The ongoing storyline of the season is terrible and I hate it.
However, the season itself is not bad.
‘Closing Time’ is a fun, silly episode about a man learning to be a dad. It’s sweet and kind of dumb and has Cybermen. There’s a Cybermat named Ratty who has adorable teeth. Craig and Sophie are wonderful, and of course Stormageddon is a treat. The Doctor broods. Amy and Rory get on with their lives.
I found myself wondering if Karen Gillan and/or Arthur Darvill had been making noise about leaving, and Moffat was trying to figure out how to live without them. Write them out gently? Give them some time off and see if they change their minds? Who knows?
The last scene of the episode involves River, Madame Kevorian, and the Silence, and it’s awful. Far from the interesting, independent woman of the Library, this River is only an archaeologist in order to learn about the Doctor, and having been brainwashed since infancy has never had an original or autonomous thought. She’s smart, sure, and strong, but she’s so much less than she was before. It makes me terribly sad.
For that reason I almost skipped ‘The Wedding of River Song.’ In the end I’m glad I didn’t. Not only do we see the back of that disastrous storyline, but the rest of the episode is quite well constructed. It’s a joy watching this Doctor figure things out, being brilliant and clever and coy in turns, pulling it all out with a wave of his hand. The bit with the Tesselecta is wonderful. Amy and Rory are wonderful. Even Madame Kevorian is in her evil way wonderful. Dorium is fun and silly, and Winston Churchill and all. It’s entertaining television, and would have been quite good if not for all the messy little threads it was trying to gather. I think if Moffat stopped trying to write huge season arcs and just stuck with one- or two-part stories, all of his work would be a thousand times better.
Some time ago I wrote a tale of my own for River Song, a backstory I could live with. It’s not brilliant as stories go, but to me it’s a vast improvement on the official version. Courageous souls can find it here.