OK what else can I say but WOW! This is a series finale that definitely lives up to the hype – I’ll tell you now do not read any further if you aren’t interested in hearing how the story goes. Spoilers are definitely here and they are here a-plenty!
Gradually throughout the series different pieces of the puzzle were introduced to us … the mention of the silence in the episode with the vampires in Venice, the shard of the Tardis in the episode in which Rory dies and the mention of the Pandorica itself in the episode with the Angels and River … everything finally starts to fit together in this final two part episode to end the 1st season of Matt Smiths reign as the Doctor.
Moffat made the entire season of threads into a single tapestry and one that moved at just the right pace, infusing a sense of dread with glimmers of hope and mystery and paranoia. Moffat understands that sometimes less is more and just the basic name-checking of a plethora of old and new school adversaries would be enough to give the season finale the epic feel the series has been struggling to find since 2005.
The episode starts with a new enigmatic painting – one that shows the destruction of the Tardis. Tying in characters from some of the other episodes of the show, River Song is able to transmit a message to the Doctor.
Responding to a message from River, the Doctor and Amy head back to Roman times where they find River waiting for them masqueraded as Cleopatra. She informs them that the Pandorica is opening – riding to Stonehenge, the Doctor discovers the ancient site is a transmission center, alerting a plethora of factions across the universe that the mysterious box will open. The Doctor assumes there’s something inside trying to get out that many of his foes want, but the truth is something else entirely.
While the punch line to this episode is I think fairly obvious even from the early stages, it is still really well done and the introduction of Rory in Roman times is actually a real shocker and something that I was definitely not expecting at all.
Amy’s story picks up from last week (when we didn’t really get a chance to see her) with Rory’s engagement ring in hand – confronting the Doctor with the ring she learns that the Doctor lost a friend and due to the effects of the crack cannot remember that it was Rory. However when he shows up in Roman times he is able to gradually restore her memories to her.
As the Pandorica gradually opens, River is sent by the Doctor to the Tardis to retrieve some tools … entering the Tardis however she is catapulted into the future and discovers clues that point to the fact that this is all a trap for the Doctor and that someone has been using Amy’s memories to create an elaborate ruse to capture him.
Once the Doctor realizes that she is in Amy’s time and that this is when the Tardis is going to explode causing the end of all universes’ he begs her to escape but she is unable to do so due to something else controlling the Tardis … at the same time the Pandorica has finally opened and it is not what the Doctor thinks at all. There was nothing being held inside the Pandorica – rather it is a prison to hold him! Something that all the greatest villains of the Doctor Who universe have banded together to build.
Seeing Smith terrified as his enemies lock him up and begging them to not do this is one incredible moment and realizing that in another time, the Tardis is exploding and all the sun’s in the universe are exploding also is an awesome scene.
Next Saturday cannot come fast enough and I hope that Moffat is able to complete the story – somehow – in a satisfying manner.