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Just in terms of its narrative structure, “The Husbands Of River Song” is one of the strangest hours in television history. For the first 40 or so minutes of its run, it’s a deeply goofy bit of slapstick space opera whimsy, with Peter Capaldi playing against a recurring guest star who last appeared on the show more than two years, and hasn’t really had an active role in a story in closer to three. And then, in the final 15 minutes, the episode shifts tones completely, going for a poignant, melancholy send-off that directly calls back and completes a narrative circle that the show began tracing way back in 2008.

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