In Forest of the Dead right before she died, she explains what happened the last time she met him:

RIVER: Funny thing is, this means you've always known how I was going to die. All the time we've been together, you knew I was coming here. The last time I saw you, the real you, the future you, I mean, you turned up on my doorstep, with a new haircut and a suit. You took me to Darillium to see the Singing Towers. What a night that was. The Towers sang, and you cried.
COMPUTER: Autodestuct in one minute.
RIVER: You wouldn't tell me why, but I suppose you knew it was time. My time. Time to come to the library. You even gave me your screwdriver. That should have been a clue.
(The two screwdrivers and her diary are just out of the Doctor's reach.)
RIVER: There's nothing you can do.
DOCTOR: You can let me do this.
RIVER: If you die here, it'll mean I've never met you.
DOCTOR: Time can be rewritten.
RIVER: Not those times. Not one line. Don't you dare. It's okay. It's okay. It's not over for you. You'll see me again. You've got all of that to come. You and me, time and space you watch us run.

Which Doctor is she referring to that has a new haircut and suit? And which Doctor does she mean when she said "you'll see me again, you've got all of that to come"?


4 Answers 4


That won't be revealed until the 2015 Christmas special The Husbands of River Song, so if you haven't watched that far everything here's a spoiler:

She's talking about the Twelfth Doctor (Capaldi), who indeed ends up on Darillium at the end of the episode, and knowing this means the final date with River.


Darilliun's night lasts 24 years.

  • There was a minisode called "Last Night", with the 11th Doctor, that implied it was him that took her to the Singing Towers. I guess that's been superseded by "The Husbands of River Song" now, though.
    – Adeptus
    Mar 21, 2016 at 2:27
  • 1
    @Adeptus Indeed, I thought so too back then - but IIRC in the HoRS special River mentioned something like the Doctor always having dodged her wish to date at the Singing Towers. It's one of the few Capaldi-episodes I actually like so far...
    – Zommuter
    Mar 21, 2016 at 6:12

This image might help:

enter image description here

It shows the Doctor's timeline (in blue) and River's (in orange) and how they interact.

  • The only time the Tenth Doctor meets River is in Silence in the Library and Forest of the Dead - his first meeting with her and her last meeting with him, at the end of which she dies.

  • Nearly all their interactions are between the Eleventh Doctor and River - which is after the Tenth Doctor's encounter with her in his timeline but before it in her timeline.

  • Finally, the Twelfth Doctor meets her in The Husbands of River Song (the 2015 Christmas special). This isn't shown on the graph above, which was made during the Eleventh Doctor's tenure, but it's the intersection marked "Last Night". This is his last-ever encounter with her (presumably), and her second-to-last encounter with him (the last one being Silence in the Library / Forest of the Dead).

Yeah, it's complicated. REALLY complicated.

enter image description here

  • 1
    The first image...surely the answer is "Mornington Crescent'? Possibly played under the timey-winey variation. Mar 20, 2016 at 10:52
  • 1
    The pattern is a complex thing...
    – Theyna
    Apr 15, 2016 at 3:36
  • 1
    It's a nice image, but unfortunately wrong after The Husbands of River Song
    – Zommuter
    Aug 23, 2016 at 12:51
  • @Zommuter I believe it's still accurate if the "Last Night" node is interpreted to mean the Husbands of River Song episode?
    – Rand al'Thor
    Aug 23, 2016 at 12:54
  • 3
    Yes, and "Last Night" was therefore some time before. What I meant was, "Name of the Doctor" happens to River after the Library as well though.
    – Zommuter
    Aug 23, 2016 at 13:16

She is referring to the doctor and River's time spent together. This is her past, but the 10th doctor's future (ie the future of the 10th (David Tennant), 11th (Matt Smith) and 12th (Peter Capaldi) Doctors).

"You have always known" is in reference to the fact that the Doctor always knew how she would die.

Edit: To be clear. The doctor with the new haircut and suit is the 12th and current doctor, Peter Capaldi.

We know this due to the events of the 2015 Christmas Special "The Husbands of River Song", in which the Doctor and River have their date at the Singing Towers of Darillium - the date River identifies as her final meeting with the Doctor in the episode "Forest of the Dead".


The problem The Doctor and Prof. River Son always face are they meet in the reverse timeline with respect to each other.

The first time the Doctor sees River Song was the last time she gets to see her.

So River has met future incarnations of The Doctor, but The Doctor doesn't know it when they meet at first as obviously, they haven't met at that point in time.

So for her, it has all already happened. But for The Doctor, it is all yet to happen.

To sum it up in one line: River's past is the Doctor's future.

P.S.: Doctor Who always makes for the most weird sounding explanations :D

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