Television: Doctor Who and the Wedding of River Song

"The Wedding of River Song" written by Scott MoffattThe city of London, 22 April 2011 – soaring buildings, glittering and mighty under a perfect blue sky, and life tumbling onto pavements below. And horse-drawn Roman chariots driving through the streets. And a Victorian steam train on a monorail… hang on, like in a sci-fi city, but with Romans and steam trains? And hot air balloons? And pterodactyls? And Charles Dickens appearing on BBC One’s Breakfast! Something isn’t quite right…

In Buckingham Senate, at 5.02pm, Holy Roman Emperor Winston Churchill calls for his Soothsayer to be fetched from the Tower. Greying, unkempt, older, tireder, but unmistakably – it’s the Doctor. “Tick tock goes the clock,” Winston tells him, “but they don’t, do they? The clocks never tick.” It’s always 5.02pm these days. All of history is happening at once. “What happened to time?” asks Winston. The answer, it seems, is a woman…

I’ve decided to go for Doctor Who Magazine’s synopsis, rather than the one BBC provides for the finale, as it’s more intriguing. Well, for me it is.

Now, I have mixed feelings for the Series 6 finale. I mean, I liked it. I can’t say I didn’t. But watching it made me realize that the only episodes I liked this series all came from show runner Steven Moffatt himself. Save for The Doctor’s Wife, which was written by Neil Gaiman, and was–I think–the best episode for this series. Though, I did enjoy Closing Time as well… But that was more because it had the Series 5 feel to it, more than because of its own story merits. If it were actually part of Series 5, it would’ve been one of the weaker episodes.

But let’s get back to The Wedding of River Song.

Is it me, or did it feel a tad rushed?

So much was happening in the first two-thirds of the episode, with all the running around and the things wrong with history, that I was a bit short-of-breath (figuratively) when it came down to the quiet moments and the revelations. I think this episode would’ve have worked better as a two-parter, so we could really explore the ramifications of River’s meddling with fixed points in time. Also, the actual exposition (and running around) wouldn’t seem like small vignettes that feels like a cheat.

That said, I did like how it all got solved in the end though. And how the wedding of River Song came about. I don’t get most of it, but at this point, I don’t want to overanalyze anything. I’d stick with liking the finale episode.

Because truthfully, Series 6 was a bit of a letdown after a brilliant Series 5. Now that the arc has been closed, sort-of, I see that we’ve been fed way too many red herrings that it became too much of a guessing game as to how Moffatt would turn it all around. It really didn’t work for the Doctor to die in the first episode, and to have us work on finding out how he not dies for the entirety of the series. What ended up happening was that people started griping and losing faith–which, admittedly, I almost did after watching Night Terrors.

Griping about lost possibilities is kind of counter-productive at this point. But I really do hope that Steven Moffatt goes back to the set-up of Series 5. That year had serialized stories too, but it didn’t take up too much of the viewers’ consciousness that it took away from the enjoyment of the one-offs.

The cracks were spread throughout the whole of Series 5, and we were confronted by it by Episode 9. And even though Episodes 10 and 11 were one-offs, we didn’t mind because the whole arc wasn’t too intrusive. Whereas in Series 6, we were concerned with the death of the Doctor, the identity of River Song, and midway through the series, we were also aware that Amy and Rory lost their child. One-offs painted our characters cold uncaring things because they were off romping about and having a laugh, while they knew sinister things were about to happen!

With a longer wait in between the Christmas Special and Doctor Who‘s Series 7, I really hope that Moffatt takes a long hard think at what he has planned. And make sure his characters don’t get seen as heartless creatures.


2 thoughts on “Television: Doctor Who and the Wedding of River Song

  1. Pingback: Television: Doctor Who and the Name of the Doctor | taking a break

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