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Thursday, November 3, 2011

Doctor Who Review - Episode 6x13: The Wedding of River Song

Dialogue Triumphs

Winston Churchill: “Tick-tock, goes the clock, as the old song says… but they don’t, do they? The clocks never tick! Something has happened to time – that’s what you say, what you never stop saying. All of history is happening at once, but what does that mean? What happened? Explain to me in terms that I can understand, what happened to time?

The Doctor: “A woman.”


Churchill: “But what was the question? Why did it mean your death?”

The Doctor: “Suppose there was a man who knew a secret – a terrible, dangerous secret that must never be told. How would you erase that secret from the world, destroy it forever, before it could be spoken?”

Churchill: “If I had to, I’d destroy the man.”

The Doctor: “Then silence would fall. All the times I’ve heard those words, I never realized it was my silence, my death. The Doctor will fall.”


The Doctor: “Why Lake Silencio? Why Utah?”

Dorium: “It’s a still-point in time; makes it easier to create a fixed point, and your death is a fixed point, Doctor, you can’t run away from this.”

The Doctor: “I’ve been running all my life, why should I stop?”

Dorium: “Because now you know what’s at stake, why your life must end.”

The Doctor: “Not today.”

Dorium: “What’s the point in delaying? How long have you delayed already?”

The Doctor: “Been knocking about, bit of a farewell tour. Things to do, people to see, there's always more. I can invent a new color, save the dodo, join the Beatles! [on the phone] Hello, it's me! Get him, tell him we're going out and it's all on me, except for the money and the driving! [to Dorium] I've got a time machine, Dorium. It's all still going on, for me it never stops. Liz the First is still waiting in a glade to elope with me. I can help Rose Tyler with her homework. I can go on all Jack's stag parties in one night!”

Dorium: “Time catches up with us all, Doctor!”

The Doctor: “Well it has never laid a glove on me! [on the phone again] Hello?”

Nurse: Doctor, I'm so sorry. We didn't know how to contact you. I'm afraid Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart passed away a few months ago. Doctor?

The Doctor: [shocked, stuttering] Yes, yes.

Nurse: It was very peaceful. Talked a lot about you if that's any comfort. Always made us pour an extra brandy, case you came round one of these days.

Dorium: Doctor? What's wrong?

The Doctor: Nothing, I...just...[hanging up the phone, sighing, and pulling out the blue envelopes from his pocket]'s time. It's time.


Amy: “Why do you look older? If time really isn’t passing, then how can you be aging?”

The Doctor: “Time is still passing for me. Every explosion has an epicenter – I’m it. I’m what’s wrong.”

Amy: “What’s wrong with you?”

The Doctor: “I’m still alive.”


Madame Kovarian: “Amy, help me…”

Amy: “You took my baby from me, and hurt her, and now she’s all grown up, and she’s fighting. I’ll never see my baby again.”

Madame Kovarian: “But you’ll still save me, because he would, and you’d never do anything to disappoint your precious Doctor.”

Rory: [to Amy] “Ma’am, we have to go, now.”

Amy: “The Doctor is very precious to me, you’re right, but you know what else he is, Madame Kovarian? Not here.”


Dorium: “But you’re a fool, nonetheless. It’s all still waiting for you – the fields of Trenzalor, the fall of the Eleventh, and the Question.

The Doctor: “Good-bye, Dorium.”

Dorium: “The first question, the question that must never be answered, hidden in plain sight! The question you’ve been running from all your life! Doctor Who? Doctor Who? Doctor Who?”

Dialogue Disasters


Double Entendres/Sexy Talk

The Doctor: “River Song came twice.”


River: “Cuff him.”

The Doctor: “Ugh, why do you always have handcuffs?”


Dorium: “And Doctor Song: in prison, all her days?”

The Doctor: Her days, yes, her nights... well... that's between her and me, eh?

Dorium: “So many secrets, Doctor. [chuckling] I'll help you keep them, of course.”

The Review

The episode begins with the Doctor stuck in a strange, alternate reality in which all of time seems to have been condensed into one day – April 22nd, 2002. He relates to his close friend, Winston Churchill, how all of this came to pass, while they both fend off the pursuing Silence. The day that the Doctor was supposed to die at the hands of the “Impossible Astronaut” didn’t go as planned, which has screwed up time, and threatens to destroy reality if the Doctor doesn’t set things back in order by sacrificing his life. It’s up to the Doctor to navigate through this bizarre world and find the only person who can help him make things right – River Song.

I’m always so very apprehensive when it comes time for the season finale of Doctor Who. The show has been known to use the finales to throw a few curveballs our way, and so far, season six has had no shortages of plot twists. However, this time around I wasn’t so much wondering what twists awaited me in this finale as I was concerned on what plot threads would finally be resolved. Traditionally, a Doctor Who finale (in the new series) is usually two or three episodes long. “The Wedding of River Song” is the first time since the series was resurrected (or regenerated) that the finale was only one episode. This was unnerving if only because I didn’t think one episode would be enough to satisfactorily wrap up a season which mostly revolved around the death of the Doctor.

The episode manages not only to wrap that up in a way that surprised me, but it also teases us with a very interesting tidbit of what is to come next season (spoilers!). Speaking of spoilers, if you haven’t watched the episode yet, this is the part where you skip everything I’m about to write. Since this episode has been available for several weeks, what the hell are you waiting for? Go watch it, then come back.

Did you watch it? Okay then.

The reveal at the end that the Doctor faked his death by using the Tesselecta (the Meet Dave inspired shape shifting spaceship piloted by tiny people) was surprising, but not entirely unexpected. I had my money on the Doctor using his Ganger double from “The Almost People”, as that made more sense. The Ganger was a complete match of the Doctor’s genetic make-up, and could, presumably, even regenerate. The Tesselecta though… how did it mimic regeneration? Also, how did it survive two point blank blasts of energy AND being set on fire? Just how indestructible are those things? My reaction to the Tesselecta revelation was literally to go: “Oh, well, that makes sense… huh???” I’m thankful it wasn’t as weak as, say, having everyone on Earth think the Doctor back to life (“Last of the Time Lords”) or having Amy remember him back to existence (“The Big Bang”), but still… it was mildly disappointing. Still, the main plot of the episode itself, about time colliding together into one day, was clever, and immediately engaging. The only bad aspect of it was that I never felt a sense of worry for any of the characters, because I knew this was a reality that would be aborted as soon as the Doctor figured out how to make things normal.

Performances were great, especially Matt Smith, as the Doctor goes through a gamut of emotions throughout the episode. The scene where he tries to call his friend, and regular returning character from the old series, Brigadier Leftbridge-Stewart, only to find out that he passed away, was touching, made all the more so by the reality that Nicholas Courtney, the actor who played the Brigadier, actually did pass away this year. It was a wonderful send off and a neat way to make the Doctor face the reality of his own impending demise. My only regret is that the Brigadier didn’t appear in the new series at all, although at least he was in a couple of episodes of The Sarah Jane Adventures. The other regular cast members did a fine job. I especially enjoyed Amy and River’s moment together in the garden. All things considered, it was a fun season finale… but not a great one. I still have faith that Moffat knows what he’s doing, and I absolutely love the idea of the Doctor lying low instead of being an intergalactic demigod. Here’s waiting for the Christmas special!

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