House Logo
Explore categories +

Alex Kingston (#110 of 15)

Doctor Who Recap 2015 Christmas Special, "The Husbands of River Song"

Comments Comments (...)

Doctor Who Recap: 2015 Christmas Special, “The Husbands of River Song”

BBC America

Doctor Who Recap: 2015 Christmas Special, “The Husbands of River Song”

For this year’s Doctor Who Christmas special, showrunner Steven Moffat serves up a frothy combination of romantic comedy and broad farce, which gradually transforms into a poignant tying up of a long-running plot thread introduced as far back as 2008. In contrast to “Last Christmas,” the actual festive content of “The Husbands of River Song” is minimal. The opening sequence is set on Christmas Day in a far-future human colony (which, from its appearance, might as well be present-day Earth) where a simple case of mistaken identity causes the Doctor (Peter Capaldi) to be drawn into a scheme being run by his occasional wife, River Song (Alex Kingston). He’s disconcerted to find that, not only does she not recognize him, but her plan involves killing her husband, King Hydroflax (Greg Davies), with the help of yet another husband, Ramone (Phillip Rhys).

Review: Macbeth at Park Avenue Armory

Comments Comments (...)

Review: <em>Macbeth</em> at Park Avenue Armory
Review: <em>Macbeth</em> at Park Avenue Armory

The Macbeth now playing at the Park Avenue Armory, co-directed by Rob Ashford and Kenneth Branagh, achieves a remarkable theatrical feat: It makes the experience of entering and exiting the theater more exciting than watching the play itself. That’s not to say that this latest interpretation of Shakespeare’s Scottish Play, in which Branagh plays the titular tyrant, isn’t full of swashbuckling excitement, frightening depictions of murder and madness, and performers at the limits of their vocal and physical capacities. But these are the hallmarks of Macbeth in the modern age, when the 1606 play is typically rendered like a Hollywood action movie, with an antihero knocking off all the bad (well, good) guys until his own violent demise. Ashford and Branagh’s unsurprising Macbeth might have passed without much notice, or complaint, were it not for a set design that reminds us how much more this play can be.

Doctor Who Recap Season 7, Episode 5, "The Angels Take Manhattan"

Comments Comments (...)

Doctor Who Recap: Season 7, Episode 5, “The Angels Take Manhattan”

BBC

Doctor Who Recap: Season 7, Episode 5, “The Angels Take Manhattan”

Over the course of its original run, Doctor Who seldom used to make a big deal of the times when one or more of the Doctor’s companions departed the series. There were exceptions, of course, but the majority of companions would receive no more than a brief, bittersweet moment at the end of an otherwise unrelated story. Sometimes even less—Liz Shaw, the first companion to Jon Pertwee’s Doctor, simply vanished from the show after the 1970 season, with only a brief mention in the first story of the following year to cover her absence. Such a thing would be unthinkable in the new Who series, where the increased complexity of characterization and the central importance of the Doctor’s companions within the arc of the stories has meant that all of the episodes where a companion departs have been special, emotional high points. In “The Angels Take Manhattan,” the finale for Season 7’s first stretch of five episodes, showrunner Steven Moffat takes on the responsibility of providing a fitting and satisfying payoff for two and a half years of adventuring for Amy (Karen Gillan) and her husband Rory (Arthur Darvill), and succeeds brilliantly.

Doctor Who Recap Season 6, Episode 13, “The Wedding of River Song”

Comments Comments (...)

Doctor Who Recap: Season 6, Episode 13, “The Wedding of River Song”

BBC

Doctor Who Recap: Season 6, Episode 13, “The Wedding of River Song”

As the title suggests, “The Wedding of River Song” finally makes clear the true nature of the relationship between the Doctor and the woman who has variously infuriated, intrigued, and attracted him for the last several years. Showrunner Steven Moffat calls on all his formidable plotting wizardry to conclude the incredibly complex story arc of this season, and both Matt Smith and Alex Kingston deliver superb performances as the entire story comes down to one particular action that has to be made by River. Moffat also provides a satisfying payoff to the threat that has been hanging over the Doctor—the unalterable, “fixed point in time” nature of his death as seen right at the beginning of this year’s very first episode—as he supplies the final links in the intricate chain of cause and effect that stretches back and forth across the entire season.

Doctor Who Recap Season 6, Episode 12, “Closing Time”

Comments Comments (...)

Doctor Who Recap: Season 6, Episode 12, “Closing Time”

BBC

Doctor Who Recap: Season 6, Episode 12, “Closing Time”

Last year, “The Lodger” proved to be a very successful off-format episode, a sort of present-day sitcom version of Doctor Who immediately preceding an epic season finale. Now, writer Gareth Roberts is back with a sequel, which at first looks like more of the same—but this time the comedy goings-on with Craig Owens (James Corden) gain more than a tinge of melancholy thanks to the Doctor’s own personal situation. This, it turns out, is the Doctor’s last stop before going to his predestined end—the end we saw at the very opening of this season (“The Impossible Astronaut”). For the first time in the revived Who series, we’re not having a two-part season finale this year. Instead, this penultimate episode is a separate story, which slowly brings the Doctor to the point he needs to be at for the finale, and has a cliffhanger lead-in to it bolted on to the end. This episode thereby gains a significance that it probably needs to avoid being completely overshadowed by what’s to come next week.

Doctor Who Recap Season 6, Episode 8, “Let’s Kill Hitler”

Comments Comments (...)

Doctor Who Recap: Season 6, Episode 8, “Let’s Kill Hitler”

BBC

Doctor Who Recap: Season 6, Episode 8, “Let’s Kill Hitler”

After leaving the audience hanging for several months after the revelations at the end of “A Good Man Goes to War”, Doctor Who showrunner Steven Moffat is back with a bang, kicking off the second half of the season with an episode packed with his trademark witty dialogue, dazzling perspective shifts, and a surprising number of answers about the mysterious River Song. The deliberately provocative title might suggest a light-hearted romp, in the tradition of most of the show’s previous season openers—and the episode does start out that way, but ends up leading to a critical turning point in the lives of the Doctor and his friends.

Doctor Who Recap Season 6, Episode 7, “A Good Man Goes to War”

Comments Comments (...)

Doctor Who Recap: Season 6, Episode 7, “A Good Man Goes to War”

BBC

Doctor Who Recap: Season 6, Episode 7, “A Good Man Goes to War”

Before this split season began, showrunner Steven Moffat promised that the first half would end with a “game-changing” cliffhanger—and, for me at least, “A Good Man Goes to War” delivers on that promise, even though it’s not so much a cliffhanger as a turning point. Rather than some artificial bit of jeopardy interrupting the story, the episode ends with one particular skirmish in what looks to be a much longer battle resolved, while the final revelation means that the relationships between our four central characters—the Doctor (Matt Smith), Amy Pond (Karen Gillan), her husband Rory (Arthur Darvill), and the enigmatic River Song (Alex Kingston) can never be the same again.

Doctor Who Recap Season 6, Episode 2, “Day of the Moon”

Comments Comments (...)

Doctor Who Recap: Season 6, Episode 2, “Day of the Moon”

BBC

Doctor Who Recap: Season 6, Episode 2, “Day of the Moon”

Last week’s season opener “The Impossible Astronaut” raised a multitude of questions, right from the opening shock of the Doctor, two hundred years into his personal future, apparently being killed. It then went on to add into the mix a mysterious little girl wearing an Apollo spacesuit, who seemed to be his killer, plus a species of disturbing, monstrous creatures able to manipulate human memories at will and move among us completely unnoticed—and which have been intimately involved with the events of the Doctor’s life since the beginning of last season. In “Day of the Moon,” writer and showrunner Steven Moffat at least ties up this first two-part story by giving the Doctor a notable victory over the “Silents,” but the little girl is now even more enigmatic than before, and the Doctor’s fated death is still hanging over him at the conclusion of this episode—and presumably will be until this season has run its course.

Doctor Who Recap Season 6, Episode 1, “The Impossible Astronaut”

Comments Comments (...)

Doctor Who Recap: Season 6, Episode 1, “The Impossible Astronaut”

BBC

Doctor Who Recap: Season 6, Episode 1, “The Impossible Astronaut”

“One of these four characters will die.” That was the tagline for the latest issue of Doctor Who Magazine, previewing “The Impossible Astronaut,” the opening episode of Doctor Who’s new season with multiple covers showing the Doctor (Matt Smith), River Song (Alex Kingston), Amy Pond (Karen Gillan), and her husband Rory (Arthur Darvill). Of course, genre-savvy audiences will be well aware of the tendency for main characters in sci-fi shows to find clever ways of cheating the grim reaper. Doctor Who is no exception. Never mind the Doctor’s ability to regenerate; in the course of last year’s stories, Amy died once and Rory twice, while we saw the end of River’s life when she first appeared back in 2008. So writer/executive producer Steven Moffat had his work cut out for him if he wanted to genuinely surprise his audience. It’s to his credit that he not only fulfils the promise—in the very first scene after the opening titles, no less—but goes out of his way to drive home the shock. Whether it will still be the case when the story concludes next week remains to be seen, but right now the Who universe feels a more dangerous place than it has for some time.

Doctor Who Recap Season 5, Episode 13: “The Big Bang”

Comments Comments (...)

Doctor Who Recap: Season 5, Episode 13: “The Big Bang”

BBC

Doctor Who Recap: Season 5, Episode 13: “The Big Bang”

“Okay kid, this is where it gets complicated.” Given the way things stood after last week’s cliffhanger, it was obvious that “The Big Bang” would have to be quite a different kind of episode from “The Pandorica Opens”, but I doubt anyone watching would have guessed just how different it would be. Writer and showrunner Steven Moffat keeps the threat level set to “universal,” but the canvas of the story radically shrinks to contain just our regular characters—the Doctor (Matt Smith), Amy (Karen Gillan), Rory (Arthur Darvill), and River Song (Alex Kingston). It’s the most intimate of apocalypses—for a large part of the episode, there simply is no one else on screen. Or off it, for that matter—the rest of the universe is gone, reduced to a memory; and indeed, as I highlighted last week, memory turns out to be the crux of the story. It’s also the story of the Doctor repairing the damage he caused to Amy when he first met her as a child, when he flew off in the TARDIS promising to return in five minutes, and didn’t come back for twelve years. It ties up the whole season excellently—though not without leaving a couple of threads dangling, to be taken up next year—and gives us the first completely happy season ending for the new Doctor Who.