October 2, 2011
(Possible Minor SPOILERS - be warned)
So, after all these months (considering the several month hiatus between both "halves" of this season), after all the speculating, the hype, and the flat-out excessive behavior from both fans and "haters"....is this a fitting end for this season?
Honestly, I have mixed feelings about this episode - mostly positive, but mixed nonetheless.
Part of my feeling about why this episode didn't work was more the "extended-arc-playing-itself-out" and the "questions-that-lead-to-answers-to-further-questions" style that Who played with this season. Although I commend Moffatt and crew for making the attempt (which I'll talk about next week in my end-of-season wrap-up), I just don't think that style works for Who. But in addition, most of Moffatt's writing this season - especially this latter half - seems to be to throw plot points at the wall and see how they stick.
However, there is enough in this episode that I like - finally, we see how all of what's happened begins to come together. We see that the events in The Impossible Astronaut lead to some pretty significant disruptions...and that it's not so much a question of should the Doctor die as much as "what happens when you try to change a fixed point in time."
There's also some great little character moments, including a nice tribute to a companion's passing....Amy's threat to "the eyepatch lady"....and the actual wedding of River Song. (Yes, it does happen. No, it's not a dream). Moffatt has managed, in many ways, to pull off answering and pulling together much of a very intricate, engaging plot.
In fact, one of the highlights of the episode occurs at the very end, where (and this is purely speculation on my part) Moffatt essentially reboots the show, adding some intriguing new layers and a greater sense of mystery.\ It's also, I think, a sly commentary on some elements of fandom (and this is purely opinion on my part). You know the kind - the catchphrase using casual fans who can tell you Who is "awesome" and all the other nerdy teenage hyperboles....but couldn't tell you why.
(And Roger will definitely catch the slight reference in that last line).
Moffatt essentially takes away the rather super-heroic element that has been present in New Who since Series 2; it's a philosophical recasting and reformatting that may seem rather obvious...but quite frankly, really provides a great launching pad into some greater territory.
And next week, I'll talk about what I felt about this season as a whole. See you then.