Retro ‘Doctor Who’ Review – Vol. 11.8

And done! Every episode reviewed! Now for some sleep before Day of the Doctor

The Wedding of River Song 

The sixth season of Doctor Who feels, on the whole, more a little cluttered. There are plenty of revelations about the main characters and hyped up plot threads coming to a close but for all the times they tried to make it feel epic it often feel short. Many small characters and events wind up being spun out as key plot devices. With the finale we return to the opening episode where the Doctor’s friends witness his apparent death.

 The Wedding of River Song 2

By tracking down the miniature crew of the Teselacta the Doctor meets with the head of old ally Dorium Maldover who warns him that he must fulfil his destiny. It isn’t until he finds that his old friend the Brig has passed away (coinciding with the death of actor Nicholas Courtney, who appeared as the Brig alongside the Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth and Seventh Doctors as the longest running companion in the show history) that the Doctor resigns himself to his death. When approached by the astronaut he is confronted by the younger River Song, trained from birth by the Silence to kill the Doctor.

By draining the suits power the Doctor averts his death but it causes time to collapse inwards. The next moment the Doctor is the soothsayer to Holy Roman Emperor Winston Churchill. Through various time bending events caused through the Doctor once again battling the Silence time reasserts itself and the Doctor is killed at the hand of River Song. The truth is later revealed to be that when the Doctor and River married he told her his plan to substitute himself for a Teselacta clone.

The Wedding of River Song 

It’s an interesting episode, as are most that involve the manipulation of time. There are some rich visuals, but some of the big ideas feel like they get lost in the stream. The revenge for kidnapping and conditioning River Song and the marriage of River and the Doctor both feel skimmed over, when they should be the key points during the episode. It’s a good episode but like much of the season before it there’s much, which seems needlessly muddled.

The Doctor, The Widow and The Wadrobe

In true Doctor fashion this begins with goofiness. The Doctor is forced to abandon a crashing ship by jumping to Earth, but he puts his space helmet on backwards. Stuck and blind he relies on a kind woman named Madge to help to get him back to the TARDIS. The next Christmas, when Madge’s husband is reported missing during WWII the Doctor returns to provide their children with an unforgettable Christmas. The centre piece is a Christmas gift that with transport them to a magical world, but one of the kids activates it early and travels to the other world at a time when it is not yet safe.

 The Doctor The Widow and the Wadrobe 1

When the Doctor and the other child do track the first to a tall structure they discover that the planet is in distress. The living forests of the planet are being attacked by groups of miners and a powerful acid rain is expected to destroy everything on the surface. 

The Doctor The Widow and the Wadrobe 2

By the end of the episode everything is resolved in an immensely sugary manner. Whilst the previous Christmas episode was unusually depressing this one goes in the opposite direction and feels more like an after school special than an episode of Doctor Who. There’s a ham fisted environmental message and the dues ex machine that resolves the plot also allows the husband to be rescued. It’s a bit over the top.