Sunday, 2 October 2011
Doctor Who, The Wedding of River Song--My Thoughts
And here we are. The end of Doctor Who, series 6. And boy, what an end it was!
Moffat threw so much at us in a short 45 minutes, that 4 hours later, my mind is still reeling!
The episode begins in an alternate timeline. The scene is London, on April 22 at 5:02pm.
You see, time is stuck and it's always April 22, 5:02pm.
All of time is happening at once. We see steam trains running through pyramids, pterodactyls flying over playgrounds, Charles Dickens on daytime TV promoting his new Christmas special and Holy Roman Emperor Winston Churchill.
Churchill, being looked after by a Silurian doctor, calls for his soothsayer.
Enter the Doctor...OUR Doctor...sporting a toga, beard and long hair. Looking very Jesus-like, really.
The Doctor tells Churchill that there's something wrong with time, and through a series of flashbacks, we see what happened.
The Doctor's death is a "fixed" point in time (or is it?), the Silence is a religious order that wants the Doctor dead because, at some point in the future, the Doctor will face 'the Question', and we hear about the 'fall of the Eleventh'.
He plays a fun game of 'Live Chess', takes a Dalek's eyestalk, has a very interesting conversion with the Tesalecta and goes spelunking in the caves of the headless monks, where he finds the head of Dorian Maldavar alive and well!
Back in the wonky timeline, Churchill asks the Doctor about 'the question' and why it meant his death.
The Doctor replies, "Suppose there was a man who knew a secret that must never be told...."
What secret, Doctor? What is your secret and why do the Silence want to kill you for it??
Flashback to the TARDIS, the Doctor talking to Dorian about his death.
The Doctor has been delaying it for a long time. He mentions joining the Beatles, helping Rose Tyler with her homework, "all-Jack stag parties", and says that time CAN'T touch him.
And then he phones the Brig.
Brigadier General Lethbridge Stewart.
In a very touching scene (yes, I cried. Surprised?), the Doctor learns of the Brig's death, "I'm afraid Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart passed away a few months ago," the nurse tells the Doctor. "It was very peaceful. Talked a lot about you, if that's any comfort. Always made us pour an extra brandy in case you came round one of these days."
And the Doctor realizes in that moment that, yes, time CAN and DOES touch him.
It was so fitting and so, so perfect that Stephen Moffat made the Brig's death a pivotal point. It wasn't just a glossing over or a mention. The Brig STILL influenced the Doctor to do the right thing, even in death. *sob*
Well done, Mr. Moffat. Well done.
The Doctor then goes to the Tesalecta and asks them to deliver his messages. You remember, the blue envelopes?
We find out then WHY River, Rory and Amy were at his death...He wanted to be with them in his last moments. He wanted to be surrounded by the best. Aww. *sniffle*
And once again, on the beach at Lake Silencio, we watch the astronaut rise from the deep.
The visor lifts and as we saw at the end of Closing Time, River is indeed in the suit.
But here comes nitpick number 1...If the suit is in control, WHY does River need to be in it at all? Why couldn't the Silence just choose anyone, or, hell, why couldn't the suit be empty??
Yep, that bugged me.
It was a touching scene, regardless. He tells River he brought her there, to his death so she could see that it's inevitable and that she's forgiven.
But River overpowers the suit and refuses to kill the Doctor, which breaks time. Ack!
Now in the wonky time, the Doctor continues to tell his story to Churchill, and as he does he realizes that they've been fighting and don't remember it.
You know what that means, folks! Silents!
Just as the doctor and Churchill realize this, Amy ("Pond, Amelia Pond") comes in with soldiers...All wearing eye patches!
Amy then shoots the Doctor with a stun gun!
He wakes up on a train and tries to get Amy to remember him.
Of course, Amy already remembers him because she grew up in a time rift which makes her special. But it was a great scene, with the drawings on the wall and the sexy sketch of Rory (which looks nothing like Rory).
The Doctor gets all cleaned up and asks about Rory.
Apparently in the wonky timeline, Amy and Rory aren't together and Amy barely remembers him. Aww. :(
Who walks in then? A soldier, wearing an eye patch. 'Captain' Williams tells Amy they've almost arrived at their destination.
Oh, the Doctor just LOVES this. Rory is right there in front of her face and has no idea. Hee!
As we enter the pyramid, Rory explains the eye patches to the Doctor. Time for me to gloat!
I called it! The eye patches DO allow the wearer to remember the Silents! Yay, me!
We see many Silents in tanks, in the pyramid, prisoners.
And the Doctor tries to play matchmaker between Amy and Captain Williams, telling the Captain that Amy wants to go out for 'texting and scones'. LOL
Back with Amy, the Doctor finally sees River, who has Madame Kovarian tied to a chair.
The Doctor tries to convince River that he NEEDS to die because time itself is dying with him still alive.
He then grabs River and time moves...seconds tick by...before River is able to pull away.
Meanwhile, the Silents are breaking out of their tanks. Oh, no!
In a totally BADASS scene, Rory once again plays the hero so everyone can escape. Have I mentioned I love Rory?
The Silents are upon him and Rory's eye patch is slowly killing him. They say to him, "Rory Williams. The man who dies and dies again. Die one last time and know she will never come back for you."
Of course, Amy comes back with a big gun and kills the Silents, saving Rory.
And here comes nitpick number 2...Amy kills Kovarian.
I was glad Amy was pissed. It's about time she shows that losing her baby caused her pain and sorrow. God knows they didn't show that during the series at all.
But Kovarian was this big, bad mysterious, horrible woman...and she just DIES like that? We don't know who she is, why she did what she did, how she came to be such a horrible person, nothing!
I'm holding out hope that she will return in the future and that Moffat DOES have plans for her!
As Amy and Rory walk out, I loved their exchange--
Amy: "You and me, we should get a drink sometime."
Amy: "And married."
Everyone heads to the roof of the pyramid and we find out that River has sent a message all through time (the universe is still moving outside the bubble they're in, apparently) to everyone the Doctor has ever known, asking them to help him because he's dying.
The Doctor is then very harsh with her and the look on her face when he tells her she's embarrassed him hurts my heart.
Of course, River then tells him that the sky is full of millions of races are saying they'd help. D'aww.
And we've come to nitpick number three.
River says she'd suffer more than the universe if he dies. Um, wut? If he DOESN'T die, there will be no universe!
But I get what Moffat's saying. Love will prevail and all that.
And here's the next great Rory/Amy exchange--
Rory: "I'm not sure I completely understand."
Amy: "Oh, we got married and had a kid and that's her."
Welcome to nitpick number four!
WHY did the Doctor and River get married?!
He never tells her he loves her. Does he?
Did he marry her just so he could get close enough for her to look into his eye?
Aaaaand back to Lake Silencio we go!
Where River kills the Doctor, as she was always meant to.
Time moves forward, the wonky universe disappears.
River, having just climbed out of the Byzantium (remember that? With the Weeping Angels?), has a visit with Amy.
This is a great scene. We find out how well River really does lie. Not telling Amy she's her daughter, lying about the spacesuit...
And then we see something wonderful. Mother and daughter, dancing in the garden. I just love this whole scene. :)
I love that the three seems so close now, hinting at many, many visits we've never seen. I love that River calls Amy 'Mother" and Rory "Father" so naturally, like she's been doing it her whole life.
I love the joy on their faces when River tells them the Doctor's last secret and I love the shock when Amy realizes she's the Doctor's mother-in-law. ;)
The last minutes show a hooded figure carrying Dorian's head-in-a-box back to the crypt.
The figure opens the door on the box and Dorian realizes that it's the Doctor.
And hello, nitpick number 4!
The Doctor that died was a Tesalecta?! I'm sorry, but that just screams 'cop-out' to me!
I was so very, very disappointed in that!
First, it was just so predictable. It was either going to be the ganger or the robot...so I figured Moffat would come up with something much less obvious. Yes, maybe I expected too much, but I can't help feeling a little cheated. :(
I am, however, looking forward to next season. With the Doctor 'back in the shadows', what kind of mischief will he get into that he couldn't before? I can definitely see the fun in this!
And River spending her days in prison and "her nights, well....that's between her and me, eh?"
There's your 200 years of stories between The God Complex and Closing Time!
And now we get to the end. Ah, the end. Here I get to gloat again.
The 'fields of Trenzalore (sp?), the fall of the Eleventh and the question'
THE question. DOCTOR WHO! DOCTOR WHO! DOC-TOR WHO! The oldest question in the universe because the Doctor has BEEN to the beginning of the universe!
CALLED IT! MONTHS ago! *does the happy gloating dance*
We won't see or hear of the fields of Trenzalone, the fall of the Eleventh or 'the question' until the 50 year anniversary in 2013.
That is when the Doctor will travel to the field, the question will be asked, and the Eleventh will fall...and regenerate into our 12th Doctor.
Remember I said that here first! ;)
But now the big questions--
Is Madame Kovarian dead? She died in an aborted timeline...so is she still alive now?
Are River and the Doctor really married? Firstly, she technically married a robot. Secondly, she married a robot in an aborted timeline. So...what does that mean, exactly?
Who blew up the TARDIS in series 5, and why? We STILL don't have an answer for that.
When did the Doctor tell River his name? We know he does because she whispers it to Ten in the library. I assume it's sometime in the missing 200 years we never see?
What is the secret the Doctor has that he dies for?
What about the Silents?
Will we see more River or has her story played out?
Aside from the nitpicks and plot holes, I did enjoy the episode. It was fast, it was fun, it was touching and it answered many questions.
I like the idea of a Doctor who's not so well known...who's not a 'God'. I'm looking forward to series 7...and after the Christmas special, we have a long wait ahead.
Doctor Who returns in the fall of 2012.
I'm thinking a rewatch may be in order, right from Silence in the Library.
Until Christmas, Whovians, I bid you adieu!