This morning a slew of details were released about the upcoming Doctor Who Christmas special, including pictures, new sonic screwdrivers/weird trowel tools and an episode synopsis (basically, the Doctor and River Song team up to fight a big robot).
But what’s really got us scratching our heads is the episode’s title – The Husbands of River Song. Apart from tying in nicely with 2011 episode The Wedding of River Song (maybe we’ll be getting The Divorce of River Song in a year or two), it seems to suggest that the time-travelling archaeologist has had a few marriages apart from the Doctor – so who could they be?
To get some ideas, let’s turn to the episode synopsis:
It’s Christmas Day on a remote human colony and the Doctor is hiding from Christmas carols and comedy antlers. But when a crashed spaceship calls upon the Doctor for help, he finds himself recruited into River Song’s squad and hurled into a fast and frantic chase across the galaxy. King Hydroflax (Greg Davies) is furious, and his giant robot bodyguard is out of control and coming for them all! Will Nardole (Matt Lucas) survive? And when will River Song work out who the Doctor is?
From this we can make a few educated guesses. Obviously, the Doctor is one husband of River Song – but could the plural be made up by the “furious” King Hydroflax, who’s chasing after his errant wife? She’d just be matching the Doctor for extra royal marriages, after all.
Or could the “husbands” all be the Doctor? Steven Moffat has previously revealed that in the special River doesn’t recognize Peter Capaldi’s Doctor, having only known Matt Smith’s incarnation (and believing him to have been out of regenerations). When she finally realizes the very different Twelfth Doctor is her former spouse (and with her about to meet David Tennant’s Tenth Doctor within her own timeline), might she consider herself to have many versions of her husband? Trippy.
On the other hand, the “husbands” of the title could be less literal. Maybe River’s “squad” (as mentioned in the synopsis) are the husbands, either through name (they could even be called the “husbands”) or relationship (they’re bound to her in some way).
Only one thing’s for sure – we’ll be super disappointed if it turns out we misunderstood the title, and the whole thing is about Alex Kingston cultivating fields of crops and farm animals. Husbandry is not as exciting on screen as you might think…
Doctor Who continues this Saturday, and the Christmas special will air on BBC1 later this month