Not quite happy with The Wedding of Dr River Song (Doctor Who S06 E13)
By: +David Herron; Date: 2011-10-01 20:58
I've been carefully watching the episodes, rewatching them carefully, looking for clues, and memes, and ideas, and there's a lot of rich material in this season. It's been totally enjoyable. As I wrote earlier ( The "childhood fears" and "parenting" theme in Matt Smith's (#11) Doctor Who) a recurring theme this season was redemption. The season had several episodes of father-son bonding and redemption in it. I thought for sure the finale would also focus on this, but this time redemption for The Doctor.
That is - he's had a growing realization all season, that his life path hasn't quite gone the way he envisioned. River Song's speech at Demons Run where she pointed out how "Doctor means Healer" except the way the Doctor embodied that word was more like a Warrior than Healer. It's not just that scene, but several times throughout the season. And the last couple episodes this realization was a growing weight on him.
We get to the Finale.. the Wedding of River Song .. the scene we've been promised the last couple years of River Song coming in and out of the Doctor Who episodes. A wholly enigmatic character for the Doctor to be hooked up with.
The episode is a mind twister of multiple timelines collapsed upon one another alright. We have a world where time is breaking down and standing still and everything all happening at once, just because River Song couldn't bring herself to Kill the Doctor even though we'd seen her do it at the beginning of the season.
There's plenty of rich things to look at and ponder in the episode.
For example - the thought of taking over the Pyramids on the Giza Plateau as a base from which to "fight" the Silence. And have a big American flag painted on the side. And for River and the Doctor to get married at the peak of the Great Pyramid. Yeah, there's a lot to just that ... except it's a quick scene briefly done in the midst of other stuff. Somehow having the Doctor get married on a field of battle is fitting, maybe, or maybe it should have been a bigger deal. Who knows.
And ... the symbolism of the eye patches so they could see the Silence. That's interesting isn't it? They spun it in the episode as the eye patches were a computerized way to help you remember the Silence so that you could see them all the time. Great. But I've always seen these Silence creatures as representationally related to the Shadow - and have plenty of times noted this theme, especially in Moffatt's episodes, of unseen things. So, to see the unseen you have to cover one of your eyes? Interesting theme idea.
But let's get back to my issue with the ending. The theme of death, rebirth and redemption that's been going through the whole season. Where did that go? It wasn't in this episode, was it?
We have a whole season of redemption - but the finale is a guy cheating death by faking his death. What? And rather than really face the real issue - he's going to lie low for awhile?
I feel cheated. Well, except, it was a great episode up until that ending. It's not like it's the first time the episode ending was all wrong to an otherwise great Doctor Who episode.