"Doctor Who" Season Six Finale Recap: "The Wedding Of River Song"
Doctor who? Fans of the hit television series are still leftpuzzling over this question as season six of "Doctor Who" wrapped up on Saturday. The finale, "The Wedding of River Song" promised big reveals, but overall the episode answered few questions relating to the major plot arcs floating around in the Doctor Who universe.
In a tribute to Indiana Jones, the Doctor dons his Stetson and travels to the nether regions of the galaxy in search of answers from Dorium Maldovar, an ally of the Doctor who was killed off in “A Good Man Goes to War.” The Doctor finds his head in a scary underground full of living sculls. Maldovar tells the Doctor that his death needs to happen because only he knows the answer to the oldest question in the universe which once said will have cataclysmic consequences. “We all have to die Doctor, but you more than most,” Maldovar tells the Doctor. “You know what the question is.”
Coming to terms with the inevitability of his death, he goes back to the scene in “The Impossible Astronaut” where River Song kills the Doctor. Only this time, River doesn’t kill him. Suddenly, time stops. The Doctor finds himself in a new reality where Churchill, dinosaurs and flying cars exist together. Except not only does this change history, the freeze in time is also tearing the universe apart piece by piece until eventually it fully unravels.
Visually, the alternative timeline is stunning. Moffat’s Who is notable for its beautiful, cinematic shots and the finale does not disappoint. It is also nice to see the heavy British influence in the setting. There has been a strong campaign towards American audiences lately, and possibly because of that Doctor Who has felt less tied to London scenery this season. At its heart however, the quirkiness of Doctor Who is defined by its British roots and it was nice to see the episode pay homage to that.
In the alternative timeline, the Doctor is trying to convince Winston Churchill, a guest appearance that was entertaining, though not entirely relevant, that time has gone wrong. However, before he can get very far, Amy, referred to in this alternative timeline as Madame, stuns the Doctor and takes him to her office, which is on a moving train. Amy vaguely recalls the correct timeline because she grew up with cracks in time and as the Doctor says, “If anyone could remember it’s you.”
Armed with eye patches that allow the user to remember the Silence, Amy takes the Doctor up to visit River Song. River and Amy have been trying to devise a way to save the Doctor from his own death. River and the Doctor’s banter escalates until suddenly the two wind up standing together with a cloth wrapped around their hands and they get married with the Ponds blessings.
The Doctor and River are the epicenter of the time distortion and when the Doctor finally kisses River, time starts moving again and the audience is taken back to Lake Silencio in Utah where time has fixed itself and the Doctor is shot by River and dies for good. Or does he?
In a subtle, but beautiful scene, the camera then flashes forward to Amy sitting outside her house with a glass of wine. River from the future joins Amy and the two sit and talk. Amy explains that this was the day in her timeline where the Doctor dies. But River has one more spoiler for Amy. The Doctor, with the help of the Teselecta, was miniaturized and was inside of his constructed body when he was killed, meaning that he is still alive. However, he wants the universe to believe that he is dead.
Earlier, in “A Good Man Goes to War” River said, "This was exactly you, all of this. All of it. You make them so afraid. When you began all those years ago, sailing off to see the universe, did you ever think you'd become this? The man who can turn an army around at the mention of his name."
The present River explains that Doctor believes he has grown too big and will stay in the shadows for the time being. However, she says that at night he visits her in jail and they go off on adventures.
While the oldest question in the universe is not revealed in this episode, what we do know is that the question is hidden in plain sight. What could be more obvious than the title to the show? It seems like Moffat has lined up all the breadcrumbs so that the audience will inevitably learn the answer to the question, “Doctor who?” in a future episode.
Doctor Who will return for the Christmas special on BBC and BBC America this December.
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