io9 has found a beautiful infographic by Reddit user Andorian Blues showing the respective timelines of the Doctor’s adventures with River Song. Something that has become necessary since the start of the Eleventh Doctor’s adventures, and which will only become even more so as season 6 continues onward.
We think the above graphic (click to enlarge but beware, it is massive) might be incorrect in a couple places, however.
Massive spoilers below.
In the season 6 opener “The Impossible Astronaut,” River reveals that she and the Doctor’s timelines are moving in opposite directions. The first time he sees her is the last time she’ll see him, and vice versa.
We personally love this declaration, if only because of the drama it churns up. Already, Moffat has made good use of it in the end of “Day of the Moon,” and it gives an even more tragic recoloring to so much of what we’ve seen in “Silence in the Library” and “Forest of the Dead.”
But we don’t think Moffat means this statement literally, based on the evidence we already have. Both of them seem to traveling generally perpendicular to each other, but there also seems to be a healthy dose of looping back that is occurring.
For example, in “The Impossible Astronaut” Rory and Amy (while speaking with River) refer to the events of “The Big Bang,” and River seems to be aware of this, making this a post-“Pandorica” River, the same one who delivers the dire warning to the Doctor about a worse day to come in “The Time of Angels.”
This changes the above timeline dramatically, putting the latest episodes after “Pandorica/Big Bang” in River’s timeline, and possibly after the “Angels” two-parter, as well. If that’s the case, River and the Doctor are traveling in the same direction for now, even if this little grouping of adventures takes place near the end of their relationship (from River’s perspective).
Regarding the ending of “Day of the Moon,” there’s also some doubt as to whether this was actually the last time River and the Doctor kiss, as River fears. In their last meeting in the “Library” two-parter as an exceptionally loving affair, with the Future-Doctor keenly aware that this is the last time he gets to see her in a romantic capacity. It’s not impossible that they don’t kiss then, but it seems highly unlikely, even for a militantly platonic Doctor.
This tells us that not even River is entirely sure of the direction their timelines are flowing in. Some things she’s taking as truth we’ve heard about in a different manner.
Aside from this, we think the River/Doctor timeline above gets it pretty much right, even down to the possibility of the Tenth Doctor being the one taking River on her picnic to Asgard. (And hey, that certainly opens up the possibility of Tennant returning for a guest spot….)
What other clues might we be missing here? The status of River’s doctorate/professorship? Her progression in regards to her TARDIS-flying expertise?