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The Wedding of River Song

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
223 – "The Wedding of River Song"
Doctor Who episode
Writer Steven Moffat
Director Jeremy Webb
Executive producer(s)
Series Series 6
Length 45 mins
Originally broadcast 1 October 2011
← Preceded by Followed by →
"Closing Time" 2011 Christmas special

"The Wedding of River Song" is the thirteenth and final episode of the sixth series of the British science fiction television series Doctor Who, and was first broadcast on BBC One, BBC America and Space on 1 October 2011.



[edit] Plot

The Doctor, aware of his death at the fixed point of time on 22 April 2011 at Lake Silencio, attempts to track down the Silence to learn why he must die. He encounters the Teselecta shapeshifting robot and its miniaturised crew who are currently posing as one of the members of the Silence; through them, the Doctor is led to the living head of Dorium Maldovar, one of the Doctor's allies taken by the Order of the Headless Monks. Dorium reveals that the Silence is dedicated to avert the Doctor's "terrifying" future, warning him that "On the fields of Trenzelor, at the fall of the Eleventh, a question will be asked - one that must never be answered. And Silence must fall when the question is asked." The Doctor continues to refuse to go to Lake Silencio until he discovers his old friend, Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart, has passed away. The Doctor then accepts his fate. To avoid crossing his own time stream, he gives the Teselecta crew the envelopes to deliver to Amy, Rory, River Song, Canton Everett Delaware III, and a younger version of himself, inviting them to witness his death.

As shown in "The Impossible Astronaut", the Doctor joins his friends at Lake Silencio and then approaches the astronaut, now known to be a younger version of River Song trained to kill the Doctor by the Silence and Madame Kovarian. River does not want to kill him but is unable to fight the suit's control. The Doctor shows River her future self, sentenced to Stormcage prison for killing him, as evidence that her killing him is inevitable and that he forgives her for it. River, in the astronaut suit, surprises the Doctor by draining the suit's weapons systems and averting his death, despite his warning against interfering with a fixed point. Time becomes "stuck", and all of Earth's history begins to happen all at once, fixed at 5:02 p.m. on 22 April 2011.

In a time-confused London, Winston Churchill takes the Doctor, his "soothsayer", out from his locked cell to ask him about the stuck time. The Doctor explains the preceding events, but notices they have lost track of time and tally marks are appearing on his arms, indicating the presence of the Silence. After they observe a nest overhead, they are rescued by Amy and an a number of her soldiers. Due to the effects of the crack in her bedroom, Amy is cognisant of the altered timeline, though she has failed to notice that her trusted captain is Rory. Amy takes the Doctor to "Area 52", a hollowed-out pyramid among the Giza Necropolis, where they have captured over a hundred Silence and Madame Kovarian. River is also there, aware her actions have frozen time and refusing to allow the Doctor to touch her, an event that would cause time to become unstuck. They all wear "eyedrives"—eye patches identical to the one worn by Madame Kovarian that function as external memories, thus enabling them to remember the Silence.

They soon come to realise that this was a trap arranged by Kovarian, as the Silence begin to escape confinement and overload the eyedrives, torturing their users. The Doctor and River escape to the top of the pyramid while Amy and Rory fight off a wave of Silence and Amy realises who Rory is. Madame Kovarian discovers her own eyedrive is being overloaded; she dislodges it, but Amy forces it back in place with the intention of killing her, explaining that this is revenge for her taking Melody away. Amy and Rory regroup with River and the Doctor. River tries to convince the Doctor that this frozen timeline is acceptable and that he does not have to die, but the Doctor explains that all of reality will soon break down. The Doctor marries River on the spot, whispers something in her ear, declaring that he had just told her his name. He then requests that River allow him to prevent the universe's destruction. The two kiss, allowing reality to return to normal. At Lake Silencio, River kills the Doctor.

Some time later, Amy and Rory are visited by River, shortly after the events of "Flesh and Stone" in River's timeline. When Amy explains that she had recently witnessed the Doctor's death and regrets killing Kovarian, River reveals that the Doctor lied when he said he told her his name, instead saying "Look into my eye". The Doctor had in fact enlisted the Teselecta to masquerade as him at Lake Silenco, with the Doctor and his TARDIS miniaturised inside it ever since. The three celebrate the news that the Doctor is still alive. Elsewhere, the Doctor takes Dorium's head back to where it was stored; the Doctor explains that his perceived death will enable him to be forgotten. As the Doctor leaves, Dorium warns him that the question still awaits him, and calls it after him: "Doctor who?"

[edit] Prequel

A prequel to this episode was aired after the previous episode, "Closing Time". It was the fifth prequel in the series, the first four being for the episodes "The Impossible Astronaut", "The Curse of the Black Spot", "A Good Man Goes to War" and "Let's Kill Hitler". The prequel shows Area 52, with a clock stuck at the time of the Doctor's death, Silence kept in stasis and River Song wearing an eye patch in the same fashion as Madame Kovarian.[2] As all of this is happening, there is a voice-over of the children, the same as that from "Night Terrors" and the conclusion of "Closing Time". They sing "Tick tock / goes the clock" three times, and then "Doctor, / brave and good, / he turned away from violence. / When he / understood / the falling of the silence."

[edit] Continuity

Several scenes from the episode reuse footage from "The Impossible Astronaut" leading up to and immediately following the Doctor's death. The Doctor tells Dorium Maldovar, "I've been running all my life, why should I stop?", a precursive echo of his early, pre-death dialogue in "The Impossible Astronaut": "I've been running all my life...and now it's time to stop". Following the death of actor Nicholas Courtney, the Doctor learns in this episode that Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart has died peacefully in a nursing home.[3] He last appeared in Doctor Who in Battlefield, and the character's final appearance came in The Sarah Jane Adventures story Enemy of the Bane.

When listing all the things he could do with the TARDIS' ability to travel in time, the Doctor suggests visiting Rose Tyler in her youth (which Jack Harkness admitted in "Utopia" to having done) to help her with her homework, attending all of Jack Harkness' stag parties in one night (several of his marriages are mentioned or alluded to in Torchwood episodes "Something Borrowed" and Children of Earth), and returning to Queen Elizabeth I (met in "The Shakespeare Code", and mentioned in "The End of Time, Part I", "The Beast Below" and "Amy's Choice").

When the Doctor awakens in Amy's rail car office, he tries to remind her of the crack in her wall ("The Eleventh Hour") and fiddles with one of her TARDIS models ("The Eleventh Hour", "Let's Kill Hitler"). Amy's sketches include a Cyberman's face ("The Pandorica Opens") a Dalek ("Victory of the Daleks", "The Pandorica Opens", "The Big Bang"), herself seated in the Pandorica ("The Pandorica Opens", "The Big Bang"), a Silurian ("The Hungry Earth", "Cold Blood", "A Good Man Goes to War"), herself wielding a cutlass and sporting a tricorn hat ("The Curse of the Black Spot"), a Smiler's face ("The Beast Below"), a vampire girl ("The Vampires of Venice"), the first time she met the Doctor ("The Eleventh Hour"), Rory and another centurion ("The Pandorica Opens"), a side of the Pandorica ("The Pandorica Opens", "The Big Bang"), a Weeping Angel's face ("The Time of Angels", "Flesh and Stone", "The God Complex"), and the TARDIS.

Winston Churchill and River Song describe Cleopatra as, respectively, "a dreadful woman but excellent dancer" and "a pushover". River posed as Cleopatra in "The Pandorica Opens". The Fourth Doctor claimed in The Masque of Mandragora to have learned swordsmanship from a captain in Cleopatra's bodyguard. Mickey Smith implied in "The Girl in the Fireplace" that the Doctor had had some romantic history with Cleopatra and that he affectionately called her 'Cleo'. River Song states that she used her hallucinogenic lipstick on President Kennedy; she used the lipstick on guards and Romans in "The Time of Angels" and "The Pandorica Opens".

A Silent calls Rory "the man who dies and dies again". Rory dies in "Cold Blood" and appears to die in "Amy's Choice" and "The Doctor's Wife". In reference to the Doctor telling River his name, she reprises the line "Rule One - The Doctor lies" from "The Big Bang" and "Let's Kill Hitler". In "Silence in the Library"/"Forest of the Dead", River whispers something in the Doctor's ear that makes him trust her, which the Doctor states just before her death was "my name" and that "There's only one reason I would ever tell anyone my name".

The Doctor also refers to the events and conversation shortly before her death in "Forest of the Dead", stating "You, me, handcuffs - must it always end this way?" when he is handcuffed in the pyramid and reversing part of his final exchange with her in the Library during their conversation by Lake Silencio ("Time can be rewritten" / "Don't you dare!", with the first line spoken by the Doctor in the Library and River by the lake). The episode's main plot centers around the damage caused by River when she tries to re-write a fixed point in time. The Doctor tries to do this himself in "The Waters of Mars" but fails when Adelade kills herself in order to keep history the same. Fixed points in time have also been mentioned in "The Fires of Pompeii" and "Cold Blood".

[edit] Outside references

Charles Dickens describes his upcoming Christmas special featuring ghosts from the past, present and future, alluding to A Christmas Carol.

[edit] Production

[edit] Cast notes

Within the alternate London several previous characters reappear, including Charles Dickens (Simon Callow) from "The Unquiet Dead", Winston Churchill (Ian McNeice) from "Victory of the Daleks", and the Silurian doctor Malohkeh (Richard Hope) from "Cold Blood". William Morgan Sheppard is credited for his brief appearance in the background of the Doctor's death scene, reprised from "The Impossible Astronaut".

Mark Gatiss previously played Professor Richard Lazarus in the episode "The Lazarus Experiment", and provided the uncredited voice of Danny Boy in "Victory of the Daleks" and "A Good Man Goes to War"[4] along with a number of roles in audio dramas based on the show. He has also written for the revived series of Doctor Who. He is credited in this episode under the pseudonym "Rondo Haxton", an ode to the American horror actor Rondo Hatton.

American television hostess Meredith Vieira recorded her report of Churchill's return to the Buckingham Senate in front of a green screen while filming a segment for The Today Show’s "Anchors Abroad" segment.[5]

[edit] Reception

Dan Martin of the Guardian noted that the episode "moves along the bigger, 50-year story and effectively reboots the show. After seven years of saving the Earth/universe/future of humanity," the show now has new impetus. Martin stated that the revelation that silence will fall when the oldest question in the universe is asked - "Doctor Who?" - will safeguard the programme for future generations.[6]

Gavin Fuller of the Telegraph called the revelation of the Doctor escaping death by using the Teselecta a cop-out and likened it to serials of the thirties where scenes were cut and shown later to create a cliffhanger. However Fuller praised the episode as visually clever and noted that the question "Doctor Who?" harkens back to 1963 and the original theme of the show. Fuller concluded by surmising that Moffat is obviously plotting story arcs in the episode, hinting that the question will be asked at the end of the Doctor's eleventh incarnation.[7]

Neela Debnath of the Independent stated that the series finale was a brainteaser which refused to tie up loose ends neatly. Debnath comments that Moffat is trying to return to the epic story telling that the series once had, spreading it over several series rather than episodes. Concluding, Debnath noted that the episode was underwhelming in terms of drama but overwhelming in terms of information.[8]

[edit] References

[edit] External links

Direct download: TDP_208_The_Wedding_of_River_Song.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:27am UTC