SYNOPSIS: "Sci-fi drama. By the shores of Lake Silencio in Utah, all of time and space hang in the balance - for this is the day the Doctor dies." (bbc.co.uk)
5.02pm. 22 April 2011. The Doctor's death. Or was it? Time and space find themselves as muddled as the viewer in the opening sequence of 'The Wedding Of River Song'. While the situation is clarified as the episode continues, the quality doesn't particularly improve. But there's plenty to discuss as I reflect on the rest of the series as well as this disappointing series finale.
As we discovered in the previous episode, 'Closing Time', the Doctor has accepted the inevitability of his death - a fixed point in time. He merely wants to know why he has to die and wants to learn more about his indirect executioners, the Silence. Yet that fixed point in time is disrupted, meaning "all of history is happening at once" as realities combine into one timeline.
Along the way, we meet alternate reality Amy, alternate reality Rory and the ever frustrating River Song. Who then gets married. To someone with whom she has very little chemistry. Eventually the Doctor cheats death for the umpteenth time this series, and that fixed point in time still has been disrupted. Are they making it up as they go along? Quite probably.
'The Wedding Of River Song' was oddly flawed and I've been disappointed in the forgettable manner in which the series arc has played out since the excellent series opener, 'The Impossible Astronaut'. There is hope for the new series though, as we're left with the reminder that the "fall of the Eleventh" (doctor?) still awaits.
I have enjoyed this series as a whole but I've felt it's lacked consistency - and the series break halted its momentum after the tantalising 'A Good Man Goes To War', which made good on the Schroedinger's pregnancy storyline and the revelation of River Song's true identity. Above average episodes have been rare this series but it's a particular shame that the series finale was the weakest of the bunch.
I'd rather remember some of the better episodes - 'The Doctor's Wife', the episode written by Neil Gaiman, and 'Day Of The Moon' being my two standout episodes. Other moments have been special - the Doctor's tender final moments with a soldier in 'A Good Man Goes To War' chokes me up even now.
'Doctor Who' returns with the customary Christmas special but after the poor series finale, I must admit I'm not looking forward to it anywhere near as much as I expected to. I hope this isn't the beginning of the end of Steven Moffat's stewardship of the show but I also hope he understands that we deserve better than 'The Wedding Of River Song'.
Watch 'The Wedding Of River Song' on BBC iPlayer until 19:44, Sunday 9 Oct '11. Comments on the episode/series are most welcome below.