Doctor Who Reactions: "The Wedding of River Song" (SPOILERS)

1)"Pterodactyls are vermin. Do not feed."  "Do not feed the flying pests!"

 

2)Dickens!

 

3)"Holy Roman Emperor Winston Churchill"?

 

4)"Knitting for Girls"?

 

5)"The skulls eat them."  Awesome.

 

6)"I'm afraid Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart passed away." I'm glad they got a mention of the Brig in.  I suppose that folks who've only seen the new series may not have a sense of how important Nick Courtney was to the show, but he was a major part of what I liked about the show back in the 70's.

 

7)"Time can be re-written." "Don't you dare."

 

8)"The man who does and dies again."  "Oh, my God! they killed Rory! You bastards!"

 

9)"River Song didn't get it all from you, sweetie."

 

10)He must've told her his name at some point, she told it to the Tenth Doctor in the Library.

 

11)"And I'm his...mother-in-law."

 

12)If he was in the Teselecta, why did time re-start itself when River touched it? Was the time paradox fooled by the Doctor's clever plan, too?

 

13)"Doctor Who?"

 

Overall: Another collection of set pieces and gags rushed by in hopes that we don't notice the holes in the plot.  It looks as though Moffat's already building up to the Smith's departure - perhaps in time for the 50th anniversary in 2013?

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Strictly speaking, anything with time travel or faster-than-light travel is "science fantasy."

In the words of the late Barry Letts, "Time travel is nonsense."

Bob’s overall opinion: “Another collection of set pieces and gags rushed by in hopes that we don't notice the holes in the plot.”

My comment from two years ago: “I noticed. And I’m sure I’ll notice more the second time through.”

As those of you who are friends with my wife on Facebook already know, I recently re-watched all of the River Song episodes from the 5th and 6th seasons while Tracy was out of town (boy, did I get in trouble for that!) in an effort to put River’s timeline together chronologically in my own mind. It’s not easy to do because versions of her from two different points in her own timeline frequently appear in the same episode. Sometimes (the first time through), the viewer may not even be aware it a “different” River than is in the rest of the episode.

Now that I have seen season six in its entirety (and know what happens and what is revealed between “The Impossible Astronaut” and “The Wedding of River Song”), I see that much of what I perceived as “shenanigans” was, in fact, accounted for. Kudos to you, Steven Moffet.

I didn’t pick up on that thing about the crib first time though… even after Ana pointed it out (which she did before I posted), so kudos to you, Anacoqui.

Having said that, though, there are some discrepancies in the Doctor’s timeline regarding the loop from “The Wedding of River Song” back to “The Impossible Astronaut” which I simply cannot account for. Even if I were to view Doctor Who as a “fairy tale” the Bill does, it still must make sense.

This may take a third viewing.

I watched “Silence in the Library” and “Forest of the Dead” last night and I just re-read Bob’s discussion of those episodes, but I’m posting here so as to avoid possible “spoilers” (as River Song would say), for someone in the future who may be watching these episodes on DVD and working his way through these discussions in order, as I have done in the past (on the old board). And long overdue kudos to Bob for re-constructing all of the “lost discussions” (and more) here on the Ning site.

QUESTION: Where did fans (myself included) ever get the idea that the Doctor and River Song were married?

Yes, it was revealed that she knows his name, and yes, he says something along the lines of “There’s only one reason I would ever reveal my name,” but at no point does he ever reveal what that circumstance is, nor was marriage even mentioned. Maybe River bought a magazine subscription he was selling and he was so grateful he told her his name. I’ve never seen the Doctor sell magazine subscription before, but if he had been trying (behind the scenes) for 900+ years, that may account for it.

Back to “The Wedding of River Song.” Are the Doctor and River married even now? Was that even a proper wedding ceremony?

Since we have no notion of what Time Lord marriage customs are  - if there are any - it's hard to say whether what happened between the Doctor and River constitutes a valid ceremony under the best of circumstances.  It's not as though either the Doctor or River are the sort of people who bother about rules much.  For people like them, they're married if each of them believes they're married, pretty much.  After all, it's not as though someone from the Outer Gallifrey Registry Office is going to show up to chide them for performing the ceremony without completing the proper paperwork first.

Jeff of Earth-J said:

 Maybe River bought a magazine subscription he was selling and he was so grateful he told her his name. I’ve never seen the Doctor sell magazine subscription before, but if he had been trying (behind the scenes) for 900+ years, that may account for it.

 

Didn't he sell magazine subscriptions in one of the missing episodes of "The Dalek Masterplan"?

Not that I recall. I only have that on audio. I'll have to listen to it again.



Jeff of Earth-J said:

Not that I recall. I only have that on audio. I'll have to listen to it again.

 

 

You do that. ;)

There is no mention of magazine subscriptions in “The Dalek Master Plan” audio, but there is a copy of what appears to be an issue of Beano lying on the control console in one of the production stills, which may account for the confusion.

As I re-watch these episodes, I vacillate between admiration of and annoyance with Steven Moffet. The Doctor and River are “legally” married (whatever that means in this context), because he mentioned it in a later episode (either “Asylum of the Daleks” or “Dinosaurs on a spaceship,” I forget which).

Moving on, I’m ready to present my “Death of the Doctor” series six overview as soon as I find time to write it. (I’m holding off on my “River Song Timeline” until I’ve had a chance to re-watch “The Angels Take Manhattan” and “The Name of the Doctor.”) What I’m mostly doing at this point is overcoming [my own] objections. It’s not that I didn’t spot potential plot holes my first time through; it’s more like I was taking it on faith that Steven Moffet had thought it through and that I wasn’t paying close enough attention. A couple of posts back (October 10) I mentioned several discrepancies I could not account for. Those are the exceptions I’m overcoming one by one.

For example, setting aside for now the Doctor’s own season six chronology, let’s examine Amy and Rory’s. By way of review, in “The Impossible Astronaut” a future version of the Doctor (apparently) invites Amy and Rory (among others) to Lake Silencio in Utah to witness his death. Immediately thereafter, they hook up with an earlier version of the Doctor in a local diner and series six begins in earnest.

Eventually, the season loops back on itself so that the last episode of the season (“The Wedding of River Song”) actually leads into the first (“The Impossible Astronaut”), creating a time loop. However, at the end of “The Wedding of River Song”, River, fresh from “Flesh and Stone”, visits Amy & Rory at home. Dismissing the fact that River apparently escaped from custody on her way back to the Stormcage Containment Facility (without even changing out of her camo fatigues), when exactly does this scene occur in Amy and Rory’s timeline?

Judging by Amy’s intense reaction to the supposed “death” of the Doctor, I would assume that that scene occurs shortly after the events of “The Impossible Astronaut”. But no, that couldn’t be without breaking the time loop. And the time loop can’t be broken because Amy is aware and quite accustomed to the fact that River is her daughter, which is a fact she didn’t learn until “A Good Man Goes to War”, so therefore season six must have “happened” in the restored timeline (after the events of “The Wedding of River Song”, I mean). No, that scene must have occurred sometime after the Doctor “stopped” traveling with Amy and rory at the end of “The God Complex”.

Speaking of which, it seemed kind of odd to me the first time through that the Doctor would stop travelling with Amy and Rory two episodes short of the end of the season (especially considering that they would also be in the final two episodes). But now I see that SM kind of wrote himself into a corner for the scene he wanted to use in the finale. In order for River (from “Flesh & Stone”) to be able to inform A&R that the Doctor didn’t die in “The Impossible Astronaut” there had to be some “gap” in their timeline between the first episode and the last.

So here’s how I imagine things played out: A&R travelled with the Doctor through “The God Complex” just as the season played out. It wasn’t until later, after they “stopped” travelling with him, that the reality of the Doctor’s (apparent) “death” finally hit home. But it’s not as if SM has never required his audience to willingly suspend their sense of disbelief before. There is another such “contradiction” even within this one episode.

In “The Impossible Astronaut”, River is just as surprised and A&M at the events at Lake Silencio. Shouldn’t she remember here earlier self shooting the Doctor down in cold blood? Ah, but in “The Wedding of River Song” the Doctor (in the alternate timeline) tells her her she won’t even remember killing him. But later in the same episode, she admits she was just pretending not to remember all along. So the Doctor lies, River lies, Steven Moffet lies, everybody lies!

And I’m not even up to my analysis of the time loop, yet; this is just something I wanted to get off my chest first.

River said that she pretended not to recognize the space suit in Florida (the one that her earlier child incarnation was put inside of)--that's what she was referring to (not the scene at Lake Silencio). Although, she might've been lying about more than that. She seems to have more knowledge than she lets on. And she has to keep her lies straight for the Doctor and her parents. 

It seems to me that she could write notes to herself in her diary and that's how she knows some things that she shouldn't know. 

It seemed pretty clear to me, watching it again, that when Amy and Rory get the news that the Doctor is still alive, from River at the end of The Wedding of River Song, quite some time has passed since when they saw the Doctor die.

My feeling is that the writers did in fact work out all of these ins and outs and it really does make sense how they mapped it out. But in producing the episodes, they left out bits that would have made it clearer. 

For them, having thought everything through, it makes sense because they created it--but for us all of those obvious bits aren't obvious. I found it was like trying to remember a dream, because you have to hold a lot of different timelines in your mind at the same time.

And even if there are glitches--either by omission, design or accident--there's enough metaphysical mumbo-jumbo that papers over those glitches anyway.

Having watched it all again, I'd say the main problem with the eleventh Doctor is all of this convolution of plots. It's okay if they do that for certain episodes, but doing that in so many different epiisodes over a long period gets exhausting. It's also not fair to the actors or the writers. The actors have to hold back in key scenes, because they can't reveal what they know. And the writers can't fully expose what's going on in a scene, because they have to play their cards close to the vest.

All this mystery and reservation prevents them from fleshing out a lot of scenes that should have been fleshed out.

Are you guys aware that there has been a ten minute "Timeline of River Song" produced, and currently housed on YouTube, in which Alex Kingston herself narrates her life and times, IN SEQUENCE, from her point of view?  It doesn't contain all her minutes on screen, obviously, but it DOES clarify a lot of what happened, FROM HER POINT OF VIEW.

And, as expected, it ends with the white fantasy sequence in the cube/library core after the tragic events in Silence in the Library.   In all, it's quite a nice little present to the viewer/fans.

 

Also, are you aware that the broadcast order of at least two and possible more of the sixth season of Dr. Who were switched?  Specifically, the episode where the Doctor stops traveling with A&R was aired out of order.  Cause Amy is supposed to ask, "But Doctor, how will we contact you?" And he says "Oh Pond, haven't you figured that one out yet?"

The very next episode should be "Let's Kill Hitler" because it begins with the wild ride through the grassy field in the car, creating the crop circles...which leads directly to his appearing in the crop circle with the Tardis.  And the rest of the adventure unfolds from there.

 

The emotional tone and interaction of the  companions and the Doctor evolving over time makes a lot more sense when you realize they jumped the episodes out of order for some production delay reason.  But I trust that's been resolved on the DVD collection.

 

I've watched most all the sixth and half of seventh seasons with my young adult kids on the bootleg market the week after they aired on BBC America, and though we have secured the last  half of the 7th season with Oswin, we haven't set down as a family to watch those yet.  Somehow, it just hasn't been as exciting or interesting after the whole Amy, Rory, River Song adventure/arc.

Now that you mention it, I do remember watching the Timeline of River Song before. But this time going through the Doctor series, I haven't bothered to watch all the other short features. Anyway, as I said, I don't have a problem with the timeline--it's just hard to keep all of that stuff in your head as you're watching any given episode--so I try not to think about it too much and just focus on the story at hand.

Again with Clara, they made her a mystery, so the actress had to play the scenes in a guarded manner (plus the production order was different from the chronology of the episodes). I like Jenna Coleman, but I really had to have faith in her for some of the middle episodes. 

I'm hoping that she stays for awhile as the companion for the next Doctor (whomever he might be--I have avoided spoilers on who will be playing him). But this time--given all she knows--she should be the proactive one and they should flesh out her character a lot more. 

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