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such a nasty woman | by maryann johanson

‘Doctor Who’ blogging: “The Big Bang”

(all spoilers! don’t read till you’ve seen the episode! this is a love fest only — all complaints and bitching must come from a place of love / previous: “The Pandorica Opens”)
So, I was wrong. That’s okay (as the Doctor might say) — wrong is good. Wrong means I get to be surprised. Surprise is good.

And I was a bit surprised, in fact, that everything was pretty much what it seemed to be. The Daleks and the Cybermen and everything that ever hated the Doctor really did team up to imprison him in the Pandorica — which also a real thing, not a metaphor for the Doctor’s neuroses or anything — to stop him from, so they believed, destroying the universe. None of this was a dream, or all in the Doctor’s head, or any kind of fantasy (or nightmare). It was all timey whimey — boy, was it timey whimey! — and it was all a big reboot in the end, but it didn’t much feel like any kind of cheat.

It could have felt that way. It probably should have. Anytime a writer paints himself into this kind of a corner, almost anything he does to get out of that corner — assuming that he is not, in fact, actually going to kill off his protagonists and destroy the entire universe — is going to feel somewhat deux ex machiny. Clever of Steven Moffat to not hide the elephant in the room but to stick a party hat on it and throw confetti at it. Ridiculous miracle, indeed:

The variety of notions about where this season might have been going that I have been entertaining involved a lot more torment for the Doctor than having to wear a fez and carry a mop, a lot more angst and self-recrimination on his part. (I had been wondering if New Who was basically fan-fiction-proof, but I think the fact that what was in my head was much more intense and personal about the Doctor means that there still is room left here for fan-fiction extrapolations.)

Not this episode didn’t tear me apart. Yeah, hey: wait! Was I just praising Steven Moffat? I take it back. I hate him (no matter how many Princess Bride “mostly dead” references he trots out). I bawled my way through much of this episode… and, like Amy, I wasn’t even sure half the time why I was crying. I can take the usual sort of torture — the Doctor’s imprisoned forever; no, he isn’t; but it’s worse, he’s dead; no, he isn’t; but it’s worse, he’s gonna be erased forever…

But there was a lot more than that going on. This season has been so much… wow. So much crazy passionate fun ripping apart each episode and waiting for the next one with ludicrous, is-it-Saturday-yet anticipation — it’s been like the night before Christmas when you’re five since Easter. Part of my uncontrollable sobbing was, I’m sure, simply a physical release after months of tension now that it was finally over. Because even enjoyable tension is, you know, tense. (Was this the most perfect season of Doctor Who ever? I think maybe it was.)

I lost it for good, though, when the Doctor was talking to seven-year-old Amelia after he put her to bed. This brought a motif of the season full circle from “The Eleventh Hour,” and it’s a motif that I find deeply poignant, particularly when Moffat spins it (as he’s done before, like in “Girl in the Fireplace”). It’s the one about the Doctor as imaginary friend to all of us, at least to those of us who are in love with him. “I’ll be a story in your head,” he says sadly, talking to himself as much as to Amelia, lamenting himself. “You’ll dream about that box…” Crap, it almost felt like Moffat was wrapping up the show itself forever — this is how it would end, the Doctor sacrificing himself to save the universe, isn’t it? — and I don’t ever want to think about that. “I think I’ll skip the rest of the rewind, I hate repeats”? That’s what’s supposed to sustain us till there’s more new stuff to watch? arrgh

And Amy only has to wish to bring him back, to turn the imaginary real:

Why can’t I do that?

Then there’s River, who is pretty much the most awesome babe ever

and not just because she wears a thigh holster. Amy may be special because of the crack in the universe in her bedroom and that lets her remember the Doctor when no one else can. But how does River remember him? How is she even more special? River keeps her diary, even though it’s now blank, and gives it to Amy to force Amy to remember the Doctor back… but River has to remember him in order to do that.

So, next season, it seems, will be all about River. (Unless Moffat’s being a bastard again.) I was terrified she was going to be erased by the crack in the universe, thereby cleaning up a potential storytelling mess before it got any more cornered. And now I’m terrified about what Moffat is going to do with her. It’s clear that Doctor Who is not going to turn into a romance, at least not of the traditional sort. Knowing Moffat, it could well be one that’s thwarted until it’s doomed. Because they’re never ever going to be in the same place, are they? He’s just starting to fall for her… constantly has a little knowing smile for himself when she can’t see… is really enjoying flirting with her (“Hi, honey, I’m home”):

But he’s not quite there yet, and so she’s still waiting for him to catch up. I was forced to yell at the TV, during the Doctor and River’s final meeting outside the TARDIS, when he gives her back her diary and vortex manipulator, helpfully instructing her to just kiss him already:

But my pal bronxbee, watching with me, pointed out that she wants the moment to be mutual, so she can’t just kiss him yet.

River is going backwards, though, it seems. So there might be one brief moment where they’re both equally in love, but then it will pass, and he’ll be forever watching her know him less and less.

We’re in for a lot of heartache, I think. And a lot of ground to cover next year. We have to find out who River is and why she wouldn’t show a Dalek mercy. We have to find out who is controling the TARDIS and why the TARDIS exploded. And we have to find out why River would kill, ahem, the best man in the universe. Which is, presumably, “when everything changes.”

I’m gonna give this episode some time to settle into my head, and then I’ll rewatch the entire season, and see if any of my overall impressions change. I am already wondering, however, whether the many apparently anomalous things we’ve been noticing over the past 13 weeks that don’t seem to tally here can all have been accidents or unintentional goofs or just the kind of unavoidably messiness that is inevitable when producing an episodic TV series. (Is the Doctor’s line here about how “you can do loads in 12 minutes” meant to smooth over the several instances this past season when he seemed to accomplish way too much in only a few minutes?) I don’t doubt that Moffat might have thrown in deliberate red herrings simply to keep us on our toes. I also wouldn’t be surprised if he threw in things that won’t get resolved till next year.

Random thoughts on “The Big Bang”:

• Oh dear, Steven Moffat had to sit through those terrible Night at the Museum movies with his kids, didn’t he?

Well, his pain is our gain.

Those movies could have been so much better, so much smarter. And now we get a taste of, in detail, how. Like, for starters: penguins of the Nile, dinosaurs in ice, petrified Daleks, and a honking big mystery box.

• Hey, if the two sonic screwdrivers spark when they touch

shorting out the time differential, how come that doesn’t happen to Amy when she touches Amelia? Or when the Doctor touches himself from 12 minutes in the future? (Remember when the Doctor told Rose in “Father’s Day” not to touch the baby version of herself, because that would be as bad as crossing the streams?) Or does the almost-finished collapsing of the universe mean there’s little spacetime left to care about such things?

• Okay, so, on this alt starless Earth, does “Starry Night” by Vincent Van Gogh still exist? I think it must, mustn’t it? Because now, in retrospect, though “Vincent and the Doctor” didn’t originally seem to have any connection to the season’s arc, it was foreshadowing the motif here about seeing with more than your eyes. Amelia’s drawing of the starry night sky is an obvious echo of Vincent’s painting, and this drawing next to her bed

sure reminds me of a Van Gogh irises picture, too.

• Poor sad sweet dedicated in-love Rory!

How did Rory not go mad for 1,894 years?

• See? The Doctor doesn’t need to headbutt someone to communicate telepathically:

• Couple of things we don’t know (yet):

= How much Amy and Rory remember. Presumably Rory does not remember babysitting Amy in the Pandorica for 2,000 years, since that wasn’t really him anyway. But if Rory remembers the Doctor then their memories have at least filled in from Prisoner Zero events onward. Does that mean the last thing he remembers is his own death? But how can that be, since he’s alive? Does Amy remember the universe ending, or not? My head hurts trying to think about this.

= Where River ended up after the Doctor flew the Pandorica into the exploding TARDIS. She says “we all wake up where we ought to be,” but where ought she to be? We don’t know anything about her: not even where and when she’s from. Obviously she likes hanging out in the 51st century, but with that vortex manipulator — not to mention her relationship with the Doctor — that doesn’t mean she has to be from then. So: did River end up in 1996 on Earth, where she was when Big Bang 2 happened, and then lived on Earth till 2010 and Amy’s wedding?

• Nooooo!

“An Egyptian goddess loose on the Orient Express. In space.” That’s just a cheeky tease. “Don’t worry about a thing, Your Majesty — we’re on our way.” Is that Liz Ten on the other end of the line?

This is gonna be some honeymoon for Amy and Rory. A married couple as companions? That’s gonna bring a whole new kind of interesting to life on the TARDIS…

• Great quotes:

“I just don’t want her growing up and joining one of those star cults. I don’t trust that Richard Dawkins.” –Aunt Sharon, about Amelia

“I’ve got a future. That’s nice.” –the Doctor

“Your girlfriend isn’t more important than the whole universe.” –the Doctor
“She is to me!” –not-Rory

“Rubbish way to time-travel… Cheap and nasty. Very bad for you. I’m trying to give it up.” –the Doctor, about the vortex manipulator

“What in the name of sanity have you got on your head?” –River
“It’s a fez. I wear a fez now. Fezzes are cool.” –the Doctor

(I think Moffat is testing all the little eight-year-old fans: Will they all start wearing fezzes? How far can he push the kids? Ah, the power, the mad sweet power, to make the children of an entire nation do anything, wear anything. There’s a Doctor Who villain for ya: the Pied Piper of the BBC.)

“That’s my TARDIS burning up.” –the Doctor

“I dated a Nestene duplicate once. Swappable head. Did keep things fresh.” –River (and that would be true of regenerating-Time Lord boyfriends, too, wouldn’t it?)

“Rule One: the Doctor lies.” –River

“I was lying.” –the Doctor

“You always dance at weddings, don’t you?” –River
“You tell me.” –the Doctor

“You just saved the whole of space and time. Take the evening off. Maybe a bit of tomorrow.” –Rory

(next: not till frakkin’ Christmas!)

MPAA: not rated

viewed at home on a small screen

official site | IMDb
  • Lisa

    woo hoo usually have to go to sleep and then your review in the morning!!!!

    Going to read it now!!

  • Newbia

    Goodness, that review went up fast!

    Anyway: this was a good episode, but…not as good as I was hoping for. There’s nothing wrong with it, per se; everything just ended a little too nicely. Still, it did have some great emotional moments (I love Rory so much right now.) Also, the Richard Dawkins line made me totally crack up.

  • RyanT

    The Doctor, Amy, River… they rocked, but I fell in love with Rory in this episode. And the Doctor might’ve as well. His “boy who waited” quote was very heartfelt. So happy Rory seems to be sticking around.

  • JSW

    Well at least now we know what River was in Stormcage for. After all, what could be a greater “hero to many” than that magnificent fez?

  • Kat

    Regarding Rory’s memories, he did mention that he was plastic at the wedding reception (just after the Doctor pops up), though he must remember his vigil.
    River knowing that she has to give the battered blue (and empty) notebook in her possession to Amy is the biggest mystery of the episode to me, although it was nicely underplayed.

  • Count Spatula


    1. Will every story from now on begin with the Doctor coming back in time and telling himself (or companion) how to solve the trouble ahead? If that’s how he escapes the ultimate prison, then surely that’s the solution to every crisis from now on.

    2. If all of the Doctor’s enemies can meet in Roman Britain, does that mean they can all time travel now? The Doctor may have his rules about not changing certain key moments in time, but they won’t.

    3. If the Doctor reboots the universe exactly as it was, only without him having existed (before Amy’s wedding), then what happened when all those aliens invaded Earth in the past only to be stopped by the Doctor? “Turn Left” has already dealt with this idea, so you can’t simply ignore it now. Indeed, without the Doctor, would the Time War have had a different outcome?

    4. If you can create a Time Lord and a Tardis by thinking about them, are we now watching a fantasy series where any magic is possible instead of a science fiction show?

    I love Doctor Who, I’ve loved this season, and Matt Smith is fantastic. But it ended on the weakest episode, one that threw sense out of the window for the sake of a sentimental climax.

  • Lady Tenar

    I thought this episode was fantastic. And how cool was it to see that Doctor-with-the-jacket in Flesh and Stone really was a future Doctor and not a continuity error! That whole rewind scene was probably the best of the whole episode. And I also totally teared up when the Doctor was talking to little Amelia as she slept. Best acting from Smith all season, in my opinion.

    My opinion of the season is not quite as high, however. I don’t really get the point-of-view that this has been the best season yet (which a lot of people have.) I thought it was really great when Moffat was writing it (although I did have some major problems with Flesh and Stone). So in other words, the beginning of the season and the end of the season. But there was a serious decrease in quality whenever it was written by other writers besides Moffat (with a few notable exceptions). The characterizations and relationships were not handled nearly as well. I fell in love with Amy as a companion instantly in The 11th hour, but her character fizzled in the middle of the series and her relationship with the Doctor just didn’t have the emotional depth of the relationships he’s had with other companions. It didn’t quite ring true.

    And plus, I thought the sexual tension thing was handled a little sloppily. It was Amy’s choosing Rory that resolved that issue between Amy and the Doctor, so when Rory is written out of history, shouldn’t it once again be unresolved? Shouldn’t Amy’s entire relationship with the Doctor be rewritten since Rory influenced it from the beginning? I suppose you can sort of explain that away by saying that a little bit of Rory was left in Amy’s memory, but still, it’s not quite satisfying. Stuff like that bugged me.

    Basically, I think that although Moffat is a fantastic screewriter, he’s still finding his feet as a showrunner. I think he needs to learn how to manage the work other writers better (especially with regards to how they handle his characters.) And I just think there need to be some better writers besides Moffat working on show. Whatever the very loud, obnoxious Davies-haters may say, he is a loss because he wrote a lot of really excellent episodes. I’d love to see Paul Cornell of Father’s Day and Human Nature/Family of Blood return. And the promise of a Neil Gaiman episode is certainly exciting. (I just hope it’s “American Gods” Neil Gaiman and not “Neverwhere” Neil Gaiman).

    So yeah, this series had a great beginning a great end, and some great spots scattered in between but I’m hoping that next season Moffat will be as good a showrunner as he is a writer. That would be amazing.

  • Mo

    Quick note before I get my thoughts in order: Isn’t that first picture a little too spoilery to have on the front page for the handful of saintly types who just finished Vincent and the Doctor and still think Rory is lost?

  • Keith

    About the reset, we don’t know had much of the events from the previous season (or how much of anything in the universe really) got restored after the Big Bang 2 universe reboot. Think Moffat really just gave himself carte blanche to carry on any way he feels like now. Anything can now be different as a side effect of how it was restored (or not restored) by Big Bang 2.

    The whole episode was quite the temporal paradox. Rory frees the Doctor from the pandorica because future Doctor came back using the vortex manipulator to give Rory his sonic screwdriver to open the pandorica. The Doctor is in the future because he used Riversong’s vortex manipulator he picked up just after being freed from the pandorica. So which version of the Doctor came first? Very timey-whimy indeed.

    Maryann didn’t mention the scene during the Doctor’s rewind where he appeared during the Weeping Angel’s episode to talk to Amy while she had her eyes closed. We speculated this was a future version of the Doctor because it could be seen he was still wearing a coat (and a slightly different version at that) than he had been before the Angel grabbed the coat off the earlier version.

    The part about Amy being able to pull the Doctor back into existence did seem rather magical. Wonder if we ever get more of an explanation for how this happened. This whole season seems to be a prelude to an even larger story arc to continue next season. It was a very good season and am looking forward to see where Moffat takes it from here.

  • I’m fascinated with the way Rory went from useless schlub to romantic hero through this series. The guy won us over!

  • RyanT

    @Count Spatula

    Here’s a worthwhile essay for you to read that addresses your #4 point: http://georgemann.wordpress.com/2010/06/27/moffats-doctor-who-or-how-i-stopped-worrying-and-learned-to-love-the-dalek-bomb/

  • Liz

    The thing I loved most about the episode was that some of the loose ends haven’t been tied up, but they clearly aren’t going to be forgotten. We saw a lot of effects and their subsequent solution, but we still didn’t find out the cause — who- or whatever made the TARDIS explode. It’s a cliffhanger, but with enough closure so that the fans aren’t beating themselves up waiting for December. Perhaps your theory about events being made up in the Doctor’s head will carry on to the Christmas episode or even Series 6? I’d love to see him facing his inner demons, although I’m not sure younger viewers would get it as much.

    But I digress. I love River Song now. Like, intense-girl-crush-and-contemplating-a-marriage-proposal love, and it’s probably because she’s not flirting with My Doctor (David Tennant) anymore. I’m too territorial for my own good. But by God, if I can’t have a Doctor, I hope I can at least find a Rory for myself . . .

  • MaryAnn

    Quick note before I get my thoughts in order: Isn’t that first picture a little too spoilery to have on the front page for the handful of saintly types who just finished Vincent and the Doctor and still think Rory is lost?

    Ugh! Maybe! It seemed like every image I wanted to use at the top was potentially spoilish. Lessee if I can find something else…

    Okay, swapped out. Better?

  • Lisa

    I love Rory and am glad he’s still on board – I think it’s great we have a male companion.

    Like I said on the Pandorica thread – it was very curse of Fatal Death. I can’t figure out how the Dr got out of the box – he didn’t have the vortex manipulator with him when he was imprisoned, so that pissed me off.

    I agree with Count Spatula because it’s hard to figure out how this will affect the next series, as many questions weren’t answered or even addressed. (I’ll check out that essay Ryan T). While, initially, I really liked the ending, the more I thought about it, the more I felt that Moffatt waved a magic wand and magically reset everything. That’s a disappointment when you think of how tight, clever and logical the writing is on his other scripts. Saying it’s all a fairytale does not excuse gaps in the writing.

    Throughout the series I have felt that a lot of stuff has been left to the side, that the episodes have not had a cohesive feel to them so I was waiting for the finale to wrap them up … which it didn’t. We still don’t have a clue what’s going on! So the unresolved inconsistencies bother me.

    It’s interesting that during the RTD era, the companions were “normal” people and yet the ones that Moffat has chosen are extraordinary. I mean, imagine what power Amy has in her head if she can bring the Dr back to reality by using only her memory! Can she use this to wipe out a Dalek? And Rory has 2,000 years of earth history in his head – nearly as good on Earth history as the Dr! I can’t wait to hear Rory say 1853 well that was a boring year – weather was good in April, though.

    The rumour is that the next time River appears she’s meeting the Dr for the first time … so that’s why everything changes!

    oh and sent you a cool email about Matt Smith, MaryAnn

  • Man, Rory was great this week. Moffat understood that in order for us to really love Rory and demonstrate that he really deserved Amy, he’d have to do something that the doctor never could. The doctor is the kind of guy who skips to the end of the story (he uses museums to keep score!) – Rory waits. And no doubt has 2000 years worth of stories to reference next year!

  • Chris

    I think the only major negative I came away with from this season was that things were WAY too inter-twined for me. Previously, I liked the way that “Bad Wolf” was seeded; when the Slitheen survivor called the power plant “Bad Wolf” in Welsh (forget what it was), and the little hints here and there. Parts of this season felt like a 4 or 5 episode-long episode. I love picking at the details, and this was a decent season, but I thought some of it got tedious.

    I had the same reaction to BSG after about 2 seasons, so maybe it’s just me.

  • Oh, and my girlfriend has a theory she wants me to mention here – that Moffat had a 2-year storyline mapped out before he knew David Tennant was leaving, starting with Amy’s introduction and ending with River having to kill DT-Doctor for some as-yet-unfathomable reason.

    This would explain the fact that River clearly had more than one adventure with DT-Doctor before her ‘death’.

    If that proves to be the case, hopefully he’s changed the outline enough that there won’t just be one more season of Matt Smith.

  • Ken

    It’s too bad Rory didn’t know about Captain Jack. He could have dug him up and they could have shared sentry duties.

    I’ve been wondering how much Amy and Rory remember as well. Does Amy remember both having and not having parents?

  • I liked this episode quite a bit. I had some minor problems (as Count Spatula mentioned), but you can fuzzify the logic a little by saying that since the crack was repaired and Amy was “special” in ways Donna was not, everything works.

    I was thrilled when Rory was brought back. I thought he was a fun character and I hated to see him die a few episodes back, though it was inevitable. Actually, when he tried so hard to not shoot Amy in the previous episode, you knew he had quality if even if wound up almost killing her.

    Ditto River Song. I thought she was about the most compelling character Moffat ever came up with, so I’m glad we will see more of her story arc. She and Alex Kingston both deserve that.

    My basic beef for this year – I like the smaller, more intimate episodes. Blink is one of the best interpretations of time travel ever. It’s so heartfelt, I still cry every time I’ve seen it. “It’s the same rain” is one of the most evocative lines in science fiction. I hope they find a way to do something with Sally Sparrow in a future season. Father’s Day. The Girl in the Fireplace. Turn Left. The smaller episodes without the traditional villains.

    Almost all of this year’s episodes fell into the “bigger is better” trap, which was sad.

    Even the finale could have been much simpler and accomplished many of the same plot points around the characters.

    I don’t think every past villainous race had to show up to “trap” the Doctor. The notion that the whole Roman situation sprang from Amy’s imaginative past was very interesting. That the Panopticon was the Doctor’s prison was a great concept. I don’t think the universe had to almost end so the Doctor could reboot it. It only mattered that the Doctor almost died/couldn’t regenerate but Amy was the one who could bring him back.

  • Mo

    Hmm… Jack. Sorry, open endings make my head keep at it, but is River another former time agent like Jack?

    She has the era, the attitude (especially the attitude), the ex-boyfriend (that’s what got me started…), the lipstick like Captain John’s, the ability to understand time wobbles like she had been trained, she can navigate the criminal underground in a way travelling with the Doctor would never teach, and she can effortlessly use a vortex manipulator. Is she part of Captain Jack’s missing time? Does this mean we’ll get to see Captain Jack’s past next year? Exciting times ahead…

    At least she does care for him though, she was trying not to cry when she was freaking out that Dalek.

    Ugh! Maybe! It seemed like every image I wanted to use at the top was potentially spoilish. Lessee if I can find something else…Okay, swapped out. Better?

    Much better. ^.^ River already said she’d be back. Suddenly I understand why there wasn’t a trailer for this week, much as it drove me crazy…

  • Ken

    I’m still trying to figure out why Amy didn’t remember the Daleks. It couldn’t be as simple as the idea that, for a time, in this episode at least, the Daleks had never existed, could it?

  • @Mo … love the theory that River is a time agent like Jack.

    I had some of my own thoughts about Rory that I wanted to share. It’s clear that the Doctor remembers Rory’s 2000 year vigil. I think it really happened and that this now is indeed “plastic Rory” … it all happened … I mean, didn’t it?

    I think about the image of Rory pulling the Pandorica from the fire to save the woman he loves and I think … even if “plastic Rory” is gone … this is the “spirit of love” that Rory is capable of … and Moffit isn’t done showing us this.

    In fact I think “the greatest man she ever knew” who River kills will be Rory … and it will be a sacrafice to save the Doctor. River would afford such a title to a man capable of the level of self sacrifice Rory has demonstrated.

    I didn’t think I was going to like Rory … but now I want to see so much more from him. He’s a super hero.



  • Alli

    I’m surprised no one has mentioned the first few moments of the show. I yelled, “Moffat is a genius!” at my computer when I saw Amy. By far my favorite moment of the episode.

    So does the episode make sense compared to previous storylines from past seasons? No. But that isn’t the first time this has happened. RTD did it too (Doctor dies of radiation, when a couple years earlier he redirects a bunch of absorbed radiation into his shoe). I will take messy timey-whimey stuff compared to the Master having a horcrux any day.

    I am upset that we didn’t find out who the bad guy is, or what Myth is. I guess that’s either for Christmas or next season, so we have something to look forward too. I still think it’s the Black Guardian. I still wish I knew what the point of The Lodger was in the framework of the entire season, but maybe there wasn’t one.

    Moffat understood that in order for us to really love Rory and demonstrate that he really deserved Amy, he’d have to do something that the doctor never could. The doctor is the kind of guy who skips to the end of the story (he uses museums to keep score!) – Rory waits. And no doubt has 2000 years worth of stories to reference next year!

    Some would argue that it was Amy who needed to prove she deserved Rory. Rory always loved her. It was Amy who was hesitant and jerking him around, but that’s because she couldn’t trust anyone. Everyone she ever loved disappeared in her life and she didn’t know why.

    I will say, however, that Rory and Arthur Darvill had to prove himself to me, and boy did he. Arthur and Karen lacked chemistry for most of the season, but that all changed in the last two episodes. Rory went from punching bag to sexy Roman Centurion fairytale legend. Dear Edward Cullen, that is how you do protective boyfriend and make it romantic instead of creepy. Team Rory for the win.

  • In “Coupling” (written by Moffat) Steve tells Susan that Jane had an ex-boyfriend who always used to yell, “Geronimo!” upon making an entrance. It was the Doctor that made Jane crazy. He was the ex-boyfriend to whom Steve is referring and he left her alone on earth to become crazy Jane. (How’s that for some Fan-Fiction for you Maryann?)


  • J.R.

    I am, perhaps, in the minority. I can’t wait for Rory to go away again. It just seemed cheesy: spending 2,000 years sitting around protecting Amy. Over-the-top. Like: We have to make Rory noble! Let’s have him do the most noble, boring thing ever! I miss what happened to Mickey. At least he became his own person. Rory’s existence still entirely revolves around Amy. I don’t like that. They are not a good fit. She doesn’t value him the way he does her, and really, I wish he would become more of his own person. Amy and the doctor make WAY more sense together. They fit. Her personality is like River’s. And ugh, I know they want this to be a family show, but Amy and 11 have SO much sexual chemistry. Why can’t the doctor and his companion become, at least, friends with benefits? I don’t think it would be so bad, in fact it might be appropriate for both of them.

    Come on, Moffatt. Just a little 11/Amy, before the inevitable, and inevitably wonderful time with River. Kick boring 1-note Rory to the curb.

  • Mo

    It’s interesting that this actually turned out to be a deus ex machina reset button episode but it *still* doesn’t feel like it, and I think I finally realized why:

    There’s a big difference between spontaneously magicing something away, and logicing it away in an internally consistent way. Everything revealed all makes perfect sense (apart from that hat). Nothing came out of nowhere, it was set up well and explained away with a quick line here and there that tied in existing things. (Except for, of course next season things…) It was satisfying. Well it had me grinning ear to ear from the moment future Fez Doctor showed up, anyway.

    I’ve been wondering how much Amy and Rory remember as well. Does Amy remember both having and not having parents?

    That’s the impression I got. They lived their regular lives as if there hadn’t been any cracks, and they remember that reality, but then they got all their old memories back too from before the reset.

    I think it really happened and that this now is indeed “plastic Rory” … it all happened … I mean, didn’t it?

    Well he says at the wedding: “How could we forget the Doctor? I was plastic. He was the stripper at my stag party.”

    The Doctor gives Rory an explanation for how it could be after he tests Rory to see if it’s really him: “Memories are more powerful than you think and Amy Pond is not an ordinary girl. Grew up with a time crack in her wall- the universe pouring through her dreams every night. The Nestenes took a memory print of her and got a bit more than they bargained for. Like you: not just your face, but your heart and your soul.” So yes, Auton Rory was a plastic duplicate, but because he had been sucked into the crack and Amy’s memories were so connected to that crack, by copying her memories the Autons got the real deal: Rory’s original essence was trapped in the Auton shell and that’s why he could remember dying- because it really was him. Just before he flies off the Doctor tells Amy that she can bring her parents back because she already brought Rory back- which would back up his earlier explanation.

    When everything reset and then Amy remembered, because it was the real Rory who had done all that stuff in his other body, he could remember his time in plastic and still be totally human now. Should make him a good match for the Doctor- 2000 years of memories is a lot more than 900.

    What I’d like to know is once Amy remembered the Doctor, how much of the old timeline came back too? Most importantly, does Vincent remember them? Does the couple in the Lodger? Where’s Father Octavian now?

    …And if both Rory and River are back next season, and it’s earlier on River’s time-line, how come she didn’t know him? He was just that centurion to her.

  • JohnnyInc

    I came pretty close to sussing out where they were heading after the last episode:

    I am still not convinced it is in his head. Seems like you can use the it’s-all-a-dream plot device for any show… like Dallas (ugh). But it might be something close to a dream. Like things remembered can be real again. Like in Eleventh hour when Prisoner Zero used Amy’s memories to find a new disguise but the Doctor made her think of his true form. Or in the Angel episode where Amy thought her arm was turning to stone but the Doctor made her snap out of it by biting her. The Alliance made the Pandorica by using her memories, maybe her memories are the key to saving the day…

    …I still think the “Doctor in the TARDIS” phrase has been a clue all season long. River managed to travel through time without the TARDIS and it turns out she has a time agents wrist device/time vortex manipulator. Maybe the Doctor will end up with it and travel to Amy in the 2nd weeping Angel episode.

    So the end of the episode has the Doctor trapped and nobody to save him. Except River… and a Rory robot just outside the chamber. Maybe a heart broken Rory and River in the TARDIS are all the Doctor needs.

    I guess it was a vague notion but it sort of worked out like that…

  • History of Bubbles

    The screwdrivers throw off sparks perhaps due to some temporally-based function or component. Whatever it is, there is something unique to the sonic screwdriver that causes it to spark when it touches another copy of itself from a different point in time. It doesn’t necessarily follow that the same thing would happen to two people, or two of anything else, touching.

    Also, the reason it was fine for the Doctor to touch himself (heh) or Amelia herself, but not Rose in “Father’s Day,” is because a person touching another temporal version of themselves only normally causes a small, manageable wobble in time. It could destabilize that point in time a bit, but as long as you don’t go any farther than that, and as long as the underlying timeline is in good shape, you should be okay. But in the case of “Father’s Day,” that point in time was already weakened by Rose and the Doctor crossing their own timelines, and pushed to the breaking point by Rose causing a paradox on top of that. Things were hanging by a thread by that point so all it took was the minor irritant of her touching her baby self to allow the freaky creature things to break through.

  • I can’t help marvel at the fact that The Alliance Against the Doctor works because it draws on the Pandora’s Box myth. Once they have done their duty (the box has been opened and hope has been trapped inside it) they can be discarded. Is that risky story-telling that depends on fan love to go with it, or the work of a really confident script writer?

    No complaints from me about the voodoo that brought the doctor back to the wedding either – it felt justified because the importance of memory had been prefigured and telegraphed through the series. It also sealed Amy’s transformation from a victim of the Doctor and four psychiatrists to a confident, sure-of-her-own-mind character. Brilliant. As Her MAJesty has said previously (in the context of Lost and American Life on Mars), it was a plot device that told us important things about the characters rather than a convenient way to get the writers out of a hole.

  • RogerBW

    I’m with Newbia and Count Spatula: lovely bits as it went along, but overall it felt like sound and fury.

    If anything can happen, if every problem will be solved by a new and unexpected ability (magic time stuff, magic emotional bomb, magic power-of-imagination), where’s the narrative tension? Was there any doubt at all while watching this episode that everyone would end up happy? Oh, sure, you can destroy the universe. Got the guts to leave it destroyed? Or even to have just one character’s story end? Absolutely not.

    So: very pretty, and a lot better than some of this season’s episodes, but I feel I’m left with lots of loose ends and absolutely no conviction that there’s any real plan behind it (see Lost, Alias, etc.).

  • Jackie

    Rory clearly does remember being plastic (and the Doctor being the stripper at his stag do, though if I recall the Doctor didn’t take his clothes of then, well at least not on camera, but given the ominous sound of a glass being smashed he might well have had to do a bit more to get out of that situation than could be shown at prime family time). However, the nearly 2,000 years which Rory remembers would be in a timeline where history is rubbish and totally messed up.

    Rory now is clearly up for adventure and his experience will probably make him a highly capable companion. Of course this now begs the question as to why River didn’t recognise him, as she clearly recognised Amy from previously (which hasn’t happened yet).

  • NickT

    You realise that there’s a very high probability that Rory ran into Jack at some point.
    The fanfic possibilities are hard to keep track of.

    As for the various paradoxes, I think that’s just a result of the situation. He’s never been able to use a vortex manipulator that precisely before, but as he said, the universe is tiny now. All of the rules have been thrown out the window, so he’s not seeing any reason to stick to them.

    Is there no love for him creating his own mini stable time-loop? Going back and stealing Amelia’s drink to give to her because she was thirsty because someone stole her drink?

  • DennisN

    Knowing that Moffat has used computer hard drives in stories before (the Library), I have a slightly more mechanically based thought on why Amy’s memory was able to bring the Doctor back.

    When the Pandorica exploded along with the TARDIS, it’s restorative light hit every point in time with the bits contained within of the old universe. The Doctor was in that box too, but because he needed to be on the other side of the crack to close it, he needed to be erased.

    On a computer, when a file is erased (unless you take extra measures to write over the old data) all that’s truly erased are the references to the file location in the drive index. There are ways to reconstruct that information in the index and recover it if the drive hasn’t been changed too much.

    To me, with the help of a few pointers like River’s diary and the visual clues to the Doctor, Amy’s special crack-influenced memory was able to put back together all the places where the Doctor still occupied the universe, but had been lost to the crack’s erasure.

    The way I look at it, she didn’t so much bring him back as she showed the universe where he’d been. Perhaps that was enough for him to be able to pull himself back (to me, that bookends nicely with him pulling himself up out of the damaged TARDIS in The Eleventh Hour) or perhaps it reminded the time stream that something important still needed to be recovered.

    Though that still begs the question of why she didn’t remember the Daleks with her super memory or why the Cyberking in Victorian England was still forgotten.

    I also wonder why River couldn’t bring him back when she so clearly remembered him more fully than Amy did? Perhaps Amy’s exposure to the crack in her wall made her more connected to the time stream, or perhaps it has something to do with how River is different. Looking forward to finding out more of that next season.

    I’m also wondering why destroy the entire universe? Who would benefit? I’d have to go back and check, but when the Daleks planned to do it in series 4, didn’t they have a means to destroy everything but themselves?

    Perhaps the being that set all this in motion needed the Doctor’s solution of ‘Big Bang Two’ to inject something new — and purposely placed inside the Pandorica — into the whole of the universe and time and took the gamble that the Doctor would do just what he did to save everyone? At any rate, the destruction of the TARDIS was no accident and the following universe collapse was shown as the given result of such an explosion, so we seem to be dealing with something suicidal and bent on complete destruction or something with a very complex plan.

    Either way, I’m really looking forward to next season. (Oh, and have been enjoying the Who blogging and comments quite a bit, so many thanks to all.)

  • McFeely

    I’m thinking River is going to be an enemy of the Doctor. I just have this feeling, that everyone is completely off about her. Obviously it doesn’t stay that way, but we have yet to get to the point where River first meets the Doctor, it may not have gone so smoothly.

  • DennisN

    @ McFeely

    That would gel with some of the negative things that have been teased of her past so far and her apology to the Doctor. Seeing the show has often been about redemption or hope, you could very well be on to something.

  • Lisa

    I can’t imagine River Song being in anyway impressed with the Dr.



    If I got a hold of that, I would definitely read it- you can keep Pirates of the Carribean 4!

  • Lisa

    “(Was this the most perfect season of Doctor Who ever? I think maybe it was.)”

    Maybe some sort of season overview is warranted?

  • Mark

    First off – yes McFeely I do wonder if River is motivated as much by remorse as anything else.

    Can I just say though that I do wonder, looking at some reviews and comments, if we’re not missing a key fact – and I’m guilty too, here, though I have a panel of three daughters to keep reminding me.

    Namely: it’s a family programme – by which I mean a programme that aims to span generations but that MUST cater for, and always be partly (maybe mostly) aimed at, children.

    So, if the Amy/Rory dynamic ain’t quite Shakespeare, if whatever internal consistency you expect from a light-heart time travel sci-fi romp isn’t adhered to, if the ending isn’t “brave” enough to kill off universes and/or a slew of characters… well, duh, it’s a family programme!

    Let’s not forget, the target audience doesn’t stream this at 2am while referring to the past 31 series for canonical errors: it sits down at tea time between ‘Hole-in-the-Wall’ and ‘Celebrity Come Dance On Ice with Andrew Lloyd-Webber’, or some such. Jaded sci-fi grognards, fanfic addicts, people who think “Torchwood: Children of Earth” was a bit too jolly and people who are prone to say “I remember when…” a lot – we’re all here on sufferance, folks. We’re invited to the party but it isn’t being thrown for us!

    And in my household the junior panel were excited, enthralled and made happy. They watched it again and talked about it over and over. That will always put it in perspective for me!

  • Ed Duffy

    On first watch, I enjoyed this episode a lot as I was watching but it didn’t really stay with me afterwards; I couldn’t take in the story as a whole. But as with last week, I found a second viewing really opened it up and revealed its beauty. Yes, the Doctor’s escape was a bit “Bill and Ted”, but so what? ‘Blink’ was based around a similar paradox, for one.

    The whole two-parter was chock-a-block with “wow” moments; the pre-credits sequences alone were a joy. And I love the way we’ve been skipping around different genres: horror, fairytale, tragi-comedy, action-adventure, you name it. The scenes in the museum were pretty much farce, with a vortex manipulator in place of opening and closing bedroom doors. And I loved the “Stay out of … trouble” line, addressed to Rory and Amelia 1800 years apart.

    I can’t understand why one or two people have been left cold by the emotional content of this series. At least two or three scenes here were heartbreaking, with the “silly old Doctor” speech to a sleeping Amelia being the most moving for me. (By the way, isn’t Matt Smith superb at the emotional scenes? What a revelation he’s been.)

    Overall, a terrific series with a Doctor who hit the ground running from his first minute on screen. Dull Silurians two-parter and all-new, United Daleks of Benneton excepted, a complete triumph. And I do hope that “Orient Express in space” was a throwaway pisstake of Voyage of the Damned, and not what we’ve got coming in the Christmas special.

  • @Mark – yes, yes, yes! I’ve been blogging this series of Who and making similar points (less eruditely, I suspect) since Ep 1. My five-year-old daughter adores Doctor Who. She has made me make fish custard (twice). We have to avoid ‘the cracks in the universe’ when walking to school. She is on the lookout for blue grass (in case there are Silurians). Moffat has made this series for kids (and said so – quite explicitly) right from the start. The fact that the grown-ups can love it too merely accentuates his genius as far as I’m concerned.

  • Isobel

    I just loved this episode – it made me happy. I even started seeing the chemistry between Amy and Rory, the lack of which has been irritating me all season.

    Matt Smith was rather superb, Ed, I agree. I adore River and am ridiculously excited that there seems to be a lot more of her on the way. The scene in the Tardis between the Doctor and River (the ‘hello, darling, I’m home’ scene) was fantastic – River had the measure of the Doctor and it was just great. People almost never know things that he doesn’t, so I’m finding his reaction to River’s knowing things he doesn’t brilliant. So well played by Alex Kingston and Matt Smith as well.

    I was really expecting to find out who’s been controlling the Tardis, so that was frustrating but a two-series cohesive arc isn’t a bad thing so I’ll just have to lump it, won’t I?

    Also really looking forward to the Neil Gaiman episode (I’ve heard it’s going to be Episode 5, I think it’s on Neil Gaiman’s blog).

    Only thing is, I’m still waiting to find out why there weren’t any ducks on the duck pond!

  • Emrys

    For awesome cognitive dissonance, after reading Maryanne’s recaps, go read Jacob’s over at http://www.televisionwithoutpity.com

  • Barb

    The finale was more ‘lowkey’ than in the past and that is a positive. RTD usually threw everything he could find but the kitchen sink (too over the top such as the Flash Gordon feel or the Cyberking) and many times ruined the episode for me. Here, you could see that Moffat actually had two themes working this series – the crack and silence shall fall. The silence will be continued into the next series.

    Totally different from what I had expected but this is also a positive. Rory has become a favorite of mine (though Amy still grates on the nerves). River is also endearing and look forward to her future appearances – see seems to have the funkiest introes in her episodes. A lot of timey whimey stuff here where the supporting characters nudged the Doctor to do his pop ins and outs across the timelines. Poor pez, River so did not like the thing (way to go).

    Overall this series was bland for me with just a handful (if even that) of episodes that stood out and very few I even wanted to re-watch after viewing them. The redos of the rainbow/Power Ranger Daleks was lousy and those were lizard people not the Silurians we are all familiar with. Hopefully the next series will improve and bring some stability along with better titles (dump the lightning finally) and theme.

  • Lisa

    I thought TWOP stopped doing them ages ago!

  • DaveTM

    Most of the “hole” are filled in. Since Count Spatula addressed them with numbers I’ll address them the same way

    1. The Doctor has met other Doctor’s several times, but always under special conditions, in Fathers Day doing so causes huge harm to the time stream. Time is ending I don’t think the Doctor cared about a little more damage if it had a chance at fixing the problem. Not something you do on a daily basis.

    2. Daleks can time travel so technically they could have brought some of them along but honestly why couldn’t they have existed in that year. We never know what year it is on Earth when the Doctor is in space. My only issue is the Cybermen who I thought got sucked back into the rift but hey they got out once before.

    3. Everything in the universe but Earth doesn’t exist so therefore no Daleks to attack. If you are talking about after the Pandorica explodes then you end up with different Daliks since Tom Baker changed their history at one point. Also even when other people are erased their effect on the timeline isn’t “Rory’s ring” so it all happened just no one remembers.

    4. Amy was “different” as the Doctor put it. She was soaking up the light from the crack for years and years. That’s what allowed her to bring back the Doctor. If River had tried it he wouldn’t have been able to do it that’s why she had to give the book to Amy since she obviously still remembered the Doctor. River has time traveled alot and was there when the Doctor sacrificed himself so I have no issues with her remembering since the Doctor remembered Rory when he was eaten.

  • Ed Duffy

    posted by Ken (Sun Jun 27 10, 11:24PM)

    I’m still trying to figure out why Amy didn’t remember the Daleks. It couldn’t be as simple as the idea that, for a time, in this episode at least, the Daleks had never existed, could it?

    Presumably the Dalek and Cybermen invasions of RTD-era Who had been swallowed up by the cracks, so they had been erased from existence in the original Universe.

    One thing bothers me about the ‘rebooted’ Universe, though. How come the various alien plans of past series weren’t now successful with no Doctor to stop them? OK, once Amy summons the Doctor at her wedding, his past timeline is presumably restored as well, and all is back as it was. But how did they even survive to the date of Amy’s wedding without the planet being wiped out by Daleks/Cybermen/Autons/The Master/Sontarans/whoever?

  • Joe

    Of course, starting with the Ascot of #2, the Sash of #3 – the Fez of #11 will endure. Of course, I’m biased – starting watching with #2 and the ol B&W days… it’s been ‘fascinating’ to see the incarnations since. (Class Reunion had me almost to tears at the end, very classy)

    And as far as fezzes, I’m really biased – http://www.fez-o-rama.com – and wait for it – a police call box fez shortly! ;)

    Have fun.

  • DaveTM

    Ed Duffy – Like the ring in the TARDIS a persons actions somehow aren’t erased when they are eaten by the crack just the memory of those actions.

  • Elisa_Maria

    I loved the episode, and I’m choosing to ignore many of the holes because I think the final product was worth it. (And also because, as was mentioned before, it IS a kids’ show.)

    But there’s one thing that really bugs me, and I haven’t seen it mentioned: if the Pandorica was the strongest prison ever, with loads of different mechanisms keeping it shut, how could a sonic screwdriver open it? I mean, can we really believe that there was no “dead-locked seal”?

  • Ryan H

    With regards to getting the Pandorica open; It’s a prison. Easier to break in than break out. From the inside it’s secure and from the outside you just have to turn the key.

  • RogerBW

    Ryan H, except that the first time it took lots of fiddling from the Doctor, and the second time it took Amelia’s DNA.

    And if it had been that easy, there wouldn’t have been all the mystery about what was inside…

  • Pat Mustard

    Then there’s River, who is pretty much the most awesome babe ever

    You certainly have to admire someone who can force a Dalek to beg for mercy..

    Which isn’t granted.


    I liked the ‘Anti-Doctor’ Alliance in that it showed you who the Big Bad WASN’T; the usual suspects – Daleks, Cybermen etc – were all shown reacting to the threat so clearly weren’t the cause of it as per usual. Which makes me hope it’ll turn out to be something completely new..

    I must also admit to a lump in the throat during the telling of the legend of the ‘Lone Centurion'(sniff, sniff).

  • Alex Kingston is quoted as saying she jumped at the chance to play River Song in the first place because it was as close to playing Ripley from Alien(X) as she’d ever get the chance to play.

  • Martin

    Loved this episode and it’s a brilliantly written and performed episode.

    Regarding the Doctor’s escape from the Pandorica.

    There are (as far as I’m aware) two types of paradox. There’s the ones where effect cancels out cause, these are usually typified by the Grandfather paradox; you go back in time to kill your grandfather. This means that you are never born to go back in time. The effect (dead Grandfather) negates the cause (you). This is, of course, impossible.
    The other type of paradox is the one we saw in Big Bang, Blink and Time Crash. In these situations, the effect (in this case, the Doctor escaping the Pandorica) creates the cause (the Doctor escaping the Pandorica). It seems mind-bending (because it is) but it’s not logically impossible, all it requires is that all parties involved do what they need to do to keep the loop going.

  • Ed Duffy

    Thanks DaveTM. Of course you’re right. Otherwise Amy, for example, would have ceased to exist when her parents were erased.

  • Lady Tenar

    (By the way, isn’t Matt Smith superb at the emotional scenes? What a revelation he’s been.)

    Actually, I’ve thought the emotional scenes have been something of a weak spot for him. He’s great at doing the whimsy but he’s been less good at capturing the darkness that lies just below it. (Tennant was wonderful at that.) That’s why I was so pleased to see how brilliantly he did that “silly old Doctor” speech to sleeping Amelia. He let us see just enough (but not too much) of the despair and loneliness he was feeling. I want to see more of that Matt Smith next season.

    Only thing is, I’m still waiting to find out why there weren’t any ducks on the duck pond!

    Yeah, that bothers me too. I can’t even tell if that was resolved or not. Are we meant to believe that the ducks were eaten by the crack but that enough of a memory of them was retained in Amy’s mind that she still knew to call it a duck pond? Or is it something else? Or did they just forget about it?

  • teganj

    There is no significance to the duckpond, it’s just a clever piece of foreshadowing. Amy Pond knew she had no parents (they’d been sucked into the crack and erased) but didn’t know why or how. The same with the duckpond, she knew it was a duckpond, but didn’t know why and couldn’t remember any ducks.

  • Vanessa

    Moffat is Green (or at least consistent)—Some ideas ecologically recycled from previous stories:

    Nanoparticles in the Pandorica—
    Interesting that the idea that you can recreate a Universe from a “few billion particles” trapped in the Pandorica, and that its restoration/healing of Amy had to do with obtaining the right DNA imprinting come straight out of “Empty Child.”

    The gorgeous, flirty time traveler with an attitude and a big gun—
    River Song has morphed into Captain Jack 2.0 (and I love it! I’ll fight you for her MaryAnn!) I think River started out as an “Indiana Jones” type figure –Archaeology Professor and space adventurer in SiL/FotD but now is more of a James Bond type.

    Of course, telepathic mind-melds from “Girl in the Fireplace”.

  • Vanessa

    However, I disagree that this episode is a repeat of Curse of Fatal Death as the Doctor was not purposely going back to pre-date an enemy’s plan—if he were to do that, he would’ve traveled back to where the Pandorica was built and insert a ejection button or something.

  • bronxbee

    Actually, I’ve thought the emotional scenes have been something of a weak spot for him. He’s great at doing the whimsy but he’s been less good at capturing the darkness that lies just below it. (Tennant was wonderful at that.)

    i totally agree on this… i have been missing the “dark side” of the Doctor (and David Tennant, of course. sigh) but matt smith *may* be growing into the character that way. next year will be definitive year.

  • Vanessa

    i have been missing the “dark side” of the Doctor (and David Tennant, of course. sigh)

    I agree, bronxbee. there have been may times that I missed Tennant’s gravitas and the inner life of the Doctor (though I would have liked Tennant in the top hat wedding scene which was as light as it gets!)

    Maybe it is for a series recap, but I have been musing on the fact that almost all the episodes must by definition have been written before Matt Smith’s doctor was really created and thus were probably written with Tennant in mind. I agree with whoever above said the whole arc with Amy was originally envisioned for Ten, though I don’t think River said she killed anyone till the start of this series.

  • Lisa

    In terms of the bipping and bopping about in time, it is a bit. You can’t do the Curse of Fatal Death in most episodes because he’s usually not able to travel back and forth along his own time line. But universe collapsing, rules get bent. It’s a very clever bit of writing in that respect.

  • Lisa

    I miss Tennant too but give Matt some time and a bit of rope.

    Tennant dancing? at another red head’s wedding – now that’s repetition

  • My issues with this episode can be summed up in four words:

    “Don’t. Touch. The baby.”

  • Lady Tenar

    Well, I did think Matt’s dancing was adorable. :-)

  • Lightwater

    I think this was the best DW finale. It’s hard to complain about the so-called paradox of the future doctor going back in time to let himself out of the Pandorica. Moffat did the same thing in Blink (the Doctor only knew what information to give Sally because future-Sally had given it to him, but then where did it come from in the first place…) and with River Song in the Library (presumably the future Doctor only knows to save her brainwaves to his sonic screwdiver because he remembers this trick from his experience in the library).

    It also wasn’t as deus-ex-machina as previous years, since the enemy (whoever it was) wasn’t defeated. I was kind of surprised that after the heavy foreshadowing of “The Silence” this year — in Eleventh Hour, Vampires of Venice and The Pandorica Opens — we are none the wiser about who/what this it, and about who/what blew up the Tardis.

    River is easily Moffat’s best Doctor Who idea/concept; the moment when she forced the Dalek to beg for mercy before murdering it was my favourite part of this episodes and as the Dalek pointed out, was so atypical for a companion of the Doctor’s, hinting at her character’s darker side, of which I’m excited to see more next series.

  • AndyM

    Okay… a lot to say-

    First, I loved this episode. I loved how Moffat had the balls to not make it the most action-packed finale ever, but still insert tons of humor (fezzes anyone?), lots of heart-wrenching scenes, and a clear resolution, while still leaving an exciting mystery for next season. In my opinion, this was the best season yet. I absolutely loved David Tennant and enjoyed RTD during their time, but their time is done! The time of Moffat and Smith is upon us, and if there is any mercy in the universe, it will be for quite a while!

    Hmm… Jack. Sorry, open endings make my head keep at it, but is River another former time agent like Jack?

    Love this theory! Kudos to you. Also, this reminds me how there has been a lot of 51st century references throughout NuWho (particularly in Moffat episodes). Jack is from then, and doesn’t River have something to do with that century also? If not born there, she at least lived there.

    Come on, Moffatt. Just a little 11/Amy, before the inevitable, and inevitably wonderful time with River. Kick boring 1-note Rory to the curb.

    NOOOOOOOO! God, no. Rory RULES, and the Doctor should be concentrating on River now. The Doctor needs no more romantic tensions with his companions. We have had quite enough of that, which is why everyone (including the Doctor) loved Donna so much- it was a nice breather.

    Did anyone else have a problem with Amy’s “you may definitely kiss the bride” and “snog in the shrubbery” lines? You are married now, woman! To an amazing man! And if you don’t want him, darn it, I’ll have him! Perhaps it was just Amy’s feisty, spontaneous personality, but they rubbed me the wrong way.

  • Vanessa

    Did anyone else have a problem with Amy’s “you may definitely kiss the bride” and “snog in the shrubbery” lines?

    Those were a little odd…at her wedding reception… I also didn’t understand her reaction to meeting her 7-year old self. I was hoping for some kind of wonder, thrill and maybe fear at the reality of seeing yourself as you really were in childhood, but she hopped out of the Pandorica, patted herself on the head, checked the hair, pronounced the year 1996, and then moved on to the business at hand. I understand she wasn’t surprised because the Doctor prepared her with a message in her head, but I was hoping for a little more.

    Frank Collins wrote an interesting review in the behindthesofa blog (http://www.behindthesofa.org.uk/2010/06/get-me-to-the-church-on-time.html) that discusses Amy’s arc as a sort of red riding hood motif growing from childhood to adulthood. it is long, but worth a read.

    I’ll tell you one thing–Now that Moffat married them off, I can’t see Amy on the Tardis without Rory, except for the occasionally split-them-up scenario–I hope he isn’t going to kill Rory (again) or give them a divorce.

  • One thing I found interesting and sort of tested me was the Doctor doing a scene from The Time Traveler’s Wife where he shows up after being mortally wounded from a Dalek’s weapon. Of course, he survived (was there ever any doubt?), but the last time he got shot by one of those his regeneration mechanism started kicking in. I can only assume he was counting on Rory and Amy not knowing that he can regenerate (they don’t, do they?). Otherwise, they would have been crying “The Doctor? Dead? No, not likely…”

    Obviously it didn’t bust open any continuity lines, but it sure was pushing them. :)

  • McFeely

    My issues with this episode can be summed up in four words:

    “Don’t. Touch. The baby.”

    This was under completely different circumstances though. In the Big Bang the Universe is collapsing the rules of time and space really don’t matter much at this point.

    In Father’s Day, Rose changed a fixed point in time. It caused chaos. (Something the time lords normally fixed but they are all timelocked) He warns Rose not to touch the baby because it will cause the creatures outside the church to get stronger.

  • DennisN

    I figured the Doctor survived the Dalek shot without starting to regenerate because the Dalek wasn’t at full power and the Doctor was able to get into the restorative light of the Pandorica moments after sending them off to be decoys. It wasn’t shown, but he could have used the vortex manipulator to cover the distance between the stairs and the box in his weakened condition.

    I’m guessing their reactions would have been much more panicked if they didn’t still have a live Doctor with them telling them to move on and pointing out that Amelia had vanished. Amy was also convinced that the Doctor would find a way out of it.

  • Pat Mustard

    i totally agree on this… i have been missing the “dark side” of the Doctor (and David Tennant, of course. sigh)

    Can’t say that I have – something had to give; Ten had just accumulated too much baggage for the series to support it all for much longer. Too many connections, relationships, in-jokes, precidents to sustain. Too self-reverential. All of that had to be stripped away somehow & this reboot (which is basically what this series was) is a magnificent way of doing it.

    Ten was good, but I think he hung around just a little too long – a four hour death scene (isn’t that basically what the specials were?) for the Doctor?!
    Hello? That’s all very well, but this is a being who doesn’t actually die! And it’s the ongoing, unbroken, story of the being known as the Doctor, not his current incarnation. Isn’t it?

    I’ll get my coat…

  • teganj

    One excellent rationalisation I read about the Doctor coming back from Amy’s memories is this – If Amy can remember the Doctor as a real person, then how logically can he not exist? It’s not so much the Doctor comes out of Amy’s memories, it’s more than the act of remembering him, means he has to exist. It’s like quantum theory, only marginally less silly.

  • DaveTM

    teganj – I agree with that and take it one step further. The Doctor was trapped on the other side of the crack and Amy had been soaking up the energies of a crack for over a decade. She didn’t wish him into existence she just freed him from the crack which she was tied to.

  • I figured the Doctor survived the Dalek shot without starting to regenerate because the Dalek wasn’t at full power and the Doctor was able to get into the restorative light of the Pandorica moments after sending them off to be decoys.

    I can accept your theory, and I see it in a similar way. I just think it wouldn’t have hurt for Moffat to feed us a little more on this one.

  • Joanne

    I can accept your theory, and I see it in a similar way. I just think it wouldn’t have hurt for Moffat to feed us a little more on this one.

    I think if he’d done so there’d have been a chorus of complaints that it mirrored the “Stolen Earth”/”Journey’s End” cliffhanger too much.

  • Mo

    I think I finally figured out what has been pestering me about this whole series- the obvious thing I couldn’t get.

    In the category of this kid has a bright future in broadcasting, armytedd (Moffat’s son) posted a new interview with his dad of them watching The Big Bang together: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zs1mIAMTE0c and Moffat talks some about the things that scare him and how the original crack was over one of the kids’ beds.

    And it occurred to me watching that that this season has not (as some journalists have spun it) been a season about being scared of the monster under the bed (or more literally the cracks above it.)

    This was ultimately a season about being a parent who is scared of the monster under your kid’s bed.

    It’s about knowing that you can’t protect your kids from everything and the classic parent’s fear that something might happen to you and then what would happen to them? And I think there’s a little bit of wish fulfilment there too- that if something did happen the Doctor would be there to save them from the things you couldn’t. I don’t know if it was a concious theme or not, but it was the biggest theme, I think- the root of the larger plot arc.

    I have watched the 11th hour so many times that I probably know all the lines by now. I love it so much and it’s such a great episode. But I watched it again today after I realized all of that and for the first time after we learned the truth about Amy, and all of the sudden this was an entirely different episode. Even knowing that she gets a happy ending later on, that is one heartbreaker of a story. So many lines have entirely different meanings when you realize the most important people in her life have just been taken away. No wonder fearless Amelia Pond was terrified of the thing. No wonder she already had a problem when “people” said they would be right back, they didn’t come back from that crack, and she had to grow up all alone with the half-memory of them disappearing.

    There are some pretty deep parental nightmares buried right there.

  • Man, Rory was great this week. Moffat understood that in order for us to really love Rory and demonstrate that he really deserved Amy, he’d have to do something that the doctor never could. The doctor is the kind of guy who skips to the end of the story (he uses museums to keep score!) – Rory waits.

    And even then he ends up having to share his wedding night with another guy. Poor Rory!

    However, it should be pointed out to those who watching at home that just waiting doesn’t always win the girl over. It would be nice if it worked that way but it doesn’t.

    Why can’t the doctor and his companion become, at least, friends with benefits? I don’t think it would be so bad, in fact it might be appropriate for both of them.

    It’s funny that you say that because at the end of this episode, I found myself wishing River Song was the Doctor’s companion for next season and not Amy Pond. Especially since this is the first episode River has appeared in that she seemed like an actual spouse as opposed to seeming like a flirtatious ex-girlfriend like she normally does.

    I wouldn’t mind seeing the Doctor and River indulge in a few marital privileges next season–behind closed doors, of course–but I doubt that’s going to happen. No doubt because of all the Puritans on this forum. ;-)

  • My issues with this episode can be summed up in four words:

    “Don’t. Touch. The baby.”

    You’re not implying what I think you’re implying, right? Because I didn’t think that Amy’s wedding was that kind of wedding–though I hear it does happen even in the best of families…

  • Vanessa

    This was ultimately a season about being a parent who is scared of the monster under your kid’s bed.

    That is a great observation Mo–and I too have watched Eleventh hour many times–it is close to perfect. Maybe MaryAnn could post an entry on favorite nu-who episodes while we wait for Christmas.

    Thinking about that theme, it works well with the presentation of Amy all season as very childlike–the girl who never really grew up. Her clothes, including the red riding hood outfit of flesh and stone, and the miniskirts and hot pants, are infantilizing even while they are meant to be sexy. Maybe that is why I found the “snogging” scene so off-putting–I don’t think of her as a grown-up. In fact, when she announces in “Vincent and the Doctor” that she is going to order a bottle of wine and share it, I fully expected her to be carded*!

    *being carded is a US expression for being asked for proof of age when buying alcohol.

  • I can accept your theory, and I see it in a similar way. I just think it wouldn’t have hurt for Moffat to feed us a little more on this one.

  • supamatt

    “the other sort of paradox” ie not {killing} the grandfather, but pre affecting your own history, was used by Heinlein in ‘By his bootstraps’ 1941. It is also the origin of the word booting (bootstrapping) used in computing, and of course, in this episode, the universe.

  • Steve

    You cried? Yes I cried at how frustratingly disappointing this episode was. Especially after the genius of episode 12.

    Did anyone make sense of this? I doubt even Moffat himself knew what he was trapsing on about.

    How did he escape in the first place?
    What about the Paradoxes?
    I thought he was trapped in the never-space forever??
    How did Rory not go insane, but be completely sane??
    How did he tug the box through a fire???

    This episode tops Flesh and Stone on the extremly-disappointing rating. Simply because it didn’t make a lick of sense within the narrative.

    Here’s hoping next season will wash the bitternes out of my mind.

    btw, I almost cried at The End of Time p2 simply because David Tennant is one of the world’s finest actors – how could you not feel for the guy throughout that eppy??


    According to Moffat, those questions will be solved next season.

  • McFeely

    According to Moffat, those questions will be solved next season.

    I’m voting for Omega

  • Maureen


    That was some season finale.

    Also, RIVER, RIVER, RIVER, RIVER. As my Mum said during River’s last scene, “wow, River is really something isn’t she.” I think my entire family now has a hopeless River crush.

    Also, also, why has no one commented on the fact that the 11th Doctor practically proposed to River. The hopeless romantic in me is still recovering from the sheer awesome of that scene. Alex Kingston seems to get better and better in the role and I def. think River is Moffat’s most interesting character.

    I’m with MAJ. The most perfect season of Dr Who ever? Yes, yes indeed.

  • John of Sydney

    I saw the “Library” episodes a few weeks back during a DW marathon, and something occurred to me. I was waiting for something this season to prove me wrong.

    But… After watching the Library eps… I youtubed the Matt Smith regeneration… two lines had me thinking I’m on the right track:
    1 – checks the length of his hair and exclaims “I’m a girl!”
    2 – checks the colour of his hair and says “and still not ginger”

    In Flesh & Stone:
    1 – “She killed a man, a good man, a hero to many,” Octavian tells the Doctor, about River. “Who?” the Doctor asks. “You don’t want to know, sir, you really don’t,” Octavian assures him.
    2 – River admits she killed “a very good man, the best man I’ve ever known.”

    Did Matt Smith kill David Tennant by that logic?

    She’s not the wife, she’s… the final regeneration, THE TWELTH DOCTOR. No wonder she can fly the Tardis better than him and know’s his name ;-)


  • No she didn’t recognize Donna or Rory. The “she’s the Doctor” thing can be axed by a lot of other things too.

  • Revsis

    Lisa – Aha!

    “Tennant dancing? at another red head’s wedding – now that’s repetition.”

    No, no — it would have been an APOLOGY.

    For the wedding that got screwed up when he met Donna.
    For the wedding and Lee and the kids in SinL and FotD.
    For making her forget him . . . so cruelly . . .
    Because it turns out that what is really necessary is that the redhead remembers . . .

    Maybe it still is an apology to Donna. Not from Eleven, necessarily. Maybe from Moffatt.

  • Der Bruno Stroszek

    To be fair, Donna’s prospective husband was helping a giant red spider to invade the world. Even without the Doctor, it would never have lasted between them.

  • Revsis

    Granted. A clear case of “he’s just not that into you.”

    But I just hope that poor old Jason Pitt (Lee) is not waiting for Donna in a library somewhere for 2000 years . . .

  • Kathy_A

    Skipping to the end to say that my favorite acting from Matt Smith in the entire season was when the Doctor was talking to the sleeping Amelia. Somehow, he looked old there. I could see William Harnell’s Doctor lurking underneath that youthful face. Just a remarkable moment.

  • MaryAnn

    Somehow, he looked old there.

    That is the astonishing thing about Matt Smith’s Doctor: I don’t now how such a young actor managed to make the Doctor seems so old.

  • Steve

    Sorry Mary, that’s exactly what let me down about Smith. He was no Eccleston/Tennant in that particular department.

    He had all the fun, energy, eccentricity and enthusiasm of a mad explorer a la Doc from Back To The Future but he didn’t really sell the “old man in a young man’s body” that well. He didn’t have the weight behind the eyes much.

    I have to give credit to him, he bloody well tried, as seen in one-on-one with River but he didn’t really evoke the flawless and subtle emotions that Tennant/Eccleston generated so effortlessly.

    I just put that down to lack of experience though. He was fine in every other category.

  • ohiopokey

    If the Romans were plastic manifestations of Amy’s thoughts, why was the Pandorica not also a fake incarnation of her Pandora’s Box book?

    River’s future with the doctor: Did’t River sacrifice herself in the Library last year, to save the Doctor?

    Rory: Should be a great hero in history and mythology. He reminded me of the aged Knight Templar who guarded the Holy Grail in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.

    Red herrings: I was sure that the goofy portrait in the hallway in The Lodger meant something. Same episode: I noticed, (and at the time thought significant) the doctor throwing out or taking from the trash when he created the healing tea for Craig. Huh? and when he left Craig’s sick room, why did he do a double take and be sure to take the wooden spoon back. Boy, I must have been trying hard to find meaning in everything.

    Prisoner Zero being seen out of the corner of the eye. The school boy in the next episode being called a “zero. And nobody likes a zero.” I totally expected the number zero to be important.

    The Angels make Amy unconsciously count backwards. What was the deal with the descending numbers on the monitor in the Tardis during The Lodger?

    Is it just a coincidence that Angel Bob could communicate after death, like the fellow with the residual energy in the Library?

    Which brings me back, again, to River sacrificing herself to save the Doctor in the Library.

    Why did Amy’s interaction with the crack, and multiple universes, not drive her mad? How comer her memories were seminal to the plot, but Donna’s memories were do fatal that they had to be erased.

    I was sniffing when The Doctor returned to the girl who had been waiting for him.

  • that was River in *her* future — timey wimey. the current episodes are River in her past. the Doctor doesn’t appear in time in a straight linear progression… it’s all “wibbley wobbley, timey wimey”… so this River knows she’s going to meet the Doctor at some time in *his* near future.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    If the Romans were plastic manifestations of Amy’s thoughts, why was the Pandorica not also a fake incarnation of her Pandora’s Box book?

    The Romans were “Nestene duplicates”, built by the Doctor’s enemies to look like things from Amy’s memory, and programed from her memory as well. The Pandorica was built… well, we don’t really know who built the Pandorica, do we? But the name seems to have come from Pandora.

    River’s future with the doctor: Did’t River sacrifice herself in the Library last year, to save the Doctor?

    In a bit of irony, the first time the Doctor meets River Song is, to her, the last time she ever sees him. *sniff* So far, each time the Doctor (and we, the audience) encounters River Song has been further in her past. That doesn’t necessarily mean River and the Doctor are moving opposite in time, though the writers may chose to do that.

    Hey, Mary Ann, perhaps we need a “The Problem of River Song” thread to discuss just that.

  • Revsis

    I don’t know if anybody mentioned it earlier, but I Hated the new DW logo when I first saw it.

    Now that I see that it kinda looks like the Pandorica box, I think it’s kinda clever.

  • Lisa

    I’m not overly fond of the new logo but it doesn’t bother me. Perhaps a new question of the day might be did the new Dr Who theme tune grow on you?

    Cos I still don’t like it, even after hearing it performed live with an orchestra twice

  • SteveG

    I don’t understand the hate for the theme. I like it, and did from the start. Murray Gold has re-arranged it every season so far (I think), and this one is exciting and tense. In fact I think his music this season has included his most memorable and effective work since “Doomsday” in Season Two. When the soundtrack comes out, I’ll buy the whole thing (rather than purchasing a couple of tracks from iTunes) for the first time.

  • Lisa

    I think the music has been better in previous years, although I love the I am the Dr theme (the Uk trailer music). I think that’s brilliant but I found the music, in general, to be a little bland this year.

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