In a nutshell, the finale was highly unsatisfactory. But I don't want to drown in negativity, as there seems to be plenty of that going on around the internet. Instead, I bring you 5 questions, along with theoretical answers. And like Jeopardy, many of the answers will come in the form of more questions.
1. Who is Madame Kovarian?
She came, she giggled maniacally, and she died, and yet we know nothing of her but her name. They made far too big a deal about her to just kill her off without a second word. We didn't even get the obligatory "when the Silents rule the Universe, I will be their sheriff!" scene.
2. Now that I mention it, what do the Silents actually want?
They seem to roam the Universe menacing people without any actual purpose in doing so. Do they really want to kill the Doctor just so he won't say "Doctor Who?"
3. Can asking "Doctor Who?" really be the question?
Methinks Dorium is pulling a fast one. As you may recall, the question has been asked MANY times, especially in Moffat episodes. One might say the question was both asked and answered by Reinette in The Girl in the Fireplace, we just weren't privy to the answer. Also, it's a really stupid question. There's no answer to be given that doesn't completely pull the rug out from under 50 years of continuity and character building. Making some grand statement would be incredibly cheap.
Steven Moffat needs to ask himself the same question that the Doctor asks himself when faced with the opportunity to prevent the Daleks from existing: "Do I have the right?"
4. If the Doctor's death is really a fixed point, how could he not die?
The answer is simple: it's not really a fixed point. To put it another way, the rumors of his death are greatly exaggerated, and always have been.
The only way this resolution isn't mind-numbingly pointless is if someone has been playing an extremely long game, convincing the entire Universe that the Doctor's death is a fixed point in time. Maybe it's the Doctor who's playing the long game.
Of course, as this is a time travel show, the only way that faking his own death could work is if he actually does manage to disappear forevermore. Perhaps he just travels around in various Tesselecta bodies henceforth. Well, that's one way of getting around the regeneration limit.
Also, according to the internal mechanics of this episode, the sudden "flattening" of time can't actually have anything to do with the Doctor's death, especially if he just has to fake his own death for time to be set right. That almost definitely proves there's another party involved who actually caused the flattening of time.
It could even be something as simple as River's astronaut uniform setting off the flattening of time if River fails to kill the Doctor, so he just needs to fake out the suit.
5. Who are the Ponds?
Post-episode, my fellow watchers were extremely confused by the timeline of the Ponds.
But to quickly recap: these characters either die, have their memories erased, have their realities reset, forget every lesson they've learned in previous adventures, and generally do not behave consistently like human beings.
So let's apply Occam's razor. Maybe they aren't human beings.
I offer an alternate theory: perhaps they've been assigned by some interested third party to keep an eye on the Doctor and follow his many manipulations of time. After all, only Amy and Rory (though now it seems like only Amy) remember the various erased and reset realities apart from the Doctor (and maybe River?). Perhaps the Timelords are returning and have ordered the Ponds to keep track of the Doctor's crimes against time. Or maybe they've been assigned as guardians to keep him safe (which seems more probable, and explains how they could magically create a military base in the middle of a pyramid).
If such a thing were true or possible, I'd further propose that the Ponds are Eternals, a race introduced in Enlightenment and mentioned to be hiding out in the void in Doomsday. The race are a bit like the Q Continuum, in that they've long ago lost touch with their humanity and engage in "petty amusements" to distract them from the eternal nothingness of their lives.
So perhaps these two are like intergalactic immortal Emma Peel and John Steed, charming their way through the Universe and resetting their relationship to new fantasies of romance whenever possible. It's just their way of keeping things fresh, switching around who's the needy one, switching out who's got the upper hand in any given episode.
Maybe the Doctor has even cottoned on to who they are, and it's the Ponds he needs to convince of his death, so he can escape their watchful eyes.
River, of course, would be an accidental by-product of the "today we're going to pretend we're parents!" roleplay. Which would explain why they aren't overwhelmed with parental concern.
I accept that these theories might be complete bollocks.
Play in the comments!