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Who Review: The Wedding of River Song

October 3, 2011

I’m afraid I haven’t been able to view and digest these latest episodes of Doctor Who in my usual way. These past few Saturdays I’ve been away from home, then forced to watch them while everyone was sleeping. This resulted in my missing a lot of dialogue due to the low volume. Then this most recent episode, the Wedding of River Song, I watched broken in two parts during the naptimes of the nephews I was sitting, so I missed a ton there. But! I’ve just finished rewatching the Wedding, and that final scene still gave me chills and has me more excited about the upcoming season than any finale before. It answered just about every question posed this season, and then went on to ask just one more. Spoilers after the jump! GERONIMO!

Best scene of the night?

I love not only the mentions of Rose and Jack, but that they have at last remembered the Brigadier. Yes, Sarah Jane got a touching tribute a few months back that had me blubbering, but Nicholas Courtney passed away a few months prior to Elizabeth Sladen. This was a very fitting tribute to a memorable male companion.

Speaking of memorable male companions, once again, Rory went on to kick a whole lot of ass, standing before the Silence to protect Amy in spite of the pain. He even had something of a meta moment, as the Silence hissed at him, “Rory Williams. the man who dies and dies again. Die one last time, and know she will never come back for you.” But of course she came back to save him, machine gun in hand, mowing the Silence down.

But… how did she know to come back and save him? Plot hole time. If someone removes the iDrive (Yes, that’s how I’m spelling it), they forget the Silence. Rory said as much. He had to keep his on so that he knew who was coming after them. Yet everyone still seemed to remember that the Silence was still after them later on.

On the subject of Amy, she was wonderful in this episode, if a bit underused. Yes, she killed Madam Kovarian, FINALLY having some kind of real emotional reaction to having her baby taken away. But it was so rushed, and left me unsatisfied. The Doctor’s chat with Captain Williams, while cute, could have been trimmed to add more to this final confrontation between Amy and Kovarian.

There were a lot of fun moments in this episode, one of my favorites included that “Knitting for Girls” book. There was so much crammed into this episode, and many of the scenes did feel rushed: the aforementioned and the distress beacon in particular. But it was nice to still have those touches of humor.

Another terrific moment was the slow build to the reveal of the Silence. Perfectly executed. That first mark on the Doctor’s arm only confused me, but the second look at the added dashes was brilliant and gave me chills.

Now, there were another few bait and switches in this episode, the sorts of teases that Moffat loves to give yet never pay off on. I was incredibly excited to see the pterodactyls in the second half trailer, and yet all we got there was a gag. The eye patch viking didn’t seem to play much of a role, either, outside of showing off makeup. And speaking of makeup, with all the terrific special effect makeup we’ve seen this season, why can’t they ever seem to give Matt Smith a convincing beard?

The beard, along with his soothsayer getup, laid the Messiah symbolism on just a bit thick in my humble opinion. The Doctor was waffling on dying, then seemed to accept his fate, a la Jesus’ Agony in the Garden. Eventually, he was willing to die to save everyone in the universe, to sacrifice his life for ours. The messianic nature of the Doctor has been touched on before, even more heavy-handedly (See the Titanic Christmas Special, Voyage of the Damned). Yet once again, Matt Smith’s incredible acting keeps it grounded. I’ve called him great before, that he’s the most “Doctoriest” of the three actors to play the role in the new generation. He’s quickly cementing his place as the best of them all.

Okay. I believe I’ve commented on everything but River, and I’ve been saving her for last for one reason. She’s the most glaring plot hole of all. Kovarian/the Silence didn’t need her. Let’s remember what River said whilst killing the Doctor, “The suit’s in control. I can’t stop it.” Read that a few more times. Anyone could have been in the suit. Anyone at all. Why did it need to be River Song? Why go through all the trouble of replacing Amy Pond with a Ganger, stealing a baby at Demon’s Run, raise that baby up to be a psycho, lose her, find her, and put her in a suit that COMPLETELY CONTROLS HER ACTIONS? Hell, the suit could have been empty. Why did it have to be River Song? Because that’s what the fixed point in time said? Why not kidnap her at some other point in her timeline? Bah. Makes no sense whatsoever.

But the ending made sense. It made much more sense than the Big Bang.  I said previously that the Tesselecta could be a possible way for the Doctor to cheat death, but I also dismissed the idea in the same sentence. I should have given it more thought. Moffat said that that was the real Doctor at Lake Silencio, and so he was. Shrinked up inside a robot version of himself. This didn’t feel like a cheap cheat, either. It was great.

Even better was the very end. This whole season seems to have been building towards next season. The Doctor is returning to his roots for the show’s 50th anniversary, and the question was hidden in plain sight. I had no idea what it could possibly be until it was asked, and when it was I was grinning from ear to ear.

Doctor who? Yes. A thousand times yes. The last time Doctor Who had me this pumped was at the end of the Pandorica Opens when I was literally screaming at my screen.

I’ve got a lot more to muse on, but this is getting long, so I’ll wrap it up for now. I’ll comment more in future posts, as well as come back and revisit the skipped Closing Time. In the meantime, if River Song’s timeline has you confused, check out this clip from Doctor Who Confidential. Also, make sure to leave your reactions in the comments below.

Moffat, you magnificent bastard. Thanks for an amazing season.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. October 3, 2011 11:35 pm

    The Amy-Kovarian scene reminded me of Molly Weasley’s “Not my daughter” scene. Funny that she talked about killing her, but not the silents… I guess it’s ok to kill aliens but not humans. huh.

    I wondered if they borrowed the pterodactyl footage from Torchwood. But I gotta say, I loved the trains and the balloons to float the cars.

    • October 3, 2011 11:39 pm

      Amy mowed down a ton of Silence when she saved Rory! Kovarian, meanwhile, made the choice to help them and steal her baby. For no apparent reason, looking back.

  2. Christopher permalink
    October 4, 2011 12:43 am

    I think Amy didn’t necessarily remember who the Silence were. But she’d already had the eyepatch off while everyone in the room was talking about how the Silence are coming, and she can hear the door being banged on… So she didn’t know what she was coming back to kill specifically, just that she had to come back to save her husband from something called the Silence.

    And that’s right, the 50th anniversary is coming up, right? I’m willing to bet that’s when it’ll be. Trenzalore, Fall of the Eleventh. Maybe it won’t even be a fakeout, and Moffat will actually go ahead and give his name out for everyone to hear… Except we probably wouldn’t have any idea of the signifance. And then there’ll be ANOTHER season dedicated to that mystery.

    The man knows how to leave you in freaking suspense.

    • October 4, 2011 12:47 am

      Perhaps! I may need to watch again, but I think there was a reference to danger when they were all upstairs.

      Yes, I’ll have to pick apart the “fall of the Eleventh” and ponder if that’ll be Matt’s last season. Who knows! Excited to find out!

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