8 October 2011

Doctor Who - The Wedding of River Song

I finished this series of Doctor Who the same way I'd started it, watching in a hotel at a UK convention.
There were some definite differences in the circumstances, I was in Brighton not Birmingham. I was in the hotel lounge with about a dozen other people watching on a large TV, rather than watching with hundreds of people in a big room with a projector screen. Still the parallels framed my viewing of the series.


Emotional Response
Shiny and fun. Lots of CGI and world creation that reused material (Romans, Winston Churchill, pterodactyls, that beard) from the last few series and other Whoniverse shows. Obviously going for impressive visuals, which succeeded.

Amy & Rory are sweet again, and this time Rory's switch is turned to brave.
Rory doesn't get much of a character arc, he's a compassionate man who loves his wife and seems to get killed a lot. His characterisation can be described as:  Rory Williams: Everyman Hero/Bumbling Coward [delete as appropriate to episode plot]. It's more a pendulum than an arc.

Blue head-in-a-box guy is amusing. If you're just a head in a box then it makes sense you'd be snarky.

And the robot tesselect thingy is the decoy, as was guessed by my colleague after 'Hitler' (the Flesh Doctor clearly being a red herring). This is good in terms of creating a happy ending, though it's not surprising or suspenseful.

I think we all knew what The Question would be. What's hiding in plain sight more than the title of the show?


Intellectual Response
What's happening now? I'm intrigued but this broken history (which actually feel more like an alternate world, because it clearly has it's own rules and processes and continuity) feels little tangential.
Broken time means all of history happens at once - kind illogical, shouldn't it be a palimpsest of time periods rather than an entire alternate world with all it's own stuff. But I shan't quibble too much on this point. Because...

It's taken a month (real time), goodness knows how many months (in-show time) and an alternate world (plot line) for me to discover that yes, Amy was actually very upset and pissed off that her baby was kidnapped.
I know such emotions should be a given, but in TV if a character doesn't display some emotional continuity (even if it's done subtly or in the background) then we can only assume that they don't care and neither should we. The way it was handled it seemed as though the team needed to give Amy a reason to dispatch the baddie and it suddenly occurred to them that maybe the whole baby-stealing thing had ticked her off a bit. If a TV show is going to hit the reset button fair enough, but don't do it three weeks in a row then suddenly expect the viewer to buy an emotion plot arc a month later simply because it's convenient again.
All I was asking for was a quick scene between Amy and Rory at a quiet moment, or even just a concerned/comforting line of dialogue to let us know that actually these characters are suffering. I can understand if they're resigned to let events take their course, but shouldn't we be able to tell that they're putting a brave face on it. I mean even if you want to all ignore the emotional characterisation (and I'm not sure why you would) from a plot POV the disappearance of Melody was supposed to be 'the farthest the Doctor will fall' or some such melodramatic gubbins. To have the cause of the Doctor's Great Fall routinely ignored by everyone later just leads to disappointment.

So I don't really get how the Silence (whoever they were) engineered both a psuedo-Time Lord (if that's what they did) and a fixed point in time (which is definitely what that was because we were told repeatedly). Also if the Doctor's death is a fixed point in time then surely if he doesn't actually die then it's not a fixed point in time?
Apparently a shape-shifting robot getting broken is in fact the event at the centre of that particular fixed point in time. Obviously we all knew that the Doctor would get out of it somehow, but this kind feels like cheating. All the timey-wimey stuff that was supposed to be a result of the Doctor's death and it actually happened because a very fancy robot got broken.


Questions
So what did River tell the tenth Doctor just before she died if she doesn't know his name? What's so special about his name anyway?

Why were Amy and River working with Madame Kovarian in weird-time world, they have every reason to hate her (assuming River knows who she is) and suspect her?

River was brain-washed/raised to be a psychopath, is that all just fixed now? Why?

And finally...
Why did the TARDIS go to Amy's house just before it exploded?
That was the one place/time it shouldn't have gone, River clearly didn't mean for it to go there, but she couldn't stop it. I'd assumed someone hijacked/hacked it somehow and it was all part of the Pandorica Opens/Big Bang stuff, but the whole thing seems to have been forgotten. Apparently the internetz have decided the TARDIS went there of it's own accord, but why would it go somewhere that would lead to it exploding?
I've been wondering this for over a year! I assumed it tied into the wider plot as it was the main question left over from last year, but it just seems to have been ignored.

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