The Wedding of River Song


THE UNIVERSE is disintegrating due to the Doctor’s personal PROBLEMS again.

DOCTOR: I’m going to die, for real.

RIVER: Don’t die!

DOCTOR: I have to.

RIVER: I won’t let you!


DOCTOR: Let’s get married.

RIVER: Okay.

The DOCTOR DIES, for real.

RIVER: Just kidding!

JAMBI THE GENIE: Here is the ultimate question.

Half of the FANS SQUEAL. The other half SCREAM.



0:00 – 5:00

SCENES from earlier episodes telegraph the SOLUTION to the Doctor’s DEATH.

CUT TO a montage, the BEST PART of the episode: CARS carried by HOT-AIR BALLOONS, CHILDREN feeding PTERODACTYLS in the park, a ROMAN SOLDIER on a CHARIOT policing traffic, CHARLES DICKENS on the news discussing his TELEVISION SHOW.


CHURCHILL, THE ROMAN EMPEROR: Extraordinary. Time has stopped at the exact moment of the Doctor’s death. Do you think someone’s trying to stop it from happening?

MALOKEH, THE SILURIAN MENGELE: That or having time collapse was the only way to squeeze in cameos by characters from the least-loved episodes of the past two seasons.

CHURCHILL: Surprised they didn’t dust off old van Gogh. Oh, wait, here he comes now!

DOCTOR: No, just me. I have a beard now. Beards are cool.


5:01 – 10:00


TESELECTA: In case you were getting popcorn during the “Previously,” we’re the deus ex machina.

DOCTOR: Tell me one thing. Just one.

TESELECTA: What’s that?

DOCTOR: How the heck do you spell your name?

CUT TO a “live chess” match, which sounds like it’s probably more fun than the official Doctor Who video games.

DOCTOR: What’s wrong with your face, Fenric?

GANTOK: It’s “Gantok.” Somebody put “Fenric” in the IMDB to mess with the fans and make them think I would turn out to be your chess-playing Viking-possessing nemesis from 1989.

DOCTOR: Who would do that?

GANTOK: Probably the same person who made me look like a Spitting Image Viking puppet and put all that chess imagery in the trailer.

CUT TO a crypt filled with SKULLS that eat people in SLOW MOTION. A WOODEN BOX sits on a PEDESTAL.

JAMBI THE GENIE: Did you just close that deadly trapdoor with your sonic screwdriver?

DOCTOR: Maybe.

JAMBI: Let me guess, was that the “things I could just as easily do with my hands” setting?

10:01 – 15:00

DOCTOR: Just give me a cryptic prophecy to carry us through the next season.

JAMBI: Sure thing, here you go.

DOCTOR: Thanks. By the way, I’m supposed to die!

JAMBI: Yes, you’re totally supposed to die!

NURSE: (on MAGIC TARDIS PHONE) By the way, an old friend of yours just died!

DOCTOR: Well, I’m in a time machine, so I could just go back and see him. In fact, just a minute ago I was talking about helping Rose with her homework and going to Captain Jack’s stag parties, either of which would be more fun than listening to me agonize about my death, which no one really believes is going to happen. I could go back just long enough to hold his hand while he dies, or go back ten years and bring him with me on adventures.

STEVEN MOFFAT: No you couldn’t. Rule number one: no time travel when it would actually be convenient.

DOCTOR: Righto.

15:01 – 20:00


RIVER: I’m going to stop time.

DOCTOR: I assume you’ll explain later how you were able to do that.

RIVER: Nope.

20:01 – 25:00


The SILENTS are hanging from the CEILING like BATS and it’s pretty awesome. We’ve almost FORGOTTEN they could DO THAT.

AMY: (is GORGEOUS) The name is Pond. Amy Pond.

DOCTOR: Then call me Doctor Moneypenny. Rowr.

CUT TO Amy’s office on a TRAIN.

DOCTOR: This is also pretty awesome.

It IS.

25:01 – 30:00

DOCTOR: Is my hair really going to be this long from now on?

MOFFAT: Maybe.

30:01 – 35:00

The SILENTS escape. MADAME KOVARIAN twirls her MOUSTACHE. The EYEDRIVES have arbitrary RULES.

RORY: (is a HERO)

AMY: (is a HERO back)

RORY: We’re adorable.

They ARE.

AMY: Oh, I almost forgot to be upset about having my baby stolen. I’ll do something morally questionable but satisfyingly direct.

35:01 – 40:00

RIVER: I’ve built a machine.

DOCTOR: What does it do?

RIVER: Well, do you remember the end of season 3, when you got everyone to think happy thoughts about you at the same time?

DOCTOR: Stop. You’re embarrassing me. In fact, you might want to watch this part with the sound off.

The SILENTS leave them alone for the EMBARRASSING PART.

DOCTOR: Okay, I’ll marry you, but you have to kill me. And then I’ll let you go to prison for it for a big chunk of your life, even though it’s not your fault and you won’t have actually killed anyone, and apart from the conjugal visits (assuming I feel like it and can steer the TARDIS precisely enough) I’ll get to run around scot-free. ‘Til death do us part, which I know it will because I’ve already lived through it.

RIVER: Some pre-nup.

Anonymous CHILDREN sing another ANNOYING NURSERY RHYME, hopefully for the LAST TIME.

40:01 – 45:00


AMY: So. Was he a Ganger?

RIVER: Nope.

AMY: Did he double back on his own timeline like I did in “The Girl Who Waited”?

RIVER: Nope. We didn’t see either of those things in the “Previously,” remember? He used the Teselecta.

RORY: But didn’t we see it start to regenerate?

AMY: And didn’t the Doctor have to die to repair time? You mean it was enough just for someone who looked like him to appear to die?

RIVER: Just have another drink.

CUT TO the crypt full of skulls.

DOCTOR: Whew, I got my hair cut. Now, it’s important that no one knows what happened to me. So River will tell Amy and Rory, and I’ll just tell you and that’s it. Until the next time I run into someone who’s met me before and they ask why I’m not dead.

JAMBI: Okay, so you pretended to die in order to lower your profile. But the ultimate question is exactly what everyone said it would be, and it proves that the universe still revolves around you.

DOCTOR: So? I’m a narcissist now. Narcissism is cool.



Like fast-forwarding through scenes from episodes we’d rather have seen just to get to a dull trick ending that puts us back where we began.


  1. encyclops · October 2, 2011


    Unmoving is an apt word. Characters that die-but-not-really is now an explicit joke within the show. Bubble universes mean that you can do all sorts of bizarre whimsical stuff because it’s timey-wimey magic and then just erase it like an Etch-a-Sketch when you’re done. River always meets the Doctor in reverse order, except when she doesn’t. And hey, they get married purely for rhetorical reasons (“I don’t want to marry you” / “I don’t want to murder you”).

    I’m watching the show mainly for Matt Smith now, and because I’ve loved this show and the premise that keeps it going since I was 8 or 9 years old. I love that it’s popular now, I love that it has the money to look good and the savvy to be smart and not completely embarrassing. If only it would slow down and get a solid grip on things really happening and meaning something, instead of being mental phantoms or time cul-de-sacs, I’d be ecstatic.

  2. Kermit · October 2, 2011

    I just…well, your post here was much better than the episode. River Song was so much cooler when we didn’t know her story.

    On the other hand, my oldest son was furiously writing in his journal last night and fell asleep before putting it away. I didn’t purposely read what he wrote, but on the first page was a drawing of the Tennant year’s logo, and then the first question. I could see he went on to write his own theories on the next page.

    I love seeing him excited enough to write (aural narration is his strong point, his brain moves too fast for writing) about Doctor Who. So I’m not complaining about the episode in front of him. But I will probably always be mad about River Song. I think I’ll go back to the Library and pretend I don’t know what happens to her in 2011.

  3. encyclops · October 2, 2011

    That’s the trouble with these puzzle-box plots and characters: the only thing you can do with them is reveal the solution, and once you do it doesn’t really matter. There’s nothing at their core: no heart and no meaning.

    The death of the Doctor should have mythic resonance. The arc of River Song should be a Greek tragedy. The Silents should represent some figurative force or high concept that has a broad impact on the universe — or at least we should at least get the sense that they have a plan (to manipulate cultures behind the scenes Illuminati-style, maybe) that goes beyond hassling the Doctor.

    But none of these things are true, because the stories are not told as drama but as riddles. They’re clever riddles, and sometimes they’re fun, but they’re not moving, and they don’t resonate outside themselves.

    River’s history is so knotted and confusing now that I just can’t believe in her as a character, and it doesn’t help that she didn’t really grow up in any normal sense, or have any independent hopes and dreams. Her existence has been bent to one purpose: first to kill the Doctor, then to find him, then to marry him. Her skill with a gun, her archeological education, her ability to fly the TARDIS, all of these attributes stem directly and solely from her link to and obsession with the Doctor, for all we’ve now seen. One of the strongest female companions the series has ever seen turns out to be the most codependent. How could you not be disappointed?

    I’d love to know what your son’s theories are about the answer. I sure hope Moffat’s turns out to be the same one we hear in “The God Complex.”