Monday, October 3, 2011

Doctor Who, The Wedding of River Song, first thoughts

What a fantastic finish.  Quickly and easily dispatched the season long death of the Doctor storyline and set up many, many more stories to come.

"Silence will fall when the question is asked."

And the question, well, it has been there from the beginning, hidden, as they say, in plain sight...

The answer has actually been toyed with all season as well.  I mean, there is the obvious answer in terms of "What is the Doctor's real name?" but more fundamentally, who is the Doctor?

A group of people, after all, viewed him as a weapon.  They stole the baby of his companions to turn into a weapon to use against him.

The Doctor frightened them.

Another group has turned the meaning of the word Doctor into "great warrior."

Despite what the Doctor believes he stands for, there are those who view him as something different, and even he must acknowledge that all too often his attempts at a peaceful resolution fail.

But what about all of those that he has traveled with?  Surely they are better for having known the Doctor?

Adric - dead

Rose - lost in a different dimension

Donna - unable to remember  the Doctor or she will die

Okay, maybe not.

The Doctor has begun to doubt that he is good for those that he comes into contact with, so much so that he left Amy and Rory behind and traveled for a time companion-less.

But, on the other hand...

When River refused to kill him, setting up the alternate reality where time was forever stopped and all of history co-existed, River had set out a distress signal, informing the rest of time and space that the Doctor was in trouble, wouldn't anyone help him?

The response was overwhelming.  The Doctor has helped so many people through his long life, and they were all willing to return the favor.

Craig, in last week's episode, made the case that despite the dangers and even sometimes the horrible outcomes, traveling with and knowing the Doctor, having those adventures, would be better than the alternative, and after all, the dangers would be there regardless.

At least the Doctor gave them a chance.

I was reminded of the terrific episode Turn Left in series 4 when Donna was presented with an alternate reality where she never met up with the Doctor.  Instead of saving the world with Donna in The Runaway Bride, the Doctor died and wasn't there for all of the events of Series 3 and 4.

The world was certainly worse for wear.

The idea of who the Doctor is, what the Doctor means, not just to earth, but the entirety of time and space is an important question, and, perhaps, the oldest question.  A question with enormous repercussions.

Outstanding job, Mr. Moffat, I am ready for whatever is next.

A few other things before we're done, that makes two straight seasons that ended with a wedding; although this one was a little less formal than the last, I still got a little emotional.

The Brigadier in The Sarah Jane Adventures

I definitely think my favorite moment was the wonderful nod to Brigadier Sir Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart, portrayed for so long by Nicholas Courtney who passed away on the 22nd of February, one month before the events portrayed in the season finale.  (For more on the significance of the date of the Doctor's death, check out this post by James McGrath).  The fact that this revelation led to the Doctor finally accepting what he had to do was quite touching.

The use of the Tesselector to escape from his death was quite brilliant, made more so by the Red Herring of the Flesh running throughout the season making many of us overlook this solution.

Finally, the question I have is whether the Doctor traveled for nearly 200 years from when we saw him at the end of The God Complex to when he returns to Lake Silencio in the Tesselector.

If you recall, in The Impossible Astronaut, the Doctor claimed to be over 1100 years old as opposed to over 900 years old.

I'm asking the question because of rule number one... The Doctor Lies.

What are your thoughts?  Did the Doctor really take 200 years to say his goodbyes to people like Craig?  Have a few final adventures sans companions?

Or was he lying, and it hadn't really been that long?

That's what I'd like to know.

Until Next Time, while we await the Christmas Special, there is no better time to head back and acquaint yourself with some of the history of the Doctor.  There were 8 of them before Series One with Christopher Eccleston, after all.  (James McGrath suggests the same thing!)


  1. The only thing I am shocked by is that we have yet to find out why he was wearing a tuxedo in "Let's Kill Hitler." I wonder whether they have a longer-term arc planned, perhaps something for the 50th anniversary, or whether that is just something they decided not to elaborate on.

  2. Dude, my DVR messed up right at the wedding part, so I didn't actually see them tie the knot. Did I miss anything good?

  3. @James McGrath

    I felt like the Tux was just a joke, not something that serious, or perhaps just something saying that if the Doctor knows he is dying, he will do so in style.

    Which actually fits, since the only thing snazzier than a Tuxedo is a robot replica of yourself that you can be miniturized to control from the inside.

    That being said, if the tux turns out to be something more significant, I'm fine with that as well, but it didn't strike me as something that needed to be explained further.

    @Chad, your DVR isn't the only one. I think it was actually BBC America that screwed up (at least on AT&T UVerse) since everyone I talked to about it had the same problem. I watched the episode from that point forward off of a BBC One feed and not that much was missed.

    River says, "You may kiss the bride."

    The Doctor says he'll try to make it worthwhile since the kiss will mean they will be back to where she kills him.

    They kiss and the screen goes white.

    They are back at Lake Silencio, River cries as she kills him, he tells her it is okay, that she is forgiven, always forgiven.

    Amy cries over the Doctor's dead body.

    The body is burning on the lake.

    Cut to commercial.

    So, not much missed.