The Wedding of River Song: A Satisfying and Disappointing Finale

Article written by:
Ade Magnaye
Author: Ade MagnayeWebsite:
Noisy man. Social media pro. Bassist. Dominic Ochoa look-alike. Matindi ang kamandag ni Magnaye.


It’s been well-documented that I have so much love for Doctor Who. It’s no understatement to say that I was looking forward for this finale since this has been the strongest story so far of our favorite time-travelling madman in a box.

To recap: this season started with the Doctor’s death. Amy, Rory, and River try to keep that a secret from the younger version of the Doctor, whose legend as a warrior who can send ships flying off at the mere mention of his name is growing. The problem is, he’s already starting to believe his own hype. This massive ego leads to one of the Doctor’s greatest failures - the battle of Demon’s Run, where Kovarian manages to trick the Doctor into thinking he’s won, only to find out that she’s stolen Amy’s baby. The child, Melody, is brought to 1969 by the Silence, raised to be a psychopath with only one goal: murder the Doctor. Melody eventually turns into River Song with the help of a couple of regenerations and a few kisses with the Doctor. The Doctor realizes that he’s believed in his own legend and that he puts Amy and Rory in danger every other time because of his vanity, hence he drops them off and says goodbye. He now bounces in time for 200 years on a farewell tour, without companions, meekly facing his own death. But we all know the Doctor, and we’re all sure that it’s not that simple.

Which brings us to The Wedding of River Song. Warning: spoilers.

The episode starts in an alternate version of the universe where all of time is happening at once. We have steam locomotives running all over Cardiff, cars flying with the help of hot air balloons, Winston Churchill is the Holy Roman Emperor, and most importantly, the Doctor is locked up in his dungeons, wearing a weird Jesus getup. Turns out the Doctor’s date with destiny in Lake Silencio fizzled out since River was willing to defy a fixed point in time and destroy the universe only to save the man she loves.

Since the laws of time were violated, the Doctor not dying causes an explosion in time. All of time stopped happening and started happening all at once. It is April 22, 2011, 5:02PM in the morning, afternoon, and evening, and unless the Doctor dies, the universe - and everyone who lives in it - dies as a consequence.

This results in time collapsing into itself, and everything is happening all at once. The only way for time to be fixed is if the Doctor and River touch each other, since they are the source of the discrepancy in time. River flat-out refuses. She is willing to destroy everything and everyone that ever existed just so the Doctor lives. I think she needs to set her priorities straight. The Doctor marries River, and they kiss, which sets time back into place. The Doctor dies in Lake Silencio, or so it seems. He survives, now that everyone thinks he’s dead, he can go on more adventures without being a legend.

I admit, I loved all the ideas Moffat threw in the script. All of time folding into one, Charles Dickens being interviewed on live TV, Churchill’s Silurian doctor, pterodactyls in London, Amy finally coming to terms with her daughter not growing up with her and killing the fuck out of Kovarian in cold blood, a game of chess where someone can literally die, the mention of Jack and Rose, the Tesselecta, everything. Moffat is always full of crazy ideas and this is why everyone loves him.

But I think it’s reached a point where the ideas take precedence over the story - this episode’s first 30 minutes are of one crazy sequence after another, while we impatiently wait for the story to unfold.

I admit that I did not see the Tesselecta twist coming - I was betting that it was either a Ganger or the Doctor himself dying. And using the Tesselecta was not a cheat, unlike the vortex manipulator of The Big Bang or the sudden introduction of Mels in Let’s Kill Hitler. Moffat managed to keep the audience focused on the most likely candidate, the Gangers, and successfully blindside us for months until the big reveal in the last five minutes of the finale. It was great stuff. Great, crazy ideas, amazing reveals, but the execution felt a bit off.

For a finale of the most epic season of Doctor Who yet, it felt anticlimatic. Heck, Let’s Kill Hitler was more exciting for me. The wedding could have been grander, the pacing could be better, and the amazing acting Matt Smith showed in the rest of the season was not exactly the same here. I believe that a major problem of the episode was that everyone just stood up and started explaining things to everyone. Even the climatic River-Doctor wedding was prefaced by a whole of 5 minutes of them talking. Not enough epicness and way too much talking.

But I’m willing to look beyond my disappointment and focus on what this finale promises: a Doctor who the world believes to be dead and continuing on his adventures, but in a much more low-key manner, and not being the superhero Jesus that the David Tennant and early Matt Smith days have shown him to be. All leading to the Fields of Trenzalore, where The First Question - “Doctor Who?” - will be asked and Silence must fall, and the Fall of the Eleventh happens. Which, for me, means that the 50th anniversary will be amazing, where everything comes together and we herald a new regeneration and the coming of the 12th Doctor.

Quick thoughts:

  • It is implied that the Doctor’s name contains some terrible knowledge, or The Question will not be a big deal. I hope that this reveal means a variant of the Cartmel Masterplan will be coming into fruition.
  • The Silence will be back, and they are the new arch-enemy of the Doctor.
  • Since Kovarian was killed in an alternate universe, we just know she’ll be back.
  • I hope this leads to a return of the classic villain, Omega, for the 50th anniversary. I mean, who else is the perfect leader of the Silence, right?
  • So we get a new companion next season. I’ll miss Amy and Rory.
  • “River came twice.” Heh.
  • Matt Smith is really cementing his place as one of the legendary Doctors along with Tom Baker and David Tennant.
  • Manly tears for the Brigadier. Man, what a great scene.
  • I am so tired of River Song now that all of the mystery behind her character has been stripped away. Can we take a break from her, please?
  • Rory keeping his eyedrive on even though he was in unimaginable agony. What a fucking badass.
  • I'd still take this over Gollum Super Saiyan Doctor from series 3, though.
  • No more Doctor Who until Christmas. BRB, looking for meaning in life.

What do you think of The Wedding of River Song? Tell us your thoughts, quick, in the comments!


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