‘The Pandorica Opens’/’The Big Bang’ (TV)


Please feel free to comment on my review.

The Pandorica Will Open and Silence Will Fall


This two-part story is the season finale to Series 5 of ‘Doctor Who’ with Matt Smith. I recall seeing the first episode of this with my best mate Stephen at home while my parents saw it at Nana’s place.

There’s a lot to cover in this story, especially since it’s by Steven Moffat, who is renowned for writing complex ‘Doctor Who’ tales. I’ll do my best to explain what happens in this ‘Doctor Who’ TV story.

It begins with Tony Curran as Vincent van Gogh in 1890 having a nervous breakdown after finishing a painting. The painting is later sent to Ian McNeice as Churchill and Bill Paterson as Bracewell in 1941.

Years later in the future, at the Stormcage Containment Facility in 5145, Alex Kingston as River Song receives a phone call from Churchill. She manages to break out of her cell after she tricks one guard.

River later steals van Gogh’s painting from the Royal Collection as she’s caught by Sophie Okonedo as Liz 10. River later receives this vortex manipulator from Simon Fisher-Becker as Dorium Maldovar.

With the Doctor and Amy, they follow a message from River Song, leading them to Roman Britain on Earth, 102 AD. The Doctor and Amy find River Song who poses herself as Cleopatra…well of course!

River shows the Doctor the painting by van Gogh called ‘The Pandorica Opens’. The painting depicts the TARDIS exploding in space. And all of that’s told in the opening teaser of the episode. Seriously!

‘The Pandorica Opens’ episode must have the longest, complex opening of any ‘Doctor Who’ story. This is a trait in Steven Moffat’s writing when he writes pretty complex stories with plenty going on.

Eventually, the Doctor, Amy and River ride on horseback to reach Stonehenge, where the Pandorica lies beneath. Seeing Stonehenge in this tale made me think of ‘The Stones of Blood’ with Tom Baker.

By the way, for River Song, this story takes place before ‘The Time of Angels’/’Flesh and Stone’ happens for her. Yeah, we are working backwards with River’s life at this point during the TV series.

The Pandorica happens to be a prison, which is in the shape of a giant metal box. The Doctor assumed the Pandorica was a fable. It has been kept underneath the Stonehenge site all these years.

It calls out to everyone. And I mean everyone! As well as the Doctor, all of his enemies answer the signal of the Pandorica. These include Daleks, Cybermen, Sontarans, Silurians, Judoon, Autons, etc.

Whilst trying to open the Pandorica, the Doctor and Amy get attacked by a Cyberman’s arm. The Cyber arm soon knocks out the Doctor whilst Amy gets attacked by a disembodied Cyberman’s head.

It was scary when Amy was attacked by a Cyber head that declared “You will be assimilated!” They got that from the Borg in ‘Star Trek’!!! Then a headless Cyberman turns up to put his head back on.

The headless Cyberman, with his head back on, attacks Amy. Thankfully Amy is rescued when the centurion of a volunteer group of Roman legionaries stabs the Cyberman. It turns out to be…Rory?!

It was so pleased to see Arthur Darvill as Rory back in this episode of ‘Doctor Who’. I wondered what happened to him, since he got killed and erased from during ‘Cold Blood’. The Doctor is amazed too.

The scenes with Amy remembering Rory when they’re together were so touching and gripping to watch. At first, she doesn’t seem to remember. But gradually she remembers Rory, which is amazing.

One of the things this story is well-remembered for is the Pandorica speech given by Matt Smith’s Doctor to the Alliance up in space. It was a thrill to see with Murray Gold’s music in the background.

Soon, the Daleks, Cybermen, Sontarans, Judoon and the rest of the Alliance come down to put the Doctor in the Pandorica. They believe the Doctor will destroy the universe due to the cracks in time.

Rory turns out to be an Auton as are the other Romans. He shoots Amy, whilst the Doctor’s inside the Pandorica and the TARDIS explodes with River Song inside it. The universe also gets destroyed…

The DVD special features on this episode are as follows. On Disc 6 of ‘The Complete Series 5’ of ‘Doctor Who’, there’s the ‘Doctor Who Confidential’ episode ‘Alien Abduction’.

‘THE BIG BANG’ (Part 2)

The second episode begins with the first scene from ‘The Eleventh Hour’ featuring Caitlin Blackwood as Amelia Pond. Except this time, it’s done differently as the Doctor doesn’t crash down in the TARDIS.

Amelia soon gets an invitation via leaflet to attend the National Museum, which is actually the Cardiff Museum in real-life. She goes there with her aunt, before she hides herself in the museum.

At night-time, once everyone’s gone, Amelia comes out of hiding and discovers the Pandorica, one of the museum’s exhibits. She touches the Pandorica with her hand and it opens up to reveal…herself!

It is Karen Gillan as the adult Amy Pond who says to little Amelia, “Okay, kid. This is where it gets complicated.” And no truer word is said by Amy, as this second episode does get pretty complicated.

For the rest of the episode, Steven Moffat crafts this extraordinary jigsaw puzzle to reveal how Amy got inside the Pandorica. It’s also revealed how Amy came back to life after the plastic Rory shot her.

I admit I found the writing pretty clever in this episode. It all makes sense when the Doctor keeps popping back and forth in time in order to secure the timeline in that everyone can meet each other.

But at the same time, I am concerned about whether everyone will get these complicated story threads in the episode. The casual viewer may not be able to appreciate the TV story’s complexities.

Anyway, it goes like this. Rory receives a visit from a future Doctor who gives him the sonic screwdriver to free himself from the Pandorica. Rory frees the Doctor already inside that Pandorica.

They then put Amy in the Pandorica, who gets restored to life and is freed when Amelia touches the box 2000 years later. Rory keeps guard of the Pandorica box to make sure Amy’s safe and not alone.

I really like Arthur Darvill as Rory in ‘Doctor Who’. Rory loves Amy so much that he’s willing to guard the Pandorica box with her inside for 2000 years. Even though he’s an Auton, he loves Amy so much.

The Doctor transports forward in time to meet up with Amy and little Amelia in the future, who get attacked by a Stone Dalek. The Stone Dalek was pretty terrifying and amazing to watch, even for me.

Amy, little Amelia and the Doctor get rescued by Rory, who’s now a security guard at the museum. I liked the reunion between Amy and Rory, as she forgives him shooting her when he couldn’t help it.

The Doctor uses the vortex manipulator to travel back in time to give Rory the sonic screwdriver 2000 years ago as well as invite Amelia to the museum via leaflet…Yeah! See how complicated it is?

By the way, this story features the first appearance of Matt Smith’s Doctor wearing a fez. And I got to say, I love it when Matt wears a fez. If he wants to be like Tommy Cooper, then it’s fine by me. 😀

Eventually, the Doctor, Amy and Rory reunite with River Song, who the Doctor saves from the TARDIS exploding. The Doctor soon gets hit by the Stone Dalek, as he travels forward into the future.

The Doctor ends up inside the Pandorica, as he decides to send it into the heart of the exploding TARDIS that’s causing the universe to collapse. He hopes to reboot the universe with the Big Bang #2.

This story resolves a lot of things with what happened during Series 5 in general. This concerns Amy who had a crack on her bedroom ever since she was a little girl, and this got the Doctor very curious.

The Big Bang happens and the Doctor finds himself travelling back in his own timeline. He soon returns to where little Amelia waited as he puts her to bed, before he seemingly disappears forever.

Years later, with time and the universe restored, Amy has her wedding with Rory and they both get married. Very soon, Amy remembers the Doctor too and she miraculously summons him back to life.

By the way, Karen Westwood and Halcro Johnston guest star as Amy Pond’s parents, Tabetha and Augustus Pond. I recognised Karen Westwood as she appeared in Series 6 of ‘Monarch of the Glen’.

The episode ends with the Doctor and the newly-wed Amy and Rory travelling in the TARDIS for more adventures in time and space. It ends Series 5 of ‘Doctor Who’ with Matt Smith on a triumphant note.

‘The Pandorica Opens’/’The Big Bang’ is a complex and mind-boggling finale to Series 5. But in all honestly, it works really well. There are many complexities, but they all seem to fit in this two-parter.

The DVD special features on this episode are as follows. On the ‘Series 5, Volume 4’ DVD, there’s ‘Monster File: The Alliance’, that looks into how many ‘Doctor Who’ monsters appeared in this story.

On Disc 5 of ‘The Complete Series 5’ of ‘Doctor Who’, the ‘Monster File: The Alliance’ can also be found on there. There’s also an in-vision commentary with Karen Gillan, Arthur Darvill and director Toby Haynes. There are also out-takes from Series 5 of ‘Doctor Who’ to enjoy on this DVD disc.

On Disc 6, there’s the ‘Doctor Who Confidential’ episode ‘Out of Time’. There are also a number of trailers to enjoy from Series 5 of ‘Doctor Who’. These include ‘teaser trailers’, ‘episodic trailers’, ‘finale trailers’ and ‘international trailers’.

Matt Smith’s first season of ‘Doctor Who’ has overall been pretty good. It was quite an adjustment for me to get used to a new Doctor after David Tennant and I don’t think I was fully taken with Matt Smith’s Doctor by the end of Series 5. But I did enjoy what I saw and I was looking forward to more.

I was pleased that by the end of Series 5, a new TARDIS trio was formed in the Doctor, Amy and Rory. I was also pleased Amy and Rory were married and a romantic couple in the TARDIS. But as it’s hinted at the end of Series 5, unresolved issues still arise as they’re going to be dealt with in Series 6.

‘The Pandorica Opens’/’The Big Bang’ rating – 8/10

The previous story

For the Eleventh Doctor was

  • ‘The Coming of the Terraphiles’ (Book/Audio)

For Amy was

  • ‘The Coming of the Terraphiles’ (Book/Audio)

For Rory was

For River Song was

The next story

For the Eleventh Doctor is

  • ‘Death of the Doctor’ (SJA) (TV)

For Amy is

For Rory is

For River Song is

  • ‘Pond Life’ (Comic)
Return to The Eleventh Doctor’s Timeline
Return to Amy’s Timeline
Return to Rory’s Timeline
Return to River Song’s Timeline
Return to The Doctors’ Timelines Index
Return to The Companions’ Timelines Index
Return to Doctor Who Timelines
Return to Doctor Who
Return to Sci-Fi

3 thoughts on “‘The Pandorica Opens’/’The Big Bang’ (TV)

  1. Timelord007

    I don’t know what went wrong beyond this season because I loved this two parter & thought Doctor Who in safe hands but when you review season 6 expect a lot more Timelord moaning lol.

    Excellent story, well acted & emotional this delivered a solid entertaing conclusion to a excellent season despite a few glitches (those tellytubbie Daleks still give me nightmares lol).

    Just heard Ghost Walk I’ll be interested hear your thoughts on this one Tim.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tim Bradley Post author

      I believe I’ve reviewed all of Matt Smith’s TV episodes in ‘Doctor Who’. Series 6 was the weakest season for me, whilst Series 7 was better and Series 5 was the best. I can’t understand what went wrong either. Steven Moffat clearly lost the plot and must have been stressed out when he was doing ‘Doctor Who’ and ‘Sherlock’ at the same time. That’s just a theory anyway.

      I would like to read/listen to some more books/audios with Matt Smith’s Doctor. It’ll be interesting to find out what those are like and whether they’re better than the TV episodes.

      Glad you enjoyed this story, Simon. I hope I’ve explained the story well enough in my review, since it was a pretty complex tale to follow through and you needed to be alert at all times. Yeah the new Daleks from this series were a mistake. Glad they learnt from that when they brought the bronze Daleks back.

      I haven’t heard any of the latest Fifth Doctor stories yet. I’m waiting till all three stories come out so that I can listen to them in May for my birthday. I’ll give my thoughts on them when that time comes. And also I’ll reviewed them in detail when it comes to my ‘Nyssa Challenge’ mini-season for December 2018.

      I have reviewed ‘The Star Men’, ‘The Contingency Club’ and ‘Zaltys’ in full detail on my blog. Please fell free to check them out.

      Thanks for your comments and thoughts on ‘The Pandorica Opens’/’The Big Bang’, Simon.

      Tim. 🙂


  2. Timelord 007

    Of course you did & i commented on the series 6 episodes lol, my mind Tim I’m losing the plot i think, far to much stress lately, my dad was admitted last week for 5 days with fluid retention it’s one thing after another lately so please forgive my absent mindedness.

    Liked by 1 person


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