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13 October 2011 @ 05:44 pm
The Wedding of River Song  
In an abstract way I can appreciate what Moffat was attempting to do here but I didn't really care. I don't even feel strongly enough about The Wedding of River Song to dislike it which probably makes the episode a failure.

I liked the fact that the episode wasn't afraid to commit to River Song being exactly what she's always appeared to be - i.e. the Doctor's wife. This was also the first time I've really bought into Alex Kingston's performance. I thought the fine line between River's sense of mischief and her devotion to the Doctor and psychosis was extremely well portrayed. I liked that Rory didn't die, that the good man River killed was exactly the good man the hints had lead us to believe she killed. I was amused by the eyepatch joke (which isn't really worth explaning to the non-cognoscenti but if you really need to know I suggest you Google "Nicholas Courtney eyepatch story") and impressed by the way it was both a joke and a plot point and I liked the madness of the opening sequence. So, yes, lots to like in this episode.

On the other hand I didn't like the get out for "The Doctor's going to die! No! Really! he's going to die! No get outs this time! Oh no!" was that the Doctor switched a double into his place. This get out has been obvious since at least The Rebel Flesh, even if the nature of the switch hasn't, and really just served to make all the emphasis placed on the inevitability of the moment look silly. I was also left with a feeling that this didn't really adequately mesh with the season opener. I'd have to go back and rewatch, but I'm not sure we ever got good explanations for what River was doing in that children's home, nor how she escaped, nor what was going on, at various points with the astronaut's suit. Nor even why River was necessary at all for the Silence's plan if they had an automated astronaut suit that would do just as well. It all felt a little clumsy, which is unusual for a Moffat plot. In fact I would say it displayed a lot of the flaws of Davies' writing in that Moffat was more interested in the emotional story in which River's love for the Doctor emperils the universe than in the internal logic of the events that lead up to that point. Sadly Moffat lacks the sense of confidant chutzpah in his writing which often carried even the most nonsensical of Davies' plots.

In fact I think the episode's basic problem is that I didn't actually much care about the season arc. I never doubted that the Doctor would survive, so the question "How will the Doctor get out of this?" was sufficiently pointless that I was never interested enough in it to even try to follow the clues, let alone be either pleased or disappointed by the reveal.

This entry was originally posted at http://purplecat.dreamwidth.org/55807.html.
Kargicq: Neuromancerkargicq on October 13th, 2011 07:09 pm (UTC)
Oh well, I liked it. Mind you, I would forgive almost anything to a show which created the circumstances for those words Bunn highlighted re "Holy Roman Emperor Winston Churchill on his personal mammoth". -N
louisedennislouisedennis on October 13th, 2011 07:50 pm (UTC)
TBH, I'd have been happier, I think, with an episode unashamedly full of former British Prime Ministers riding mammoths - but I suspect the CGI budget wouldn't stretch that far. The time smash setting really only featured in the money shot at the start and a little bit in the train ride. It was a nice idea but didn't carry the story, I think my problem was I wasn't very interested in this particular story.
bunn: Bahbunn on October 13th, 2011 09:52 pm (UTC)
Ever since I heard those words I have been possessed by the intense desire to photoshop Winston Churchill into a toga and onto a mammoth. Google Image search suggests that this still hasn't been done in a manner that it can understand, which I think is incredible.

*should be working.* Bah.
louisedennis: Doctor Wholouisedennis on October 19th, 2011 08:04 am (UTC)
That is extraordinary and probably breaks one of the rules of the Internet..
bloodredroses1: Jack B&Wbloodredroses1 on October 15th, 2011 01:39 am (UTC)
Here through LJ's who_daily.

I think your post is the first I've run across that articulates one of the big problems I've had since the first episode of S6 --- that the Doctor was *never* going to actually die, there was always going to be some sort of 'get out jail free' card. Most people, if they mention it at all, seem to be quite happy to hand-wave it away as if it means nothing. Like you, I found that it diminished my enjoyment of the overall long story arc. In fact the episodes that I enjoyed for S6 were the ones that were basically stand-alones that had very little to nothing to do w/ the 'Doctor is going to die' arc at all.
To me S6 was less about the Doctor dying than about destroying the character of River Song. As much as I enjoy Alex's acting (and she's turned in some great work as River) I think Moffat truly jumped the shark w/ her character when he made her Rory & Amy's child. Add the whole thing of her being brainwashed from childhood & it gets even more icky. The whole thing was just wrong in some very disturbing ways.

louisedennis: Doctor Wholouisedennis on October 19th, 2011 07:57 am (UTC)
Sorry I didn't respond to this sooner. LJ has been playing silly buggers with my notifications and I only just saw it.

It must be said I've always like the idea of River more than the execution for reasons I've never quite been able to put my finger on (though I think I've mostly found her appearances a little too arch). But I agree with you that her arc this season converted her into, essentially, a caricatured version of Amy as opposed to someone who could meet the Doctor as some kind of equal. I'm glad the show didn't duck out of saying `yes, she is his wife' but as I read in another review, its not a marriage that bears much relation to most marriages actually out there.
daniel_saunders: Medaniel_saunders on October 17th, 2011 09:22 pm (UTC)
I actually rather liked this, flaws notwithstanding and despite the fact that I usually dislike box-ticking stories and continuity and in-joke laden stories. I think everyone over the age of eight has known all along that the Doctor won't die, but it was interesting watching everything come together, even knowing what would happen (as soon as the Teselecta appeared again I realized it would take the Doctor's place and I feel a little stupid for not twigging as far back as Let's Kill Hitler but somehow I don't mind).

I am hoping that the loose ends you mention from The Impossible Astronaut/Day of the Moon will be explained next year, just as the references to the Silence in Moffat's first season were left hanging for a while.
louisedennis: Doctor Wholouisedennis on October 19th, 2011 08:03 am (UTC)
I've heard a theory, which seems very plausible to me, that Moffat has a grand plan that will take him up to the 50th anniversary. I think we all thought at the end of the last season that he would wrap up the arc this year, but I now wouldn't be at all surprised if it isn't all tied up neatly until 2013.

I think the problem with knowing that the Doctor won't die is that, well, `with one giant leap he was free' is always pretty much an option in Doctor Who. You don't really need to be clever to get him out of it. And Doctor Who, at least of late, has played with the fact that people are aware of this within the fiction. The fact that it didn't apparently even occur to the Doctor until the last minute that with several centuries of forewarning, he couldn't fake the situation rather devalued the whole thing.