There are some secrets that should never be revealed.
In “The Wedding of River Song”, there is one question in the vastness of the universe and time that should never be answer.
The Doctor’s name has been a long debated and held mystery amongst fans of Doctor Who. Sure there are rumors, whispers of a name in the vastness of the Internet (more specifically fanfiction). Nothing, however, from the show’s creators has ever confirmed it.
The name is the biggest mystery and biggest secret of Doctor Who. I always imagined it as the Doctor’s final whisper as he dies for the final time. A whisper echoing across the universe or something poetic like that.
And there is one place in the vastness of the universe and time where the Doctor must never, ever venture: Trenzalore.
Of course. When has the Doctor ever listened to that?
The Doctor has, had or will have a very long and interesting life. Time travel is really weird like that.
The Moffat era of Doctor Who celebrates and pays tribute to that long and interesting life. It recalls the long and storied past of the Doctor while celebrating it’s future. Fifty years for a story to be told and retold in radio, film, television and books. See the story of the Doctor never really goes away.
It’s fitting that the Impossible Girl will become intrinsically linked to that mad impossible story of the Doctor.
But let’s not get there quite yet.
It opens with a prisoner about to be executed making a bargain with Madame Vastra. He has information, he says, about the Doctor. Madame Vastra in an effort to figure out this information has a conference call across time and space with the help of dreams and trances. Why? Because apparently dreams are easier to time travel in without a TARDIS, which is admittedly kind of clever.
She gathers Jenny (naturally), Strax, Clara and River Song. It’s been awhile since we last saw River “The Angels Take Manhattan” actually. She hasn’t even been mentioned yet. Clara, in fact, thought that she was a man from what she gleaned from the Doctor. They discuss that the coordinates are for a place called “Trenzalore” which was apparently mentioned in “The Wedding of River Song” as well. The only thing that is known about it is that it’s a place where the Doctor must never go.
They also discuss the Doctor’s greatest secret, which naturally no one knows but him…and River. She discloses that the greatest secret is his name and that she knows it. They discuss more, but then it cuts back to Vastra and Jenny’s home where something is breaking in. Jenny looks at Vastra and says, “I’m sorry mum I think I’ve been murdered.”
That’s when all hell breaks loose. River wakes up Vastra and Strax, who are captured by some truly frightening faceless guys in top hats with very sharp teeth. They kind of give me a Dracula vibe if I’m being honest.
Clara wakes up as well to find the Doctor playing Blind Man’s Bluff by himself because Angie and Artie tricked him. Clara tells him what happened and the Doctor got increasingly emotional before saying that well…
Trenzalore is where he died and is buried. He can never go there because he would be crossing his timeline in a big way. He has to go there, however, in order to help Jenny, Vastra and Strax. They helped him during the darkest times of his life. He owes it to them to help them in their own time of need.
So with the TARDIS protesting they go to Trenzalore which is a military graveyard. There they find the dying TARDIS serving as the Doctor’s tomb. They also find a grave marked River Song. Astute viewers know that this is impossible as River died in the Library. River appears to Clara, telling her that she kept the link from the “conference call” open. The Whisper Men appear and River relays that her grave could be the entrance to the Doctor’s tomb.
The Doctor reveals to Clara that River is his wife, which surprises her (naturally). The two of them run through the corridors trying to escape the Whisper Men. While this is happening Clara remembers the conversation she had with the Doctor in “Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS” about her past lives.
They somehow get to where Strax, Jenny and Vastra are being held. (Strax giving Jenny the equivalent to a defib to the chest.) The Doctor and Clara somehow joining them where they are confronted with the Greater Intelligence. Yeah the Whisper Men are the Great Intelligences spare “bodies” you can say.
And let me say that the Great Intelligence was fucking terrifying in this episode. I got chills the entire time he was on screen. Everything about him just screamed evil mother here. It was fantastic and definitely a fitting end for the season for him to the be villain.
He tries to get the Doctor to reveal his name, threatening the lives of his friends to get him to say it. The doors, however, open by themselves thanks to the ghost/echo of River (yeah apparently the events of the Library have happened) saying his name so the fans don’t hear it. Nice save Mister Moffat nice save indeed.
The Great Intelligence sacrifices himself in order to fuck up the Doctor’s timeline. He makes every victory a defeat and the universe practically destroys itself in the process.
Clara realizes when Vastra mentions the Snowmen and the Dalek Asylum, events that she was there for, that her being there was meant to happen. So with a goodbye and her line “Run you clever boy and remember me.” She jumps into the Doctor’s time stream. She is ripped into a million pieces. She lives a million different lives. She appears where the Doctor is. The Doctor never hears her. He never notices her…until the Eleventh does.
She was born to save the Doctor, all of him and all of his work. The Impossible Girl saving the madman without the impossible box that is bigger on the inside than the out. It’s very poetic actually.
Meanwhile, Eleven wants to go in to get her. It’s definitely not the best idea. Just when River is about to slap him he reveals that he has been able to see her the entire time. He tells her that he loves her and kisses her rather passionately. He does what she asks…he says “goodbye” like he’s coming back again. With her job done, the echo of River disappears right before the Doctor jumps in.
Clara hits the ground within the Doctor’s time stream. The Doctor says that this is him. That he is there to save her. He gives her the leaf that starts her story and she runs into his arms.
A man is there in shadow. His head stooped. He shouldn’t be there. Should he? It’s very odd. Clara says that she saw eleven of him. Eleven faces and eleven lives of the Doctor…
The Doctor agrees but states that the man is not him. He is the secret that the Doctor carries inside himself. He says the name you choose for yourself is like a promise. The man, he says, broke that promise.
The man says that he did what he had to do.
The Doctor says that he did not act in the name of the Doctor. He acted on his own name.
The Doctor carries Clara off. The man turns around.
HOLY SHIT! JOHN MOTHERFUCKING HURT AS THE DOCTOR?!?!
…Sorry. That was uncalled for and I needed to calm down.
Really? Usually the cast actors that are a little more unknown. Clearly the mystery is beginning because the story continues on the 50th anniversary special on November 23rd.
This is going to be killing me until November guys.
Until then that is the end of series seven of Doctor Who. It’s definitely been on hell of an interesting ride.
See you on the 23rd of November so we can unravel this mystery! It cannot come fast enough now.