Rarely does an episode of any tv show manage to hit so many of my narrative kinks, so, well done.
Implications and difficulties of time travel, again brought to awesomeness by Moffat - after 'Blink' and Timey Wimey stuff, he's one of my favourite writers of time-travelling hijinks (the out-of-order meetings were also played wonderfully in Smith and Jones, for tricks, and in Shakespeare Code for fun, but never to this extent). And River's demise makes the entire thing even better.
I mean, the Doctor, meeting her for the first time, will know when, and how, she'll die. And that must influence their relationship greatly, and might just be the reason why he keeps coming back to visit her, and keeps whisking her off on amazing adventures - because he knows (better than anyone) how limited is her time, and how fragile is anyone's life.
And I *am* buying their relationship, because she just seems like a person whom Doctor would like (and he does say as much). Even her first scenes, the 'Professor River Song, archeologist' said with giddy joy, right after Doctor dissed archeologists. And 'Always' in response to whether she would bet her life. Yes.
But that was liking, and not the intimate, intense relationship that was suggested... but ultimately, I got to the point where I could believe it, and what sold it to me, was the moment where she knocks him out cold, to stop him from sacrificing his life and then does so herself instead.
One of my most beloved, ever, scenes of Buffy is almost the exact mirror of this. My love has no bounds.
And, the only way to get him to trust her, was for her to whisper his name. Power of names is something that I absolutely adore, and Doctor Who plays well into that, continuously weaving it into their storylines.
Also, Donna love. Especially for her 'Is 'alright' the Time Lord for 'really not alright'?' bit. Unfortunately, River makes three for people sacrificing themselves for the Doctor (Rattigan (sp?), Jenny, River), which makes me a bit nervous about Donna's fate. She is going to die, isn't she? Woe.
Also, Moffat adds shadows and books to the list of the things that creep me out. Well done. Bastard.
And next week seems to be a 'confinement' thing, which is another wonderful example of my tv kinks - character having to act in closed up spaces, with limited resources, and, especially, growing paranoia. Squee.