S32 (6) 13 – The Wedding of River Song

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    Craig @craig

    Repeated on BBC3 on 8 March. All of time and space hangs in the balance, for this is the day the Doctor dies.

    You can watch it here until 15 March: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b015p5kc

    Here’s what you originally thought:


    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip

    I’d forgotten how much sheer fun this episode was. Time may be collapsing around us, but we have to have the Doctor explain why that’s a problem.

    Again, the format plays with time – most of the first part is told in flashback – if you can have a flashback when time has stopped. And it plays with the idea of the Silence. Why do the Soothsayer and Emperor Churchill keep finding themselves in different rooms? With weapons out?

    And why is the Doctor wearing such a terrible beard?

    Secrets; if the Doctor hadn’t been so bloody determined to keep his solution a secret, River would’ve known to shoot him straight away. But then, if he hadn’t – she would never have married him. This is a story where we have a paradoxical time loop, which then collapses. But we had to go through the time loop, to get to the right moment.

    Series 5 finishes with a wedding. Series 6 finishes with a wedding. Has the Doctor noticed that, since meeting little Amelia, his tragedy now keeps ending with the traditional comedy ending? He’s not heading for his death; he’s heading to his marriage. Which, given the amount of time he’s managed to avoid re-marrying, he may see as a fate worse than death. 😈

    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip

    All good things must come to an end: the last full length Confidential. Hopefully, like Doctor Who itself, this period will later be known as the Before Gap Confidentials.

    PhaseShift @phaseshift
    Time Lord


    I’d forgotten how much sheer fun this episode was.

    Yep, it’s absolutely mad, which is why I really like it. I’ve said it before, but you really never know what the hell is coming in a series finale since SM took over, and that brings a bit of joy to proceedings. The sights of the alternative Universe are breathtaking, and the cameos and references just pile on top of each other. I think though, the fact that this is actually one of the most direct pieces of storytelling in the arc (even accounting for the flashbacks) makes it hang together.

    There are so many good scenes in this, but I think my favourites have to be Smith and McNeice wandering the halls of the senate (“Hell in high hells” “Tell me more!”), and The Doctor ineptly attempting matchmaker with Rory and Amy (“she’d like to go out with you for texting and scones.” “You really haven’t done this before, have you?”).

    Add the “Marriage” on top of the Pyramid, and the reveal of the Doctor turning foreknowledge to his advantage, and it’s a fine cap to the series.

    Looking back, Series 6, I think, is the strongest for me since the revival. What a way to end it. Even with dodgy beard!

    PhaseShift @phaseshift
    Time Lord

    Also forgot to mention an ace performance from Karen Gillan here as she unleashes a lot of anguish on Kovarian. She really knocks that one out of the park.

    Anonymous @

    This is such a good episode and a great season finale but I still think The Big Bang nudges it slightly. But if you can say this about two stories which concern all of reality being destroyed, Wedding seems to have a wider, more epic scope to it.

    Everyone is at the top of their game here. Especially Karen Gillan, I think. She really plays a blinder here I think. But I still feel that the Tesselector was a bit of too easy a cop-out — especially after some of the amazing — but admittedly probably way too complicated — theories that this series had thrown up prior to the finale.  But I do really admire the way that doubles and dopplegangers had been threaded through this entire series so that the final reveal did not feel like a DEM.

    It’s still a colossal cheat on Moffat’s part though. ‘Someone really dies on that beach’ my fundament….

    Anonymous @

    The Wedding of River Song was amazingly planed episode how the Doctor said his name to River but he lied to River  Amy and Rory and he told River to look in his eye and in the eye there was the Doctor.

    Uniqueth @uniqueth

    I just rewatched the episode, on of my favourites, and I flipped when I realized what one of the lines was.

    “I left queen elizabeth the first at the alter and she’s still waiting to be married.”


    ardaraith @ardaraith

    I think that is a bit of Claricle re-write in action!  Had Clara not been there, eager to throw confetti, he probably would have slipped off again!  🙂

    Anonymous @

    @phaseshift and @jimthefish, I agree that it was a blinding series finale! It was a clear progression of events (for once) and  what I really liked -as Moff asked – was the question “would Amy have become those things [the ability to kill Kovarian] if she hadn’t met the Doctor?” (thanks to @bluesqueakpip for that Confidential which I hadn’t seen before).

    It suggests that all companions and all the lives the doctor touches are affected in some way and this then effects the decisions the doctor himself makes. One might argue that a time traveller would find companions a little boring, knowing, all the time, what they might do in advance!

    But River is discursive and whimsical in the way she progresses through time and we know that Clara is also the perfect antidote to the doctor’s loss and misery (when he’s hiding away in the clouds); she’s chaotic, loyal and inexplicable. When the doctor is a pressure valve- and there are powerful old forces, massing and strengthening until they’re violent enough to break free; more violent for the delay- a companion like Amy, Rory, River or Clara can work through any ‘destructive’ passions and calm the tremendous strain experienced by that Lonely Old God.

    My other half thought the Tesselector was a DEM as well but like JimtheFish I think it was touched on with dopplegangers  etc. to be a good (enough) solution. But I’m sure the Moff said “yes it really IS the doctor who dies that day”. But he lied 🙂 Of course.

    So, was there a wedding, really? ‘I did it my way’ she sings.



    schultze101 @schultze101

    I realize I’m a litte late to the party here, but I watched this for the first time a few days ago and man…

    Just… Man.

    This was probably the most overtly humorous series finale I’ve watched yet. Doriam in particular just stole every scene his disembodied (somebody slap me for that) head was in and I do have to say that The Doctor’s solution for cheating his own death was squeal-inducingly genius. I also really loved the way everything in time was happening at once (and that little nod back to Dickens in Series 2 was very much appreciated).

    I do have to say, though, I feel like The Big Bang just managed to edge this out in terms of being the best finale of Moffat’s that I’ve seen. Sure, there were a ton of awesome and satisfying moments in this (Area 52 inside the pyramids, and Madame Kovarian finally getting hers sorta-kinda) but I feel like there was less emotional impact this time around. We’d known since the start of Series 6 that The Doctor gets killed, and while Series 6 was a little less in-your-face with the big overarching plot than Series 5 was, I feel like Series 6 was somehow playing for much lesser stakes, and hit ever so slightly less harder emotionally. in Series 5, the entirety of reality was at risk, and it really felt like Earth was the only thing tenuously left in all existence. By contrast, Series 6’s play that time is unravelling was a little tougher to swallow (nothing seems to be terribly wrong with the world, besides the fact that cars are attached to dirigibles and Winston Churchill ruling the Roman Empire from Britain) and nothing ever really felt wrong where this finale was concerned. It felt a little less like the event the Series had been building up to and more like an ordinary day for The Doctor.

    When Eleven strapped himself into the Pandorica to fly into his exploding TARDIS and sacrifice his existence to restart the universe, and everything that subsequently happened, I was on the utter edge of my seat and my heart was getting ripped to pieces as Eleven rewound his existence away. While something felt rather final after Eleven got shot on the beach again, the giddy hug and return of Doriam’s boxed head barely minutes later robbed it almost totally of any impact it had.

    I also have to say, I’m not sure if the First Question is genius or just… incredibly stupid. I mean, it’s a clever little play on something the show has always done, but… I don’t know.


    On a slightly related note, I watched River’s death scene in Silence of the Library a few days after, and was struck by the repetition of terms between that and River and Eleven’s conversation on the beach. When Ten and SpaceSuitRiver offer the possibility that time can be changed, Eleven and LibraryRiver shut them down with the same sentence, and in this light, maybe almost the same intent. They both know the past version of the person before them has a lot yet to experience, and won’t dare deny them what’s to come.

    That may not have been intentional, or even meant to be interpreted as such, but it was something I saw that I thought was awesome.

    Oh, and I absolutely LOVED the way Matt Smith looked with the Soothsayer scrubble. I kinda wish he’d kept it.

    alicevontardis @alicevontardis

    Last night i re watched this episode, and noticed the Doctor saying “I could help Rose Tyler with her homework”, and i thought: “After all this time?”

    And also, I started to believe the rumors about Clara and River Song being somehow connected to Rose.

    Has anyone else thought about why he would say that? Was it just for fun in the script, or did Moffat wanted to tell us something?

    ThePapalMainframe @thepapalmainframe


    I realized that he said this too and thought the same thing. Doomsday, (The episode where Rose goes away) really left a mark on me. Rose was my all time new doctor companion and it was like, “Now you tell us!!”

    I also wonder if he was trying to say something. Maybe Rose will come back in season 9? Fingers crossed!

    Ringleader @ringleader

    You realize that the Doctor was actually inside of the Teselecta (morphed as himself) for the entire episode? Follow the sequence: Doctor becomes Teselecta before getting shot; River fails to shoot him resulting in a violation of the Fixed Time Point rule. Interesting how it worked.

    Dentarthurdent @dentarthurdent

    This is *fun*. That train coming out of the Gherkin, the engine is French – the cab windows are quite distinctive. (This would be a nitpick but compared with the other insanity going on, it fades into insignificance). Pterodactyls in Hyde Park. Holy Roman Emperor Churchill. I’ll bet the Moff loved writing this incredible fantasy.

    So then this is all the Doctor/soothsayer telling the story to Churchill, with Silents lurking (as witnessed by the tick marks on the Doctor’s arm)

    The scene in the bar is just so cool, and the Doctor is so badass. Plunks a Dalek eyestalk down on the bar. Lovely to see the Teselecta again. “There are no rats in the transept. The skulls eat them.” Carnivorous skulls eating the villainous Gantok – the Moff was enjoying himself altogether too much.

    And then the Doctor gets out the blue envelopes. Why the Teselecta crew agree to deliver them I don’t know, but they seem to have a high degree of goodwill towards the Doctor.

    Flashback to Lake Silencio. But this time we see who is in the astronaut suit – it’s River. And she subverts the ‘fixed point in time’ by deliberately missing the Doctor – but that causes Time to collapse.

    … and now the Doc has four tick marks on his arm. “Don’t panic. In small numbers they’re not too difficult” – and now there are 75…

    – and in walks Amy with a troop of ?Unit? operatives. She looks cool with the eyepatch, by the way.

    The Great Pyramid, Area 52. Gotta laugh.

    The eyepatches are ‘eyedrives’ which can remember the Silents and communicate with the brain. This will be significant later.

    The Doctor and River comparing notes on Cleopatra is a hoot. And Madam Kovarian despondently looking on.

    So the Silents have broken out of their tanks (as they planned) and the eyedrives are starting to electrocute their wearers – including Madam Kovarian.

    Loved the sudden reappearance of Amy with submachine gun. And her response to Madame Kovarian asking her to take her eyepatch off –
    KOVARIAN: But you’ll still save me, though. Because he would, and you’d never do anything to disappoint your precious Doctor.
    AMY: The Doctor is very precious to me, you’re right. But do you know what else he is, Madame Kovarian? Not here.
    (Amy puts Kovarian’s eye drive back in place.)
    AMY: River Song didn’t get it all from you, sweetie. [Ouch!]

    Amy has got very economical in her interaction with Rory.
    AMY: So, you and me, we should get a drink some time. RORY: Okay. AMY: And married. RORY: Fine.

    and later
    RORY: I’m not sure I completely understand. AMY: We got married and had a kid and that’s her. RORY: Okay.

    Rory in this timeline is obviously completely out of his depth and just happy to go along with everything.

    So anyway, the Doctor’s killing was faked with the aid of the Teselecta.

    Altogether a throughly enjoyable episode, with never a dull moment. The Moff at his best.

    Rule1 @rule1

    One of the best episodes

    psychopath who was meant to kill the doctor almost killed the universe

    The perfect match! Alex Kingston is a good actress, she portrayed river so well.

    and I quote

    DOCTOR: I know. It’s OK. This is where I die. This is a fixed point, this must happen, this always happens. Don’t worry… You won’t even remember this. Look over there. (looks in the direction of the others)

    RIVER: (looks over and sobs) That’s me. How can I be there?

    DOCTOR: That’s you from the future. Serving time for a murder you probably can’t remember. My murder. RIVER: Why would you do that? Make me watch?

    DOCTOR: So that you know this is inevitable. And you are forgiven. Always and completely forgiven.

    RIVER: (the arm of the suit rises) Please, my love. Please, please just run!

    DOCTOR: I can’t.

    RIVER: Time can be rewritten.

    DOCTOR: Don’t you dare. Goodbye, River.

    RIVER shakes her head and sobs. The DOCTOR closes his eyes, accepting his fate. There are five sonic gunshots and the DOCTOR jerks with each one. Realizing he’s still alive, the DOCTOR cracks open one eye.

    RIVER: Hello, Sweetie.

    DOCTOR: What have you done?!

    RIVER: Well… I think I just drained my weapon systems.

    DOCTOR: But this is fixed. This is a fixed point in time.

    RIVER: Fixed points can be rewritten.

    DOCTOR: No, they can’t, of course they can’t, who told you?! There is a flash of light as time changes. INT. SENATE, SENATE ROOM, DAY The DOCTOR is on the opposite end of the room from CHURCHILL.

    And also another line

    “CHURCHILL: Tick tock goes the clock, as the old song says. But they don’t, do they? The clocks never tick. Something has happened to time. That’s what you say. What you never STOP saying. All of history is happening at once. But what does that mean? What happened? Explain to me in terms that I can understand. What happened to time?

    DOCTOR: A woman.

    And the doctor is in love with Amy’s daughter! as he says in a good man goes to war “Ooooo”

    Well done Steven great episode.

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