Sunday, October 9, 2011

It's A Nice Day to Start Again

Yeah, it's a week late, but cut me a break. I've been out of the country! But I now have my review of "The Wedding of River Song." Spoilers beneath the every-so-appropriate video.

Here's a funny story about how I came to view "The Wedding of River Song" - so the last two weeks, I was in Serbia on a study-abroad trip.  Saturday we were scheduled to have an outing - go sightseeing and do some fun things in Belgrade. Until the American Embassy learned of a big protest/march scheduled for Saturday.  Since they were sponsoring us and providing our transportation in and out of Belgrade, they canceled the outing amid fears that the protest could get violent (evidently, there was precedent for this sort of thing).  So, Saturday we were left to our own devices.  We did get to go to the Avala TV Tower and up to the observation deck, so that was pretty cool.  But we all came back to our hotel/dorm and I got "The Wedding of River Song" online and watched it because, hey, now I had time for that sort of thing.  I suppose I could have written my review then - but to be honest, I wanted to wait.

And now - here are my thoughts on both the finale and the whole of Series 6 -

Reviewing this is strange because I usually review "Doctor Who" without having heard or read others' reviews of it.  But I did listen to Radio Free Skaro's and Traveling the Vortex's thoughts on it.  I don't think that hurt my opinion because - to be honest - I don't know what my opinion of this episode is.  I liked the simultaneous-history-with-time-degrading concept and I liked that the eye-patches were a device used to remember the Silence.  The Live Chess thing was hilarious.  The giant "Area 52" pyramid was cool too.  But as I'm sitting here rewatching this episode - most of this is largely forgettable.  And that's sad for me to say because I've enjoyed the twist-turny, wibbly-wobbly, spacey-wacey stuff that Moffat comes up with.  But this one... was a little flat.  I didn't hate it, but I didn't love it either.

Don't get me wrong - I enjoyed "The Wedding of River Song" well-enough  There was just enough wacky Steven Moffat stuff going on to make the story fun and even gloss over the fact that there is just so much that is left unanswered (WHY DID THE TARDIS EXPLODE AT THE END OF SERIES FIVE?? ... ahem... Also - why do the Silence want the Doctor dead in the first place?)

(Also - when they mentioned the Tessalecta in the pre-credit recap, I figured the Doctor that got shot by the astronaut was a Tessalecta. Which means that Ganger two-parter last spring was just to set up the fake Amy and nothing else.  Which means they wasted a perfectly good two-part slot on that tripe. And that's just sad).

But can I get a big round of Badass Rory and Amy Pond Appreciation?  First, you've got Rory leaving his Eye-Drive on so he can fight the Silence - and then Amy comes in with machine gun blazing. AND - Amy leaves Patchy to the mercy of the Silence.  And I stood up and cheered. Because Patchy is one of those villains that you just want to see bite it in the end. (YAY PONDS!)

But I did like River's little speech about how the universe didn't want the Doctor to die (even I don't completely understand it's context within the story).  Because I hated those moments when the Doctor was all mopey because he'd screwed up people's lives and he'd decided the world was better off without him.  I certainly hope that we are done with emo!Doctor and he can go back to having whimsical adventures without worrying about his companions so much.  If anything, the fact that River, Amy and Rory found the Doctor in the alternate timeline proves that the Doctor makes his companions better.  Hell, even the end of "Closing Time" proved that.  And the Doctor needs to recognize that and take credit for it, already!

Overall opinion of Series 6 - Wish there'd been more resolution and less asking of new questions.  Wish "The Rebel Flesh" had been one episode (boy, how do I wish that).  Wish there'd been less filler - or that they'd just gone with it being one whole season of filler.  I would seriously be okay with that.  But I also wish that there had been more about the Silence story arc throughout the season, especially because when the season did address it, it came out of left field and I had to remember what that was all about.

Let me address the filler while I'm thinking about it - when your "filler" episodes include stuff like "The Doctor's Wife," "The Girl Who Waited" and "Closing Time," why even bother with the season-long story arc at all?

I think they tried to blend one-off episodes with a season long story arc and it kind of, sort of, maybe didn't work out that well. The one-offs don't add to the story arc and the story arc gets diluted from week to week so that gets in the way of resolving everything that needs resolving.  I think they either need to do one-off episodes or really commit to a story arc - not try to do both.

Some Words on the Tribute to Nicholas Courtney (Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart): Whoever decided to make the Brig's death a major plot point in this story is a genius (bet you a cookie it was Moffat).  I wonder if, prior to Courtney's death, there was something else written there to convince the Doctor to go to Lake Powell Silencio and Moffat just changed it to include the Brigadier instead.  Or maybe that scene hadn't been written and he just took the opportunity to pay tribute to a wonderful character and actor.  However it came about, I'm glad that it turned out the way that it did and it was a fitting way to pay in-universe tribute to the Brig.

"Silence Will Fall When the Question Is Asked" - So, can I safely assume that this is all setting up for the big-time 50th Anniversary special in 2013?  I mean, I'm okay with that - but I wish I knew that before thinking that the finale would be... well... final.  That everything would be wrapped up and everyone would be happy (ha - that's a good one!)

After careful consideration (and just some good knee-jerk reactions) this is how I rank the individual stories of Series 6 (not counting "A Christmas Carol")

1. The Girl Who Waited
2. The Doctor's Wife
3. The Impossible Astronaut/Day of the Moon
4. Closing Time
5. A Good Man Goes to War/Let's Kill Hitler (I think that was meant as a two-parter)
6. The Wedding of River Song
7. Night Terrors
8. The God Complex
9. The Curse of the Black Spot
10. The Rebel Flesh/The Almost People

Bottom Line: Yeah... I don't know what the Bottom Line is here. I'm just as confused as the next geek.

Who's up for Frontios?

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