Monday, August 25, 2014

Doctor Who--"The Pandorica Opens"

Now that was a set up for a season finale! Steven Moffat definitely knows how to pull out all the stops when it counts.

I recall back when it was first announced Moffat would be replacing Russell T. Davies, he said he wanted to create nostalgia for the for young fans, nt play to longtime hooligans like RTD had. Therefore, he was not going to bring back many classic villains. He publicly backtracked shortly thereafter. Whether it was pressure from the BBC or all just a ruse to make the army of aliens appearing in the finale a surprise, the thrill is still there. Everyone showed up for this party.

I was impressed with how it all came together. A vision of the TARDIS being destroyed lead to a Vincent van Gogh painting which found its way to Winston Churchill who contacted River Song who escaped prison to still the painting from the Queen of England in the 51st century and eventually lured the Doctor to Roman Britain. Threads of the entire season were weaved together before the title sequence.

That is not all. The Doctor’s enemies learned the exploding TARDIS was going to destroy the universe, so they used Amy Pond to create a scenario he could not resist investigating in order to lure him to Roman Britain so they could trap him in the Pandorica, a prison built especially for him. In the nearly fifty year history of Doctor Who, has something on that large a scale ever happened?

The episode ends with three cliffhangers, any one of which would have been enough to bring me back next week.

It was the smaller moments that made the episode. Amy tussles with a severed Cybermen head in a genuinely terrifying moment. Eventually, it recovers its body and Amy is forced to fight it off I a scene reminiscent of The Mummy. She is aved by Rory, who has inexplicably become a Roman soldier. Or has he? One of the cliffhangers says otherwise. The brief moment of recognition before Rory was revealed to be an Auton and seemingly killed Amy was touching.

I am still not entirely sold on River Song. She is not that interesting a character. Now that it looks like she will take part in the destruction of the universe, the rest of you can agree with me on what a bad character she is.

Someone is controlling the TARDIS. That is who is responsible for the ultimate destruction its explosion causes. There would have to be some hits laid out beforehand, but I am at a loss for a good guess. The Nestene Consciousness has been mentioned earlier this season. The Black Guardian? Omega? There has not been enough foreshadowing for those two. If it really is the Doctor himself, from the future I am goin to be disappointed.

I really liked the episode regardless of a few questions which will presumably be answered next week. The menageries of famous aliens, some of which have not been seen since the ’60’s--perhaps lending strength to the Black Guardian or Omega showing up out of the blue-- was awesome. Matt Smith has grown into the role of the Doctor better than Christopher Eccleston or David Tennant managed. I even appreciate how Amy’s role in the season arc, which is similar to the Bad Wolf theme of the first, has been carefully differentiated. I cannot wait for next week.

Rating: **** (out of 5)

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