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Doctor Who: “The Wedding of River Song” Review (SPOILERS)

Is it possible for something to be at once surprising and yet totally predictable? After watching Doctor Who’s sixth series finale, “The Wedding of River Song,” I was left wondering why we fans spent so long speculating about things.  Essentially, everything was answered in the very way it was telegraphed to be since the riddles were posed in the first place.  It would be very easy to say that Steven Moffat took the easy way out, but after Series 5’s completely flabbergasting ending, complete with set-ups paid off in totally unforeseen ways, the most outlandish thing he could do to mess with all of our heads is to have the resolution be what we all assumed was too obvious.  That they were red herrings was, itself, a red herring.

Is this okay? Not necessarily. In many ways, the episode failed to live up to the promise of the phenomenally awesome opening two-parter, “The Impossible Astronaut/Day of the Moon,” but in others it couldn’t have happened any other way.  The entire narrative took place in the split second between when River shoots the Doctor and when the Doctor dies, which is pretty neat in itself.  While it wasn’t perfect, and in my opinion definitely needed a second viewing, the finale closed the book (I hope) on that chapter in the Eleventh Doctor’s reign.

The episode begins at 5:02pm, April 22, 2011.  Time is stuck, meaning everything is happening at once: Steam engines, Roman guards, Pterodactyls, and Emperor Winston Churchill.  Churchill, being a pretty smart chap, realizes that time isn’t moving and so asks his Silurian physician to fetch the soothsayer, i.e. one who says sooths. I just looked up the word and “sooth” means “Truth or Reality.”  So, throughout history, whenever a soothsayer has been called, they’re actually just calling a professional truth teller.  The opposite of that, of course, are politicians. *Wackity-Schmackity-DOOO* Anyway, the soothsayer is, of course, the Doctor, and he enlightens Churchill on why time has stopped. It all starts with a woman.  Say what you will about Steven Moffat, but he certainly knows how to depict strange anomalies of time.

The realization of all time happening at once was quite spectacular.  We see the return of Ian McNeice as Churchill, and it’s nice that he’s been given a chance to play the character again in an episode that isn’t utter bilge. (I know he was in “The Pandorica Opens,” but that was all filmed during “Victory of the Crap”)  We then see what the Doctor did after he left Craig’s flat.  He knows he must die at Lake Silencio, but he does not know why.  He tracks down the Silence and runs across the Teselecta, the shape-shifting robot ship bounty hunter piloted by tiny people.  The captain tells him about the “weak link” in the Silence, which turns out to be Gantok (played by Mark Gatiss under a pseudonym), a player of “Live Chess.”  In exchange for letting him live, Gantok will take the Doctor to where Dorium Maldovar (aka “The Blue Guy”) is laid to rest.  He was beheaded by the Monks in “A Good Man Goes to War,” if you’ll remember, and so his head is now in a box.  Apparently, if the Monks behead you, your head stays alive and the crypt is full of carnivorous skulls, which eventually devour the conniving Gantok.  Dorium’s head tells the Doctor that Silence MUST fall when the question is asked, because the answer to the question must never be spoken.  Blah blah blah.

The Doctor takes Dorium’s head in the box aboard the TARDIS, where he still feels like he has time to do what he wants before he has to die.  After all, he’s in a time machine; he can do whatever he likes. He can help Rose Tyler with her homework or go to all of Jack’s stag parties on the same night.  He’s pretty boss, if you think about it.  He then calls an old buddy to go gallivanting around with, and finds that his dear friend, Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart, has passed away.  It’s this realization — time waits for no one — which causes the Doctor to finally accept his fate.  I thought this moment was one of the best of the episode. As a classic Who fan, I always adored the Brigadier, and was deeply saddened when Nicholas Courtney passed away, as I think most fans were.  That they chose to not only reference it in a new series finale, but also make it the motivation for the Doctor to stop running, is monumental.  What a nice sendoff to such a beloved character.  Matt Smith played the scene wonderfully.  I don’t know if he ever met Courtney in real life, but you really felt like he’d lost a friend.  Understatement of the Year: Matt Smith is a damn good actor.

Then we find out that, yes, River Song is the one in the astronaut suit, and yes, she does kill the Doctor even though she doesn’t want to. But wait! She decides she can change history, even though it’s a fixed point in time.  This is what causes the alternate timeline full of everything.  There, the Doctor and Churchill find themselves fighting an enemy they can’t remember and eventually see a swarm of Silents hanging from the ceiling.  I still say they are the creepiest villains the new series has produced, slightly edging above the Weeping Angels in my book simply because they look like things I used to dream about and be terrified by as a child.  Just then, a bunch of soldiers burst in led by an eye patch-wearing Pond, Amelia Pond.  Eye patches make people remember the Silents. She can remember the other timeline because remembering things like that is what she does.  She takes the Doctor aboard her steam train office to Area 52, which is in an Egyptian pyramid.  Awesome? Yes.

There Amy and Captain Williams (yes, it’s Rory) show the Doctor all the Silents they have trapped in water tanks.  He also sees River and a tied-up Madame Kovarian.  River and the Doctor are at the epicenter of the temporal disturbance and if they touch, it’ll short out and time will start ticking again in the right place.  River, being the obstinate tart she is, doesn’t want to fix the problem, even if it means the entire universe will disintegrate, because she loves him and stuff.  Capt. Williams is worried that the Silents all seem to be far more active now that the Doctor is there and Madame Kovarian laughs in her “I’m evil for no reason” way and says that they weren’t trapped at all, but waiting for the Doctor to arrive. The creepy, suit-wearing things break out and the eye patches all begin shorting out and killing folk, including Kovarian herself.  Rory very nearly dies at the hands of the Silents, but Amy shows up with a machine gun and kills them all.  This paid off the whole “Rory always dies” thing for the most part.  Amy then kills Kovarian by not helping her, saying that River didn’t get “it” all from the bad lady.

River then shows the Doctor a temporal beacon thing that she’s used to send a call for help throughout the universe, outside of the time bubble in which they are.  This pisses off the Doctor and embarrasses him, though the universe apparently is entirely willing to help. She just didn’t want the Doctor to die before knowing how loved he is.  This is sort of the antithesis of “The Pandorica Opens.”  Instead of everyone that hates him teaming up, everyone that likes him agrees to help.  It’s unnecessary, however, as the Doctor decides to marry River.  This still doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me.  Why did they have to get married to make out? The answer is, they didn’t. Other than the fact that it’s always been suggested that she’s his wife, there’s no reason why at that moment they had to do a makeshift wedding.  Before that point, he whispers a secret into her ear which he says is his name.  Then they make out. Then time starts going again. Then she kills him and all the rest of the season happens.

Sometime later, River, fresh off the crash of the Byzantium, appears in Amy’s backyard where her mother is waiting for her. They compare notes about when they are and River decides to tell Amy the secret which the Doctor told her.  The Doctor lies, of course, and he didn’t tell her his name.  River also lies, she says, and has had to pretend she doesn’t know stuff she already knows all the time.  Hey, guess what: the Doctor’s alive.  He got on board the Teselecta and made it look like him and then that Doctor died but the real little one inside the ship could get away.  As he puts Dorium’s head back in the crypt, he says that he wants the universe to think that he’s dead, that he’s been too high-profile and is going to go back to skulking around the galaxy on his own, or at least not being so visible, setting the stage for the next series which promises to be more standalone and less arc heavy.  Still, though, Dorium reminds the Doctor, and us, that the “fall of the eleventh” is still ahead and the question that must never be answered is “Doctor WHO?”

Rule one: The Doctor lies.  Rule zero should be: Steven Moffat lies.  My real problem with this episode is the “big reveal,” simply because it’s Moffat fucking lying to us.  I could write off the fact that River in the space suit was the obvious answer, and I could let go that they got married like everyone expected them to, which is another obvious answer, and the info-dump scene itself in the garden was actually kind of nice. I could even let slide the fact that we still do not know why the Silence wanted the Doctor dead, nor who caused the TARDIS to explode in Series 5. I’m fairly confident that we’ll never learn these answers, and I don’t really care at this point.  What I cannot embrace, though, is the entire crux of the season-long storyline, where the Doctor dies, was the biggest cop out since the floating Christ figure ending of Series 3.  After “The Impossible Astronaut” ended, Moffat was quoted as saying that what we saw was indeed the real Doctor and that he was indeed really killed.  Well, no, he fucking was not.

From the introduction of the Gangers in the first part of the series and the Teselecta in the second part, the idea of the Doctor having a double became all-encompassing. In fact, at one time or another, all of the main characters had another version of themselves running around (except Rory, who is above such things) and they were really hammering home that idea.  But all the while I kept thinking, “nah, it’s not gonna be a Ganger or a Teselecta; it’s going to be more complex than that. Moffat said the Doctor died and I’m going to believe that.”

That, surely, was my mistake.  When this episode began, and the “previously on” material started playing, heavily featuring the Teselecta Amy from “Let’s Kill Hitler,” the idea was planted in my head that it would surely play some part in the proceedings, but couldn’t possibly be the answer.  Then, when the Doctor met them again while searching for the Silence, again I thought it was too easy.  And then, the big ending happens, and we see that the Doctor is in a Doctor suit and that IT got killed and not him, I was angry.  Do Teselecta’s regenerate? Do they have regenerative energy? I fucking doubt it!! So how did they fake that? When the astronaut shoots the Doctor in the very first episode of the series, one of the best scenes ever produced, the Doctor very clearly starts to regenerate and then gets shot again before he can, killing him permanently. Then they burn his body.  But, I guess it’s okay because it was just a shape-shifting android suit.

Did I think the Doctor would actually be dead? Of course not. I knew there was some way out of it, because the show’s not getting canceled, but to have the climax of the entire story arc literally just be “Hey, can I borrow your car?” is beyond frustrating. It spits in the face of not only fans, but completely taints the greatness of the opening two-parter, which was some of the best writing Moffat’s ever done.   News flash here, folks! Moffat does not have a plan.  He might have had one at some point, but it went way off the rails along the way.

I still love the series, I still love the era, and I even generally like this episode (though a second viewing was required).  Hell, I still really like Steven Moffat’s work as a whole. He’s incredibly innovative from a storytelling standpoint and continues to make compelling, thought-provoking television.  I’m glad he’s showrunning my favorite show. But, man, did he screw the pooch on this ending.  There’s a Christmas episode coming up in a few months and then we get to wait until October of 2012 for the next series to start.  Hopefully by then Moffat will pull his head out of his ass.

What’ll we do in the intervening months/year? Well, there’s nearly 50 years of content to talk about; I’m sure I can come up with something Doctor Who-related to write about for you lovely people to enjoy.

-Kanderson is sorry for yelling. He’s not mad at you. Please follow him on TWITTER

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113 comments

  • Okay I have some questions. Sorry I haven’t seen this episode.
    So he gets married to River right? But at the time when they got married was it the fake? Also does she remember the marriage..would it even count as them married anymore?

  • So the feeling that I’ve stupidly missed some obvious knowledge known to everyone is not my fault, it’s just deliberately manipulative and annoying writing? This show is so frustrating.
    It seems the Doctor has a reputation as being a mass-murderer or something given the way the Silence is trying to stop him, and River’s speech to him just before she reveals her identity as Amy’s daughter, seems to hint at a psychopathic ruthlessness in him. And the line spoken by the officer in Let’s Kill Hitler – “We’re trying to bag war criminals and we’ve got the biggest one ever right under our noses.” whilst looking at a readout of the Doctor.
    What? And then they help him later? What the hell is going on?

    If it turns out that this feared ruthless reputation is only because of his *response* to the Silence trying to kill him (for being a ruthless cause of destruction), I’m going to be seriously irritated.
    And the question that mustn’t be asked was already asked at the end of this damn episode. So why is it going to be special when it’s asked later?

  • I think the Doctor and River made a code, long ago (or in the very far future) that, should they need it, he would say a sentence and she would do something like add nine ‘e’s and twelve w’s to the words and minus certain letters to get his name, something like that…
    It’s a long shot.
    Anyways, can you stop grumbling!? Sure, the episode is confusing but complaining about a wonderful television show and asking others agree that the episode was a piece of crap isn’t ever going to fix it! @Jell, thanks for saying that sooner.

  • @BRENT wrote BUT, i forget what the name of the episode was, but i think it was the first time the Doctor met River (in the planet that was a library, and the shadows would eat the people in their suits) River needs the Doctor to trust her. So she whispers (although we don’t hear it) the Doctor’s name into his ear!
    Well, at least that’s what the Doctor says she whispered. So how could she have known the Doctor’s name to tell him?!

    ME===> But River Song LIES, remember? and the Doctor LIES. Maybe she tells the Doctor something else that convinces him to trust her rather than his name. With Moffat you never know.

  • @Brent – Well, [SPOILERS] we’ve been told that River still have 2 massive secrets to reveal, and that she will play a massive part in series 8. So I expect we’ll see much more of what River knows. [/SPOILERS OVER] I guess the whole ‘silence’ arch has got to get finished wrapped up, so we’ll see how he gets out of “the fall of the eleventh” at Trenzalore. Surely, erasing one self is only a temporarily solution.

  • I agree, I don’t like this cop-out. How on earth did the Doctor trick “spacetime” into thinking he was dead?

    Another questions that arises: Since the Doctor told River “Look me in the eye” instead of his name, how does River finally learn the Doctor’s name?
    Well, according to the Blue-head-guy that answer can never be known because it will be the end of the Doctor.

    BUT, i forget what the name of the episode was, but i think it was the first time the Doctor met River (in the planet that was a library, and the shadows would eat the people in their suits) River needs the Doctor to trust her. So she whispers (although we don’t hear it) the Doctor’s name into his ear!
    Well, at least that’s what the Doctor says she whispered. So how could she have known the Doctor’s name to tell him?!

  • Actually, I’ve been thinking about something for a while, regarding why they got married: River says in the episode and/or the one before, that it is unclear whether River is the one to marry or murder him…. So perhaps it wasn’t clear to time which it would be – thus, by marrying her, it allows time to accept that she didn’t actually murder him, as it had given the option that they could marry instead.

  • I thought the wedding solution is a big cop out at resolving a tricky problem. In other words Steven Moffat developed writers block one day and couldn’t figure out how it fix this big hole he dug himself into plot-wise Btw River fans didn’t you hear what she said afterwards while talking to Amy (mommy)? The wedding happened “In an aborted Timeline. In a world that NEVER WAS.” In other words Steven Moffat woke and said exclaimed “WHAT THE EFFING HECK DID I JUST WRITE??” and decided to fix a problem he created. Too bad many River fans decided to ignore that little slip of a revelation. LOL

  • Didn’t the Doctor actually say that his DEATH was a fixed point? Because if so, how exactly was he able to avoid it at all, Tesselecta or not? I mean, of course he fooled the Silence, but how would putting a robot in his place prevent the same kind of paradox as with River not shooting him? That’s where the copout is, I think. If “time” said he had to die, “time” can’t really be fooled with a double like that.

  • I don’t get why some people are so upset about the current plot being predictable.

    I guessed that the girl regenerated at the end of “The day of the moon” is River. Also, we all know that The Doctor surely can’t die yet.

    I also have predictions about what Steven Moffat is going to do based on the hints he dropped on episodes he wrote (I guess he’s going to bring back Gallifrey at “the fall of the Eleventh”).

    The result may be predictable but am I the only one thinking that we should enjoy the reveal instead of worrying about the result?

    Think of it this way;
    It’s like watching your sexual-partner stripteasing before you ‘do the deed’: you know that both of you are going to fuck (can i say fuck ?) in the end, but you still watch it. You don’t go yelling “I’m angry that it’s so predictable! I’ve known we’ll fuck (can i reaaally say fuck?) the moment you undo your top button!!!”*

    *disclaimer: I know Doctor Who is a family show and my analogy is not exactly child-friendly. So, if you are a minor and you are reading this, forget about my analogy.

  • I have to wonder if Moffat even took into account how truly horrific River’s actions were. Time was disintegrating because of what she did, and yet she had the nerve to claim that her suffering would have been more terrible than that of everyone else’s. What? And keep in mind that her parents, who’d spent the series searching and waiting and hoping their baby would somehow be able to come back, would have suffered because of this, too – and she still didn’t stop. She didn’t even ‘t bother thinking of anyone but herself. And to top it all off, she didn’t even face any real consequences for her actions! All she got was a stay in a prison she can easily break out of at any time.

    I really hope she’ll have to face ramifications for her thought process and actions in the next series and Moffat uses this as a kicking-off point for some actual character development. She went from being my favorite character in the show (besides the Doctor) to my least favorite.

  • “Do Teselecta’s regenerate? Do they have regenerative energy? I fucking doubt it!! So how did they fake that?”

    Well, what about nanogenes?
    http://tardis.wikia.com/wiki/Nanogenes

    I think it’s not too much of a long shot to imagine that the Tesselecta had such technology – then again, I’m way too used to suspending disbelief on a daily basis… lol

  • Funny isn’t it? Any time a TV show does this every one bitches “Oh I saw that coming” despite every guess I’ve seen on the internet not even mentioning the Tesselecta. Moffat put Chekovs gun in plain sight and nobody spotted it.

    “obviously the show didn’t do a very good job of communicating its ideas.” Not true. The point of a well written twist is everything is there, just no one spots it, as opposed to the CSI style “someone who pops out of nowhere, but has one insignificant line early on, just so you can’t say ‘Who are they’.”

  • A lot of people love Moffat, his storytelling, but I despise Moffat’s storytelling methods. Take the series finale for example: River shoots The Doctor; but then where she shoots him again, she suddenly decides that she has the ability to NOT shoot him? That’s bs. Anyone remember FATHER’S DAY with the 9th doctor? She was in all this agony and pain and for some miraculous reason, when it happens again, she doesn’t shoot him. That’s weak. And what was up with the marks on the Doctor’s arm when he was with Churchill? Finally, the whole, “question in plain sight” storyline was a waste. It was more cliche, than good storytelling. And I agree with the whole, why bother with the marriage angle, if all he had to do was kiss her to keep time back in check angle? Shaking my head. If I have to make assumptions and jump to conclusions to ‘get it’, that’s bad writing.

    I think I’m as smart as the average fan, but if I have to re-watch the show or movie to ‘get it’ , obviously the show didn’t do a very good job of communicating its ideas.

    However I DID like the nod to the Brigadier. I love it when the show pays hommage to characters from the classic series. Too bad, the Brig and the 11th doctor never had an episode together. I still love Doctor Who, I still like Matt Smith, but besides Night Terrors and The Doctor’s Wife, there hasn’t been any epsiode during Moffat’s tenure I really liked.

  • Anti-sassy: Is it really necessary to put down Martha and Rose to defend River?
    Rose got Nine, the NuWho Doctor who was at his best behavior until Eleven. And the Season was wonderful. I wasn’t enamored of Season Two but it had it good moments– Girl In the Fireplace, School Reunion …. And Ten’s relationship with Rose made those episodes work.
    Season Three was brilliant because Martha, was, in my opinion, wonderful simply because she had to content with a Doctor who was performing a bang up Edward Cullin/Heathcliff impersonation, yet she manage to rise to and above the occasion, and move on to something better.
    That said:
    I think we can agree that the Doctor married River because he loved her, and why shouldn’t he? She’s gorgeous, spirited, intelligent, sexy and considering all that Melody/River has endured– an immensely strong person. But there is this Thornbirds feel to their romance as he literally is watching her grow up and grooming her towards that point in time.

    A couple of points: The Fixed point was not centered around the Doctor’s Death. He didn’t die the first time; it was therefore centered around the Universe perceiving River as his murderer. Plus, when he realizes who River is, he must have already known he would marry River. I wonder at point however, did he realize, especially after meeting the adult Melody, that if he Married River, If River was to save all the people she saves at the library and we don’t know how many others, he couldn’t take baby Melody back to Rory and Amy even if he wanted to. Then there is the Benjamin/Mrs. Robinson thing. She must have warned him, and when she didn’t kill him, the Silence leaped in while Melody was checking out “something” in Hitler’s Loo, and handed her the lipstick. Then she saved him again. This must have been when the Silence plotted the Lake Silencio Fixed point murder.

    “Not helping” Madame K would have been Amy showing the woman her Yew-Bow fingers and leaving the room. Amy very deliberately approached the woman, adjusted the patch, told the woman what she thought of her and WHY she was putting the patch back in, with the knowledge that this would result in the woman’s death. That seems to make her directly responsible with intent, but perhaps justification in the universe she was living in.–I’m sure Aleesha and Ben (LOUK) would agree. :) )

    I see River as the truck driver in the Star Trek Episode where Kirk allows Edith Keeler to die. (I’m embellishing a bit) Imagine if the Doctor finds the truck driver a week or two before and tells him, “In ten days, after work, on the way to the market to pick up milk, you’re going to be driving about 5 miles over the speed limit because you don’t want to get caught shopping in the company truck, and Edith – a beautiful, marvelous individual of deep vision who has the power to change the world for the better– will step in front of your truck, and you will be unable to stop and will kill her.”
    The fateful comes, the Truck driver drops off the truck at the parking lot, walks to the store and takes the bus home. The next day there are pterodactyls in the park and the Doctor is in his face asking him: ‘What have you done?’, As if choosing NOT to kill an innocent person and building beacon, hoping someone can help you avoid this fate was the most evil, selfish thing in the world.

    I do wonder however, if time was left to deteriorate, if, what would have occurred is not the end of the Universe, but the end of River Song. No River Song at the library– the Doctor regenerates before leaving Donna and before meeting a brave little ginger haired Scottish girl who serves fish fingers and custard before he fixes the crack in her wall.

    I don’t trust this pat, little honeymoon ending — I’m thinking the results of this little trick of the Doctor’s is going to backfire.

  • LOL@Sassy

    You are full of epic fail. If you want to know why, read what Lori-Anne said. i’m a guy, and hell yea I like River. Beats the crap out of “OMG BOOHOO I LOVE YOU DOCTOR martha whiner” or “Omg I cant be with my doctor even though I have the exact replica Rose”

    River > Tate > Amy > Rest.

    The episode was cool, predictable but cool. If you couldn’t see the question being “Doctor who?” from the start of the season, you’re doing it wrong.

  • This season made a huge build up for this episode, and it ended up going with some cop out predictable way he can live, I’m really disappointed in Moffat.

  • Wow…Sassy, I am not sure you picked the right name there. You don’t come off sassy so much, more a little puerile. But you definitely gave me a chortle, unknowingly, I’m sure.

    While your are more than welcome to your opinion, the show would basically prove you wrong on all counts. He obviously does not find her gross, he didn’t pull away from her or recoil in disgust during the kiss and yeah, there was regret when she died. So, can you point out exact places where all of what you say happens? I am more than happy to admit I’m wrong if you can do that. And please, do not come back with “You are just wrong.” because then I really will think you are young.

    Also…I happen to find Alex Kingston stunning and if I swung that way, I could be interested. But I like interesting looking women and not just cookie cutter typical “hot babes” And I know plenty of men (not guys, but men) who happen to find her very attractive as well. But that’s hardly the issue. I think she adds a lot to the show and as an older woman, I appreciate seeing someone a little closer to my own age on screen. I felt the same way about Catherine Tate and I look forward to your opinion on her too.

    Who are Moffat’s ilk?

  • are some of you insane! the dr in love with this ugly disgusting gross woman? what are you smoking?! he grew into the relationship? LMAO!! I’ve never read anything so stupid in my entire life! what a load of crap. in fact you can see the dr’s body stiffening up as he had to kiss this repulsvie disgusting woman who looks like his bleeding mother. maybe some of you who suffer from some sort of oedipus complex like this sort of thing but normal people do not.
    the 9th dr once told adam that he only traveled with the best. now we are to believe he would settle for the worst?! what is wrong with some of you.
    The first dr on his worst day could do better then this vile piece of trailer trash like the vile river. she is a sociopath. And the sooner the dr divorces this foul pest the happier most of us will be. she is nothing but a sick in the head stalker. the dr should leave her sick gross self rot in prison and never see her again. and given what a sick selfish psycho she is, I doubt very much NOW that the dr was really crying when he was about to send this low-life pig to her death. I bet he was dancing a jig. I bet he was floating on cloud nine. I bet he was the happiest man in the universe to be finally rid of these tombstone around his neck.
    Steve moffat and his ilk have gross taste in women. no wonder those gross men like her but all the guys I know wouldn’t touch her gross self with a ten foot pole.
    she adds nothing to the show and everything that supposedly makes her “special” has already been done by all of the other companions pre 2005. So she really is a sick pathetic joke! defend her all you want but in the end, she is an embarrassment of a character!

  • Why is anyone surprised that Moffat lied? RTD used to lie and he’d flat out say he had lied. You know the Doctor isn’t going to die, you know he’s going to get out of it somehow and that he’s not going to die at 1100 or you’re pretty much writing the end of the show. So, I am not sure why this is a big issue? I expected the lie, quite frankly and at some point, pretty much spot on guessed it was going to be the Teselecta (I really like saying that word, so when I write it…I say it out loud).

    Also, if Kovarian had done that to my kid (my mythical kid), I would have offed her too.

    I do think Moffat has a plan but I don’t think he rigidly sticks to it, I think he allows room for things to happen. He mentioned he didn’t know he was going to put the Dalek in, until he did.

    I thought the episode was convoluted and I still don’t get the point of them getting hitched and didn’t she really marry the Teselecta anyway? I enjoyed it because with a few exceptions (I am looking at you Victory of the Daleks and Love and Monsters) I just generally enjoy Doctor Who and I thought the episode was fun, in it’s a way. I wish it had been handled differently but I enjoyed it.

    @ Michael Short..the guy at Silencio? Yeah, that’s the Gay Ex FBI agent from the beginning of the season, Canton Everett Delaware. Is that right? Also…trivia note…that guy is played by Mark Sheppard’s real life dad, which is just adorable.

  • Who was the old guy with the gas can? The older version of the Secret Service guy from the Nixon Whitehouse. Listen for the name.

    The regeneration energy? Like someone said, the robot could materialize a fully functional motorcycle, it could handle some wisps of light. And remember the crew had seen teenage Mel regenerate into mature River in Hitler’s office. “Surveillance mode”, which would likely mean everything recorded. Never cared for the robot-with-mini-people inside — when you’re stealing from bad Eddy Murphy movies, you need to rethink.

    I expected a Fleshie Doctor. But someone must have brought up the point, as the Doctor himself says, that he had to be there because it was a fixed point. This way, he was there, but never in actual danger.

    It was a little too predictable and underwhelming. B+.

    Personally, I’m hoping for more science fiction, less horror/fantasy next season.

    Oh, and Matt Smith is a much better Doctor than I expected. As good as his frantic bits are, it’s the quiet bits where he really shines. His portrayal of a “hurt” doctor is above any of the others — strapped into the Pandorica before it flies off, here with the Poison, etc.

  • I knew the loose ends couldn’t get all tied together by the beginning of the second episode, when I was already going “Wait, no, can we dial it back? *Why are they running away?*”

    And no, it couldn’t be a copy, couldn’t be a copy, but of course it is, because they’re not *really* killing the doctor. And who was the old guy with the gas can?

    But as much of a clusterfuck as it is, I’m actually really happy River got her man. And Moffat’s just giving us a *lot* of breathing space for offscreen shenanigans a la fanfic, right?

  • I enjoyed reading everyones comments- Thank You.

    Regardless, I love Dr Who and it is still one of the best series on TV. I am completely underwhelm by everything which is not on cable.

    We should have reviews of the Walking Dead when it comes back :-)

  • I don’t think anyone blew up the tardis. The doctors enemies locked him in the pandorica to stop him blowing up the tardis. It makes sense to do this rather than kill him because if their predictions that he was going to be responsible for blowing up the universe, killing him would not prevent that. In fact it would accelerate it. The destruction of the universe would happen before he died. Keeping him alive indefinitely would stave this off indefinitely. Their plans went wrong because River flies the tardis to the one day she has to avoid, the wedding day of Amy and Rory. What did they do on their wedding night? They stepped into the tardis. What do couples do on their wedding night? In this case, River was conceived. People often cross their time lines in Doctor Who, though remember what happened when the Brigadier touched himself in Mawdryn undead. In this case River is actually in the tardis just before she was came into existence. The tardis is gripped by the paradox. If River doesn’t go to this point, Rory remains dead and she is not born. Going there puts her too close to her origin.

  • Thank you so much for bringing up the regenerative bit. I pointed it out to my friend who like “blahblahblah I loved the finale!” and he just shut up after that.

    I was super disappointed. I felt like, in general, a lot of this season was shrugged off and not taken as seriously or passionately as previous ones.

    Swell review!

  • If you were willing to get into a space/time machine and leave your family,friends and lover behind i would think you would be comfortable with losing a kid that technically was never born. go back through the episodes, when did amy give birth. Did the ganger of goop amy give birth?? and if not did amy give birth to a pile of goop?? . Next to all of that it had been instilled that their trust for the doctor to find their baby was the comfort to continue on. in reality do we always go through lifes decisions 1-10 or do we make emotionally based decisions that can change the landscape of our thought process(instead of 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10 it turns into 1,3,4,6,5,2,9,7,10,8. as an example) if we want something bad enough we make excuses for ourselves to skip certain daily routines in order to achieve them.
    I personally dont see that (the amy/rory no care baby bye bye lol) as much of a problem, and if it is your watchin The Doc for the wrong reasons. its sci-fi/drama not a drama
    P.s remember this season is more american influenced, at least it didnt turn into torchwood(the first time the title of the show rings true to the entire structure of their newest season, Just light it on fire and let it burn because maybe there might be beauty in those ashes….maybe lol )

  • The kid at the end of the episode “Day of the moon”(part 2 of the impossible astronaut) that is regenerating is Melody Pond/River Song. There have been refrences to this moment in the other episodes of this season.

  • I’m glad that he’s going to go solo for a while but will surely miss Pond and William but hopefully will return for futur episode. Altough some question was answered in this episode but there’s one i would like to know …. Who’s the kid at the end of the episode of the Impossible Astronaut that is regenerating??

  • It’s probably bad form to link to someone else’s review, but with the preface the I LOVE YOUR REVIEWS AND THIS IS NOTHING PERSONAL (even though I don’t know you personally), this other review pretty much sums up why I’m still uncomfortable with the entire season. Yes, all the plot weirdness is sucky, but the worst of all — how the heck does Amy and Rory get over losing the baby so fast? Big plot element missing from the whole season. http://geekscape.net/let-s-kill-amy-pond.html

    I also like thinking of all this in reference to Buffy & Angel, which had off seasons and picked right back up to being unquestionable and awesome. Here’s hoping that happens to Who too.

  • Weirdly, I always assumed it would somehow be the Doctor Ganger reconstituted, and part of me was thinking “no, he has to find a way around that, he won’t make a ganger just to save himself.” I considered the Tesselecta to never have been an option, because they considered the Doctor’s death to be a fixed point. Why would they help him cheat death, then? But the way it was done was well played. The only part of the show that I really disliked was the crappy sfx of Mark Gatiss falling into the skull hole right after the “watch your step.” Good job that hole was there just as soon as he was about to try killing the Doctor. Who was known set to be dying at a specific time and a specific place which was not a transept. It crossed a terror threshold I’m not sure the kiddies’ parents would have appreciated come bedtime.

    To answer the question, why did the Doctor need to marry River, there are a couple of reasons: first, for Amy and Rory’s benefit. The Doctor didn’t intend for anyone to know that he lived. In order to convince River that his “death” had to happen, he let her in. (And I can’t help but think that he would know there were still encounters with her in his future for him to live.) He created a pretext for River to do what he wanted while letting Amy and Rory, the two companions who have been with him most recently and know him best, believe him dead. If they believe it, the rest of the universe must, no? (Yes, there’s also the crew of the Tesselecta. He might have been in it by himself? It’s a possibility and the Captain’s offer was broad.) That River didn’t cooperate with this scenario and told them he survived is not even slightly surprising. The second is more complex and is about how River and the Doctor’s relationship has developed. He was the guy who cringed away from River’s kiss at Stormcage not so long ago, but I think he’s had time to grow into their relationship and understand the sacrifices she has made for him. (Which have been several.) And he fancies her right back, has done since the beginning. He accepts her. I like that. I really like that and am excited for the continued development of that relationship. I don’t think the Doctor was 200 years older when he “died” than the younger self that came afterward. He wanted to signal that he was an older version of himself to them. I don’t think Moffat’s going to pass up the opportunity to tell these stories they’re always alluding to in the diaries.

    River refers to a day of reckoning coming for her. If not his death at her hands – and clearly, since she was quite young when the Doctor “died” she has known despite appearances that she didn’t actually kill him. Is it when the Doctor no longer knows her? Or is there some other event that is worse?

    They’re clearly telegraphing an end of the Eleventh at Trensimore, and that I don’t dig. I love Matt Smith’s Doctor and hope they can stretch this out another couple series. When he goes, Amy and Rory go. I’ll be sad. But I’m already mourning the loss of Matt Smith’s excellent delivery.

    But this was an excellent finale, for the above and so much more. I realize I make assumptions, but I saw a fair number of assumptions in the review above that I raised my hackles as well.

    Go back and re-watch “The Time of Angels” and “Flesh and Stone.” Watch those and tell me Moffat hasn’t known where he’s been headed with the Eleventh, with River, Amy and Rory for the last two years. The idea that the end was just some pasted-on “oops, people figured us out so we better change it!” makes me giggle. It was always going to be like this.

  • well said as always kyle. quite a curious episode. I’m still trying to piece together the timeline myself and having a hell of a time doing so, I guess over think these things.

    Secondly, she doesn’t know his name so what the hell does she whisper to the 10th in the silence in the library? Will we ever know!??!?!

    • She does know his name! Remember that actually most of their relationship happens off-screen. Such as Asgard, Jim the Fish, Darillium etc. Just because something is not necessarily shown it doesn’t mean it didn’t happen!

  • I agree there are some serious issues with this ep–most importantly that the big ending came down to “Can I borrow your car? I promise to bring it back.” But that does not spit in the face of fans. And Moffat DOES have a plan. His plan was to trick us, and fuck him if he didn’t do that awesomely. Was this his best ep ever? Fuck no! Does it make a lot of sense? Not really? Is it still a better-constructed finale compared to, oh say, “glowy-Christ-figure Doctor”? Um, yes. Because that was fucking bullshit. That was one of my first episodes and I thought that was fucking bullshit. And the River/Doctor marriage wasn’t unnecessary. As River said, she had to either “marry [him] or kill [him]“. I think that someone else brought this up, but it was a fixed point with two endings and they chose the ending that involved less killing of the Doctor.

  • I was unhappy with the predictability of the answer as much as anyone. Like most, I figured that ” nah…Moffat wouldn’t use something as simple as a double to get out to this?” Guess we were wrong.
    However, I can’t help but to remember that this is consider a show for children. His core audience is between 7 – 12 years old (more or less). Maybe complicated endings and difficult to visualize reveals is more than we “adults” should expect.

  • Come on, this is not as cop out-y as it could’ve been. Sure the teselecta was pretty predictable but think of what else it could’ve been. It would’ve been worse if it was the Flesh then this season would be known as the season where everything was the flesh and originality fell to the wayside. The Daleks could’ve been behind it, like they are everything in the Russell T Davies era or hell Moffat could’ve just made a Who Shot JR situation. Moffat took a risk and ultimately, the risk paid off because it kept all of the fans interested and watching.
    Everyone is up in arms because of the internet speculation that went back and forth. I think it was genius to make the answer so simple. Like Kanderson said the supposed red herring was a red herring itself. Moffat sees the doctor for who he is, a kind, brave man who is tries to do his best by the universe but along the way does massive damage. I think this season, while ambitious and a bit far reaching, was excellent.
    There were ups and downs of course (Closing Time was pretty thin on plot despite its humor and The Curse of the Black Spot was just plain dumb) but this season was excellent and Moffat and Matt and Karen and Arthur and Alex were all incredible.

  • Doctor Who sucks ass now, surprising. Cept it’s not, caught the first 8 episodes on space and was flabbergasted at how shitty it was compared to the first five adventures. Too bad it turned out shitty.

  • “Do they have regenerative energy? I fucking doubt it!! So how did they fake that?”

    What? You can buy a temporal ship the size of a person that can disguise itself as any living being…while being run by miniaturized people inside it…but that it can reproduce the light-show effects of a regeneration – when the one person who could best tell it what that would look like is on board – *that* comes across as too unbelievable?

  • Also, an after thought….if the Teselecta could easily form a motorcycle under a person, like they did in “Lets Kill Hitler”, who’s to say they cant fake a regeneration. Just because it looked like the Doctor was regenerating it doesnt mean he(the Teselecta) was, it very well could have been an illusion.

  • I honestly think this whole season was a way for Moffat to get the Doctor to go “underground” again, rather than some cop-out episode where the Daleks come back via some bullshit plot device and then the Doctor just decides to go underground. And then when he put his season long plan to deposit the Doctor under the earth(figurative) he took it as an excuse to try some cool plot ideas (i.e. killing the doctor, River Song’s backstory, the Silence, the various side stories like “The Girl Who Waited” specifically etc.). I applaud the Moff for not copping us out and I look forward to what he has to offer in the Christmas Special and Series 7.

  • David Tennant is my favorite doctor yet. He changes fixed points when he pleases, because he’s David-motherfucking-Tennant. He’s the goddamn batman of Doctor Who

  • I completely agree that it somehow managed to be good, and this has been a great season, yet it just left a little hole in me going “Well that’s a fucking cop-out”

    Anyway, what say we just make kanderson the proprietor of british stuff? Misfits is starting up soon, and sherlock after than.

  • Would you consider reviewing some Classic Who? As someone who’s working her way through the Davison, Pertwee, and Tom Baker eras I would love to hear another’s thoughts.

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