies (who are in debt to him) seize control of the base, find Amy, and reclaim Melody from Kovarian. The Doctor celebrates, but Silurian Madame Vastra (Neve McIntosh) informs him that melody has Time-Lord DNA. Could she have been conceived when the TARDIS was in the Time-Vortex? He believes so. Kovarian has set a trap. The TARDIS is blocked by a force-field. Headless Monks attack, killing Silurians, fatally wounding Strax (Dan Starkey) and Lorna, and beheading Dorium. Kovarian boasts of winning to the Doctor and reveals that she will use Melody against him. She has the real Melody in her possession and destroys the Flesh doppelganger that Amy has in her arms.
River Song arrives and the Doctor berates her for not coming to his aid. River shows the Doctor Amy’s token of Melody, and the Doctor takes off in the TARDIS with excitement, telling River to send the survivors home. Amy demands the truth from River. She shows Lorna’s gift and explains that the Gamma Forests have no Ponds—only a river. River Song is Melody Pond.
Alex Kingston kept the secret of River Song’s origin for a long time. Almost all the scripts came with a fake ending. Rory wears the armour of a Roman Centurion. There are cameo appearances by Henry and Toby Avery from the Curse of the Black Spot and the Spitfire pilot Danny Boy from Victory of the Daleks. Baby Melody was played by 3-month-old twins. The Headless Monks were played by stuntmen who improvised their fight choreography. The epic mid-series finale received positive reviews and was nominated for the 2012 Hugo. It lost to The Doctor’s Wife.
Madame Vastra, her lover Jenny Flint (Catrin Stewart) and the Sontaran Strax returned later as a strange crime-fighting Victorian household, with Strax one of the most beloved comic characters in the series. Alex Kingston played her role in two days and never said, “Hello, Sweetie.” The Good Man Who Goes to War is Rory. The story was somewhat influenced by the Seven Samurai. There are no scenes in the TARDIS. Madame Vastra’s words to her chauffeur--“Thank you, Parker, I won’t be needing you again tonight.”—are from Lady Penelope in the Thunderbirds.