Sunday, 2 October 2011

Doctor Who Review: The Wedding of River Song

So this is it. The final episode, could it answer all the questions, could it satisfy all our expectations for the end of the series, and could it still be a good episode? Well, yes actually.

To be honest, I don't know what to think of this episode. It's very disjointed, with characters just appearing and disappearing to serve the plot. The ending is very deus ex machina, with the Teselecta just being there to save the Doctor and not much else. There's really distracting green screen of River's face into the spacesuit, plot holes like why did they keep a huge amount of silence in the pyramid instead of killing them, what's the story with the Dalek, why is it in that condition, why if the Doctor can find them that easily and they are so dangerous he doesn't do something about them, amongst other things. And there's a very obvious sense we've seen a lot of this before, the Doctor going to see his old enemies for information with the Dalek here and Cybermen in Good Man Goes To War, and the whole plot of an alien alliance thinking the Doctor is too dangerous to live so they try to put him out of the way, but something goes wrong and the whole universe is dying, aka, last series's finale.  So there are a number of things I should be complaining about, reused idea and a non-cohesive story, but these are minor concerns because they barely dent the quality of the story. I mean, it's not the best story ever, but it's just so... fun.

The whole of time happening at the same time, brilliant idea, just used enough that it's mad but not too over the top. The flashback style of the story, totally works so why the world is messed up is revealed slowly and we're introduced to this mad world from the start, it's not an awkward jump when River changes her mind. The whole silence falling and why the Doctor has to die is explained more, but also simplified, so it isn't as cringeworthy as I found it in Lets Kill Hitler and hiding the question until the end of the episode gave a real sense that the Doctor might actually be accepting his fate. The scene in the bar where the Doctor shows the Dalek eye, shows how scary they still are and how much worse he must be to have it. The mentions of Jack and... Rose were nice, showing this is a continuation of the David Tennant stories, since most of the time they never seem to mention events or people from them, even though I do hate Rose. And the scene about the Brigadier's death was touching and very well handled, a fitting tribute to the excellant Nicolas Courtney and working well in the story. I could go on listing all the great moments, like the return of Dorium and... no, stop it. You get the idea, this episode is just filled with great scene after great scene. The characters are engaging, even small parts like "the viking chess guy" were funny and well used , the main cast get to play with their roles a bit and have fun, theres the return of old favourites for small parts, like Churchill and Dickens, and even Madame Kovarian isn't quite as annoying, because now she's powerless she can't chew the scenary as much saying how she's so great and the Doctor will die and the like.

But obviously the main heart of the episode is the relationship of the Doctor and River. And much as she's annoyed me before, here they were brilliant, Matt Smith giving a great performance as a Doctor who seemed to have given up and Alex Kingston as a heartbroken lover. They work off each other as a great double act, funny and moving at the same time. The climax scene was amazing with the moving revelation of the lives the Doctor has touched and then the marriage and then the apparent death of the Doctor. But as always the show must go on and the Doctor's plan is both expected and very surprising at the same time. Next year are we going to go back to the classic approach of the Doctor just as a stranger who appears and helps people and less of a god and legend as he appears to be becoming. And will we find out the answer to the question, the genius question, so simple, but brilliant of "Doctor Who?". Who knows, but this episode really put me in a mood to see more.

So, yes, it's a brilliant episode, the plot is insane but in a good way, the characters are interesting and well rounded, the direction is amazing and just the whole thing is a huge adventure. It's the series finale we're used to, but it's definately one of the best. It's a fitting ending of a series, with the except of Black Spot and Lets Kill Hitler has been consistantly great and one of, if not the best of the revived series. I just can't wait to see what happens next.


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