The Wedding of River Song – A review

After 2 years, it’s finally happened.   Silence has fallen.

The 6th season finale, served as a great wrap up, not just of this year, but the entire Steven Moffatt run to date.

Some folks were quite upset when the 5th season ended and the Big Bang happened again and the cracks in time were closed,  the question of the what the Silence was and why it must fall still unanswered.  Then at the started of the 6th season, we find out what the Silence is and saw them fall, so it seemed.   While it was great episode, it did seem that the Silence wasn’t as great a threat,  at least not as great a threat as what came out of Lake Silencio, and killed the Doctor, well a Doctor. And did the Silence, who was there have anything to do with the Impossible Astronaut that came out of the lake?   Why did they want the Doctor dead,  was it revenge for what he was about to do?  What did they have to do with the Academy of the Question?  The paramilitary religious organization in the 51st Century? What did River Song have to do with any of it?

Well answers finally do come in this week’s finale, The Wedding of River Song. ( I have to admit, I had my own thoughts about how on Earth the Doctor was going to get out of what seems to be certain death.  And I was right.   I won’t spoiler it here for you  but if you  really want to know, I’ll put it at the end of my review.)

In a nice bit of symmetry,  the sixth season begins much like fifth season finale, we find ourselves in a alternate version of Earth,  but unlike the Earth in the Big Bang, which came aboutthe came about because all of the Doctor’s enemies came together, believing that he was going to somehow cause the end of the universe, and they were going to stop him, by imprisoning him in the Pandorica, this alternate Earth is one where all time exists simultaneously.  A Earth where steam trains circle the world and run through tunnels that go thru landmarks like the Swiss Re Tower in London and the Pyramids of Egypt.  All history is mixed, with Roman Centurions riding their chariots through downtown London, Charles Dickens does the breakfast show circuit to plus his newest ghost story, and Meredith Vieira  reports on Holy Roman Emperor, Winston Churchill returning to the Senate, on Mammoth-back.   Time is broken, past present and future are all overlapping.    A world created because the Doctor’s friends changed a fixed point in history, and saved his life.  And now all of time is disintergrating.

This episode was another love letter by Steven Moffat.  It’s a letter to who the Doctor is, and what he means to people, both his friends in the show, and what they are willing to do to help him,  and to the millions of viewers who tune in each week.   There were nods and winks to the show’s past incarnations, Simon Callow returned as Charles Dickens,(The Unquiet Dead) Rose and Jack get a nice mention, and Ian McNiece returns once again as Winston Churchill.  But the most powerful moment came when The Doctor, knowing what is waiting for him, rails against fate, thinking he time can’t catch him. decides to go call upon his oldest friend, Brigadier Alister Gordan Lethbridge Stewart, only to find out he passed away, just a few months earlier.  A powerful, quiet emotional moment as the Doctor  faces mortality and destiny.

Time even catches up to Time Lords.

I consent, and gladly give, says the mother of the bride

One thing the Doctor acknowledges here, it’s his relationships with his friends that make him who he is, they are the best of him.  It answers the question of why he even travels with humans.  He’s not showing off, needing them as audience, he needs them to connect, they say the Doctor makes people better,  well it’s the Doctor’s friends who make him a better man.

I don’t think it would be a spoiler to tell you that the Doctor does survive, but to most of the universe, he does die on at that lake.  The episode ends with the Doctor, and the TARDIS, once again on their way.  But the Doctor has gained important perspective of his place in the universe.  In another bit of symmetry, the season does leave an unanswered question.   It is the same question that has been hanging in the air for almost 50 years, and hopefully it will continue to for many more.

Doctor Who.

Shhhhh. From this point they are Spoilers ahead!

It hit me right when I saw it back at the end of August,  in Let’s Kill  Hitler.

The Tessalecta,  a time traveling, shape changing robot piloted by tiny humans.

Of course the Doctor would call upon their help.  It was the robot version, with the Doctor inside, that the astronaut fired on.

About David Vandervliet

Once, King of all these lands, but now I am just an aging nerd. I enjoy talking about my favorite things to geek about, and hopefully I say something to make you think a little too. My favorite things include: Comics, Doctor Who, Star Wars, Star Trek, Science, Astronomy, Math, Music, theatre, movies, writing, baseball, college football (Go Blue!)
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One Comment

  1. I liked the finale, I really did. It wasn’t perfect by any means but it was great fun. (Apparently in some fan circles that now makes me an idiot for not seeing how rubbish Moffat is – in which case, I’m happy to be regarded as an idiot.)

    I am constantly amazed at how good Moffat is at tying up the loose ends he needs to tie up and providing a vaguely coherent rationale to everything (not a strength of RTD’s). And in this most densely-packed of episodes, how lovely that he took 30 seconds out to say goodbye to the Brigadier in a way that was meaningful to moving the story along. (I’m also thinking the pterodactyls were a nod to Invasion of the Dinosaurs and Cairo was used in reference to Nicholas Courtney’s birthplace, but they may just be coincidences.)

    The reboot suggested by the final scene is interesting too, especially if we move away from heavy plot & action-driven arcs towards character-driven pieces. That’s why I loved The Girl Who Waited so much.

    Anyhow, I’ve attempted to pull together my thoughts on the entire season. And now my head hurts:
    http://slouchingtowardsthatcham.com/2011/10/02/doctor-who-season-6-review/

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