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The Wedding of River Song was the thirteenth and final episode of the sixth series of Doctor Who.

Synopsis

The Doctor makes his final journey to the shores of Lake Silencio in Utah, knowing only one thing can keep the universe safe – his own death. But has he reckoned without the love of a good woman?[1]

Plot

As the War of the Roses enters its second year even as London picnickers are warned not to feed the pterodactyls and Charles Dickens is interviewed about his new Christmas ghost special, Holy Roman Emperor Winston Churchill returns to Buckingham Palace from a conference in Gaul with Cleopatra to wonder why it is always 5:02 PM on 22 April 2011. His Silurian physician, Dr. Malokeh, tells him it is always that time, but Churchill has his doubts and summons his soothsayer from the dungeon of the Tower of London. It is the Doctor, who tells him it is because of a woman.

In a flashback, the Doctor wants to know why he must die. Taking all the information on the Silence from a dying Dalek, he tracks down Father Gideon Vandaleur, actually the Teselecta, who points him in the right direction: the Silence's agent, Gantok, who almost electrocutes himself in a game of live chess with the Doctor. To avoid death, Gantok takes him to the head of Dorium Maldovar in the Seventh Transept.

Dorium explains that if the Doctor lives long enough, on the fields of Trenzalore, at the fall of the Eleventh, when no creature can speak falsely or fail to answer, a question that must never be answered will be asked: the first question, hidden in plain sight. He asks the Doctor if he wants to know the question and he nervously agrees.

Taking Dorium's head with him, the Doctor determines to continue his farewell tour. However, when he learns that his old friend Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart is dead, the Doctor's defiance crumbles. His time has come. He gives the invitations to the Teselecta to deliver and goes to Lake Silencio with Amy Pond, Rory Williams and River Song, where they drink a bottle of wine that Napoleon threw at him. An impossible astronaut rises from the lake and the Doctor goes to meet it. It is River Song, trapped in the suit by Madame Kovarian and the Silents. She has no control over the suit and is about to kill her love willy-nilly. He forgives her unconditionally and shuts his eyes as her arm rises to deliver the three killing blows.

There are five bursts that make him flinch. The Doctor opens his eyes to demand what she has done. She has discharged her weapons systems harmlessly and the world shatters about them.

The Doctor and Churchill discuss these events. Tally marks appear on the Doctor's arms. As the Silents on the ceiling prepare to attack the Doctor and Churchill, a grenade rolls into the hall and they are rescued by a company of soldiers under an eyepatch-wearing Amy Pond, who shoots the Doctor.

The Doctor wakes in Amy's office on a train bound for Area 52 inside the Great Pyramid at Giza. She grew up with a Crack in her wall, and remembers both timelines. She draws pictures of the other timeline, but cannot remember that her husband is Captain Williams in her force. They have captured more than a hundred Silents and walk past the prisoners to the King's Chamber, where River Song is trying to keep the Doctor alive. Madame Kovarian is their prisoner, too and they have used her eyepatch to create eye drives that let them remember the Silents even when not looking at them.

The Doctor goes to take River Song's hand, but she know that they are the poles of an explosion waiting to destroy this timeline. She has him handcuffed and tries to convince him to live. Even as she does so, the Silents begin to escape. It is their trap the Doctors' friends have fallen into and as the forces beat a retreat to the King's Chamber, their eye drives electrify and kill them. Madame Kovarian mocks them, until her eye drive begins to spark. As Rory prepares to hold off the Silents, River, the Doctor and Amy go up to the apex of the Pyramid to see what River has been doing. The door bursts open and Rory collapses to his knees as the Silents enter and begin to electrocute him, but Amy kills them all with a machine gun, then cold-bloodedly blinds a terrified Kovarian; River's psychopathic behavior did not arise solely from her rearing.

On the top of the Great Pyramid, River has built a distress beacon, asking the universe for help across all time zones: the Doctor is dying. Please help. The answer comes back: Yes, of course. The Doctor, however, insists that no one can help him. He must die.

File:The Wedding of River Song.png

As River despairs and swears to suffer more than any living thing in the universe for him, the Doctor tells Amy to uncuff him. He takes off his bow tie and uses it to marry River in a handfasting with her parents' consent. The Doctor whispers a secret into his bride's ear and tells her that she must never tell anyone what he has just told her: his name. As she looks at him in wonder, the Doctor asks for her help. There is no other way.

They kiss and time moves again. The Doctor dies at Lake Silencio. River and Amy weep. Rory looks on in agony as the world vanishes.

Shortly after, River, fresh from the crash of the Byzantium, is at her mother's home, splitting a bottle of wine. Amy wonders what what the events from the aborted, frozen time line say about her, in particular her tormenting of Kovarian. She wants to talk with the Doctor, but he is dead. River disagrees. Amy notes that her daughter is still having adventures with her son-in-law in the hundreds of years before his death, but River tells her a secret which she probably shouldn't. As Rory joins his wife and daughter, they dance for joy.

A monk carries Dorium's head back to the Seventh Transept. Dorium realises it is the Doctor and demands to know how he escaped. The Doctor tells him: River actually shot the Teselecta, with the Doctor safe inside, waving happily at her. Now that the entire universe believes him dead, it's time for him to step back into the shadows.

As the Doctor leaves, Dorium shouts at him that Fields of Trenzalore and the first question still await him. As the Doctor pauses by the TARDIS, Dorium screams: "Doctor who? Doctor Who? DOCTOR WHO?"

Cast

Crew

to be added

References

Individuals

Technology

Story notes

  • Following his death in February, this episode pays tribute to Nicholas Courtney, with the Doctor discovering that his character, Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart, died peacefully in his sleep.
  • A prequel for this episode was released online.[2]
  • This is the first time an episode of Doctor Who has aired on the same night as an episode of fellow BBC Saturday night drama, Merlin. The first episode of Merlin Series 4, The Darkest Hour, was broadcast right after The Wedding of River Song.
  • Meredith Vieira, co-host of the American morning news/chat programme Today, filmed her cameo during a visit to the Upper Boat Studios as part of a profile of Doctor Who produced for Today. That feature, which aired on 9 May 2011, contained several minor spoilers for this episode, including revealing the cameo appearance by Richard Hope as Malohkeh.
  • This is the first Series finale of the revived series not to be a two part episode.

Ratings

UK Overnight: 6.1 Million

Myths

  • The Doctor will get married.[3] This was proven true.
  • Part of this episode will be set in Egypt.[4] This was proven true.

Filming locations

to be added

Production errors

If you'd like to talk about narrative problems with this story — like plot holes and things that seem to contradict other stories — please go to this episode's discontinuity discussion.
  • The Doctor's reflection in River's helmet shield is not reversed, as it should be.
  • When Gantok falls into the pit of skulls his hat falls off, yet its back on right before he's devoured completely.
  • When River lifts the shield on the helmet, she uses two hands, where as in The Impossible Astronaut the astronaut only uses one hand.

Continuity

Timeline

For the Doctor

For River

For River in the final scene

For Amy and Rory

Home video releases

This episode will be released on DVD shortly after the airing of the episode.[5]

External links

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