I have tried to keep the review spoiler free, but that’s quite difficult, as even the title of the episode is a spoiler. So I wouldn’t recommend reading this before you’ve seen the episode; same with Doctor Who Confidential.
After twelve suspenseful weeks, the Pandorica has finally been opened. For viewers unfamiliar with the Pandorica, it’s an arc word that’s been inserted here and there within various episodes of Doctor Who since The Eleventh Hour, along with ‘Silence Will Fall’. Both come into play in this episode in a rather intelligent way and old friends of the Doctor are used to good effect when they’re trying to contact him, even if their way of doing so doesn’t really make as much sense as it could (a phone that dials T for Time Vortex? Really?). Although, a couple of characters seem out of place, such as Edwin Bracewell (inventor, seen in Victory Of The Daleks and who was going to go and find some wench he loved) and Liz 10 (Elizabeth the Tenth, Queen of Starship Britain and almost 2 millennia out of place here).
There are a number of smaller questions that crop up in this episode, in which a large number of the Doctor’s past enemies gather to see the Pandorica open, but the answers to those will mercifully become clear within the episode itself. The solution will slowly dawn on you as to what the Pandorica contains (hint: the wording of the legend helps); it took me almost until it was explicitly stated to get it. Nice one Scott. Sharp as ever.
Of course, I do have some complaints about the episode (as usual). One of which is the Borg CyberHead that states word for word that “You Will Be Assimilated”, which just caused me to laugh at the scene. Especially when they decided to have the head behaving like a CyberOctopus on the floor and making it nearly bite Amy’s face off. And a Vortex call? REALLY?! And the plan of the villains(?) of the episode is quite similar to the one that the Doctor has to defeat in the earlier episode Victory Of The Daleks.
The actors were as good as ever, with some strong emotional scenes for the characters and a few I could relate to (although not in quite the same way, obviously). The tension keeps ramping up as element after element falls into place to make the Doctor’s life slightly worse, until the end where pretty much any hope is lost and something happens that I can’t see how they’re going to reset. As it’s a Moffat episode, the writing is of good quality, with plenty of continuity nods (similar to Journey’s End in that respect) and he did a good job of keeping the viewer’s interest throughout the episode while whetting my appetite for more Who. I eagerly await the next instalment to find out how it all ends*. It’s going to be one tough week.
*Knowing Moffat, Wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey…stuff will cause everything to be alright again.