Saturday, June 19, 2010

My Review of Doctor Who's 5x12: "The Pandorica Opens"

Written by Steven Moffat
Directed by Toby Haynes

Sontaran: “The Pandorica is ready.”
The Doctor: “Ready for what?”
Dalek: “Ready for you.”

I actually want to say while this is something of a shock to behold onscreen, is it really surprising that the much feared creature in the universe is the Doctor? He might have saved many lives but he’s also as dangerous as any creature he’s ever stopped and there have been a time when that’s strongly been alluded to.

Having the return of every monster (or most of them anyways) went a good way to highlight that maybe finale wise, Steven Moffat isn’t that dissimilar to Russell T. Davies after all. This episode was loaded with a lot of familiar faces but the best part in all of this was that the reappearances monster wise made perfect sense.

I can see why the Judoon would view the Doctor reckless enough than strapping him into the Pandorica chamber would be the best option and it’s not like the Daleks, Cybermen, Sontarans, Silurians or Sycorax were in an immediate rush to help him out either.

The thing however that did interest me was that all of these monsters came together to see the Doctor strapped into the chamber not just to punish him for the numerous times he’s best them – but also to save the universe from him. You’d think that certain races gathered in that chamber would be contriving events to get the Doctor to destroy the universe rather than prevent it.

The Doctor himself has been making a habit all season of spotting things when it’s been virtually too late and by the time he did realise what was going on, he was overpowered by a group of Roman soldiers and locked in the chamber. I know there’s a danger element but I think we can all safely assume that he gets out of that Pandorica chamber somehow.

From a fan boy perspective, it did make for a good moment all those monsters there. It’s not something that could’ve been done earlier in the season but at the same time, none of the aliens there were actually behind the events with the Pandorica and the whole mystery of Amy Pond – except the Autons.

Having the Autons as mostly the big bad in this episode was a refreshing twist. It’s been five years since we’ve last seen them and their return was done to absolute perfection. It also went a long into explaining a lot of the location and message of this episode.

The opening scene with the likes of Van Gogh, Bracewell, Churchill, Liz Ten and River Song all doing their bit to make sure the Doctor and Amy got Van Gogh’s painting was absolutely genius and one of the few times, I actually wish that I hadn’t read up about in advance. I especially got a smile from seeing River Song and Liz Ten interacting. Neither of these ladies are ones you’d want to mess with.

Then there was the use of Stonehenge. The Doctor and Amy basically followed River’s message to the very location and it was through here that we knew the Pandorica would be opening. Having the Pandorica actually located down below Stonehenge was a good way of keeping the location for the duration of the episode.

And then there was River herself. That woman is certainly exasperating at the best of times but here, I got the horrible feeling that she ma or may not have had something to do with the Doctor’s incarceration. The Daleks were specifically talking about her as they began to arrive and when River snuck into Amy’s house, she questioned why she let him out.

But at the same time, if River has had any responsible for the Doctor’s current predicament, why did she tell him to run away from Stonehenge? I don’t get that bit. And then there were the antics in the TARDIS. A strange voice mentioned that silence will fall a good time before the Doctor was sealed off.

However while all the alien races seem to be convinced that sealing off the Doctor will prevent the cracks in time (their belief is that he caused them), it’s pretty obvious that the TARDIS itself has a lot to answer for it. Something tells me that Amy had every right to worry about the TARDIS going boom in the next episode. I just hope for River’s sake that she gets out of there before it explodes.

As for Amy, this really was a huge episode for her in some many ways. All season long, something not quite right has been stirring with her and in the last few episodes, the Doctor’s noticed it but hasn’t effectively done anything about it. The scorch marks on her garden and her house being trashed also sprang something else.

It was River that figured out about the Nestene Consciousness using Amy’s memories in a bid to trap the Doctor. The use of the Pandorica, Roman soldiers and the long awaited return of Rory all rammed this home for me. And this was one of the few times in which I was shocked by the episode, as in really shocked.

I knew about Auton Rory accidentally killing Amy but I didn’t want to believe. I don’t care how so called apathy that viewers feel about Amy, I bloody love the girl and I sure as hell don’t want her death to be permanent, though I have a nasty feeling that maybe Karen Gillan wasn’t lying after all when she said that Rory was definitely.

Also, unlike “Cold Blood”, Amy and Rory’s reunion really did hit the emotional beats big time. Rory had saved her life from a Cybermen attack and Amy didn’t remember who he was. She was even convinced that the engagement ring belonged to a friend of the Doctor’s at one point as well.

The Doctor could’ve maybe been a little more helpful with Amy and Rory too. I know he had a lot with the Pandorica preying his mind but maybe he should’ve kept them apart until he fully knew how and what Rory was. I got the impression that he wasn’t convinced with the miracles speech and was still suspicious of Rory myself.

Still, the moments where Rory and Amy were anxious around each other before her memories came back into the fore was brilliant. I just don’t want to believe that they’re relationship is completely obliterated. Say it isn’t so, Steven Moffat.

Also in “The Pandorica Opens”

Without a doubt, this episode had one of the longest/craziest pre-title sequences in the series history.

The Doctor: “You graffitied the oldest cliff face in the universe.”
River: “You wouldn’t answer your phone.”

River dressed as Cleopatra was a priceless moment in the episode. She must have gone through about five costumes in this episode along.

The Doctor (to River/Amy): “If you buried the most dangerous thing in the universe, you’d want to remember where you put it.”

Amy: “How did it end in there?”
The Doctor: “You know fairytales, a good wizard tricked it.”
River: “I hate good wizards in fairytales. They always turn out to be him.”

I just realised that this might be the first finale in the new series in which most of the action doesn’t take place on either a spaceship or the present day.

Amy: “So, are you proposing to someone?”
The Doctor: “I’m sorry?”
Amy (re engagement ring): “I found this in your pocket.”

The Doctor: “You know how sometimes I have really brilliant ideas?”
Amy: “Yeah?”
The Doctor (to Cybermen): “I'm sorry. Look at me, I’m a target.”

Amy’s battle with the Cybermen was impressive and actually for the first time in a long while, the Cybermen were quite sinister.

Cybermen: “You will be assimilated.”
Amy: "Yeah? You and whose body?”

The Doctor: “I’m missing something obvious, Rory. Something big, right slap in front of me, I can feel it.”
Rory: “Yeah, I think you probably are.”

We didn’t actually get to see the Nestene Consciousness in this episode and we also got the likes of the Hath, Weevils and the Uvodni as well during the Doctor’s fall scene.

The Doctor: “How can you be here?”
Rory: “I don’t know. It’s kind of fuzzy.”
The Doctor: “Fuzzy?”
Rory: “Well, I died and turned into a Roman, it’s very distracting.”

The Doctor (to the spaceships): “Can you all stop a minute because I am talking?”

I really enjoyed the scene where the Doctor read all of the invading spaceships the riot act, even if it did backfire on him during the end. Oh and I noticed the picture of Roman Rory/Cop Amy as well that River was looking at in the TARDIS.

Amy: “Why am I crying?”
Rory: “Because you remember me. I came back. You’re crying because you remember me.”

Auton: “The Pandorica is ready.”
The Doctor: “What do you mean, it’s open?”

I liked Murray Gold’s score music at the end of the episode with the various scenes played out. Unusual for this show but effective.

Amy: "There it is, you remember. This is you and you are staying."
Rory: "No."

The Doctor: “You've come to me for help?”
Sontaran: “No, we will save the universe from you.”

Chronology: 26th June 2010 and there was no trailer for the next episode, “The Big Bang”.

Certainly an exciting, thrill a minute spectacle this one was. “The Pandorica Opens” gave us the perfect cliff-hangers to ensure that next week is going to be pure torture to see how all of them are resolved. Thanks, Steven Moffat.

Rating: 10 out of 10.


Hayleyy said...

The 'strange voice' in the tardis you were talking about I thought was davros (creator of the daleks).
If not it sounded a hell of a lot like him

shawnlunn2002 said...

It sounded fmailiar that voice. Here's hoping the next episode reveals who it is.