Monday, August 25, 2014

Doctor Who--"The Wedding of River Song"

Well, that was trippy. Kind of anticlimactic as well. It has become clear Steven Moffat plans to drag out the story of the question that can never be answered until he decides to leave the series. I will offer up some rare praise for Russell T. Davies here. He essentially did the same, but was far more subtle about there being a long story arc. I kind of feel like Moffat is jerking me along. Perhaps the feeling is accentuated because ’The Wedding of River Song” was not quite all that I had hoped.

For one thing, it takes a long time for the episode to really get rolling. Until we discover that river Song has pulled a fast one and altered the supposedly fixed point in which she kills the Doctor, the story in nothing more than a show of how weird the universe becomes when time no longer passes. The sequence is also full of cameos by past characters, such as Charles Dickens from the first series’ “The Unquiet Dead.” But seriously--the Roman empire never fell/ Winston Churchill is in charge of it? He has the doctor held prisoner as a soothsayer? Amy is leader of a paramilitary group who is the only one who remembers everything about the Doctor? All these changes because time stopped? Sorry, but without a better explanation, I think that is just a lame excuse to see how strange Moffat can make things.

The doctor, Amy, Rory, and River have a quick battle with the silence in which Amy takes doesa full on Rambo and gets revenge for her baby being kidnapped in the mid-season finale. She is a lot more--shall we say gruesome--than rose was against the Daleks in ’The Parting of the Ways.’’ The niftiest part, aside from the macine gun handiwork and the Emma Pell leather catsuit, is she saves rory from what looked like eminent death. Maybe he has beooken the cycle of death now.

The Doctor realizes the only way to start time back up again is to complete his death. He reveals only to river that his death at Lake silencio was not actually him, but a robot run by the tesetecta. The death of the robot satisfies the need for fixed point to be fulfilled and allows the Doctor to go on his merry way as a wanderer. The question that must never be answered still remains for the future. One assumes the question is along the lines of what is the doctor’s real name?

Anyone else guessing at this point the question will be asked during the 50th anniversary season in 2013/ that sounds about right.

I did appreciate a few small moments in “The Wedding of River Song.’ when the doctor proclaims he can do anything he wants in time, he mentions helping young rose with her homework or attending every one of Jack Harkness’ orgies all in one night. I also liked the tribute to the late Nicholas Courtney when the Doctor wanted to visit the Brigadier on his farewell tour, but learns he has passed on. Those are nice name dropping moments, though mentioning the late Elizabeth Sladen as Sarah Jane Smith is conspicuous with its absence.

“The Wedding of River Song” is not bad, but it is underwhelming. I thought “A Good Man Goes to War” was more epic. Strangely enough, I am also disappointed the Doctor who died was not a Ganger. I am not certain why I considered that a better resolution to the dilemma of how the doctor could be spared, but it does. I just found it all anticlimactic, particularly considering the ultimate resolution is clearly further down the road. I wanted more closure than I got.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

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