Doctor Who’s River Song Had More Faces Than You Think, and Here’s Why
The Doctor’s wife is one memorable character, but are you sure that you know everything about her?
Steven Moffat’s era in Doctor Who introduced one of the most mysterious characters in the history of the show. River Song made her debut in David Tennant’s season 4 two-parter about the Vashta Nerada and went on to pop up regularly until Peter Capaldi ’s season 9 Christmas special.
As the audience has discovered, River Song is the third and final incarnation of Melody Pond, Amy and Rory’s daughter, but is she really? Let’s dive in.
Chronologically speaking, Melody’s first face was the one she was born with. She escaped from Madame Kovarian, but contracted some disease and regenerated in the 1970s.
Her second alias was Mels Zucker who spent her childhood and young adult years in Leadworth where she became Rory and Amy’s friend and basically played matchmaker for her parents.
Upon meeting the Eleventh Doctor, Mels got fatally wounded in the crossfire in Hitler’s Germany and regenerated into River Song, which was the main incarnation of the character – the one who would become the Doctor’s assassin and wife.
It’s canon that River sacrificed herself in the Library to free everyone inside it, and the Doctor saved her as a data ghost. As far as viewers know, this is it for the character, right?
However, Matt Smith ’s final episode featured a peculiar lady – Tasha Lem, the Mother Superious of the Papal Mainframe who helped the doctor during the Siege of Trenzalore. Most Doctor Who fans are convinced that Tasha was another one of Melody Pond’s incarnations (and they are right).
First, she’s reportedly “against aging,” which is weird considering how few characters in the Doctor Who universe can actually live almost a thousand years without showing any signs of aging. Although, data ghosts would certainly be able to do that.
Second, Tasha has died at the hands of the Daleks quite a few times, and she still survives in the end. Either she’s Captain Jack Harkness in disguise or an essentially immortal conscience trapped in a virtual world.
Third, the Doctor and Tasha may have mentioned River in the third person in their conversations, but that’s nothing in the Doctor Who universe. The fact that the Doctor says that Tasha has an inner psychopath (the same word that River has purposefully been called numerous times)? That’s proof.
Finally, Tasha is able to fly the TARDIS. She may be an old friend of the Doctor’s, but he doesn’t allow just anyone to fly his precious TARDIS. That’s his wife’s privilege.
Say what you will, but Tasha Lem is Melody Pond’s final incarnation, and that’s the hill we’re dying on.