Thu
Oct 6 2011 10:30am

What Does the Silence Need With a Spacesuit? (And Other Narrative Failures of “The Wedding of River Song”)

Being overly concerned with clarity and consistency is probably not the best outlook for a fan of science fiction television, particularly if that show is Doctor Who. As with a lot of sci-fi TV, there’s a generally a style-over-substance mentality pervading the writing of Who. Often there’s not a good thematic reason for having a funny alien, a time paradox, or a convoluted mystery on Doctor Who other than the fact that it’s simply that kind of show. Normally, this aesthetic is so charming that it compensates for any sneaking suspicion a viewer might have that the show is just manipulating them to watch more Doctor Who. But, when the story itself doesn’t make reasonable sense, then the charming aesthetic can’t protect the audience from coming to the realization that all they are watching is a space/time soap opera.

SPOILERS for “The Wedding of River Song

In my view, Moffat’s writing on Doctor Who has become like a spoiled child: we’ve overly praised it and now it’s misbehaving. I LOVE Moffat’s other show, Sherlock, but the ending of “A Study in Pink” doesn’t actually make any sense. No one would actually be swayed in to taking those pills. Like Doctor Who, Sherlock gets away with stuff like that because the aesethic is awesome. But that doesn’t mean the bad writing isn’t still there, lurking below the surface, waiting to act out. Which is what it’s doing in “The Wedding of River Song.”

Steven Moffat’s writing has two major reoccurring problems. First, the eventual reveal of a major plot detail ends up not making logical sense. Second, the emotional themes of the stories are trivialized because of this illogical structure is “supported” by a reliance upon prophecies or paradoxes.

At the beginning of the season, I wondered (with optimism) if Steven Moffat was tearing apart the fabric of fiction and now it seems the answer is a solid yes. Which is bad. Having a story conclude in a way that was foretold at the beginning of the season because things happen out of order is not inherently satisfying. We need to actually understand why things happened that way, other that to be shown the linear moment in which they actually do happen. The best example of this occurs with the spacesuit of the impossible astronaut.

Why did the Silence engineer a 1960s NASA spacesuit into a super-control robot suit to make River kill the Doctor? Is it because they couldn’t get ahold of River after she turned good in “Let’s Kill Hitler”? In “Day of the Moon” and “The Impossible Astronaut” we’re lead to believe the Silence are using a spacesuit for a specific reason. And it mostly seems to have to do with them being in 1969. However, at the end of “Closing Time” when River gets strapped back into the spacesuit (she escaped from it before as a little kid) the Silence seem to just throw it on her. This might make the plot work technically and visually, but it doesn’t make sense because the spacesuit is literally and figuratively a clunky device.

While we’re on this, why use River to kill the Doctor in the first place? It seems like a pretty convoluted plan to kill just one guy. Say you’ve got an army of really powerful aliens who are effectively invisible and have no problem shooting Palpatine-style lightning out of their fingers and blowing people up. Why not have 90 of these guys sneak onto the TARDIS (which we’ve seen happen) and shoot lightning bolts over and over and over until the Doctor is dead? Well, the audience has to infer that they can’t do that because River is DESTINED to kill the Doctor. The Silence buy in to prophecies and silly nursery rhymes which dictate all their actions. So the Silence is like, “Oh shit! the nursery rhyme says an impossible astronaut will rise and shoot the Time Lord in the face, repeatedly. Well guys, we better get to work on making the astronaut as impossible as possible. Let’s high tail it to 1969 and start grabbing some gear!”

If we accept the Silence can’t kill the Doctor because of the nursery rhyme (a sequence of events the Silence PUT into motion by their actions) then River has to kill him while wearing the spacesuit. Well, that’s not true at all because in “Let’s Kill Hitler” the newly regenerated and totally brainwashed River tries to kill the Doctor with a gun. That’s no impossible astronaut! Was the plan to just have River kill the Doctor whenever was easiest then? If so, why do they need a souped up spacesuit? And why do they need River at all? There aren’t any good answers to these questions, so when it “all comes together” at the end of “Closing Time” and throughout “The Wedding of River Song” it isn’t satisfying because the logic inherent to the Silence’s plan is deeply flawed.

Another justification we’re given as to why the astronaut has to shoot the Doctor is the notion of this being a “fixed point in time.” The biggest narrative problem I have with this particular “fixed point in time” is that Doctor Who has created conflicting precedents for what happens when fixed points are “rewritten.” In a show about time travel, the idea that there are fixed points in time that “can’t be rewritten” is like telling someone not to think about an elephant. It’s obviously designed to get you to think about rewriting said fixed points. Previoulsy “fixed points” in the Tennant or Eccelston episodes were dealt with differently. Both in “Father’s Day” and “The Waters of Mars” the real dramatic tension wasn’t necessarily around the consequences of changing the fixed points, but how those characters were dealing with that power and what it meant to be selfish about wanting to rewrite the past.

In “The Wedding of River Song” violating a fixed point in time not only creates a whole new eventuality (that is inconsistent with both “Father’s Day” and “The Waters of Mars”) but also serves no real narrative purpose. I understand that we’re supposed to feel like River Song is willing to sacrifice lots of people and the collapsing universe because she loves the Doctor, but that selfishness/sacrifice thing never really gets dealt with because everything turns out fine. In “Father’s Day,” Rose still has to lose her dad, and now experience it as an adult. In “The Waters of Mars” the Doctor has to deal with the fact that he drives Captain Brooke to shoot herself just to stop him. In “The Fires of Pompeii,” the notion of that famous eruption being a “fixed point” causes a lot of horrific grief for Donna and the Doctor. Fixed points in time are dark because they have consequences. But not in the in “The Wedding of River Song” because there are no consequences. Dramatically, thematically, and in keeping with the prior spirit of the show, this falls flat.

We’re told (not convinced. Just told) that the Doctor’s death is a fixed point at Lake Silenco. The rupture of this causes the birth of the bizarro universe with Winston Churchill in charge of a modern day world, and pterodactyls, and everything. Pretty neat visually, but needless in terms of narrative structure. It’s also a little too similar to last year’s season finale in which little-kid Amelia exists in a strange star-less world. In “The Big Bang” this was at least a new idea, but the conflict in “The Wedding of River Song” was essentially the same. How will the Doctor be able fix this totally wacky version of Earth in just 45 minutes? Well, it turns out he’s able to do it with the POWER OF LOVE. In the previous episode “Closing Time,” Craig beat the Cybermen with the power of love, and you know what? That actually worked. Because the episode was sweet, focused, and the stakes were clear. In “The Wedding of River Song” the stakes are simply to return time to a previous status quo, stakes so large and so vague that we can’t really invest any emotion in them. We knew everything was going to be fine.

But there was a moment in “Closing Time” when it seemed like Craig might die. There’s never a moment like this in “The Wedding of River Song” because the relationship between the Doctor and River comes across as fake. Part of this is because Matt Smith and Alex Kingston don’t have the same chemistry as Tennant and Kingston, but it’s also because there are no thematic stakes relating to River Song and the Doctor’s romance.

Why does River Song love the Doctor and why does he have more feeling for her than other people he’s hung out with? At least with Rose Tyler we saw an onscreen romance depicted over several episodes. With River Song, we don’t. We’re just told over several episode they love each other, or will love each other. So now, they kind of do? Sort of? Last year we had a bizzaro universe and a wedding at the end that fixed everything. This year, same thing. But this time with two characters who we’re not convinced really love each other.

This isn’t solid narrative storytelling. This is similar to having a nursery rhyme or a prophecy validate your plot choices. River Song and the Doctor are together because we’ve been told they have to be together because of time travel stuff. Self-fullfilling prophecies are not the same as actual storytelling. This nonsense is happening again with “the fall of the eleventh” prophecy sputtered by the headless blue guy. A science fiction show in which all the fun science fiction stuff ends up turning into prophecies being fulfilled in uninteresting ways is exactly the kind of stuff that didn’t work on Battlestar Galactica. Also, those singing kids doing the nursery rhymes are really annoying. I miss the Ood already.

The best thing about this episode was the way in which the Doctor avoided his death. This was very, very cool and set up well by the “Let’s Kill Hitler” episode. I, too, cannot get enough of the assassin robot with miniaturized people driving it around. It’s great that the Doctor took his TARDIS inside of a simulacrum of himself and the simulacrum was the thing we saw killed. This is a perfect way for him to cheat his death. Bravo! However, it didn’t warrant the entire episode. Who exactly needed to be convinced of his death? River? The Silence? Wait. I thought this was a fixed point in time? THE DOCTOR’S DEATH was a fixed point in time, right? Nope. It turns out the fixed point in time was the Doctor’s robot simulacrum’s death. Were the Silence actually fooled by this? And what about time itself? Was time itself fooled by the simulacrum Doctor? Or was that how time was “supposed to happen?” If so, then we didn’t need the entire episode.

The whole bizzaro stopped-time universe was needless. The Doctor could have been like “Hey, I’m okay, it was that robot thingy!” And Amy, Rory and River would have been like “Phew. Shit. You had us worried.” Then they could have gone and done something else. The notion of River splitting time and the Doctor fooling the Silence with the Robot thing was only designed to confuse the viewers for an entire episode. It didn’t actually serve a narrative purpose, develop these characters, or tell an interesting story.

All it did was show us a lot of shiny objects and re-tread themes and plot devices with the same characters who’s biographies we don’t understand or relate to because time has been rewritten too many times and the development of relationships has been swapped out in favor of “wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey.” The reveal of how and why the astronaut had to kill the Doctor was to simply depict the astronaut doing it. This wasn’t satsifying and didn’t conclude a story. Instead, “The Wedding of River Song” created another, seperate story inside a bubble universe.

In this way, the current season finale was the ultimate plot beytrayal. The entire year, we’ve been wondering where this story is headed, and instead a different story, which takes place in an aborted universe is told in its place.

Wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey might have worked for awhile, but now that’s given way to silly-willy plotty-wotty and it feels like the universe is collapsing.


Ryan Britt is the staff writer for Tor.com. He likes Doctor Who. Really.

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83 comments
Lindsay Ribar
1. Lindsay Ribar
Plus: if the question is "Doctor who?" then wouldn't the silence have fallen like FIVE BILLION TIMES by now?
Joseph Kingsmill
2. JFKingsmill16
Ryan, I really couldn’t have said this better myself.

“We need to actually understand why things happened that way, other that to be shown the linear moment in which they actually do happen.”

This actually explains how I’ve felt about the direction Moffat has been taking the show. He seems to believe that because it’s a SciFi show about Time Travel that he can literally get away with anything when it comes to story writing and just say “Hey, you can’t have continuity issues or story flaws when you’re dealing with time travel.” Well that’s just not the truth.

I honestly felt like I was lied to in this past episode. I am going to be questioning each and every plot point on the show because I can’t trust if what I am seeing is actually real, a lie or some sort of perception filter.

I love the show, I truly do. I just want a little more story structure.
Lindsay Ribar
3. jelsel
uuhhmm yes,

using a bit stronger wording then i would've thought up but quite sums it up, doesn't it?

Only started on Dr. Who this year with the 2005 series. This last season and especially last episode left me feeling quite unsatisfied. That is, as long as i don't really think about it, i can get lost in the world of Who. Shouldn't start asking questions though, or reading these blogs for that matter ;)

Too many loose ends that have either been quickly tied together or not at all.... Hope the writers read here as well :) Because somehow i'll probably keep watching anyway, hoping for improvement :P
Ryan Britt
4. ryancbritt
@1 Lindsay No joke. I didn't even mention that point because I thought it was such silly meta navel-gazing.

@2 JFK
I like the idea that Moffat has turned a perception filter on all of us. :-) I love the show too. But it's just pushing its luck a little right now.
Ryan Britt
5. ryancbritt
@3 jelsel
We'll keep watching too! And we hope they read these kinds of things too! We actually do think about this stuff. :-)
Lindsay Ribar
6. Ravyn
Actually, no. It is not the question "Doctor who?" that causes the silence to fall, it is the answer. The Silence is intent on preventing him from ever answering that question because that would cause the silence to fall.
You could shout the question from every rooftop in the universe a trillion times over and it wouldn't matter, but when the Doctor answers ...
At least, that was my understanding of it.
Cait Glasson
7. CaitieCat
The other thing I don't get? Why does the simulacrum!Doctor start to regenerate? We saw it. The glowy-timey-wimey energy happened. And then it stopped.

So what the hell was that, if it was sim!Doctor? Did the tesselator-thingy somehow make up fake timey-wimey energy? And if the tesselator-thingy was the Doctor all along at the beginning, why didn't the FOR JUSTICE! crew take their chance to kill River Song when she showed up and shot the Stetson off the sim!Doctor? Or while they had a picnic together? Or was FOR JUSTICE! not important anymore?

Very disappointing. Good post, ryancbritt.
Lindsay Ribar
8. Bourgeois Nerd
I think the Silence needed a spacesuit and River Song because it was part of the "fixed point." The nursery rhyme comes from the event, not the event from the nursery rhyme.

I disagree that the "stopped time" performed no narrative or character function. I actually think it tied into another complaint about River and the Doctor's relationship. I think this showed that the Doctor had come to trust her. We knew she trusted him, but not the other way around. Revealing the tesselected body, compromising between his "kill me" and her "I won't kill you" was actually an important step in their relationship.

I also think the Doctor's "death" is important for next season, not just because of the prophecy, but because I think it's going to be a much "smaller" season, with fewer cosmic threats and God!Doctor. The Doctor said he'd be going quiet, that he'd gotten too noisy and disruptive. At this point, it's obvious that Moffat is going for at least a three-act structure with his seasons, and that we're not going to get full resolution until the end. This is chapter 2 ended.

Really, after we all watched a season finale not all that many years ago where the resolution to the plot was the whole world clapping "I DO BELIEVE IN DOCTORS!" I can't understand being so incensed by this one.
Lindsay Ribar
9. Rancho Unicorno
I remember when RTD left the show, I was pleased to have full seasons worth of Moffat. The Moffat episodes during the RTD serieses were well written and developed the titular character and companions really well. His writing was like a souped up version of what existed during the original run. RTD episodes were good, but they just weren't perfect - maybe a little more romance and Doctor-companion than Doctor-enemy.

Now, I'm rewatching all the old episodes and realize that there was more companion development than I remembered. Unfortunately, Moffat is creating a TV show that is no better or different from anything else on TV and I miss RTD.
Lindsay Ribar
10. Natenanimous
@#7 - We saw the robot create its own motorcycle and shoot red/blue hell energy from its face. I don't think a little fake glowy stuff would have been too much of a problem. And when they met River, the Doctor was already inside the robot, presumably in control of it. I don't know if the other crew were even there anymore. If they were, that would be a bunch more people who know the secret that he's still alive, and since he was so reluctant to even let River in on that one, I assume he was piloting it by himself, probably via the sonic screwdriver (the standard get-out-of-plot-free card).

@#1 - I'll be surprised if that's actually, literally the question. Also, I don't think think it's the asking of the question itself that causes silence to fall, but the asking of it at this supposed place where no one can tell a lie or refuse to answer. Whatever the question is, it doesn't matter if it's asked anywhere else (the blue head guy clearly told the Doctor what the question was, after all). It matters if it's asked there and if there's someone there who can answer it, because apparently the answer is bad.

It wouldn't surprise me if blue-head wasn't asking "Doctor who?" but asking "Doctor ... who?" As in, who did you see? Who was it? Who did this or that? Etc. But I really don't know.

That said, I agree that some of the setup and resolution of this season can't stand up to what happened in season five, and wasn't as good as it should have been or could have been. THAT said, the entire point of the season was to find out how the Doctor would avoid a death that appeared to be unavoidable, and in that regard it succeeded. Everything in between was so much narrative window dressing and expansion of the River plot, very little of which actually informed the resolution.

And yes, it was the death of the robot that was the fixed point in time, because that robo-death is what allows the Doctor to go incognito in a universe that thinks he's gone now, which (in theory) is going to have important consequences thoughout the universe (I'm thinking perhaps it will give the Daleks or someone else license to get down to business).

Regarding River and the Doctor, I agree that they aren't entirely convincing. I do however enjoy the concept that he fell for her because when he first met her she was already in love with him; and she fell for him because when she first met him, he was already in love with her. I actually enjoy that sort of criss-crossed bootstrap paradox time travel concept, and am not nearly so annoyed by it as some people seem to be. Lazy storytelling or not, it's clearly what he's intending to do.

@Ryan - I think I see the fixed point thing differently than you. In Father's Day, I thought the problem was not the screwing up of a fixed point but the creation of a paradox as a result of Rose crossing her own timestream, which is something the Doctor is always very reluctant to do for that very reason. In Waters of Mars, I got the impression that the Doctor trying to save them was part of the fixed point. By trying to alter it he revealed his own hubris but did not actually alter events. The fixed point always happened that way -- the Doctor always told the lady why he couldn't rescue them, then always tried to rescue them anyway, then she always killed herself to avoid what he told her about, and thus humanity was always inspired and continued into the stars through her descendant. However, I doubt the show has ever been consistent with its time travel rules throughout its history. Different writers always have different ideas about it. That doesn't particularly bother me.

Anyway, my biggest disappointments with this season were all of the clues and plot devices that didn't end up having any relevence, including the space suit and a number of other things. But I still love the show, and in particular love Matt Smith's portrayal of the Doctor.
Ashe Armstrong
11. AsheSaoirse
Yep. This is all stuff we've been discussing in Teresa's episode review and I still agree with it all.
Ryan Britt
12. ryancbritt
@8 While I agree that the idea of the Doctor going "smaller" is interesting, it seems unlikely and therefore another misdirection.

On the subject of "Last of the Time Lords" being really bombastic and over-the-top, I would agree. However, it wasn't convoluted, and we were shown the events that lead to all that happening. Was it a little hard to swallow? Sure, but this is where the charm of the show was working full tilt. Now, the cracks in the storytelling are too large that the charm is starting to wear off.

Also, we lived in the alternate world where the Master was in charge for longer than a portion of one episode, which I would argue made the stakes seem more real. Of course we knew it was going to be fixed, but our investment was in how it was going to happen. There, the Doctor was shriveled old man and the world was in ruins. This time, everything was just sort of zany and the Doctor was okay. For me, that's very different in terms of getting me on board with the conflicts. Just telling us the universe is collapsing doesn't work. With the Master dominating Earth and enslaving Martha's family, we really saw the conflict. Here, we're just told outright that it's a bad thing, when really a world with a nifty train and pterodactyls actually seems pretty neat.
Lee Giorno
13. LGiorno
I personally am a little tired of Moffat. I am alos getting tired of the same large plot lines being re-hashed. I mean to say the whole "the universe is ending" theme is getting old. I understand that the Doctor is the Doctor and the only real way to make us viewers intruiged in his adventures is to have some huge, terrible act about to tear the universe apart and then have the Doctor come and save it all, but it's getting old.

I have only watched the show since 2005. The End of Time was the first big "universe in peril" plot line and that one was good, especially with how attached I became to Tennant. But the Big Bang/Pandorica episodes seemed a little forced. And now finally with The Wedding of River Song I found myself just shaking my head at Moffat up to his old tricks again...

A small part of me honestly hopes that they end the show after the 7th season. I know its blasphemy in a sense but I would like the show to go out on a good note rather than dragging on and on with the same themes and endings to old, over-acring storylines. I want an answer to the "question in plain site" and think it would be a good way to go out. Perhaps since the shows 50th anniversary is coming up, they could do something around then to end it.

Maybe I'm totally off-base here but it's how this season's end made me feel.
Lindsay Ribar
14. JCHicks
Thank you, Ryan. This sums up why I grumbled all the way through watching The Wedding of River Song. Why did illogical things happen? Because we were told they were going to happen. Sorry, but that doesn't cut it.
Sam Brougher
15. Azuaron
Regarding the Doctor and River song, while I agree the actors' chemistry isn't always convincing, I don't know how anyone can doubt the characters' love for each other. Especially since our perspective is typically the Doctor's perspective, so we come at the relationship from his perspective (met a crazy woman; apparently she's in love with me) and he's still in the process of falling for her (the Doctor hasn't told her his name yet, so we can assume there's still more to his side of the love story).

I think the most heartbreaking moment in telivision this past year was when they kissed, and the Doctor said it was the first time they had, and River realized she'd never get to kiss him again.

As far as River having to be the one who kills the Doctor, I've been under the impression it had to be her because she's part Time Lord from being conceived on the TARDIS. Sure, she tried to kill him with a gun in Let's Kill Hitler, but, time travel being abundant, the Silence could have always known the only way to perma-kill the Doctor is with Time Lord powers.

Which also explains the astronaut suit: if River's too young/too in love to be compliant, the suit forces her to Time Lord energy the Doctor to death against her will.

However, the whole "violating a fixed point in time unravels the universe" does come out of no where. I don't think the comparison to Father's Day is fair, since that was a case of crossing your own time stream and creating a paradox not a case of changing a fixed point in time. Even The Waters of Mars was not a "fixed point"; we did see the news stories change many times as events unfolded. But I seem to remember the whole Bad Wolf storyline including human technological and social evolution being delayed tens of thousands of years. Shouldn't that violate some "fixed points" in time?

So that raises the question, What is a fixed point in time? What does that mean? Are we presupposing an intelligence that controls time and requires certain events to unfold? If so, the Doctor could theoretically fool such an intelligence with the robot, assuming the intelligence, while having complete control of time, was bloody stupid otherwise.

And if there's not an intelligence that controls time, and time is a self-balancing system, then how could it be fooled by a robot? If the fixed point in time is the Doctor dying at Lake Silencio, then isn't the fixed point violated by the Doctor not dying at Lake Silencio? Or has the fixed point always been the robot dying at Lake Silencio? If so, would the Silence, since they seem to have a decent grasp on time travel, know the Doctor didn't die at Lake Silencio, by virtue of the Doctor still doing stuff? This could be somewhat explained by the Doctor being a time traveler, so they're never sure what "age" Doctor is doing what, but the Doctor is sure to regenerate at some point in the future, which they know shouldn't happen since he's supposed to be dead, so the Silence shouldn't be fooled into thinking the Doctor's dead.

Or is the "fixed point" simply that the Doctor must appear to die at Lake Silencio? This would explain how the Silence would be fooled (the Doctor originally did die, but he changed time so he didn't). But that seems a little too loose to be fixed.

So we still haven't determined what, exactly, a "fixed point" in time is, if a fixed point can be changed (and by how much), what the conditions of this specific fixed point actually specified, or what the technical explanations for a fixed point detail (intelligence controlling time? Self-balancing system? Shrug from Moffet?)

And now the next season, which could potentionally answer these questions, won't start for another year...
Teresa Nielsen Hayden
16. tnh
Perhaps they'll do more later on with the dangling bits of plot thread left over from this season.

My discontent is simple: something built up to be as momentous as yon Fixed Point in Time turned out to be a visual tableau as seen by human eyesight from a particular vantage point. It's no big thing for Dr. Who to beat that set of requirements; stage magicians have been beating it for centuries.

In fact, it would have been tidier if the Doctor had simply manufactured a replica of himself as a corpse, stashed it under the surface of the lake, and released it to bob to the surface after River Song "shot" him -- and that's not the only alternate solution I can think of.
Lindsay Ribar
17. Ex-Whovian
This is a GREAT review! It describes so accurately EXACTLY what I thought of the sham that was Series 6! Spot on!
Joseph Kingsmill
18. JFKingsmill16
To me, the whole Doctor/River has been heart breaking. Her sacrificing herself for him when he doesn't know or trust her and then slowly building up his trust and then love for her. The we get Rivers side where we finally find out who she is and what she is destined to do and then.... wham bang in less than two episodes she's born, regenerates, tries to kill the Doctor, falls in love with him and then dosen't want to kill him anymore. Why does she love him? Because the story dictates it?

It just dosen't feel believable that River should have fell for the Doctor so quickly. I totally get the Doctor falling for her but not the other way around. It feels like Padme and Anakin all over again in regards to the forced love affair.
Lindsay Ribar
19. Roderick T. Long
"Plus: if the question is 'Doctor who?' then wouldn't the silence have fallen like FIVE BILLION TIMES by now?"

Translation: "I paid no attention to Dorum's explanation in this episode."
Lindsay Ribar
20. PhoebeSF

Why does River Song love the Doctor and why does he have more feeling for her than other people he’s hung out with? At least with Rose Tyler we saw an onscreen romance depicted over several episodes. With River
Song, we don’t. We’re just told over several episode they love each other, or will love each other. So now, they kind of do? Sort of? Last year we had a bizzaro universe and a wedding at the end that fixed everything. This year, same thing. But this time with two characters who
we’re not convinced really love each other.



River DOESN'T really love the Doctor in "The Wedding of River Song." She has a (grad)school girl's crush on the subject of her research, made all the more intense by the fact that she grew up with Amy telling her stories and the fact that the Silence tortured and brainwashed her. That's why her love at the wedding is kind of disturbing. Because River is, you know, mentally disturbed.

I'm not sure how the Doctor feels about her. She seems to like later versions of her but not so much the young woman she is now. The wedding here is largely a ruse to get them physically close enough to touch--though in this case, the only thing that convinces River to trust him is for the Doctor to trust her (letting her in on his plan), which I suspect is important to their growing romance.

I'm doing a River-order rewatch right now (and having some trouble with the chronology - http://www.phoebenorth.com/2011/10/06/river-song-rewatch-report-2-is-the-official-timeline-accurate/), which I did last year as well. Funny thing is that I feel no more convinced that we have the whole story than I did when we saw the last half of their tale last season. Now, we have the very end and the very beginning and maybe a little of the end of the middle. But there's clearly a big hunk of the story we still haven't seen. Probably the part where they actually fall in love.
Lindsay Ribar
21. Rancho Unicorno
@13 -
The show doesn't need to end. Part of what makes DW so brilliant is that the show has been handed off from production team to production team with the same underlying premise remaining, just a minimally different stamp or twist. It's no different than how the regeneration allows a new actor to put in a distinct performance of the character without compromising the show's integrity.

Nevertheless, I worry that the show is comprimising it's history by embedding Amy/Rory into the TARDIS so fully as to turn the show into their adventures with Doctor Matt Smith. That is, the success of the show will be tied into the current set of actors rather than character of the Doctor and his exploration of the universe. And doing that, I fear, would lead to cancellation (since a team of producers or actors can only carry you so far, it's the imagination of a new staff that allows immortality).

Of course, I'm just waiting for the regeneration that results in a non-white, British, male Doctor - that's when the show will need to be cancelled. It'd be no different than me playing Santa Claus - it just wouldn't fit.
Lindsay Ribar
22. Cay
@21

No, that's when racist, gender essentialist people like you will stop watching the show, and the fandom will be better off for it.
Joseph Kingsmill
23. JFKingsmill16
I remember before Matt Smith was cast as the 11th Doctor that
Chiwetel Ejiofor was rumored to be up for the role. I was very excited because I thought he would be an excellent Doctor.

I would however find it hard to get used to a female incarnation of the Doctor. That's not saying it wouldn't be good to have a female incarnation of the Doctor. Only that it would be hard to get used to.
Lindsay Ribar
24. smartypants 3000
river and the doctor will never be convincing. she is a sociopath and the dr is not. she is creepy, the dr is not. she is unattractive. the dr is okay looking. but even if river were a drop-dead gorgeous model, the fact is that the two actors have zero chemistry together so they end up looking more like mother and son then lovers. in fact, as lovers these two look ridiculous. it looks almost incestous. And her character is nothing special. At least not to us old-school fans. everything that a bunch of babbling idiots claim make her unique or special have already been done by former companions. everything from flying the Tardis (Romana even did it better then the dr) to using weapons (Leela and Ace are 2 of the most notable women to use weapons well) talk back to the dr?! WTF?! that one is a joke and a half. MOST of the former female and male companions of the post 2005 era talked back to the Doctor. Sarah Jane? Tegan? Nyssa actually bossed the dr around on several occassions. So Amy's comment in 'Time of the Angel' actually comes across as an ignorant joke. how would she know anyway? it was only the 4th adventure. and please no babbling about all the "adventures" they might have had off-screen. thats childish. we should stick to what we see on-screen. okay?
Some idiot claimd she was special because she wasn't jealous of former companions. AGAIN! Most of the pre-2005 companions were not only NOT jealous of former companions. And on a couple of
occasions they actually asked for someone to come with them.
Polly and Ben asked the Dr is they could take Jamie with them. Mel recommended to the 7th Dr to take Ace with him as her replacement. So this not jealous crap is just plain stupid. new fans should
familiarize themselves with old who before opening their mouths.
"She's the first one to get the dr to show romantic interest". Again WTF?! What a load of nonsense! The third Dr was obviously in love with Jo Grant and was fond of Sarah Jane as was the 4th Dr. The 4th Dr was very fond of Romana's one and two. (His one and only true equal. River doesn't even begin to come close LOL) and of course dr's 9 and 10 were obviously in love with Rose. so these idiots are just babbling.
And as for the storylines? I have idea where to even begin.....a lot of moffats stories start out good. You think to yourself, hey, this looks interesting. This one might actually be good all the way through.....but alas NO! He adds a lot of childish unnecessary rubbish that proves to be too distracting to the story and then the end leaves most viewers dissatisfied. His stories start out too high, too much too quick and then the end proves to be a let down because its hard to sustain that level of energy through-out the story. And of course the "what was the point?" aspect of all of his stories. He needs an editor or someone in charge to hold him back. To help him get his stories under control. And he needs to lose this bizarre obsession he has with saddling the dr with this ridiculous farcical "romance" that leaves most of the audiences cold.
to waste any more film on that character would be a crime against the show. I know a lot of you think I must have some sort of pathological hatred of river song. Not even close! lol I actually could fix this ridiculous farce of a character, who is so obnoxious and ridiculous that she comes across as a pantomime character. she's like a cartoon character. and anyone calling her badazz, has NO IDEA WHAT BADAZZ IS! Most Americans are laughing at that label because she isn't even close to being that. Well, maybe 30 years ago but today? please. lol
This lame storyline needs to come to an end. I can't even watch the show because the whole river/dr farce and the never-ending storylines has made watching the show just way too painful. I've watched the show faithfully since I was 12 yrs old. and to see this once great show, that was fun and quirky with its own unique special personality, is now replaced by Eastenders in space. or make that Eastenders/ Jerry Springer in space.
When the bbc smartens up and force moffat to stick to sherlock and leave dr who alone, then I'll start watching again. and BTW just because someone has talent and a love for something doesn't mean they are right for the show. They should have to first prove they are right for the job by having an outline and sharing it with a panel who will determine whether or not the person really warrants being put in charge of the show. A lot of people love singing and might even have some talent singing country music but what fool would assume that means they could sing rock or rap? Or even if they could sing one or two songs well, that doesn't mean they should be given an entire album. Same with writing. just because someone has one or two "successes" doesn't mean they belong in charge of the whole show. Thats just common sense. RME
Teresa Nielsen Hayden
26. tnh
Hello, moderator speaking.

If this conversation is to continue, it will have to try harder to be courteous and constructive.
Ryan Britt
27. ryancbritt
@23 JFK I think I could go for either as long as the writing was good! :-)

@24 smartypants
Whoa! Probably stronger language than I would have used, but I think you have point insofar that previous versions of the Doctor probably did almost love his various companions. It's certainly not new! :-)
Lindsay Ribar
28. Nightsky
I don't much like River because I think she's the Queen Of All Mary Sues.* In particular, I think she's selfish: she won't kill the Doctor because she'll suffer more than everyone else in the universe combined will if they DIE?
I don't buy their great and wonderful love story; which, as people upthread has observed, isn't developed so much as decreed by fiat.

Thematically, I understand: the Doctor realizes that his friends aren't people he drags into danger, they're the best of him, and he symbolizes that by making a symbolic committment to River. From a story standpoint, I understand: the Doctor can only reveal his name to his spouse (is the implication) and the Doctor is very keen that somebody (the Silence?) think that River knows his name, for reasons he has yet to reveal.

But dagnabit, River irritates me--for the same reason Ten and Rose in Series 2 "Maximum Smug" mode did--and I hope she goes away for a while.

* Also because her presence in the series means that a similar but much better expanded universe character, Bernice Summerfield, won't appear.
Lindsay Ribar
29. Monsy
Ryan Britt, what a clever man you are.
I used to like Moffat's storytelling before, just to mention brilliant 'Blink'. I also used to get confused trying to keep up with the plot, but eventually I always ended up with a relief of understanding and thinking: 'yep, that was great'. Ever since Moffat got his priority in leading the history of the Doctor, I can't even recall how many episodes made me stare bluntly in the screen, drooling. 'How on Earth was that possible?' (Omitting my aversion towards the character of River Song herself.) English is not my mother language, so at first I blamed myself for not keeping up and tragic misunderstaning of the events. As it turned out, my English is safe and sound, it's just those bizarre thing you pointed out, specifically.
Moffat tends to put the Doctor in the middle of some weird romance stories, like in the one with Madame the Pompadour. I always appreciated the way the Doctor dealt with any love-ish feelings he might have had - the tiny things he had e.g. with Rose - but he never said anything out loud, he wasn't 'obvious' in his behavior. He never told Rose himself that he loved her, it was this '10,5' clone Doctor who did. But okay, it's the other side of the Moon right now.
The point is, even back in Tennant's times, explaining something with 'wibbly-wobbly' was making some sense. At least gave the impression of making perfect sense. Now it's just a vain explanation of Moffat's twisted turns in the plot. It's seriously getting old, mate...
Too many twists and turns, too much of River Song, too much of rewriting the time and breaking his own rules.
I never thought I'd miss old Ecclescake/young Tennant's episodes, each one/pair about a great adventure, making me feel like a little kid again, all bound by some sort of greater theme which in the end of the season was a perfect closure.
So... let's hope Moffat and Gatiss won't wash off Sherlock's plot in January and we'll happily live through December 2012, until the comeback of the Doctor in 2013 to wish him another 50 years. Or not.

and Amen, Smartypants!
Lindsay Ribar
30. Pendard
@Ryan: I can't see I see the problem with the spacesuit or with the fixed points. I thought both points were fully explained and made sense within the context of the story.

SPACESUIT: The Silence designed the spacesuit specifically for River so she could use it as a weapon system to help her kill the Doctor. It's designed specifically for her mix of human and Time Lord biology -- nobody else can use it. They brainwashed her to want to kill him, either using the many advantages of the spacesuit or not. Once the brainwashing is broken, the Silence are out of luck -- the suit doesn't work when she isn't in it. So they automated the suit and stick her in it to kill him against her will. I didn't find any of this very confusing. If that seems a convoluted way to kill the Doctor, consider that the last time they tried to kill him they accidentally destroyed almost every single thing in the universe except for him. He's a hard man to kill. It made more sense to try to salvage their original plan than to start from scratch.

FIXED POINT: We have never seen a fixed point in time altered before this episode. Pete Tyler's death in "Father's Day" was not a fixed point. The difficulty in that episode came from the fact that Rose crossed her own timeline and then altered part of her own past. The Doctor could have saved Pete before he met Rose. Once he met her, he had interacted with the timeline resulting from Pete's death, so he couldn't do anything. Adelaide's death in "The Waters of Mars" actually was a fixed point but the Doctor didn't change it. He tried to, but he didn't succeed, and she died when she was supposed to. All he changed were some insignificant details about how and where which had no effect on the outcome.
Joseph Kingsmill
31. JFKingsmill16
Here is a hypothetical plot: What if River really hasn't been deprogrammed yet and this whole series of events was set up so that the Doctor would tell River his true name so she can then tell his enemies. This (IMHO) would explain why/how should could flip over to good so suddenly. I could almost accept this past season if this plot twist if this is what Moffat has planned.
Ryan Britt
32. ryancbritt
@30 Pendard
I think your reasoning might be sound, but that's a lot of work I have to do on my own and not totally based on what I'm given on screen. Further, the fact that this is so convoluted is what causes me to stop enjoying the regular charm of the show. These plot contrivances make the emotional thematic stuff suffer in my view.

It also doesn’t answer the question: why use River, the daughter of Amy and Rory? Surely someone who wasn’t half time lord could have been used? Someone the Doctor and company wouldn’t have been intent on saving and making into a good person?

@31 Fun idea! Though I doubt they'd go that way.
James Whitehead
33. KatoCrossesTheCourtyard
@32ryancbritt, doesn't that thinking count as a villian's love of "delicious irony" by using River?

Stealing the new born child of the Doctor's current companions to kill the Doctor is more than any self-respecting villian could pass up, no? ;-)

Kato
Joseph Kingsmill
34. JFKingsmill16
@ryan - I think in the end what's happening is that there is so much story in the backround that isn't making it to the screen that we are getting confused about certain points. For example, there actually was a clear concise plot that made sense in the Star Wars Prequel Novelizations that never made it to the screen. So Moffat may have all this backround written down or in his head that he just isn't conveying to us. Some writers work best in the small format. Look at Stephen King, with the exception of the Dark Tower series most of his work begins to break down the longer the story or plotline is. But his short stories are fantastic. Maybe Moffat is the same way.
Paul Lewandowski
35. Snowkestrel
All of these are great points, but so far no one has touched on the one that has me scratching my head: The Doctor is going quiet in 2011, but how does that work when he's already been loud in the future?

Frank Miller wrote a seminal story about a costumed vigilante hero that came out of retirement, and when his activities were compared to those of the 'sanctioned' costumed heroes, he was told that the problem was that while he always "played it mysterious", that it was a LOUD kind of mysterious. At the end of the story, the character goes underground (literally as well as figuratively), and is allowed to continue because he was going quiet. That worked for that character, but it can't work for The Doctor. Why? Because the costumed vigilante was NOT a time traveler, and his 'quiet' would not be interrupted by his previous activities being loud in the future.

The thing is, while we as the viewers get to follow the story in The Doctor's own personal chronology, the rest of the universe doesn't. A timeline of The Doctor's activities as witnessed by an immortal non-time traveling sentient would be a complete mish-mash of outward appearances, styles and companions with no progressive pattern at all. Heck, this has even been acknowledged this season by The Doctor and River Song comparing notes to see where they are relative to each others' personal timelines.

So, the Doctor is going quiet. Big deal. Unless there is some external power living by his timeline/p.o.v., going quiet accomplishes nothing. He has already had adventures in the future relative to 2011, and he’s been loud about it. Further, the only way to have an external power following along The Doctor's timeline would be to have yet another casually time-travelling being in the universe (because clearly none of the multitudinous other time travelers that we know of follow The Doctor’s timeline), and there are way too many of them already. It's getting to the point where there are so many time travelers in existence that the universe should have irretrievably been scrambled or destroyed hundreds of times over, if screwing things up is as easy as The Doctor has historically made them out to be. The Doctor can't be correcting all of the possible time-breaks at this rate- even he hasn't lived long enough for that.
Lindsay Ribar
37. Improbable Joe
What should have happened is that the robot death reveal should have happened in the first 20 minutes, and then the Doctor should have gone on a "stealth" mission to take out the Silence when their guard was down. Maybe by dropping them into some other fixed point in time, like the gamma bomb test that created the Hulk.

Then... we get the Doctor/River episodes where they get to spend time and do the love thing, and the reason why we didn't know about them before is because the Doctor was still in stealth mode. Or something.
Andrés David Aparicio Alonso
38. adapar
@4 Ryan, speaking of "silly meta navel-gazing":

What would happen if "Doctor who?" is answered? That whatever mystery is left in the Doctor's character would vanish; rendering the whole show, as presently conceived, invalid. Thus, Silence would fall... for the show as it exists. Whether that means the show will end on its 50th anniversary or mutate into something else remains to be seen.

Thus ends the Silly Meta Navel-gazing Analysis.
Lindsay Ribar
39. scotty21
My dream is to someday become a fan favorite writer like Moffat and have my fans construct elaborate rationales (indeed, entire scenes) to cover up my plot holes.
Andrés David Aparicio Alonso
40. adapar
@39 Scotty21 in that case you might prefer to end up a fan favorite and have fans construct an elaborate cult to cover up your plot holes, while giving you bucketloads of money. Alas, it worked for dear Lafayette Ronald.
Lindsay Ribar
41. AlBrown
I can't say I like this season overall quite as much as last year, although I do think it has had a lot of moments that were top notch. Overall, though, I had a lot of fun, and Doctor Who, even when it is off its pace a bit, far superior to just about everything else on television.
Someone above said they wanted a little more story structure in the future. Actually, I think I would like a little less. There was so much plot driving the story, and the story roaring along so quickly, that things like character development got driven to the background this season, which I think is why people are having problems with the love River and the Doctor have for each other. If we were shown this affection, rather than told about it at such a rapid pace, it would feel more real. (As for me, at the risk of revealing a bit too much of myself, I think I bought into the romance because I have developed a bit of a crush on River as her story has unfolded.) That frantic, plot-driven style pushing a bit too hard is why I am glad the story looks like it is heading in a 'smaller' direction in the coming season.
One theory I have regarding why they want River to be the one who kills the Doctor is that the Silence want him to suffer, and what more suffering can be inflicted than having someone killed by someone they love. The Silence seem to genuinely hate the doctor, not just see him as a threat to be removed.
My other theory is that too many theories, and too much analysis, can spoil something. That's why I am going to turn on the television next year with an open mind, let the story wash over me, and enjoy the ride.
Lindsay Ribar
42. JoeNotCharles
Bourgeois Nerd @8: This was worse than everybody clapping their hands and saying, "I believe in the Doctor," for two reasons:

First, that was only one moment that was stupid. If they had swapped out a different way for him to be saved, not much about the rest of that episode would have needed changing. This was a plotline running through an ENTIRE SEASON that was fundamentally dumb.

Second, that moment may have been stupid, but it wasn't completely incoherent. You can understand what was going on, even if you didn't like it. This season was just full of random gibberish.

(Also, I didn't even think ,"clap your hands if you believe in the Doctor," was stupid. Worked just fine for me, except for the terrible CGI on the Doctor as an old man. They could have just knocked him out and had the prayer wake him up. I reserve my utterly stupid moment at the climax of a season for the TARDIS towing the entire Earth half-way across the universe. THAT'S a great example of how a plot point can be way stupider than anything in this episode without utterly ruining the season - I just pretend they got the Earth back with some more sensible handwavy alien technology. To fix this plot in my head, I'd have to pretend - um - I'd pretty much have to make up a new plot from scratch.)

tnh @16: "Perhaps they'll do more later on with the dangling bits of plot thread left over from this season."

Oh, please, no. Just move on and we can never mention this again, like Trial of a Timelord.
Lindsay Ribar
43. Crimson11Delight
This season was WAY too illogical and I do think that Moffat needs to tighten down the plot arcs next season.

However, I did see an interesting point made on a tvtropes.org forum: RTD came to Who after writing drama, while Moffat's a comedy writer. Moffat's downfall is that he doesn't quite get how to pace or plot a drama like Who.

Next season is supposed to be less one plot-centered though. I don't think that one shoddy season is enough to write off Moffat, and Season 6 did have some great episodes: "A Good Man Goes to War" was my second favorite and Moffat wrote it. I thought it was excellent.

I agree that the wedding's purpose was to show the Doctor's growing trust in River, and I like River, but her character (and Amy and Rory) need to be removed for a good while.
Lindsay Ribar
44. Eugene R.
I think that you nailed down most of the points most cogently, Mr. Britt. I would go a touch further, though, and argue that the "robot assassin Doctor" was also a misstep by Mr. Moffat. Given the whole emotional arc of this season, I was emotionally invested in the death of the Doctor. As were all the characters on the show, up to and including Himself. So, at the finale, I cannot be other than disappointed to find that the object of my sorrows is an artifice. Granted, we all believe that the Doctor will figure out how to avoid the finality of death without resort to regeneration. But, seriously, he has to die to make all the angst up till then significant and satisfying. The whole emotional import of "Closing Time" is built around the issues of love and death, and without the Doctor truly facing death, his state of mind becomes just mopey rather than tragic. Even if he has a revelation about how to escape death, that moment needs to be shared with us so we can see how the Doctor handles the sudden reprieve and so justifies his previous fears. Or some really solid explanation has to be given as to why he cannot share that revelation with us and with his companions. Otherwise, we are all just being manipulated for reasons of melodrama instead of love. I don't mind the "timey-wimey" stuff as much as the "achy-breaky" pretense.
Lindsay Ribar
45. Andrea K Host
I eventually summed this season up as: "Look! A three-headed monkey!".

Spectacular images and concepts are tossed around in the hopes that seeing a train drive into a pyramid will distract us from asking "What? Why?"
Jordan Wright
46. Anthropocene
Bravo Ryan. Great observations and I completely agree.

Another interesting point, River doesn't kill the doctor- so the Fixed point is averted- the universe gets all crazy with Winston Churchill and pterodactyls and everyone is thrown into some weird unmoving timeline- yet the doctor is still at the helm of a robot time suit with the TARDIS inside of it? Couldn't he have just flown the TARDIS to River in order to touch her? Even so, convenient he's still in the Teselecta at all...

Which means that touching the Doctor isn’t what River needs to do even; It’s touching the Teselecta robot doppelganger in order to get time moving again… which also means that the fixed point in time isn’t killing the Doctor at all but shooting the Teselecta Justice Department Vehicle in the chest.

So being a “Fixed Point” in time, it cannot change. The Doctor must know this. It is critical as a plot device that he knows he cannot change this outcome, but he must also know that it’s not his actual death. He’s hoping that the 1969 spacesuit will force River’s hand to this conclusion, but River is clever and disables her suit.

Astronaut Space Suit vs Teselecta Time Vechile.

River and the Doctor should have just sit this one out and let the Silence and the Justice Dept work out this fixed point in time on their own. Because if the point of all this was that the Doctor needed to "trick" everyone there into thinking he was dead, the first thing River does is spill the beans to Amy and Rory- and you better bet the 421 people piloting the Teselecta have some sort of idea what the Doctor used their vehicle for whether they were helping him pilot it or not.
simon
47. simonk1905
'tis all about the power of cool.

As long as something is cool enough you can forgive/overlook the plot holes, continuity errors, bad acting and bad writing.

Doctor Who had the power of cool for a long time. However as with most tv programmes it seems to have lost it. David Tennant lost it by the end of his stint as Dr. Who. By the time of the waters of Mars I had had more of running and shouting than I could stand. So much so in fact that Timothy (wooden) Dalton was a relief.

Now I think that bow ties are still cool. However this most recent series of Dr. Who has not been. I do have hope for the future as it appears the Doctor is going to go small time again and this is probably a good thing, something of a reboot maybe albeit with the same actor. It is similar to the X files. All the self contained stories were fantastic but the galactic overpowering series defining story arcs have always been a bit meh for me.

And the whole of this season of Dr. Who has been a bit meh for me. Not great but not dreadful. I will keep coming back for more though.
Lindsay Ribar
48. Drew Fleming
Regardless of everything mentioned in the above review (and I do mean everything) I would still take Steven Moffat's Doctor Who over Russell T Davies' overwrought pantomime. And I fear for the future of the show once he has moved on and Toby Whithouse, Mark Gatiss or whoever takes over.
Lindsay Ribar
49. bryan rasmussen
"
- and you better bet the 421 people piloting the Teselecta have some
sort of idea what the Doctor used their vehicle for whether they were
helping him pilot it or not.
"

maybe he said he'd like to deliver the letters himself.
Ursula L
50. Ursula
As far as the fixed point in time goes, I don't think the point was either that the Doctor was dead or that the Tessalecta-Doctor was shot.

Rather, the point was that a large number of influential and powerful species and groups with time travel will come to believe the Doctor is dead, while others will be in on the secret.

The Silence now believe the Doctor is dead. The Tessalecta crew had believed the Doctor would be killed, but now know that he faked his death. River is now in prison. Possibly other species with time travel, such as Daleks or Cybermen, now believe the Doctor dead as well. And the Doctor now has an opportunity to work behind the scenes to do things that he might never have had the chance to do otherwise.

So the consequences of this is far reaching and complex, and it involves mutliple groups of time travelers which no doubt increases the temporal instablity of the situation.

I think the point of the Doctor and River marrying wasn't merely one of love overcoming the problem. Rather, the Doctor had to learn to let go and trust someone completely. He couldn't force, coerce or guilt-trip River into killing him. But he could as for it as a gift from the woman he loves and who loves him. And he had to ask as an equal, with her fully in on the secret. Because even though she got to avoid being the woman who killed the Doctor, she still is suffering the consequences - having everyone believe that she killed the Doctor, being imprisoned, having people like Father Octavian at the Byzantium treat her as if she was a monster.

"Fixed points in time" have been brought up before, with the Doctor refusing to interfere because he knew a point was "fixed." But we've never really known what would be so bad about interfering with a fixed point. This gives a straightforward answer - time will collapse on itself from the strain of having a fixed point moved.

It's like a game of pick-up-sticks. Many sticks can be moved without making the pile collapse, but a few are essential for keeping it together, and it isn't always obvious which pieces are genuinely important.
Joseph Kingsmill
51. JFKingsmill16
@50 Ursula - I love the Pick up sticks anology :-)
Ryan Britt
52. ryancbritt
@37 I like that idea a lot actually. The rest of the episode is him under cover while the Silence thinks he's dead.

@44 achey-breaky! I love it. Yeah, I guess the robot-assassin stuff was the only redeeming thing for me. I had to latch onto something. I'm not a total hater. :-)

@47 I too will keep coming back for more. I just felt like I had to be the "story whistle blower" on this one.
Lindsay Ribar
53. Improbable Joe
Actually, they should have done a double-fake; the dead Doctor at the lake is a Flesh Doctor, but then the Doctor sneaks into the Silence headquarters as "Madame Kovarian" in the Teselecta!
Lindsay Ribar
54. c_Hello
I like that they gave away the end, as if having the simulacrum robot thing at the beging of the show did not foreshadow the plot. It would've been nice if that wasn't shown and for us to later discover what had happened, but knowing they can't kill the doctor and then having a shape shifting robot in the episode where everything is suppose to be explain was a dead give away.
Lindsay Ribar
55. sick of rubbish
alex and Matt no chemistry. that is a fact. they look ridiculous together. no matter how long the relationship took to develop it would still look creepy.
River is a psycho! What sane decent man would want to be married let alone have children with this sociopath?!
Moffat shows a lack of common sense and common decency. No sane moral man would ever want to be married to River nor would he stay married to her.
No sane decent man would want that nut-job being the mother of his children. The idea that Moffat would even consider this ludicrous idea as "Romantic" is a sign of how sick Moffat's mind is.
This story arc is now going on 3 years. 1 year was too much. Most fans want no year long story-line arcs let alone 3 loooong years!
The stories had too much going on in them. Moffat keeps adding unnecessary rubbish that should have at least been edited out.
Moffat needs to be removed as head of Doctor Who. Whoever put him in charge needs their head examined.
Also there were NO SURPRISES!! Everything is so boring and preditable that its pathetic! And WORSE! Some of the stories bought by Moffat were stories seen in power rangers and the powerpuff girls.
Now thats lame!
River is not sexy or attractive. And that is constructive. Since television is a visual medium, most (normal) people want to see pleasant sights. Now she doesn't have to be beautiful. But attractive in some manner. Either in looks OR in personality. River fails on both!
She is not a bad girl. Most bad girls are not crazy! they do some bad things and some good things. River just looks stupid, like she's tripping on drugs. Plus she's too OLD for goodness sake! Get real people! Its like trying to pass Betty White as a bad girl. RME
Doctor Who used to be one fantastic show. :-(
I used to watch innovative episodes like 'The Deadly Assassin' which introduced the world to the Matrix, 23 years before the movies came along. Those shows were awesome and they didn't take 2 & 3 years to tell the story. Most of them took only 5 or 6 1/2 hour episodes to tell the story. thats like 3 hrs! less then 1/2 a season.
I don't care anymore. Steve Moffat has managed something that all the past bad writers and produers couldn't do, anger fans so much that we just don't care to watch the show anymore. And I had watched it for more then 30 years! Thats how low the show has sunk to. Those who like this pale imitation of a once great show my condolences.
We won't waste our time with this rubbish. Someone said it was "too painful to watch" ? I agree! Wholeheartedly! sadly. :-(
Ashe Armstrong
56. AsheSaoirse
@55 While I agree with most of your points, saying Alex Kingston isn't attractive is something I gotta vehemently disagree with. And while I've been very disappointed, I will keep watching because despite the shitty stories, I love watching Matt as the Doctor. Still...it's quite disconcerting being disappointed with Doctor Who like this.
Lindsay Ribar
57. Tessa
I definitely agree with everything you've said about Doctor Who. I mean, I love it, and will continue to love it, but it does make absolutely no sense. I'm not really a fan of the story arcs this season, but I still love the brilliant filmography and the characterization that shines through, as well as the whole whimsical-adventure feel of the show. So I can look past all of the inconsistencies and crazy, screwed up plot lines.

I did want to say, however, that the end of "A Study in Pink" DOES make sense (just because I need to defend "Sherlock" like I need to breathe). It's very much in Sherlock Holmes' character to take the pill. He's so sure he has it right, but the only way to prove it is to take it and see what happens. So yes, he would be swayed into taking it, because like the cabbie says, that's his addiction - he needs to know he's right. Also, he really has no concern for his own physical well-being, so in all honesty, even if he did get it wrong or both pills were poisoned like some people suggest, he would probably see being poisoned as an interesting experience to catalogue, haha.
Lindsay Ribar
58. AT
I agree with most of this review! Though I have to be a little harsher than you about Craig. I didn't think the love angle worked at all because it belittled all the other people who couldn't overcome the Cybermen. Out of everyone not a single person until Craig? Sorry, that's ridiculous.

On a side note, to the person who said that they don't understand how anyone can doubt the love between the Doctor and River Song. Well...seconds before they get married (which is really just so he can stop her from ransoming the entire universe in the name of love) he shows complete disdain for her. "You embarass me." He almost punches her minutes before and literally acts like he despises her. Love? He married her out of convenience. Her love is clearly verging on the pyschopathic (which the Doctor mentions). Honestly I feel sorry for her. She's an example of a woman who's never had a lot of free will and has been manipulated her entire life. She has the clear symptoms of histrionic personality disorder and has exaggerated any reciprocated love from the Doctor. Based on what we've seen on the show, there is practically no evidence to support it's not more than one sided on River's part. It's all a paradox. I can see some flirting, but in this last episode mostly all I saw was disdain.
Lindsay Ribar
59. Minafae
I fully agree with everything said. I honestly wouldn't be surprised though, if it turned out that all the bizarre plots, repetition, reused ideas from old storylines, parallels, etc. end up being all for a "dream" plotline for the 7th series or even the 50th anniversary. There are too many coincidenses in my opinion for it to be just "poor writing" on Moffat's part. There has to be a reason, and it wouldn't surprise me if when the TARDIS exploded when 10 regenerated, he crashed and fell into a coma, dreaming about his best friend, his worst nightmares, and a woman whom he met curiously enough, in an episode about a little girl who lived in a virtual world, dreaming.
Lindsay Ribar
60. Nefertiri
This is precicely the problem I have with this whole River Song storyline. She is a Mary Sue in that a) she's set up as a flawless character that no one ever criticizes, no matter what she does. She can do anything and everyone still loves her and wants to 'save' her. b) everyone on the show loves River in some way and therefore is blind to any wrongs she commits. c) she's the daughter of the Doctor's companions. d) she's the love interest of the primary character, the protagonist. e) she's a child of the TARDIS f) anything the Doctor can do, River can also do. She's supposedly as intelligent as the Doctor. She can kill Daleks, when everyone else, including the Doctor, has always been afraid of them *gag me* g) she has an unusual name. h) she made a huge sacrifice (basically gave up her life in that she gave up all her future regenerations) to save the Doctor's life. It goes on and on.

Just look at the Mary Sue litmus test. River fulfills too many of the requirements for a Mary Sue not to be one:
http://www.springhole.net/writing/marysue.htm

Also, this travel in time thing, in which she and the Doctor are traveling in opposite directions. I'm sorry, but River has been a bane to this show. Doctor Who shouldn't be a love story, no matter who the Doctor is supposedly with. It's about the Doctor saving lives and traveling through space and time. Why do they have to have every episode mean the end of EVERYTHING all the time? I miss when it was about characters, not about huge, epic, series-long plots.
Lindsay Ribar
61. Randomly Andy
What about the fact that the Teselecta received a Viking funeral after Astronaut Suit River blasted it repeatedly? Those poor mini-people, roasted alive. Perfectly good waste of a Teselecta and its crew.
Ursula L
62. Ursula
As far as Craig's love defeting the Cybermen when the love of other's hasn't - Craig wasn't just converted, he was made cyber-controller. So his emotions were transmitted to the other Cybermen.

In the other episodes with Cybermen, the one chosen to be Cyber-controller has generally been someone without strong emotional ties to others. So the key mind controlling the Cybermen was never one who could be moved to that level of emotion.

***

As for concerns about the Tessalecta crew being burned up: In "Lets Kill Hitler" the Tessalecta crew beemed up to the mothership when the antibodies turned on them. So they had a safe way to escape.

In addition, the Doctor had the TARDIS with him on the Tessalecta (you can see it in the background when he's waving to River out the eye) so he could transport them to safety if needed.
Valentin M
63. ValMar
Ursula @ 62

Don't be ridiculous, you can't fit that many people in a Police Box!
Lindsay Ribar
64. Frelance
The fixed point in time isn't the Doctor's death. Clearly, he didn't die. The FPIT is his marriage. (psst, the episode's title.) Previous FPIT have also been major events in the Doctor's life, like when he hits the "I have to let bad things happen or the Earth goes away" wall super hard. In this case, the FPIT wasn't his death (didn't die) or even faking his death. The time mash pocket reality wouldn't have arisen if a fake death was all that had to happen. The Doctor would have successfully lied to River, or given her a winky-wink-look-in-my-pretty-eyes, and gotten fake shot. What had to happen, and did happen, because it's a FPIT, was The Wedding Of River Song.

The Silence recognize the upcoming FPIT in the Doctor's timeline; they want to take advantage of it to cut off the prophesy of their own demise (the Silence, falling) at the Field of the Eleventh's Fall. So, they have this opportunity, they need a killer with a weapon. Weapon is easy, just wrap a self-motivating spacesuit with zappy fingers around the only other entity they can be sure will be at the FPIT (ahem, the Doctor's wedding): the Doctor's wife. The problem with this killer is she's part Timelord and "membership has its privileges". Specifically, the puissance of a Timelord's will can override the suit's shenanigans. So: kidnap her as a baby, brainwashing, conditioning, rinsing AND repeating, so that when it comes time then her will can be broken down and the suit does its thing. Wonderful plan! Totally works! The Doctor is there, River Song is there, the suit shoots the Doctor!

...Only, they missed the part where they didn't actually change anything, because the important bit, the actual FPIT, happened off to the side, not on the beach at Lake Silencio. So the Doctor keeps on going, flitting about through time & space, headed inexorably for the Field of the Eleventh's Fall.
Lindsay Ribar
65. the master
Everything in this article is pretty much on point...about half way through the episoode I lost interest. Although you forgot to mention that Moffat's future...Here goes...Moffaat will rise higher than he has before (doctor dances/blink) and then fall so much further (wedding of river song, let's kill hitler...ah what the hell series 5 and 6) excluding the doctor's wife.
Lindsay Ribar
66. AI
I can't help but respond to your blog because I found it really very confusing in its fundamentals, so hopefully I can ask you to clarify.
1. What is the narrative value of the space suit?
The space suit is intended to force River Song to kill the Doctor, we see her struggle with it and she tells the Doctor that she doesn't think she can resist it; then oddly, she seems to overcome it with relative ease and good humor. It is implied that she did this too as a child by getting out of the suit, defeating it in the past, albeit with great struggle (indicated by all those calls to the President for help) shows that River is incredibly powerful or that the Silence have pockets of incompetence or incomplete understanding. One would assume that they have tried to improve on their design during the intervening years. We are led to believe too, by the way, that it actually was kid River in the suit but this is never made explicit and there are other candidates. The Doctor's daughter is one example. We don't actually know who the child in the suit is and have even less of an idea about what's going on with the Doctor's daughter who's still gallivanting around the universe as far as we know. I'll anticipate an objection to this in terms of her age being so radically different; first we know she can regenerate and second, that the Doctors can become physically younger one regeneration to another, in fact the Doctors' physical age seems to be getting younger overall. I'm just saying, don't put all your eggs in one basket.
To my mind this leads to a lot of plot possibilities.
2. Why do the Silence need a suit?
It seems very clear that the Silence could have killed the Doctor pretty much anytime they liked, this is one of your central points, even as late as the interview with Churchill, so why don't they? The obvious answer being that they don't want his blood on their hands directly, why not? We don't know, could it have something to do with their Doctrine? Is their ability to acquire power and influence in some way dependent on both the death of the Doctor and their being able to claim clean hands? Solution--create a suit that they believe will make sure the job gets done and will pass off responsibility, it doesn't of course but this is not the first time this stupidity has happened by any means, isn't that why hit men exist? In this case it's a suit which manipulates muscles, in the other it's money which manipulates life style--both are powerful means of coercion. For better or worse the ruse works this time because it is River who is convicted of the Doctor's murder and sent to Stormcage.
3. The nursery rhyme: In some ways I think this is such an odd argument. Nursery rhymes don't establish history, they report on it. "London Bridge is Falling Down"--refers to invasion and disaster; "Ring Around the Rosie"--refers to the Plague; neither dictated the events, they reported on them. The idea that the Silences' action are dictated by the rhyme, is odd to me. It seems more reasonable to me that the Silence are not so much reacting to the nursery rhyme than acting to create the circumstances that result in the history reported on by the rhyme. Maybe I give them too much credit but it seems they are manipulating events to serve their purposes. Having said that, I suppose it could be a timey-wimey thing, I don't have any good idea on this.
4. Inconsistency in the representation of the consequences associated with the violation of fixed points.
Your point is well taken, my objection is this. In both episodes, "Father's Day" and "The Waters of Mars" the rewriting of the fixed point refers to the lives of humans who are not active in travelling the Time Vortex, and while they are key to the Time Vortex these individuals are not directly acted upon by the Time Vortex; setting things right is entirely dependent on the Time Lord's influence on the individuals. Both deaths are fixed points in time because the first contributes to an important relationship for a Time Lord (Rose), and the second creates an important relationship between humans and the universe (interstellar travel).
A Time Lord's relationship to the Time Vortex (based on the gifts and protections afforded by their DNA) is different and more powerful in terms of their ability to interact with the Time Vortex than a human and its ability to act on them. Otherwise, Donna would not have been required to fall back to her degenerate condition in order to survive, which was very sad. We learn too that because River was conceived in the Time Vortex she acquires aspects of Time Lord DNA, (the Doctor tells us that it took generations of the people of Gallifrey to acquire the Time Lord features of their DNA, so he is mystified that human DNA is so quickly altered to that of a Time Lord.) so she has more ability to function within it than either of her parents.
So I wasn't bothered by the exponential difference between altering a Time Lord's "fixed point" and altering a human's. Time Lords by their nature just have more effect on the Vortex than a human does. Didn't we know that?
Gallifrey is contained in a bubble, it is only the Doctor's psychology that insists that they are dead, they are not--further they are not without the ability to effect events outside the bubble. A change in a fixed point in the life of a Time Lord then appears to create a time bubble, for better or worse. I accept that because this is science fiction and that is now a Dr. Who rule, and not a brand new one as far as I can see.
I also have a bunch of questions:
Why is "Doctor Who?" the "oldest" question in the universe? He is about 1100 (?) years old, the universe is billions of years old. Could it be that we have all been in this 'bubble' of a universe with the Doctor since the Pandorica reboot? It seems to me that only that would make him the oldest thing in the Universe and so constitute the oldest question.
Why is Stormcage so flimsy? Nightly conjugal visits? Frequent adventuring? How does she get that lipstick? Why don't they get the whole dangerous lipstick thing? Isn't it about time they wheeled her around like Hannibal Lecture? What secret constitutes the reason for the Warden's permissiveness?
Forgive me for the following, I know this will be unpopular and politically incorrect to some but it also seems so obvious that I can't help myself. Murder by proxy (The Space Suit)= Corrupt religious leaders and the Romans? Betrayal with a Kiss ('It was never a gun for you, Sweetie.')= Judas (Let's Kill Hitler)? River uses up all her regenerations=Suicide of betrayer, again Judas (Let's Kill Hitler)? Resurrection (Let's Kill Hitler)? Absolute forgiveness to one's own murderer: "and you are forgiven always and completely forgiven"= 'Forgive them they know not what they do.' (The Wedding of River Song). Now before the theophobes have a meltdown, read your Joseph Campbell, this structure is as old as humans and incorporated into all sorts of Religious traditions, I beg your forgiveness that I use the Christian one, it is the most familiar to me and indicates a failure of sophistication on my part if offense is engendered on this basis. In the end, this is a journey of the Hero and my intention in bringing it up is this: Dr. Who is nothing if not a Hero.
Lindsay Ribar
68. AI
I suspect that the reason the Doctor decides he can love River and thus marries her is because she makes clear that ultimately her allegiance is with Time, and she is willing to sacrifice herself and him in the service of Time. While a large part of River's heart and all her effort turns to find a way to preserve the life of the Doctor; the larger part, and the part that wins in the end is dedicated to preserving the structure of Time. This is the reason River takes the Doctor to the top of the pyramid, to tell him that this is her choice, with the proviso that he know that he is loved by all the universe. This is a triangulated relationship between the Doctor, River, and Time (the Tardis). The Tardis taught River to navigate her, with more finesse than the Doctor can, this is a powerful endorsement by the Tardis and perhaps the Tardis' only way to express love, abduction by seduction (this is Gaiman's theory anyway). When it finally dawns on the Doctor that River has made her choice and that her choice is to faciliatate his death in the service of the healing of Time, he decides to marry her. This is only surprising because it is a mature sort of love. Real love, not based on the unpredictable tentacles of lust, a lust giving only a 1/8th chance of lasting love.
That's my thought anyway.
Lindsay Ribar
69. Pendard
@Snowkestrel (#35): The Doctor "going quiet" will make a difference. The only goal of the Silence is to destroy the Doctor before he gets to Trenzelor. They believe they've done that. Like Dorium said, the Silence don't care about the Doctor's "long and dangerous past" as long as they can avert his future. They don't care about the loud things he has done in his past... and I imagine that the post-Lake Silencio Doctor may be able to sneak in a few good deeds, disguising them as things he did before Lake Silencio.

@Ryan (#32): The difference between Doctor Who and other shows is that Steven Moffat does not hold your hand and explain everything for you. Like the point I made about the Doctor "going quiet" above, the answers to these questions are in the show if you pay attention, but Moffat is not going to waste time by giving you the exposition twice, so you've got to catch it the first time. It's like with books -- some books you can skim, and some books you need to read closely. Doctor Who is not a show you can skim. If you pay attention, it hold all ties together very well.

I frequently feel like I don't understand parts of the show after I watch it the first time, but when I rewatch the episodes I always find the answer to my question is in there. Some people might think this is the show's weakness, but I think that's wrong. There are two reactions to a show that goes over your head and makes you feel dumb -- you can watch it again and try to understand, all the while thanking God that someone is making television that doesn't treat viewers like idiots; or you can dismiss it because you assume that if you don't immediately get it then there's nothing to get.
Ryan Britt
70. ryancbritt
@69

I totally understand everything that happened in the episode. My issue isn't that its complicated, but that it's complicated in an a way that renders any emotional or theamatic investment secondary. We have to care about stakes and characters and motivations in order to enjoy a complicated story. This episode failed on every single one of those points, making the complicated story just that; complicated.
Lindsay Ribar
71. AI
Sorry Ryan I can't leave you with the last word. Forgive the confrontation but either you don't understand everything that happened as @69 very gently suggested, or your attention span is insistent on stories that take place in less than an hour. What seems clear to me is that a large number of Whovians, at least those represented on the Tor lines, are not limited in this way. Nor are they cobbled, in the manner you suggest, by a narrative that results in a failure of 'emotional or thematic investment' such that these concerns become "secondary" to the viewer.

We are all still watching week after week, going to comment boards; writing, wondering, speculating, and complaining. If anything I think the the activity and thought associated with this line indicates anything but disengagement from the "emotional and thematic".

It does appear to be a very complicated story, one that depends week after week on clues hidden in asides and incidentals that may or may not indicate anything that has to do with the resolution of the problem at hand or anything at all for that matter. Moffat seems to love misdirection, the magician Moffat.

On this basis, I disagree, I don't think the episode failed.

Did this episode answer with certainty any of my questions? Well, no partly because my attention was misdirected to questions that don't matter to the big picture. Before this episode I was absorbed by the question of how the Doctor would survive Lake Silencio, after the episode the manner in which the Doctor survives means almost nothing at all. So this is Moffat as magician, misdirection becomes an important feature of his activity, in the end admitedly it is an annoying feature of his activity.

I would have liked more information about the realities of the Doctor's situation and so be moved further along the story. But Moffat did not give me that. In some ways I found this offensive.

Well, I would be offended, except that he gave me everything leading up to and culminating in the scene on the top of the pyramid. This is the real meat of the episode, and it is quite successfully done.

Which is more important to the "emotional and thematic" aspect of the series; the mechanics of the Doctor's physical preservation at Lake Silencio or the mechanics of the insistence of others that he survive at Lake Silencio?

As an aside, here is my question--why does Amy contact Rory to say essentially 'We've got him' when the Doctor goes to Rory to encourage Rory to pursue Amy, in the scene prior to meeting River and Dr. Kavorian. As it seems Moffat wastes nothing, what could this mean?
Lindsay Ribar
72. atkinson
At the risk of sounding like a fossil:
The 60s, 70s and 80s Dr Who was at its best when it was not about Dr Who, but about Dr Who doing historic stories (the Romans, the Crusades) current issues (the Green Death, the Sun Makers) literary genres (the Brain of Morbius, State of Decay) and the like. The more Dr Who is purely about Dr Who, the more is dissapears up it's own rectum.

Also there is a difference between intelligent scriptwriting, and bad scriptwriting that can later be justified with some torturous contortions of logic.
Lindsay Ribar
73. Rho
I couldn't agree more with most of these points. Matt Smith in himself is a good actor, just check out Christopher and His Kind for proof of that, so it's a shame that Moffat has ruined my favourite show. A lot of the people that hate the current series only hate it because Tennant isn't there anymore, which is wrong. I wanted to like Moffat, I really did. Blink was genius, for example.

If we look back at RTD's time, it wasn't perfect. A handful of the episodes were terrible. (Voyage of the Damned? Love & Monsters? Oh dear.) The difference is that RTD brought back Doctor Who and made us love it. It truly was a show that was for everyone, with plots that were easy enough for kids to understand, but with hints that adults could enjoy.

Now, Moffat really has annoyed me. I heard his telephone interview with the BBC that basically said he hated spoiler-posters and wanted anyone that talked about spoilers to never watch 'his' show again. Surely seeing people online discuss spoilers and get excited for the next episode/series arc would be a good thing? People that take such a strong interest in the show is exactly what a good writer should want. Of course, it can get frustrating if details get leaked, but c'est la vie.

Although there'll probably be massive disagreements, I must admit that I enjoyed the romantic Nine/Ten/Rose storyline. At least there, it made sense. Rose Tyler was the first companion that the Doctor had after the horrors of the Time War and she saved him, he admitted that. We saw them interact through great stories and their almost-relationship made sense. The thing is, I hoped that one of the reasons behind the Rose-romance was to get love out of the Doctor's way. I had hoped that because Rose had come and gone, we could presume that the Doctor would always love her, so he would be immune to any advances and we could stick to the Doctor and companions exploring the universe and saving the day.

A previous commenter said that River is a Mary-Sue character. That's completely right. When the Doctor made an off-the-cuff comment in 'Closing Time' about being able to help with Rose's homework, there was no emotion. River and the Doctor aren’t believable in the slightest. I was annoyed by that when we first saw River, and I'm even more annoyed now that she's the super-Time Lord-princess-TARDIS baby. It's awful.

Plus, since River's arc was massive in this series, what about Amy and Rory (ugh, the awful, awful Amy) not caring at all about their daughter? Honestly, if anyone realised that their child was taken away, there would be no stopping a (good) parent doing whatever they could to bring their child home. They shouldn't care about paradoxes or anything at all. Children come first. What makes this even worse are lines like, "If you see my daughter, tell her I said hello" (or whatever it was), and the following episode being about the terrors of a child and neither Amy or Rory even thinking about their own lost child.

No, Moffat. Doctor Who isn’t your show. It’s a show that was passed down to you and will be passed on to someone else. I miss the Moffat that made such wonderful single-episodes and didn’t stuff arcs full of ridiculous storytelling. I’m tired of so many other posts/blogs etc telling everyone that every episode is wonderfully perfect. The amount of people that adore everything he bangs out really does annoy me, especially when there are posts like this that prove how terrible his writing is becoming.

I apologise for the long rant. I’ve tried having a serious conversation with other Who fans, but they have become so blinded by Moffat to even entertain reasonable arguments. It’s nice to see that there are others that share my views.
Lindsay Ribar
74. AI
I had never heard of a 'Mary Sue' before but according to the Wikipedia article anyway, River does appear to fit the bill. I found the whole concept fascinating. The criticism in the article, however, is also well taken, truth be told the criteria could be pretty much fulfilled by any hero in fantasy and sci-fi. So 'Mary Sue' is a derogatory used to describe female heros specifically, despite the multitude of central male heros and heroic male secondary characters that fit the bill. The derogatories used for them are somehow less threatening. There is a bit of misogyny that goes into calling a character a 'Mary Sue'. Couldn't Rory be a 'Marty Stu'? Is the Doctor a 'Marty Stu'?--he's quite magical and gifted, has a tragic past, is forgiven his egregious missteps, and has the best pet ever--the Tardis. So while I get the criticism, and I don't even necessarily disagree that this is not the best built character, I also find the epithet 'Mary Sue' regressive and misogynistic.
Lindsay Ribar
75. Geoff Coupe
Oh dear, after all the opprobrium heaped on Steven Moffat's head by Ryan Britt and other commentators here, all I can say in his defence is that I enjoyed series 6, and the series 6 finale in particular, very much indeed.

It gave this old man a lot of pleasure, which is more than can be said for much of what passes for entertainment these days. And I found AI's comments on this thread aligned with my own, were I able to express them so well.
Lindsay Ribar
76. AI
@75 Thanks Geoff I 've been feeling like the smelly kid on the playground. And I learned a new word! Thanks for that too!
Lindsay Ribar
77. AI
Sorry I meant to say this too. I enjoyed series 6, its finale, and all the episodes of the previous series to series 6 that I can access. I have sought these like a dried sponge, and watched most everything available by now.

I have been entertained and fascinated.

By the way, I tried to avoid this. My sister was a fan, she insisted that I watch. My brother watched since he was a kid, I think in its earlier incarnations it was pretty much a boy show, I'm not sure. I resisted. I remembered an episode where the production value was so bad that when a Dalek knocked into a doorway the whole set would shook. This left me with such a bad taste, I didn't want to be bothered.

But I was at home and my sister had control of the remote...

In it's latest incarnation, I was captured and find myself trying to catch up. I watch as many old episodes as I can, mostly on Netflix. I think some of my comments likely annoy my sister. Oh well, nothing I can do, I am into it now.

So I am a newby, and truthfully couldn't care less that oldbies find my comments jejune. For example @24, while I applaud your passion, and I accept your sanction, you really need to relax. More importantly your passion seems to make you miopic, where is anyone saying that River is the only one in any way?
Lindsay Ribar
78. scienceguyz
Narrative failures... SPOT ON!
@Lindsay Ribar The Question is what not be ANSWERED, or else silence will fall. Another hole in the plot- we think that River knows the Doctor's name, so silence fell in the silence in the library.
Lindsay Ribar
79. Natenanimous
@78. scienceguyz

Actually, it's not that silence will fall if the question is answered. The whole thing is that silence must fall when the question is asked. As in, the question must not be answered, therefore silence must/will fall when it is asked. And since at this supposed place, no one can lie or fail to answer, there can't be anyone there who knows the answer. That's why they don't want the Doctor to reach that point in his timeline, because if he's there he'll have to answer it, and thus there would be no silence. We haven't yet heard what the consequences would be if the question were answered, but silence is not that consequence.

Also, the thing about River speaking his name would only be a plot hole if the question really is "What is the Doctor's real name?" I have a hard time believing that's really the oldest question in the universe. Whatever the question is, the blue-head guy, after telling the Doctor what the question was, seemed to believe that the Doctor should now realize why he can't be there and why the question shouldn't be answered. I don't yet see how speaking his name would cause such terrible consequences that he should think it's better for him to die instead. No, I think it's likely that the question is something else, whether it's related to the Doctor's identity or not.
Lindsay Ribar
80. Meg333
Reading Natenanimous's comment far far above (comment #10) made me think of something. The comment was: "It wouldn't surprise me if blue-head wasn't asking "Doctor who?" but asking "Doctor ... who?" As in, who did you see? Who was it? Who did this or that? Etc. But I really don't know."

Until Comment #10 above's reading of the question.... I had almost put what the doctor saw in his "God Complex" room out of my mind. If Moffat does answer that question (and you bet he will try!) maaaybe Natenanimous is on to something with that way of reading blue-head's question. (Interestingly, the room was #11)
Lindsay Ribar
81. sick of rubbish
Also worth noting is that beside the fact that River song is waaaay too mentally unstable to enter into any marriage legally, everything from that alternate time line disappeared when the original time line was restored! Therefore, So Did The FN Marriage! So they are NOT married! I know this will greatly disappoint all of River Song's psycho fans but alas, Moffy really wrote himself into a corner. She's clearly insane, and things that occur in one time line does not exist in any other. so anyone (including Moffat) saying they are married is full of CRAP! LOL!
Lindsay Ribar
83. this rubbish Is LOVE?!
Whoever is claiming that River is in love with the Doctor has no clue what they are talking about. Even in fictional stories, there are certain rules one must abide by. One is that Love should be about doing good, and being good. Breaking the laws in the Pirates movies was convienantly constructed so that we the audience would cheer because the "officials" were all corrupt. But here we have a woman who has no idea what Love is. Obsession is not a part of love but a part of mental illness.
Everything that came out the River character's mouth was pure rubbish.
I've been married for almost 48 years now. I have three children and 4 Grandchildren and 3 Great-children. I know the difference between real love and mental illness.
Unfortunately some people do not seem to be so fortunate. They seem to think that stalking someone is a sign of their love and their devotion. NO it is a sign of mental illness.
Even in a fictional tv show responsible writers should never attempt to have a mentally unbalanced woman being the leads wife or even girlfriend. This relationship is not believable on any level. She is not as smart as he is, they have no shared history, Calling her a time lord is laughable at best.
She also represents everything that the Dr detests. The only reason this farcical relationship exists is because of one man's obsession with this insane storyline.
I hope the ladies and gentlemen in charge of the BBC remove him from his Doctor Who duties and force him to focus all of his attentions on his Sherlock program.
Lindsay Ribar
84. dalekcaan1963
The effect of breaking the fixed point in time isn't totally out compared to the older episodes.

In 'Fathers Day', time is weakened by two versions of The Doctor and Rose being in the same place at the same time, then combined with the paradox of Rose saving her father (meaning she'd never have gone back to see him ect) made enough of a problem for the reapers to show up.

In 'Waters of Mars', she shot herself before anything could happen. This would be the equivilent of Rose's dad being hit by another car 5 seconds after he was saved, so nothing happens (plus there wasn't the problem or 2 people in the same place at the same time or the paradox as The Doctor arrived by accident rather than having the original intention to save them).

In 'The Wedding or River Song", the effect is way way worse. The events that caused the reapers were because of a paradox that revolved around one person. This was fixed, around time travellers and across the universe with records and prophecies, all of which cease to exist if he doesn't die there, meaning he'd never have come to die in the first place. River Song would never have been trained to kill The Doctor (assuming the Silents went by prophecy), so none of the meetings would have happened. I can't remember if River saved The Doctors life before, but if her presence has ever done so, The Doctor would already be dead, another paradox. The Doctor not dying here basically fucks time harder than a sledgehammer fucks glass, so it goes beyond reaper territory and ends up with this. Think of the reaper scenario as a small chip in a window pane, as opposed to the Doctor surviving paradox being the sledgehammer. Also, there were 2 Rivers, one of which can't be there if the Doctor didn't die.

The reason the tesellecta avoided the paradox was because it was the perception of his death that was important. He doesn't need to fool time itself, he just needs to fool others. As long as they THINK he's dead, everything will take place as normal. Even if people were to suddenly realise, it wouldn't change too much. Notice that Rory and Amy thought he died, and River was acting (it was her second time there, the one in the astronaut suit was the younger one), she acted to the younger Doctor about what happened as well as the others. The Silents were also around, Amy saw one on a hill. They probably think he died there too, as the prophecy stated. They wouldn't have seen in his eye, and therefore wouldn't know it was the tesselecta.

One of the biggest plot holes I find is, if the prophecy is so far spread. how did it take so long for the Doctor to find it? Also, if the Silents have been around for so long, how did the Doctor not know about them sooner? He definately saw them for the first time in his eleventh form (you remember your previous sightings while you look at them, so he'd be like "it's those things I've seen for the last 900 years" when he sees them, and would have come up with a plan way earlier).
Ashe Armstrong
85. AsheSaoirse
The thing with "fooling everyone else," is that it STILL doesn't make sense, especially WITH the Tesellecta. These dudes keep records cause they're far future time travelers, blah blah blah. If the Doctor never REALLY died, there never would've been a real record of his death (or at least, it would've disappeared or been changed) because, clearly he shows up later. There really is no good way to explain it except to go "wibbly wobbly, handy wavey."
Lindsay Ribar
86. bleachedredhair
I agree this episode left me very unsatisfied. I love River Song, but her wedding felt like black-mail, and I felt like the Tesselector was a cop-out. I would have been much more satisfied if the Flesh Doctor had come to save the day. That being said, now that I have watched the episode eight times or so, I think I finally understand the whole fixed-time thing. It has to do with the fact that they are both time travelers and time lords. David Tennant explained in one of his episodes that usually the universe just compensates around time blips, but whole universes can be created or destroyed if you are special. River Song is pretty darn special in that she is a time-traveler conceived inside of the time vortex by two time travelers and she is destined to marry the Doctor. I got the impression that the Silence wanted to create a fixed point to insure that the Doctor died. If his death was fixed, then he couldn't just re-write it. By taking River, who is very special and has half her life pre-destined, and turning her into the Doctor's assassin, they are attempting to create a fixed point. Wherever and whenever she succeeds in killing him, that point will become a fixed point. Why the astronaut suit? I have no idea. You would think they could get some classier looking future suit to try to control her, but I guess that was a stylistic choice. ALSO, Moffat hasn't explained to us how the Silence blew up the TARDIS yet. And it's still bugging me. Like most of the other fans, I am getting tired of Moffat breaking his own rules. You can't say time travel works this way, only to have it work the exact opposite way an episode later. But whatever, I am still a loyal and optimistic fan.

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