At the end of The Big Bang, the Doctor asks River Song who she is and she says, "You're going to find out very soon now, and I'm sorry but that's when everything changes."

We've seen him find out who River Song is. While he went through a really rough time, and some conditions were different, not everything changed. It's true that he realized he had become a legend, and was known for violence (which is ironic, since he usually avoids violence). He also faked his death, so people would think he was dead.

This may lead to him either having to keep a low profile from then on, or to him working to come off in a more positive light, but it doesn't seem as earth-shattering (or Galifrey-shattering) as River makes it out to be when she ominously says, "That's when everything changes."

He still has his tardis and can still do pretty much whatever he wants. So what did change when "everything" changed?

  • ISTM this has yet to be revealed, and will be the focus of the next season. I think the "finds out" refers more to finding out what her relationship to the Doctor is than who her parents are, and there's only been the Christmas special since then.
    – Tony Meyer
    Feb 16, 2012 at 3:47
  • @TonyMeyer: I commented on another question that I'm not so sure, since we seem to be seeing 1 season story arcs, with a little bit of stuff interlinking them -- but it's also possible we might still find out. But we have had half a season after he found out who she was so far.
    – Tango
    Feb 16, 2012 at 5:44
  • IMO we are seeing a three-season overall arc (a trilogy, basically), with smaller arcs in each season (the individual books in the trilogy). But we will indeed see. The Doctor only finds out who River is to him (as opposed to who she is to the Ponds) one episode ago.
    – Tony Meyer
    Feb 16, 2012 at 7:30

2 Answers 2


this is a spoiler if you haven't seen the later episodes:

River is an assassin sent to kill the Doctor. She did temporal research on him before trying to kill him and accidentally fell in love. "everything changes" was a warning that she would actually kill him, then erase time to bring him back.

(more or less - skipping over a lot of plot other trivia)

This article explains it better and in more detail http://tardis.wikia.com/wiki/River_Song

  • So the "I'm sorry" refers to what she does to him on the lake and the "everything changes" meaning the consequences. Interesting.
    – Tango
    Feb 23, 2012 at 7:12

I don't think River means "everything changes completely" but "everything changes between us". The first part of the relationship between River and The Doctor (first part for him, second part for her) has been fun - irritating and puzzling at times, but essentially fun for both of them. But now in the second part (for The Doctor, first part for River) it's going to be much less fun - there's going to be sacrifice and death and painful things.

Also River isn't saying she feels sorry for The Doctor - she is apologizing because the bad things that are about to happen are going to be her fault (or were her fault, depending on how you look at it).

  • "Are going to were have been her fault". Time travel makes tense hard. ;)
    – FreeMan
    Jul 17, 2020 at 16:59

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