Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Maelstrom Janus Reviews "Wedding of River Song"


Always good to get a variety of opinions on Doctor Who, and with the finale being our last stop until Christmas, a second viewpoint on "The Wedding Of River Song" seemed a good idea.

Longtime Doctor Who fan and veteran Second Lifer Maelstrom Janus looks at The Wedding of River Song and casts his considered opinion.


I've learned not to expect too much from new Who - so I wasn't disappointed in The Wedding of River Song. What a mad jumble of ideas.

To be completely fair, despite the general overall mess I've come to expect from Steven Moffatt, there were some interesting, poignant and horrifying moments already pointed out by Jayne.

Farewell to the Brigadier - a nice little tribute to a much loved and fondly remembered character- which may have benefited from a Mawdryn Undead style series of flashbacks. Shame that the  Brigadier wasn't to return to the series and re-establish himself with today's audiences in the same way that Sarah Jane was. Amazingly his death was done without the usual flood of over sentimentality I've come to expect from 'New Who'. This is how sentiment needs to be tackled not with endless whinings and moanings and wringing of metaphorical hands, accompanied by overbearing Murray Gold passages....

The skulls attacking the disgruntled chess player - excellent !! It's what Doctor Who needs more of, a LOT more of - horror and threat. The only failing here was the absence of any explanation of what was animating those skulls - or for that matter what was keeping the bodyless blue stratford johns lookalike alive... Unfortunately Moffatt has never been very good at techno-babble, but at least it wasnt 'timey wimey bits' on this occasion ! The attack of the skulls was however, the best moment of the episode.

Impressive effects for this episode - well the pteranodon flying over the park were excellent, as were the bizarre Dali-esque images of cars drifting aloft over London supported by steampunk balloons and steam trains disappearing into pyramids....

...unfortunately all the tosh about the Doctor's non-death disrupting a 'still point' and setting off a parallel time stream was bunkum....I can see that anything AFTER the Doctor's 'non death' things might have become scrambled but how did things like the aforementioned pterosaurs get mixed in too? I can also see that some vast and powerful weapon like the Dalek's time destructor might be able to rip apart time...but couldn't see how an 'event' might do it. Moffatt might well have been advised to watch Day of the Daleks where a much more skilled writer, Louis Marks, sets up quite a credible time paradox leading to the Daleks second conquest of Earth....and the issue is resolved in a way that makes sense. Did the Silence (I still dont really get who or what they are) really want the Doctor dead or did they want him alive?

Silence is golden - or at least, sparkly

For the first time in the show's history I was no longer watching Doctor Who religiously because either certain episodes sounded awful or they had characters in them I didn't like. Because of this, perhaps I've missed the plot behind the Silence.. not seeing all the episodes didn't help put together this monstrous jigsaw of a story.

Unfortunately RTD set in motion this idea that a good snog can become the solution...with a kiss the Doctor can suck 'vortex energy' from his endangered companion... he can transfer DNA patterns to confuse the Judoon... and now he can even repair mutli-million years rifts in time with a quick smooch. Utter tosh. Which lovesick portion of the audience are they trying to appeal too? Certainly not this crusty lover of alien threat, technology and a bit of serious ingenuity from the Doctor which requires engagement of the grey cells rather than his kissing apparatus.

River Song sucking up the Vortex like Rose?

I still dont understand the need for the curious 'wedding' ceremony...Was it a gallifreyan wedding ? It was a glib and all too and overly romantic way of tying up loose ends - and I still don't think it was enough to warrant River Song wandering round calling him "my love"... Steve Moffatt should have been (along with RTD) supplying free sick bags with the Radio Times considering the ghastly surfeit of romance and sentiment they pumped into the series.

Of course some of us believe that at some point the Doctor had a wife - how else could he have become a grandfather ? So if you want to postulate this means the Doctor's wife died... ending the marriage or
the Timelords are polygamous and allow the taking of more than one partner... or the Doctor's kids were born out of wedlock and the Doctor was never married to the person he had his kids with... or the Doctor is now a bigamist....

Well thank goodness the Doctor isn't an Alpha Centurian, though, otherwise he could have gone down the aisle arm in arm in arm in arm in arm in arm in arm in arm in arm with his wifey..

And so the greatest question - Doctor Who ? An idea ripped from the seventh Doctor saga Silver Nemesis where the writer's original idea was the the Doctor is god....ah he's come a long way from being simple explorer and scientist and pariah from his own society. The odd thing is, is that if he's developed this reputation as the fearsome stuff of legends (curious that Moffatt's last pressing of the universal restart button didnt wipe that reputation out) it's based on stuff we haven't seen in either the tenure of RTD or Moffatt.... yes there was a Time War and, yes, apparently at some point the Doctor 'destroyed' both the Daleks and the Time Lords (although both races managed to pop up again more villainous than ever).

Aside from this the Doctor hasn't done much 'universe saving' and his adventures have always been  fairly 'small scale' escapades which didn't seem to require much imput from him to resolve and apparently if he's 'sinking back into the shadows' they wont be taking much resolving in the future. Moffatt has in effect elevated the Doctor to the heights of a god and then - almost apologetically - tried to drop him back into obscurity and restore his beginnings as a wanderer .... I wonder if Moffatt's also going to fit the TARDIS with randomiser mark 2 - based on a classic idea introduced in the past to return some of the series originally mystery and suprise and which lasted, what? Three stories ?

Personally I think its time for a return to some serious story telling spread over twenty five minute installments...Its all very well introducing an episodic fifty minute series on the premise that viewers nowadays dont have the attention span  - only to set up an extremely complex story arc which concludes several months after it's inception. Massive chunks remain unexplained in Moffatt's minestrone of ideas.

Basically some interesting spectacle hiding a story barely threaded together. A few nice moments but an overall feeling that a change of cast, crew and even the basic formatting of the show is overdue. More influenced by Americana such as the X-Files than Doctor Who itself.

I hope if Moffatt is planning to get back to Who basics he can prune some of the stuff we see far too much of - the sentiment, the romance, the lack of solid believable resolution and reintroduce a lot of that that we dont see enough of, the threat and mystery of the unknown, terrifying opponents who need to be fought and not molly coddled and sympathised with.....

I'd recommend Moffatt request a good helping of Doctor Who dvds from the classic era for christmas.....


And before we end, some words from Maelstrom's very close friend Cully Andel on her opinion of this episode!

I worked out how the Doctor got out of this a few weeks ago, and as usual it started off with its usual attempt to confuse the viewer. But as season finale's go, I at least understood what had happened at the end of it, so that in itself was a big improvement.

Unfortunately it lost ground with the things that didn't add up. Amy can't remember stuff so she remembers enough to draw pictures. What were those skulls? Why was the blue head in a box and how? and worst of all why exactly did the Dr have to get married??

I did like the tribute to the Brigadier and I think Rory is totally under used.

After last year's Christmas episode and this series ending I'm not holding my breath for the next episode.

You've heard from three Who fans on this blog regardling the finale - what's your opinion?

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