Okay, I’ve figured out why the broken wrist made me so uncomfortable.
(TW: Domestic Violence)
It isn’t the Doctor’s fault that River is in that situation. It is just unfortunate that she is in the angel’s grip. He quickly establishes that the only way for her to get out is for her to break her wrist. Maybe you could argue that they could have just smashed the angel, but that probably would have broken her wrist in the process anyway. So, we have arrived at a situation where the wrist must be broken.
And yet, the Doctor still makes it River’s fault. She is yelled at, and shamed and made to feel apologetic for being in a situation where she had to break her own wrist. The Doctor puts a huge amount of emotional pressure on her to get out of the situation, when he knows full well she cannot do it without help (which he quickly withdraws) or breaking her wrist. And he blames her for it. She hides her injury like she should be embarrassed about it, like she should feel apologetic.
Never let him see your damage. This is what River says. The damage that the Doctor has essentially given her, because he put the pressure on her to get out by any means unnecessary. River hides her injuries, apologizes for getting them despite it not being her fault and the Doctor is made to be the hero for healing her despite the fact that he is the one who put the pressure on her in the first place.
To me, this hugely echoes the shaming relationship between a victim and an abuser.
I don’t know if anyone else interpreted it this way, but I’d be interested to hear. I’d also like to re watch the scene, and check it for the signs of an abusive relationship, because I am really fucking unhappy about this. Expect that post in the next couple of days.