Friday, November 11, 2011

The Wedding of River Song

All of time and space - everything that ever was and ever will be.  At the same time.

The Wedding of River Song finishes Doctor Who's 32nd season by answering many (if not all) of the lingering questions left by this and the previous season, while opening entirely new plotlines.  It's yet another of Moffat's staggeringly complex serial, and one substantially more difficult than Impossible Astronaut because it answers questions rather than asking them, and has to do so satisfyingly.  And, for the most part, it does this.  But that's not what makes it special.

It's the setting that does this - a uniquely imagined Earth where all of history is happening at once.  Pteradactyls attack children playing in a park bearing a warning sign about not feeding the pteradactyls.  Winston Churchill is the Caesar of the Roman Empire, ruling from London, fighting the War of the Roses.  The Pyramids of Giza are rechristened Area 52 by the Americans.  And time is permanently stopped.

No other show could do it like this.  Doctor Who's domain truly is everything and every time; putting them all together at once is a brilliantly original conceit, and Moffat takes full advantage of it, giving us a truly wonderful world.

But, unsurprisingly, he's really more interested in how this world affects the characters than in the crazy visual ideas.

Karen Gillan's performances in the later episodes of this season have been extraordinary, and this only continues that streak.  Here, she makes Amy a mature, wiser character, but without losing any of the whimsy and humor that makes Amy so charming.  Moffat gives her all sorts of fun stuff to do.  He also finally resolves the hanging threads about her feelings on losing her daughter and, in the same moment, a sensational glimpse into Amy's dark side.  It's a fantastic little sequence, and Gillan plays it to the hilt.

Rory gets his finest moment yet of badassery, and plenty of fun dialogue with Amy.  The concept of them not knowing each other in this world and yet still being so close is brilliant, and their dialogue as Amy gradually figures out that they're supposed to be together is hilarious.

And, of course, there's the Doctor, who resolves the end of the world with a wedding.  Also, his bow tie is crucial to the resolution.  Moffat always gives the Doctor ingenious and out-there ways of winning, and this is another triumph.

If there's one character whose arc doesn't quite come off, it's River.  Every moment she has in this story is great, and Alex Kingston plays her as well as ever, but she seems to have gone from "wanting to kill the Doctor" to "completely in love" a little too fast.  Kingston sells River's wild emotional swings well enough that it just barely holds together, but yet again, while Moffat fills every moment of the story with fun stuff, he simply doesn't give the story enough time.  It's a problem throughout this season - too many rushed, unsatisfying stories, and here, it's River most affected.

And yet, even with that flaw, Moffat has recreated Doctor Who in such a wildly imaginative, hilarious, and, at times, compelling television show that it's easy to forgive this.  Doctor Who has rarely been so much fun.  Despite all the craziness, the world-building, and the insanity, Moffat again climaxes an epic story with a conversation. A desperate, sweeping, fantastic conversation that leaves you smiling.  Much like his era in general.

He can stick around a while.


* * * ½

  • Okay, so, if you came here looking for a logical breakdown of why nothing in the episode makes even the slightest bit of sense and makes a total hash of everything Moffat has been building to this season, this is the place to go.  Honestly, I can't make many counter-arguments to the majority of their points.  If you want to argue that this episode sucks all the air out of the season (and it certainly sucks it out of the previously terrifying Silence), you've got a good argument.  All I can say is, this one just charmed me.  I could probably spend as long on its flaws as I did on its qualities entirely off the top of my head.  But I spent almost the entire episode with a wide grin and a sense of genuine delight and fun.  

1 comment:

  1. Awesome, I really liked how you got me all caught up and gave an indepth analysis of the story. I like your blog and I like the doctor.