Doctor Who series finale: The Wedding Of River Song – Episode review
So, that’s it wrapped up then. Doctor Who’s sixth series ends with The Wedding Of River Song and – of course – the non-death of The Doctor.
It’s at times like this that I’m reminded Steven Moffat once wrote some of the most clever, exciting episodes of Doctor Who. But that was when Russell T Davies was running the show. Now that Moffat’s at the helm, every time he writes a premiere or a finale episode, all hell breaks loose. It’s funny how his writing style has gone from being smart, edgy episodes to these strung-out overwhelmingly crammed episodes that feel like you’re standing in front of an ideas firehose. It’s like being bombarded by every zany sci-fi idea that popped into Moffat’s head while he was writing the episode.
And honestly, I think he needs an editor. Someone to rein in the craziness and concentrate on the quality of the episode.
We’re plunged into a bewildering storyline where The Doctor is in two places – as the Soothsayer Doctor in the dysfunctional “abortive” timeline, and as himself in the moments before his death. There are maneating skulls, eyedrives that help you remember The Silence, The Doctor pulls apart a Dalek looking for information, and Amy has an office on a train and has no idea who Rory is.
End result? By about the halfway mark of this episode I really couldn’t care less how it ended or how well the series arc was wrapped up. Doctor Who – especially in its series finales – has become utterly tedious. It’s simply too much work to watch – impossible to keep pace with the story with hot-air balloon cars and Silurians (surely Earth’s new slave class) popping up everywhere.
And let’s talk about how The Doctor survives his death. There were always two possibilities, barring a clever bit of timey-wimeyness. One was the gangers from The Rebel Flesh and the other was the Tesselector from Let’s Kill Hitler. Either one could produce a perfect replica of The Doctor for a fake death. And Moffat went with option B – the Tesselector.
Which posed a little problem. Because when River helped The Doctor cheat death earlier in the episode, time began to “disintegrate”. But, by replacing himself with a robotic version, this somehow ‘cheats’ time and allows the natural order of the universe to resume? That’s weak.
What’s also weak is that somehow the effects of The Doctor’s death were localised to Earth. The rest of the universe were out there, responding to River Song’s bonkers distress beacon that contacts all of time and space, past, present and future. Um…and no past, present or future Time Lords (including The Doctor) ever received these distress calls? And the effects of an intergalactic time traveller dying were only felt on Earth?
The significance of the episode is not lost on me: the universe believes The Doctor is dead, which means they won’t be calling the TARDIS hotline while he’s in bed at night, demanding to be rescued from the latest intergalactic threat. Which means a more low-key Doctor Who, the space-time adventurer who can now travel incognito without having to avoid mysterious, Pandorica-shaped boxes. Fair enough. Each year Doctor Who’s stakes have been raised to impossible-to-top levels – end of the world, the universe, REALITY ITSELF! Yawn.
But am I looking forward to the seventh series? Meh. I’ll certainly tune in. But for my money, Doctor Who has fallen by the wayside. Certainly, the last four episodes of this series have been missable. I’ll undoubtedly tune in, but the series needs to make some big changes. And before the hailstorm of flame-mail beings, let me just point out that your opinions are welcome, but please accept my right to be disappointed by the direction Doctor Who has taken. Alright? Fire away…
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