The Wedding of River Song
So, the Doctor Who finale. It’s really acting as a finale to two series, as “Silence will fall” was started back when Amy was first introduced. The Wedding of River Song wraps up pretty much all of those plot arcs and answers all of the questions we may have had.
I’m not going to summarise the plot, partially because you really should watch this one to appreciate it and partially because it’s too complicated to wrap my words around. I don’t suppose you could expect anything less from such a complicated series, but really, they don’t make it easy for reviewers.
Complex as it is, the plot does unfold nicely, with lots of funny bits and sad bits and scary bits. The tense bits are very tense. I never thought I’d find water dribbling down the stairs so frightening. It’s very nicely done. The whole episode is very nicely done. It was an almost entirely excellent episode, mainly because of the little things. Or rather, the constant tiny touches that meant little or nothing to the actual plot but just made the episode delightful. The quotes, mainly. But other things too.
Such as the ideas of what would exist in an alternate reality where everything happens at once; Charles Dickens on BBC Breakfast, pterodactyls in the park, Churchill the head of the Roman Empire, everything. Just brilliant. The Doctor sitting in a dingy cafe reading a magazine entitled “Knitting for Girls”. Funny, and justifying my second favourite hobby after TV watching. Brilliant.
The idea of Live Chess, where the more times you move a piece the more volts go through it. The extremely creepy skulls that move on their own and devour you if you get close enough. The very sweet mention of Nicholas Courtney (I imagine we’ll get an Elizabeth Sladen nod too at some point). The Doctor asking River “Why do you always have handcuffs?”
The Silence are back, and they really are the ickiest bad guys — the way they hang from the ceiling, how they click like evil dolphins and the weird way they contort when they’re attacking. They just make me feel uncomfortable
I’m also glad to see Dorian Maldover, aka, big fat blue man, come back. He’s delightful, even if it was quite obvious throughout that they just made the actor stick his head in a box. I love the idea that he amuses himself whilst locked in a cellar with terrifying man-eating skulls by accessing wi-fi. Can you imagine Dorian with a blog, or a Twitter account? It’d be brilliant.
This episode also has the return of Amy, Rory and River. The way these characters interact between themselves and with the Doctor really is what makes the show so delightful. River and the Doctor together are utterly fantastic, in turn flirty, combative and loving. When River and the Doctor are by the lake and he assures her that she is “Always and completely forgiven”, it’s actually quite beautiful.
Amy and Rory are getting better the more we see of them. I can’t decide what was my favourite bit with them here: Rory going through agony to save Amy, Amy suddenly realising Rory is the love of her life and coming back to save him with a shower of bullets, the “So, you and me, we should get a drink some time” “Okay” “And married” “Fine” exchange or “What’s happening?” “We got married and had a kid, and that’s her” “Okay”. I also adore the relationship between River and her parents, how she just pops back in to see them — “I heard there was a freak meteor shower three miles away, so I got us a bottle in”.
And we finally get an answer to the thing I’ve been griping about since episode one — apparently, Amy has accepted that she won’t get to raise Melody. She says it to Madam Kovarian — “You took my baby from me. And hurt her. And now she’s all grown up and she’s fine, but I’ll never see my baby again”. At least she is burning with rage about it. So that’s sort of something I can kind of accept. Ish.
So it was an almost completely good episode. Almost. Because the solution to the problem of how the Doctor could die but still come back in two months for a Christmas special is solved in a way that I can only describe as a cop out. Not the Ganger cop-out I was expecting, but still a cop out. Which is slightly frustrating, especially since we were promise before this series started that the death at the beginning was a proper death. It wasn’t a proper death, really, was it? And we already know that Karen Gillan is coming back for the next series, so him dying “to be on his own” isn’t going to last very long.
Secondly, I’m annoyed about the whole “Everyone loves the Doctor, YAYZ” thing. Do you even remember that? It was briefly, briefly mentioned by River that she’d sent out distress signals and everyone wanted to help, but then completely ignored. I know this follows on from last week, where Moffatt is trying to go back on the idea that the Doctor is Dark and Bad and Nasty and people are Better Off Without Him, but it was over so quickly and not used. It was, really, a bit pointless. As was the wedding. The wedding was...well. I don’t know. I really don’t know what that was for.
And now the series is over. We have to wait until Christmas for any more Doctor Who, and for a whole year before the next series starts. At least we have one very puzzling question to ponder before then — Doctor, who? This I wasn’t expecting, and I actually think it’s rather brilliant. Very clever, Mr. Moffatt. Very clever indeed.