The Wedding of River Song
By Steven Moffat
Reviewed By Will Barber – Taylor
“Doctor Who? Doctor Who?!”
The Doctor travels to Lake Silencio for his date with destiny. However, he doesn’t reckon on the love of River Song, who decides not to kill him. If The Doctor lives then time will collapse.
The plot is excellent. Starting off with time all happening at once. The episode takes us to a flashback telling the audience how time was corrupted. The second half of the episode is set in the corrupted timeline where The Doctor has to die or time will die instead. The story flows beautifully and shows Moffat on top form. The whole River Song/Doctor story arc is weaved brilliantly into the story and without the story arc as a backbone the story wouldn’t be as convincing as it is. The Doctor faking his own death to fool the Silence is similar to Sherlock Holmes faking his death to fool Moriarty’s criminal empire. Seeing as Moffat has brought Holmes back this could be a sneaky reference. The ending of the story is sublime in its ambiguity. Steven Moffat writes Doctor Who as a magically, dark fairytale, which is how it should be.
The acting is magnificent. Matt Smith very much plays all sides of The Doctor in this story. One minute he is angry and very similar to Hartnell; the next he is winking at the camera just like Troughton with a great mix of Baker as well. The scene where The Doctor hears of The Brigadier’s death is also very well played. Smith should have gotten the next BAFTA for this episode alone.
Arthur Darvill’s acting skills are strongly demonstrated when he tells the others to leave whilst he battles with the Silence.
Karen Gillian’s versatility as an actress is obvious when one moment she is happy to see The Doctor and then she ruthlessly kills Madam Kovarian. Amy Pond has earned the right to take her place amongst the ultimate companion list.
Alex Kingston is excellent as River Song. Like her mother, she has gone through a change. We see a different River from the one who shot the Dalek in the last series to the River who is determined to save The Doctor’s life in this series. This does not mean the acting/writing has gone worse but it has changed how we look at River. We now know why she is like she is and why she does what she does. This change makes the character more interesting.
Francis Barber is excellent (though sadly under used) as the evil Madam Kovarian particularly when she pleads for her life before Amy kills her. Ian McNeice is great as the holy Roman Emperor Winston Churchill. The guest appearances from Simon Callow as Charles Dickens and Mark Gattis as Gantok are noted and are both played exceedingly well.
The direction is very good, particularly the shots in Area 52. They have a real feeling of darkness and expectation of events about to happen.
The Wedding of River Song is a dark, exciting, moving, fairy tale. The acting, directing and most of all the writing are excellent and set a new standard for Doctor Who. Series Six has been one of the most interesting series of Doctor Who and Moffat has ended it with fireworks. This episode answers a lot of questions but it also brings back the oldest question - Doctor Who?