At Global Comment: The Ruining of River Song

Lego River Song and the Tenth Doctor

Pretty-boy and the archeologist: Lego River Song and the Tenth Doctor. Image by Spielbrick Films, CC license.

I’m over at Global Comment today writing about how Steven Moffat ruined the character of River Song on Doctor Who. (Did I mention I’m branching out a bit in my writing?)

An excerpt:

The season 6 finale (“The Wedding of River Song”) completed River’s transformation into a character pathologically obsessed with a man who, far from returning her affections, seems to view her as a nuisance. The Doctor rushes her through a sham marriage ceremony – shortly after telling her that he doesn’t want to marry her – without even informing her of what he’s doing, much less obtaining her prior consent (he does manage to pause to demand her parents’ consent, however). The happy event features the Doctor “barking orders at her to ‘do as she’s told’ after yelling…that she embarrassed him.”

We also learn that The Doctor, River’s now-husband, has allowed her to be set up to serve an unknown number of years in prison for the crime of appearing to murder him. She is imprisoned, in short, so the Doctor can maintain his freedom to lark about the universe. Her consolation prize is to be able to slip out some nights to travel the universe – with the Doctor, of course. Far from an equal partner and confidante, River turns out to be the Doctor’s hapless shadow, willing to sacrifice everything (even the universe, and ultimately, her life) to be with an emotionally distant man who often doesn’t seem to like her much, much less love her.

The problem here isn’t just that the River of season 6 is completely out of step with the River we got to know in the previous two seasons. It’s also that Moffat clearly has no clue that what he’s writing is a tragedy, and not the grand love story with a more-or-less happy ending he seems to think it is.

Check out the whole piece.

Comments are closed.