THE NON-SPOILERY BIT FIRST
And at last we come to the end of Series 6 of Doctor Who. All year it has felt as if it would never get here and yet here we are with the complete story. It is so weird to reach this point, even though we all knew it was coming.
Not so oddly enough, my initial first reaction to The Wedding of River Song was the exact same one I had towards the first episode of the season, The Impossible Astronaut. I was left with an ambivalent, empty feeling that it was unsatisfying, too jammed packed with too much information, too many cool FX and visuals and no time spent on emotional content. Surprised at my feelings then, I did the same thing today as I did then with that season opener. I rewatched the episode. And sure enough, it was much better the second time around.
I guess I was distracted, or maybe it was reading all the spoilers beforehand. Who knows? These episodes took much, much longer to grow on me, which in the end is no bad thing as long as I retain and practice something all the loud-mouthed moaners and pissers in Doctor Who fandom don’t. That is patience and faith. All great things in life are either adored or hated and Doctor Who has always ridden that roller coaster of human emotion like a trip through the time vortex in a Tardis with no outer shell. It’s an insane, bucking ride – sometimes full of bad FX, poor scripts and little hope for continuation, as in the 90s. And somehow, through it all, it has always survived.
NOW FOR THE SPOILERY PART
As we saw in the last episode in Closing Time, the Doctor seemed resigned to his fate. Visiting Craig was the best thing that happened to him as the human gave him what he needed to not go down without a fight – validation of his invaluable contribution to the universe. Now, in The Wedding of River Song, he goes on a mission to find out why he has to die. Time has stopped, jammed on the point of his death beside Lake Silencio. Emperor Winston Churchill, sensing something is wrong with time, drags our mad soothsayer Doctor out of the dungeons to explain this phenomenon to him. Stuck in modern times, above their heads are traffic jams of cars held aloft by balloons, pterodactyls terrorize Hyde Park and Roman chariots wait to cross London streets at traffic lights. As colorful and fun as this new world seems, it’s all gone wrong and the Doctor tells his old friend how it all started with a woman.
There is a wonderful balance of fun along with the gut-wrenching scenes of River Song begging the Doctor to run as the astronaut suit forces her hand to rise in the air to deliver the killing blows.
Baddies do get theirs, quite satisfyingly, heads in boxes deliver great, snappy comeback lines and the creep factor is raised by scores of cockroach-like Silents clinging to ceilings above and pits of skulls that keep their lairs free of rats – and unwelcome visitors – by eating them. *shudder*
This is a fun, true to form Moffat story that doesn’t reveal its best-kept, series-long secrets until the literal last 5-10 minutes of air time. And while I have been waiting all year for those, the best scenes are also the emotional ones. The 1,100 year old Time Lord may not understand why River would endanger the universe to find a way to save him, but we the viewers do and it brought tears to my eyes when she proclaims to him that she would suffer more than all the beings in the universe combined if she had to stand on that Utah lakeside and end his life. What else could he do than what he did next? Hence the name of the episode.
Thank you, Steven Moffat. Thank you for still finding amazing places to take the Doctor after 30+ years of adventure. We love you for it.