Forest of the Dead – S30 (4) 9

Home Forums Episodes The Tenth Doctor Forest of the Dead – S30 (4) 9

This topic contains 93 replies, has 30 voices, and was last updated by  VickyMallard 1 month, 3 weeks ago.

Viewing 50 posts - 1 through 50 (of 94 total)
  • Author
  • #13744
    Craig @craig

    The second half of the Library two parter. The Doctor tries to reason with the Vashta Nerada while Donna leads an alternate life. We find out the secret of the little girl and how the Library ‘saved’ thousands of people. Sacrifices are made but, once again with Moffat, everybody lives – well, kind of…

    Anonymous @

    Miss Evangelista:  ‘I have the two qualities you require to see absolute truth:  I am brilliant, and unloved.’

    That is the bleakest thing ever said.

    Anonymous @

    Oh, and … ‘But Mummy, sometimes when you’re not here,  it’s like, we’re not here.’

    ‘Even when you close your eyes, we just … stop.’

    ‘Well, Mummy promises to never close her eyes again.’

    A bit of Blink reference there?  Albeit in the opposite.  Very clever-clever if so.

    PhaseShift @phaseshift
    Time Lord

    I think the one thing I take from this is that it’s an early showcase for how SM would subvert the structure of a Doctor Who finale.

    In the RTD era we kind of new where we were. At the end of the penultimate episode we’d be confronted with THE ENEMY – Daleks, Cybermen + Daleks, Master, Davros and Daleks, Master again. We knew what to expect in the final episode.

    The start scenes of Donna’s bizarrely normal virtual life really throw you, and do foreshadow the kind of rug-pulling that went on in his final episodes in Series 5, 6 & 7. Could anyone predict the content of The Big Bang, Wedding of River Song and Name of the Doctor before seeing them?

    There is that sense of playing with the perception of time as well:

    Dr. Moon: “You’ve done so much in seven years, Donna.”
    Donna: “Sometimes it feels more like seventy. Mind you sometimes it feels like no time at all.”

    Lots of the River foreshadowing as well.

    The Doctor: “Why would I do that?” (About giving River his screwdriver).
    River: “I didn’t pluck it from your cold dead hands if that’s what you’re worried about.”

    I did feel sorry for Donna. Thinking she’d imagined the perfect man, and he was quite real and looking for her as well.

    I’ve written before that River’s fate (uploaded to CAL to continue her life) mirrors the fate of dead Time Lords (brain patterns uploaded to the Matrix computer on Gallifrey). Perhaps another foreshadowing of her semi-Time Lord biology.

    I think I’ve been critical of some two parters in the past. I don’t think this will ever be one of them. It takes the story in an unexpected direction, builds on the tension of the previous episode and delivers an end that is laced with speculative questions about who the hell River is/was. Pretty fab. With shambling space suit Zombies – which is always a bonus.

    I can’t believe we’ll be delving into SMs showrunner era next! The Eleventh Hour. An episode I’ve probably watched too many times. I think I may not be alone there.

    ScaryB @scaryb

    Ah, that was great!

    @Shazzbot – nice callout on the opposite to blink ref. Except in this case it’s the thing that’s going to keep her trapped (although keep her kids safe). Neat. Donna’s agony at not wanting to believe everything she thinks is true, isn’t.

    I jumped off the sofa when Cal zapped her Dad. And just as that’s sinking in, she zaps Dr Moon as well, who up to that point, I suspected of controlling everything. And the physical books as the source of the Vashta Nerada – that’s devious. I’ll never pick up a book again, LOL.

    Anyone else think of Clara when Ms Evangelista turned up as veiled Victorian woman? (I was slightly disappointed when she lifted her veil – I’d’ve been squeeing all over the place if we’d never seen her face).

    And that ending! Happy ever after from a child viewer’s POV, but decidedly with an edge for the adult one. Especially when we know River’s future/past (this gets complicated!) history with the Dr. It seems so much the opposite of what she’d wish for herself; but maybe even she would think it’s better than being completely dead.

    Anonymous @

    @phaseshift – what I find so compelling about this episode is how gut-wrenching River’s end was.  At the time, she was nobody we knew; but the divine Ms Alex really sold her lines about not re-writing time – ‘not those times – don’t you dare!’

    Knowing what we do now about her wibbly-wobbly timeline with the Doctor, it’s even more poignant to hear her say that she now knows that her last times (that she remembers in her timeline) with the Doctor are now shadowed by what must be his awful sorrow at his impending loss of her.  Her empathy for his [future] pain is extraordinary.

    Also, Donna’s alternate-universe life with her ‘perfect’ man was amusing but also painful to see, for what an insight it was into Donna.  And that moment 10 and Donna had together at the end summed it up so well:   ‘Is “all right” really special TimeLord code for, “really not all right”?  Cuz I’m “all right”, too.’   She had had to reassess herself as someone whose Perfect Man was beautiful but couldn’t speak.  Which I imagine isn’t someone she would have (before this episode) decided was really so perfect for her.

    Fast forward to her in lively argument with her fiance in 10’s bow-out 2-parter — naaah, she never really wanted someone so docile and compliant.  But as contradictory as we all as humans are, Donna had a fantasy, which she had the amazing opportunity to (sort of) live; and I think she was sad that such a version of herself couldn’t ever really be reality.

    Anonymous @

    @scaryb – I too, thought that Doctor Moon was controlling everything when I originally watched these eps.  And I had pre-bonkers theorising dark-side thoughts about the prominence of his name: ‘Doctor’ Moon.

    Had I had a forum like this to vent in when these eps originally aired, I’d have been all over that.  🙂

    I’d’ve been squeeing all over the place if we’d never seen her face

    But, I was squeeing all over the place when she did lift her veil!  The child Who-watcher within went running out of the room at that point.  🙂

    ScaryB @scaryb


    I like your comments re rugpulling. (Add the 50th to that list as well!)

    And yes, some beautiful details like Donna’s perfect man existing and she just misses him.

    The leads are all in great form, and interact well with each other. Tennant in particular is great with just a look or inflection.

    Favourite lines in a script full of them –

    Donna “Is “I’m alright” special Time Lord code for “I’m really not all right at all?” 😆

    Dr: Time can be rewritten

    River: Don’t you dare! Not those times. not one line


    Dr: “She folded them into her dreams and kept them safe…” (followed by the Dr comparing his own mind to one with 4,000 different people in it).

    Further to River’s attitude to being uploaded – she doesn’t look too thrilled when it’s being explained what happened to Cal. On the other hand she doess know where she is, and she does have the diary with her.

    The motivation for keeping secrets is “family” (to keep them safe).

    And I just love the last scene, with no words. So much packed into a simple click of his fingers.


    ScaryB @scaryb


    Snap – sorry for duplicating a lot of what you said; posting synchronicity 🙂

    Her empathy for his [future] pain is extraordinary

    Agree very much with that line. As you said, we don’t even know River at this point and the audience goes through the same journey as the Dr in getting to know her; her self sacrifice ensures that we know this is a more than averagely brave person (ie definitely someone who could be worthy of the Dr). Her voiceover also confirms her depth of knowledge about the Dr, and her influence on him is already seen in the finger snap.

    @phaseshift and @htpbdet were discussing the audio recordings of The Web of Fear on another thread and remarking on how much Troughton can convey through voice alone – I think both Tennant and Kingston also have this ability and clearly demonstrate it here.

    ScaryB @scaryb

    The other notable thing about this story is that again it’s a “small” story, in the classic Who “base under seige” tradition. The threat is to a small number of people, not the end of the universe. Well, there’s the 4022 people trapped in the datacore but as we don’t know them I’m not counting them!

    Nice synchronicity in our viewing this week – in the 51st century with  this story and the Talons villain coming from then.

    Anything else of the Moff mind to be gleaned from this? (Feel free to add):

    – Long term planning – all the refs to Dr/River history/future – I’d forgotten just how much is set up/hinted at here

    – Using secrets to try to keep family safe

    – The importance of family, esp children, in happiness (both Donna and River are set up with a “perfect” digital family with boy, girl both aged around 7)

    – Extreme timey-wimeyness

    – Illusory worlds

    – Consciousness/soul preserved after body death (possible similarities to the TL matrix)

    – Rugpulling (thanks @phaseshift)

    Anonymous @

    @scaryb – but River’s CAL-life has three beds i.e. three children.  Am going to have to re-watch, but surely that’s significant?

    HTPBDET @htpbdet


    Yes, totally agree: Tennant and Kingston do have that vocal skill.

    It’s a wonderful gift or a finely tuned talent- or both.

    PhaseShift @phaseshift
    Time Lord

    @scaryb and @Shazzbot

    I also love River’s end monologue which echoes the “everyone lives” sentiment of Doctor Dances.

    When you run with the Doctor, it feels like it will never end. But however hard you try, you can’t run forever. Everybody knows that everybody dies. And nobody knows it like the Doctor. But I do think that all the skies of all the worlds might just turn dark if he ever, for one moment, accepts it.

    Everybody knows that everybody dies. But not every day. Not today.

    Some days are special. Some days are so so blessed. Some days nobody dies at all. Now and then, every once in a very long while—every day in a million days when the wind stands fair and the Doctor comes to call—everybody lives.

    Have this weeks confidential:

    ScaryB @scaryb

    Ah, great Confidential (RIP DW Confidential), thanks for posting.

    <goes off to get more tissues… really watery eyes for some reason> 😥

    ScaryB @scaryb

    @Shazzbot Further thoughts re your comment about River’s empathy for the Dr’s future pain – she also realises how much their relationship is built on this (his first/her last) meeting – and on the spoilers she lets slip. For me a key part of River is her underlying insecurity, that little doubt about whether the Dr really loves her as much as she loves him, which mostly she covers over with a mask of confidence. (Which leads in neatly to their parting scenes in NotD)

    Re Moffat tropes – 1 more occurred to me – Killing off a future major character in their first appearance!

    Miapatrick @miapatrick

    Fascinating watching this after Eleven.  I got a sense of River, in a timey-whimey way, influencing the development of the Doctor. After all her words about ‘her doctor’ we see Ten win more time from the Vashta by telling them to look him up. This is something Eleven does in his first episode- something River does in the last episode of his first season. I quite like this thought because it gives a sense of the influence between them going two ways.

    Tate was brilliant in this episode. And Moffat tends to make me uncharacteristically romantic- I always wished she could have been given her silent, gorgeous, adoring husband back at the end. She wouldn’t have needed to know where he came from. It does feel like a tragedy disguised as a gag, that she looses him because of his stutter.

    I’ve always wondered about the different responses. River: I hate you sometimes. Ten: I know. Eleven: You don’t.

    And Rivers line about time being re-written: Not those times, not one line, don’t you dare. I think that was one thing that was oddly seductive about River to Eleven- knowing that you would inspire so much love in another person, that could be very attractive to a ‘lonely god’.

    PhaseShift @phaseshift
    Time Lord

    One thing about viewing these episodes like this is they they have made me watch some old episodes from the period the G blogs didn’t exist. After the SM retrospective, the 50th and the Christmas special it might be interesting to fill in some of the episode gaps from Series one to five in a number of runs somehow, either by continuing to focus on writers, or maybe distinct arcs.

    Jumpting ahead a bit, I know, but any thoughts?

    Anonymous @

    @phaseshift – well, one idea might be to watch all episodes where the 51st century is name-checked or travelled to.  Although, that might be most of them!  😀

    ScaryB @scaryb


    That’s a good idea. But maybe we should wait to see what the 50th and Xmas throw up – some themes might grow naturally out of those.

    (Loved Matt’s comment at the Proms “there’s only 4 months to go!”)

    @Shazzbot see @wolfweed‘s comment on Talons5 thread – lists BG refs to 51st century (not that many of them)

    Anonymous @

    @scaryb – I might have mis-understood @phaseshift.  When he said ‘series one to five’ I just assumed he meant AG, not BG.

    I agree with you, though, about this:  “maybe we should wait to see what the 50th and Xmas throw up – some themes might grow naturally out of those”

    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip

    Catching up – I had to do the equivalent of watching this on DVR 🙂


    It seems so much the opposite of what she’d wish for herself; 

    Well, we now know whose daughter she is. Rory’s. Rory, who waited over 2000 years for Amy to come out of the Pandorica. And she’s also done something else; given that she was stolen from her parents, she’s making sure that the children in this virtual universe (even the virtual ones) have a real parent to look after them. And yes, family is a terribly important theme for Moffat.

    Couple of things I noticed: we’ve seen (in one of the DVD extras – Last Night) the Doctor take River to the Towers of Delirium. But here, she says that the Doctor had “a new haircut”. In the DVD extra, he doesn’t.

    And now – they’ve given Matt Smith permission to have a very drastically obvious new haircut. Which kind of ties in with something I’ve always felt; that the River we see here is subtly different from the River we see from the Wreck of the Byzantium onwards. Is her insistence that the Doctor doesn’t change time slightly ironic – because she already knows that his timeline will change?

    The other noticeable point is that she seems to be dropping spoilers all over the bloomin’ place. Especially what’s just happened before she came to the Library; it’s practically a set of instructions. Take me to the Towers of Delirium. Give me your screwdriver. Possibly it may translate as ‘I have no idea what your plan is, but I know you well enough to guess you have one.’ 🙂



    Anonymous @

    @bluesqueakpip – ooh, I missed that ‘new haircut’ line.  You are our investigative queen, you are.  🙂

    And all that previous speculation we all had on how fast Matt’s hair could grow, or if a realistic floppy-fringed wig could be rustled up …

    You’re right about the spoilers, though … they bothered me upon re-watching this episode.  And the story of Derilium (?) at the end had a slightly rushed quality, almost manic, as if she wanted to make sure he heard as many details as possible and would therefore ensure that experience actually did (will) happen just as in her treasured memories.

    janetteB @janetteb

    I wonder just how much of River’s background Moffat had devised at this stage. Assuming that he knew he would be showrunner by the time the episode was produced, I would guess that he had at least a sketchy idea of her future. She was too important a character to the Doctor to appear in just two episodes which is I think one of the reasons that  I did not initially warm to her. Moffat has said that he was inspired by The Time Traveller’s Wife indicating that he intended to develop the character and their relationship in future episodes. I guess he didn’t have to be the showrunner to do that. I would guess that he had decided upon making Ameila her mother by the time he began work on the next season hence the surname “Pond”. I wonder if he did toy with the idea of her being the Doctor’s daughter. He certainly teased the audience with that expectation in AGMGTW.

    If the man whom Donna was married to in the library was real then probably the children were too. But they would have been released when he was so the children R.S is caring for are evidently not the same ones. I have never been quite sure what to make of that last scene of River with the children. IT was not consistant with the character as she portrays herself but the I always feel that River is putting on a tough act most of the time. Only occasionally do we glimpse the vulnerable person within. The bravado is a shield and top marks to Alex Kingston for conveying that in her performance.  As @bluesqueakpip (I always have trouble tying that) pointed out she is Rory’s daughter and is as Rory’s daughter that we see her at the end. I wonder how much R.S. influenced the character development of Amy and Rory.

    Apologies if my ramble makes no sense. Too many coffees to keep awake today.




    ScaryB @scaryb

    @bluesqueakpip @janetteb @Shazzbott

    She’s Rory’s daughter”   You are absolutely right of course!

    New suit and haircut – Like it, now that’s devious. (Did Matt not have a new suit in the DVD extras?)

    And yes for someone who insists on not revealing things because of “Spoilers” she’s fairly piling them on here. And (presumably) this River doesn’t know what happens next.  She just throws in everything he did on their last meeting, assuming it might get her rescued. But it also sets up her “rescue” in the first place <head ‘splodes 😉 >

    JanetteB – I posted a link (on SitL) to an interview with Moffatt in Aug 2011 where he says that River to be Amy’s daughter was always plan A – hence Pond, and various similarities in their behaviour. (And yes, agree, impressed how much Kingston has River’s character nailed here)

    Re the kids – Miss E said all the children were the same (to save memory space), but you’re right Shazz – there are 3 in River’s care at the end.







    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip

    @scaryb, @Shazzbot, @janetteb

    Apologies for having such a difficult screen name – it was the Guardian’s fault; I did want something simpler, but someone else had grabbed it.

     there are 3 in River’s care at the end.

    They are CAL and the two ‘virtual’ children. So CAL, who’s a real little girl, now has a real parent rather than a computer program. The two virtual children both need a parent to exist and are self-aware enough to know when they don’t exist. They knew they just ‘stopped’ when Donna wasn’t there.

    While the last scene isn’t consistent with the character as she portrays herself, it is consistent with two things. Firstly, Amy’s comment about Rory – that he’d always wanted kids, even when he was a kid. Secondly, that she’s married to a man she cannot have children with.

    As to that last, I don’t mean necessarily in the biological sense. But the attack of the GI on the Doctor’s timeline means that – if River did have the Doctor’s child – she couldn’t possibly let him know that. (I’m still deeply suspicious about that little boy that Amy and Rory adopted.) She couldn’t let the Doctor have any contact with the child whatsoever until he’s past the point in his timeline where the GI has access.

    That is, past Trenzalore.

    But again, the point that Amy and Rory adopted a child may simply be a reflection of what happens at the end of this story; finally in a position where she can adopt and bring up children, that’s what River does.


    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip

    Oh, and another minor point that I noticed. River describes the Doctor as “That Impossible Man.”


    Anonymous @


    While the last scene isn’t consistent with the character as she [River] portrays herself, it is consistent with two things. Firstly, Amy’s comment about Rory – that he’d always wanted kids, even when he was a kid. Secondly, that she’s married to a man she cannot have children with.

    Well, this is Steven Moffat really playing the long game ( ! ).  Or is it?  From @scaryb ‘s interview, it appears that Moffat only knew that River would be back, and back as an extremely important recurring character.  He said he only knew River would be Amy’s [and presumably Rory’s] child when they started scoping out Amy’s arc.

    Not having any knowledge whatsoever about how Who arcs are written, I’m wondering if the whole Rory-as-nurturing-and-wanting-kids character point could have come solely out of that final scene of River in the Library, being the consummate tucking-in Mummy.  Would SM really have done that – have written such a major part of his later arc (which of course leads to Amy and Rory almost divorcing, which has repercussions for Asylum of the Daleks, etc.) based on a single scene from years before?  To show how River truly is Rory’s daughter?

    It’s possible, I’m sure.  My first instinct is to say that River was mirroring Donna in this episode:  becoming a Mum in the Library when in real life, neither was.  Which makes my teeth grind slightly the more I think of it, because does SM really believe that all women, when placed into a fantasy virtual reality environment, really only desire to be a Mum?  (unless their ones-and-zeros get mixed up, and they become both brilliant, and unloved [i.e., ugly])

    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip

    Which makes my teeth grind slightly the more I think of it, because does SM really believe that all women, when placed into a fantasy virtual reality environment, really only desire to be a Mum?  

    @Shazzbot – and this is where people start muttering ‘mysogyny’ – without taking a good hard look at his male characters. His male characters, by and large, have a strong desire to be a Dad. It’s one of the major plot points in his rather weird ‘Jekyll’ – both sides of Robert Jackman, the ‘Jekyll’ and the ‘Hyde’, want and love his children.

    I always joke that when Moffat took over Who, he saw a strong, independent, single person – and said ‘this man needs to get married.’ 😀

    The correct answer to the problem is to ask – what would happen if it had been the Doctor who’d gotten uploaded into the Virtual Reality Environment, and found that it was going to take possibly forever to get himself out again? What would he have done about CAL – a little girl whose only ‘parent’ was a computer program? And those two little ‘children’ who are only real with a parent? And who know that they’re not really real?

    We know the answer, because we’ve seen him do it. He took Susan with him, he rescued Victoria, he took Ace with him and tried to heal her (in a manipulative sort of way, but it worked). If you replace ‘River’ with ‘the Doctor’, that last scene would have almost certainly been – the Doctor tucking the kids into bed after telling them one of his adventures as a bed-time story.

    ScaryB @scaryb


    Brilliant spot on the 3rd child being CAL. That’s perfect!  <happy now :-D >

    And she has her fellow crew (with Miss E reformed?). And she’s in the biggest library in the universe (as Moffat points out – LOL, his own idea of heaven!) so presumably she can also keep up with/research what’s going on with the Dr if she wants to. That opens up a number of possibilities. Does she know about Clara when they meet in NotD, if not at the start of the conference-call, then after they meet up again on Trenzalore?

    @Shazzbot – re that interview – I may have read it wrong, but  my understanding of it is that Amy and Rory were created as River’s parents. I would not be in the least surprised to find out that it was planned or at least drafted with River’s first appearance.

    One other thing about SitL/FotD is Dr Moon – he’s very much in a Doctor-ish role (although originally he seems more Master-ish. <Adds Moon to long list of things to watch out for>

    PS Don’t change @bluesqueakpip name – it suits you!!! (just forgive us for the occasional typing dyslexia 😉 )

    ScaryB @scaryb

    Just wanted to highlight – classic creepy moment – the Dr is talking to the VN in the spacesuit – and the 3 shadows are slowly creeping out towards him. Eeeek!

    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip

    @scaryb – I also loved the way they actually managed to make the shadows go ‘Oh, SH*T!’ when they looked up The Doctor.


    Anonymous @

    @bluesqueakpip @scaryb – I was sure someone here had mentioned the mirroring of the Doctor telling the Vashta Nerada to ‘look me up’ with River saying the same thing later to a Dalek.  But I’ve re-read all these posts and it’s not here – perhaps it was on the SitL thread?

    Anyway, you’re right Bluey, the shadows quite clearly make that impression when they retreat!  Compare and contrast, though, with what happens when River issues the same command to that Dalek.  The Dalek immediately starts trembling ‘Mercy … mercy’ and then River blows it away.  Whereas the knowledge of who the Doctor is causes the VN to collapse.

    Eeenteresting, as they say … 🙂  Are we to infer that knowledge of who the Doctor is means a foe realises there’s no point in asking for mercy – and that knowledge of who River is causes a foe to think they have a chance at begging for mercy?


    Anonymous @

    @Shazzbot – Actually, the Dalek in The Big Bang  has that reaction to looking up River Song, not the Doctor.

    I seem to recall someone drawing a parellel to the Atraxi’s response in the Eleventh Hour, but I can’t find that either.

    Are we to infer that knowledge of who the Doctor is means a foe realises there’s no point in asking for mercy – and that knowledge of who River is causes a foe to think they have a chance at begging for mercy?

    Actually, I think it was meant to be the other way around. In The Big Bang encounter, the Dalek says “Records indicate you will show mercy, you are an associate of the Doctor’s.” River replies “I’m River Song. Check your records again.” To me, this would indicate that the Daleks’ record show that the Doctor and most of his companions are merciful, but River is not.

    ScaryB @scaryb

    @Shazzbot @MadScientist72

    Re “looking up” – parallels – The Dr and River confrontations, tho mirrors, are different. The Vashta Nerada are given the option of backing off for a day (till the 4022 survivors can be teleported out to safety) then they get their (albeit meatless) library back, River isn’t going to offer the Dalek any sort of deal – it’s blasted or nothing. Presumably their respective records (back in the day when the Dr had one) confirm that both generally mean what they say ie the Dr will honour a deal, and River can and will destroy a dalek! (The VN back off and live to lunch another day, the Dalek knows it’s doomed).

    On the subject of Library records – just wondering if the Dr’s records in THE Library have now also been deleted – does River know this and/or is she aware of it happening? (See my earlier post re the Library being Moff’s idea of heaven and River being able to keep tabs on the Dr while she’s in its datacore).

    @bluesqueakpip  Oh SH*T moment was fab 🙂

    Anonymous @


    just wondering if the Dr’s records in THE Library have now also been deleted

    That could depend on who did the deleting. If it was Clara, then maybe. If it was the Doctor, I don’t think so. To “delete” actual books, someone would have to go there and pull them off the shelves and I doubt the Doctor could bring himself to return to the place where River died.

    Anonymous @

    Forest of the dead was amazing how River Song is in her first episode but the Doctor has never met her but River knows him well, and that came out in 2008 making people think who is River when will she return in another episode.

    Anonymous @

    Another thing that SM loves to do is give his monsters something that makes them sympathetic, when at first it seemed impossible that they could be anything but bad. 

    I don’t want to give away what was a stunning revelation in the plot to me, so don’t read further if you don’t want spoilers.

    I felt sorry for the Vashta Nerada when they finally spoke to the doctor.

                  VN: These are our forests.

                  Dr: The forests of the Vashta Nerada, pulped and printed and bound.

    There was a little ‘conservation of the planet’  message I thought. The library which seemed completely awesome and good, had unintentionally caused the destruction of the VN home. That turned what at first seemed evil into victims.   But not so much that they stopped being completely terrifying to me.  Nicely done!


    ScaryB @scaryb


    thing that SM loves to do is give his monsters something that makes them sympathetic, when at first it seemed impossible that they could be anything but bad.

    You’re right, and you could argue that thing of monsters/aliens not being what you first thought goes right back to #1 of BG (Before Gap) Dr Who. The Doctor isn’t as gruff as you think he is, the Cavemen aren’t all as uncivilised as you think, and the Thals who are initially described as “horribly mutated and evil” (OK, by the Daleks, but we don’t know the Daleks are evil at that point) turn out to be probably OK. Tho there’s another school of thought about that one too 😉

    It’s very much a Doctor Who tradition that things aren’t as they first seem.

    Anonymous @

    Can someone tell me how the Doctor defeated the Vashta Nerada.

    midnyt @midnyt

    He didn’t really defeat them.  He basically said, you can have the library as long as you let me get the people out.

    They start to say no but –

    DOCTOR: Don’t play games with me. You just killed someone I liked. That is not a safe place to stand. I’m the Doctor, and you’re in the biggest library in the universe. Look me up.

    They give him one day to get all the people out.

    Anonymous @

    @midnyt   and @scaryb thank you for that! I’d forgotten those lines and had wondered myself whether the VN had been defeated or given ‘an alternative’. Personally, I love that two-parter. I enjoy Tennant’s acting in particular here: he demonstrates a strong personality but is also quite distracted by Prof Song’s knowledge (“how well do you know me?”) of The Doctor, historically; but reacts to him with what we might assume is maternal emotion, at first.  As usual, it’s always a surprise with The Moffinator.

    Also @TheCrackIntheWall   Welcome & good to hear from you 🙂 If that is you, or perhaps another person with a similar name! Either way, hi there. Kindest, purofilion

    Anonymous @


    Hi their. It is the same me – I just changed my account to get rid of the FosterFerris username.

    This is a great story, problem is for me it is the onlym Doctor Who story to date where I geniunley do not understand how the Doctor defeats the Vastha Nerada. Ive rewound it and watched it again and again but I cant seem to understand it.

    blenkinsopthebrave @blenkinsopthebrave


    Actually, I don’t think the Doctor defeats the Vashta Nerada, as such, but rather he buys some time so he can release the trapped people. How does he buy the time? He tells the Vashta Nerada to read about him in the books in the Library, and presumably they are impressed enough to give him the time. But once the trapped people are released, the Vashta Nerada continue to roam the Library.

    This is my memory of the episode, so someone please correct me if I am wrong.

    blenkinsopthebrave @blenkinsopthebrave


    I just realised that @midnyt already answered your question. Sorry, @midnyt, I missed you reply as well!

    Anonymous @

    Thanks everyone for explaining that. That does make sense – this will probably annoy you all – but then if the Vashta Nerada are still in the library then won’t the newly released people be susceptible to being eaten!

    This is my take on the plot so please correct me if I’m wrong.

    The Vashta Nerada came to the library through the paper in the books and spread. The people in the library were automatically digitized to save them from being eaten. So the Doctor (well River Song) releases everyone from CAL. As you have just informed me the Doctor bargains with the Vashta Nerada to leave him alone whilst he releases everyone and then – the shadow piranha’s and the humans will just live together in harmony?

    I guess it just doesn’t really work out in my head.


    ScaryB @scaryb


    All the people are teleported away from the library in the short period of grace that the Doctor has arranged with the Vashta Nerada. I think the Doctor also comments that there will be an intergalactic no go warning placed on the Library (I’d need to go back and check, or maybe someone else can confirm).

    So the VN are left with the empty library to themselves. I think they maybe didn’t quite think through the terms of their agreement with the Doctor, but presumably they can live on things other than people.

    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip

    @scaryb and @TheCrackInTheWall – the Vashta Nerada have been living quite happily in the Library since it was sealed a hundred years ago. So I reckon we can presume there are other sources of lunch on the planet.


    midnyt @midnyt

    @scaryb I think this is what you mean – DOCTOR: These are their forests. I’m going to seal Charlotte inside her little world, take everybody else away. The shadows can swarm to their hearts’ content. – I don’t think it specifically states how he’s going to keep people out, but it’s clearly implied that he will make sure that no one comes in the future.

    I agree that there must also be other sources of “food’ for them. They state that “These are our forests. They are our meat.”  To me that implies that they might be reduced to a vegetarian diet, but they won’t be starved.

    ScaryB @scaryb

    thanks @midnyt

    Presumably all the released “saved” people will spread the word the Library’s a bit shady!

    It’s also possible that the Vashta Nerada hybernate or do a suspended animation thing till food arrives, then they wake up and do mega-lunch!

    I love the Vashta Nerada – one of my favourite “baddies”.  “Not every shadow… but they could be ANY shadow” (oooh! shivers!! Brilliantly creepy Moff invention).  I love how the Doctor doesn’t defeat them or kill them, but just rescues the people.  This double parter is one of my fave stories ever.

    janetteB @janetteb

    Having been set on a series 4 rewatch course after watching Partners in Crime I think that Silence in the Library is looming on my viewing horizon. It is one of my favourites too. The Vashta Nerada would top my “most scary Dr Who monster list. (Well maybe second top if I knew for certain that the “white man” who terrorised my childhood was a Dr Who baddie.)



Viewing 50 posts - 1 through 50 (of 94 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.