The Wedding of River Song Round-up

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Here’s one last round-up of what we know about Doctor Who’s sixth series finale, The Wedding of River Song.

Synopses

BBC Synopsis: As the Doctor makes his final journey to the shores of Lake Silencio in Utah, he knows only one thing can keep the universe safe – his own death – in the concluding episode of this series of the time-travelling drama. But has he reckoned without the love of a good woman?

DWM synopsis: The city of London, 22 April 2011 – soaring buildings, glittering and mighty under a perfect blue sky, and life tumbling onto pavements below. And horse-drawn Roman chariots driving through the streets. And a Victorian steam train on a monorail… hang on, like in a sci-fi city, but with Romans and steam trains? And hot air balloons? And pterodactyls? And Charles Dickens appearing on BBC One’s Breakfast! Something isn’t quite right…

In Buckingham Senate, at 5.02pm, Holy Roman Emperor Winston Churchill calls for his Soothsayer to be fetched from the Tower. Greying, unkempt, older, tireder, but unmistakably – it’s the Doctor. “Tick tock goes the clock,” Winston tells him, “but they don’t, do they? The clocks never tick.” It’s always 5.02pm these days. All of history is happening at once. “What happened to time?” asks Winston. The answer, it seems, is a woman…

Returning characters

River Song – Alex Kingston
Madame Kovarian – Frances Barber
Dorium Maldovar – Simon Fisher-Becker
Winston Churchill – Ian McNeice
Dr Malokeh – Richard Hope
The Silent – Marnix Van Den Broeke
Charles Dickens – Simon Callow
Carter – Richard Dillane
Amelia Pond – Caitlin Blackwood
Young Mels – Maya Glace-Green
Young Rory – Ezekiel Wigglesworth

Guest characters

Woman on television – Sian Williams
Himself – Bill Turnbull
Herself – Meredith Vieira
Gideon Vandaleur – Niall Greig Fulton
Barman – Sean Buckley
Gantok – Mark Gatiss
Dr Kent – Emma Campbell-Jones
Nurse – Katharine Burford

Hints & teasers

  • Time has frozen and the Doctor knows that only his death can save the universe
  • All of history is happening at once because time has stopped at 5.02pm on 22 April 2011 – the date of the Doctor’s death
  • Emperor Winston Churchill has the Doctor locked up in the tower
  • History has gone haywire with Winston Churchill, Romans and Pterodactyls all existing at the same moment
  • The Doctor knows that to return things to normal his life must end
  • The Silence are keen to prevent his future
  • The Doctor makes his final journey to the shores of Lake Silencio for his death…
  • …River, in a spacesuit, has been sent by Kovarian to kill him, but can she pull the trigger?
  • River thinks she can save the Doctor and the universe
  • Amy and Rory are reunited with the Doctor
  • The climax of the episode takes place in a giant pyramid and Amy and Rory battle The Silence there
  • The Doctor meets River, who reveals there is someone she loves and it appears a wedding is on the cards
  • Can River bring herself to kill the Doctor? And who will she marry?
  • We discover the truth about the astronaut at the lake
  • Watch out for a brief glimpse of an old favourite
  • The Doctor, River, Amy and Rory all wear eyepatches
  • Dorium is a head in a box
  • Rory gets a new look as a gun wielding combat soldier, with eyepatch
  • The Doctor plays live chess in Vegas 12 against Gantok (Mark Gatiss) the viking…
  • …The Doctor asks Gantok, “Before I go, I’d like to know why I have to die”
  • River confronts Kovarian in the tomb
  • Another viking, Gideon Vandaleur (Niall Greig Fulton), takes the Doctor into the The Labyrinth of Skulls
  • The long-haired Doctor meets a Silent in a specimen tank
  • Amy wears her black suit again, this time, with an eyepatch
  • The Doctor: “Silence will fall when the question is asked. All those times I’ve heard those words, I never realised it was my silence, my death.”
  • Daleks! A badly damaged New Paradigm Dalek
  • There is a wedding ceremony, of sorts
  • The eyepatched, chess playing alien is the son of a future viking
  • There is a exciting battle sequence near the end
  • Another big River revelation
  • And River gets a big revelation about the Doctor
  • Some of the locations we see: Buckingham Senate, Ancient Egypt, Calisto Bay docks, The Chess Pits of Vegas 12, The Labyrinth of Skulls, Lake Silencio
  • DORIUM: “On the fields of Trenzalore, at the fall of the Eleventh, when no living creature may speak falsely or fail to give answer, a question will be asked. A question that must never, ever be answered.”
    THE DOCTOR: ‘”Silence will fall when the question is asked…’”
    DORIUM: ‘”Silence must fall’ would be a better translation. The Silence are determined that the question must never be answered. The Doctor must never reach Trenzalore.”
    THE DOCTOR: “I don’t understand? What’s it got to do with me?”
    DORIUM: “The first question. The oldest question in the universe, hidden in plain sight. Would you like to know what it is?”
    THE DOCTOR: “Yes!”
    DORIUM: “…Are you sure?”
  • Contains the lines, “Crowds lined the mall today as Holy Roman Emperor, Winston Churchill, returned to the Buckingham Senate on his personal mammoth,” “I don’t want to marry you,” and “I don’t want to murder you.”
  • There are minis suspended by air balloons, pterodactyls attacking school kids, a train emerging Magritte-like from London’s Gherkin building
  • Charles Dickens (Simon Callow) discussing A Christmas Carol with Bill Turnbull and Sian Williams on BBC Breakfast
  • Winston Churchill hailed as Caesar in present-day London and the Doctor shambling about like a bearded apostle
  • “Something’s happened to time,” spots Winnie. It’s as if “all of history is happening at once”. The time is two minutes past five and the date is 22 April; so it has been for as long as anyone can remember. Can the Lord of Time sort things out, or did he cause the problem in the first place?
  • It necessarily leads us back to the events of The Impossible Astronaut and the Doctor’s demise at Lake Silencio in Utah, but this shocking moment acts as a pivot, not a dead end, for Moffat’s finale and a barrage of bewildering and bizarre imagery that spools forth.
  • Loose ends are tied up and, more importantly, the series and its heroes are repositioned in line with Moffat’s vision
  • A few things to look out for: pyramids, fixed points in time, “hell in high heels”, “the man who dies again and again”, a phone call with tear-jerking news, an unusual use for a bow tie, a plethora of eye-patches and a lapse in grammar when River talks of “theories about you and I”
  • There’s also an answer of sorts to “the oldest question in the universe”. It’s something the Doctor has been running from his whole life
  • It’s a surprisingly simple tale, though told in a clever way. It’s so rich with detail and it’s enormous fun
  • There is technobabble, but that’s largely a red herring
  • The teaser looks like it was more expensive than the rest of the “back six” put together. It’s a visual and conceptual delight
  • It does answer a lot of questions, but some old ones (from Matt Smith’s first series) are still left open, and some new ones are posed
  • There are many, many glorious special effects sequences
  • The denouement is bound to cause some debate. If you like the episode, you’ll be able to rationalise it, but if you don’t you’ll be going, “But hang on, in that episode…?” But that’s Doctor Who fandom
  • You’ll discover a whole new meaning to the phrase “Live Chess” that has nothing to do with Harry Potter
  • The Doctor wonders if he could be the fifth member of something
  • Wi-fi comes in handy
  • There’s the return of an old look for the Doctor
  • There are some unexpected (truly unexpected) returning characters
  • There’s a moving tribute to an old friend
  • The Doctor offers and eye for an eye patch
  • A big revelation may remind you of Little Britain
  • There are some peculiar postmen
  • Somebody’s portrait looks nothing like them
  • The episode title may not be as much of a red herring as you might think. But then again…
  • Bow ties are not just cool, they’re useful on occasion
  • It’s a bit of a gamechanger
  • The eye patch is explained

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