A Fond and Bittersweet Farewell to the Brigadier
Today's story aired in the fall of 2011, and was filmed only a few months after actor Nicholas Courtney had passed away. If there is any more towering figure looming across the expanse of Doctor Who than Brigadier Lethbridge-Steward I don't know who it would be. And so, in today's episode he got both an obvious send-off and also a more subtle one.
So let's talk about that.
The Wedding of River Song
(TARDIS Data Core recap)
The gist of this season finale is that somehow all of time has collapsed together, such that Winston Churchill is the Holy Roman Emperor while the War of the Roses continues on in its second year and pterodactyls circle overhead. The Doctor is nearly mad, having been held prisoner long enough to grow a shaggy beard, and rants about how it is always 5:02 pm on April 22nd, 2011, and that it is that way because of a woman.
Specifically River Song, who when the time came refused to kill the Doctor and thus caused a massive collapse within a fixed point of time.
The story flashes back and forth a bit, and in one of those flashbacks the Doctor is finishing his "farewell tour", knowing that his death is approaching. He makes a phone call to speak to the Brigadier, and is informed of his recent passing. Specifically, he passed away peacefully in his sleep, just as the Seventh Doctor said he would way back in Battlefield. That was the obvious tribute.
The more subtle one has to do with a story that Nicholas Courtney was fond of telling, about the time back when they were filming Inferno during the Third Doctor era and he was playing an evil eye patch wearing version of himself. On day on set, literally everybody turned up wearing eye patches. Which directly leads to this story, in which a significant number of characters (including Eyepatch Amy and Eyepatch Rory) are wearing eye patches that work as external memory storage to allow them to continue to be aware of the Silence's existence. It's a really sweet nod to Nic Courtney, done very well.
So anyway, the crux of the story is that the Doctor has to convince River Song to actually kill him so that time can be restored and the entire universe will not collapse in on itself. Along the way, he and River actually do get married just as the title suggests.
The big swerve, then, is that the Doctor that is killed is actually the Teselecta - the shape-shifting robot ship from Let's Kill Hitler - with the real Doctor hiding inside. As far as the entire universe is concerned the Doctor is dead, although River Song is in on the secret at the end. And of course she shares it with Amy and Rory.
Thus ends Matt Smith's best season, and while many things are tied up neatly with a bow several other things are teased out to lead up to the big 50th anniversary coming at the end of the next season. On the whole it is a good episode, and a good ending to the season, but perhaps not as big and spectacular as some of the previous season finales.
And that's all I have time to write about to day, so that's all you get. Sorry.
Companion(s): Amy Pond, Rory Williams, River Song
Episode(s): The Wedding of River Song
Steps Walked: 7,394 today, 3,198,199 total
Distance Walked: 4.02 miles today, 1,670.55 miles total
Push-ups Completed: 100 today, 5,764 total
Sit-ups Completed: 0 today, 929 total
How Many Times has Rory Died?: 4
How Many Times has Amy Died?: 3
Is Anything Cool?: Eyepatch Amy's office is cool
Weight: 251.42 lbs (five day moving average), net change -55.88 lbs