The thirteenth, and final episode of the fifth series of Doctor Who, “Big Bang”, doesn’t really make much of one, as everyone is already in a seemingly impossible situation; Amy is dead at Rory’s hand, the Doctor is trapped in the Pandorica, River song is trapped in the TARDIS as it explodes, and the stars have all vanished from the sky. How can Moffat pull victory from such a seemingly total defeat? Just send the Doctor on a most Excellent Aventure!
The episode opens in 1996, where a 7 year-old Amelia Pond has drawn a picture of the sky with stars in. No one believes in stars actually, they are a part of myth and legend, as the night sky is devoid of all light except of that from the Moon. While her Aunt discusses this “disturbing” issue with a psychiatrist, Amelia is drawn into an adventure that takes her to the National Museum to see the cubic exhibit; the Pandorica. Staying after hours because of a note, Amelia touches the Pandorica, which opens to reveal a now alive Amy Pond. Thus begins a series of time jumps from 1996 to 102 A.D. as the Doctor plans and sets up a series of events, ala Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure that releases him from the Pandorica in the past and brings him to the future to save Amy, River, and the universe.
I had a bit of a problem with the all the time jumping in this episode, since there is no first event to get the Doctor out. The Doctor is already out and in the future when he goes back in time to give Rory the sonic screwdriver to release him from the Pandorica, so he can go forward in time in order to release himself… It’s a badly set up time paradox that just makes your head hurt when you try to think about it, and actually a cheap trick to get the Doctor out of the impossible situation Moffat put him in, in the first place! I do agree with Moffat that the Doctor would cheat to get himself and his companions out of such a situation, not even he can break the laws of time so easily.
I also had a problem with the TARDIS exploding. Why does it explode at all times at the same time? Just because it’s a time machine? Or is there something different at the Doctor’s TARDIS? I’m sure other TARDISes have exploded before, especially in the Time War, and I don’t think there was worry of ending the universe then. And why is it still exploding 1,894 years later? How long does it take for a TARDIS to explode? It has to have going that long for the Earth to be the only planet in the universe to get some sort of light for life to have continued on. While I can usually suspend my disbelief for Doctor Who, these things where too gaping to be ignored.
What I will give this episode credit for is all the humor. After such a dark and dismal episode as “The Pandorica Opens”, this episode had lots of great humorous moments, starting with the Doctor’s appearance before Rory. He is wearing a Fez and carrying a mop. The journey of the Fez is a fun yet sad one. Upon acquiring it, the Doctor declares the coolness of Fezes, and it is with him until the he saves River Song, where it is sadly, yet hilariously, sacrificed for the good of all. There are several other moments, such as the swiping of Amelia’s drink, and the mixed-up exhibits in the museum.
The Doctor cheats yet again, escaping a fate where it could have been a universe where the Doctor never existed, though once again, the whole Time Paradox thing comes into play. How can Amy remember the Doctor if he never existed? I know, that goes into the whole “Amy and Rory are special because they were at the Eye of the storm”, but it still doesn’t make sense, even if it did make for a nice grand entrance for the Doctor at Amy’s and Rory’s wedding. The Doctor dancing. That’s all I’ll say about that.
This final episode of Series 5 of Doctor Who doesn’t tie up any loose ends. As a matter of fact, it deliberately leaves them all hanging out, which might not be a bad thing. As with all the final episodes in the new series, the last scene of the episode is a lead-in to the Christmas Special. I’m glad the Doctor mentions wanting to find out about the silence, and wants to know why the TARDIS exploded. That does give hope that these questions will be resolved in the next series. But the best thing about the end of this episode is that we will FINALLY have a multi-companion TARDIS! Rory, of course, joins his wife with her travels with the Doctor. And with them being married, that means that there won’t be any hanky-panky between the Doctor and Amy, and Rory won’t be leaving anytime soon.
Coming up next is the Christmas special, which will be shown on Christmas (obviously). But before then we’ll get some more Doctor action as Matt Smith is scheduled to appear in an episode of the Sarah Jane Adventures, along with another former companion, Jo Grant.