by Catriona Mills

Live-blogging Doctor Who Season Five: "The Big Bang"

Posted 11 July 2010 in by Catriona

Pre-live-blogging alert: Heather is with us this week, albeit currently playing Plants vs Zombies (not, as I originally typed Pants Vs Zombies, though that would be awesome) but Michelle is off being fabulous all over the U.S., so she’s not with us.

Half a peanut gallery is better than none, I find.

Now we’re discussing man-love in the football, which delights us but which we think should be more widespread. (You hear that, men? Begin embracing each other in public. Unless you are doing that already. In which case, keep up the good work. In other news, I got up at 4 am this morning, to watch the football.)

ME: I hate live-blogging when I’m tired.
HEATHER: It will be fabulous. I COMMAND IT!

Before the show:

ME: Sorry, I don’t need to see Komodo dragon sex.
HEATHER: Yes, you do. You have to blog that.
NICK AND HEATHER: Ew! That’s just wrong. Don’t do that to the Komodo dragon!

Long, looong pre-show recap.

We open 1,894 years later. And we’re at Amy’s house, which looks surprisingly like it did when the Doctor first arrived.

HEATHER: Well, it must all be okay, if the house is there.
NICK: You’ll see.
HEATHER: Oh, Nick.

Amelia is praying, as she did in “The Eleventh Hour.” As she gets to the bit about the policeman, the wind rises, but when she looks out the window, the shed is intact. She makes a rueful face, as we see the moon alone in a dark sky.

Then a woman is looking at Amelia’s painting of the moon and the stars, and after Amelia’s aunt’s exasperated “Amelia!”, they head outside so Amelia can be shown that there’s no such thing as stars. Just the moon and the dark.

Amelia eavesdrops on her aunt’s conversation as the aunt says that she doesn’t want Amelia to end up a star cultist: “I don’t trust that Richard Dawkins,” she says.

Then someone drops an pamphlet for a museum through the letterbox, with the hand-written note, “Come along, Pond.”

Amelia drags her aunt through the museum, ignoring the Daleks and other exhibits, until she reaches the Pandorica, where someone steals her drink just before she notices a Post-it note saying, “Stick around, Pond.”

Amelia hides, and sneaks out from behind some penguins (not without casualties) late at night, sneaking past the Daleks (surrounded by palms, which Nick points out is totally their natural habitat) and up to the Pandorica.

She pulls off the Post-it note and then presses her hand against the Pandorica, which begins unlocking. Amelia steps back as the Pandorica opens, its light reaching one of the Daleks, and then we see, strapped inside, Amy, who says, “Okay, kid: this is where it gets complicated.”


1,894 years previously, Rory is cradling the dead Amy in his arms and talking to her about the end of the universe in 102 AD. He’s upset because she would have laughed at all his jokes. He wants her to laugh. But she’s dead, so laughing would be a bit freaky.

Rory wants a ridiculous miracle, and then the Doctor turns up holding a mop and wearing a fez.

He disappears, then reappears without the mop. He tells Rory he needs to get him (the Doctor) out of the Pandorica, and leaves his screwdriver, telling Rory to leave it in Amy’s top pocket.

Rory immediately lets the Doctor out, and the Doctor says, “How did you do that?”

The Doctor’s a little freaked, but he realises that they’re the same sonic screwdriver, but at different times. “I’ve got a future!” he says. “That’s nice.”

There are fossilised Daleks (and others, including Autons) around the Pandorica, which the Doctors says are traces of races that never existed. The Earth, he says, is simply at the eye of the storm, and it takes a little longer for the light to go out.

Rory reveals that he shot Amy, and asks if the Doctor can do anything. The Doctor says he could, if he had time.

DOCTOR: Your girlfriend isn’t more important than the whole universe.

Rory punches him in the face, which delights the Doctor, because he wanted to make sure that Rory was really Rory, and not just a Nestene duplicate. (This is, it seems, because of Amy growing up with the universe pouring through her dreams.) He shoves her in the Pandorica, saying that it’ll keep her alive (the ultimate prison) until it gets a trace of her living DNA in about two thousand years.

We cut to Amy gasping on the floor of the National Museum, telling Amelia that it’s a long story. A very long story, she realises, seeing the history of the Pandorica.

Back at the Pandorica in Stonehenge, the Doctor says Amy will be in there for two thousand years, but they’ll take a short cut, thanks to River’s Time Vortex manipulator.

But Rory wants to stay, to guard the Pandorica. He says it’ll keep Amy safer.

DOCTOR: Why do you have to be so human?
RORY: Because right now I’m not.

The Doctor points out that Rory’s not immortal and can’t heal, so he needs to stay out of trouble.

Then Rory puts on his helmet, draws his sword, and sits on the edge of the Pandorica.

We cut to a museum video recording of the legend of the centurion who guards the Pandorica, and his last known appearance, when he dragged the Pandorica from the flames when the warehouse was bombed in World War Two.

Amy cries.

But she’s cut short by “Exterminate!” And then the Doctor appears in the fray, shouting, “Come along, Ponds!”

Amy asks what’s happening.

DOCTOR: We’re running into a dead end, where I will have a brilliant plan that basically involves not being in one.

Luckily, a security guard turns up, and he just happens to have a gun for a hand.


Amy and Rory kiss.

AMY: Oh, so shut up.
DOCTOR: And breathe. And breathe. Well, someone didn’t get out much for two thousand years.
AMELIA: I’m thirsty. Can I get a drink?
DOCTOR: Oh, it’s all mouths today, isn’t it?

They leave while the Dalek is repairing, the Doctor helping himself to a fez and a mop. Rory points out that this is how he looked two thousand years ago, so we flip back and forth between this and the earlier scene, with the Doctor wearing the fez the whole time.

Then he asks Amelia how she knew to come here, and flips back to leave her a note through her letterbox and then to steal her drink eight or so hours ago, so he can give it to her now.

They’re heading up to the roof when another Doctor appears, looking terribly ill, and tumbles down the stairs, grabs our Doctor, and then, according to our Doctor, dies.

The Doctor says, quite happily, that he’s going to die in twelve minutes.

DOCTOR: Oh, you can do loads in twelve minutes. Suck a mint, buy a sled, have a fast bath.

And then Amelia disappears. They’re still at the eye of the storm, but the eye is closing fast. And as they hare up to the roof, we hear the Dalek shouting, “Restore!”

NICK: Daleks are very useful, with their internal monologue.

On the roof:

RORY: What are you doing?
DOCTOR: Looking for the TARDIS.
RORY: But the TARDIS exploded.
DOCTOR: Then I’m looking for an exploding TARDIS.

What people have been assuming was the Sun is actually the TARDIS burning up. And Rory, with his plastic ears, can hear that River is at the heart of the explosion, trapped in a time loop of the events we saw at the end of the last episode, where she tries to get the doors open.

The loop is interrupted by the Doctor:

DOCTOR: Hi, honey. I’m home.
RIVER: And what time do you call this?

He flips River back to the roof, where she tells an unsavoury anecdote about dating a Nestene duplicate, and then asks what in sanity the Doctor is wearing on his head. He claims that fezzes are cool, but Amy grabs it off his head and throws it up into the air, where River shoots it—just as the Dalek appears above the roof.

The Doctor says that the Dalek is due to kill him, but there’s also a lot of information here about “rebooting the universe,” which I simply can’t keep up with. Though River has a good point about the Pandorica only partially restoring one Dalek.

Then the Doctor is shot by a Dalek.

Well, I didn’t see that happening.

Rory shoots the Dalek. River tries to talk to the Doctor, but he disappears—Amy and Rory say he’s downstairs and he died. River tells them to go to the Doctor while she waits with the Dalek. And threatens it.

DALEK: Records indicate you will show mercy. You are an associate of the Doctor’s.
RIVER: I’m River Song. Check your records again.
DALEK: Mercy?
RIVER: Say it again.
DALEK: Mercy?
RIVER: One. More. Time.
DALEK: Mercy!

Downstairs, Amy and Rory have discovered that the Doctor lied about being dead, not to River’s surprise, as she strides down the stairs.

AMY: What happened to the Dalek?
RIVER: It died.

The Doctor has strapped himself into the Pandorica, still talking about Big Bang Two.

River explains that throwing the Pandorica into the heart of the TARDIS explosion would bring everything back—a restoration field, powered by an exploding TARDIS, occurring simultaneously everywhere in time.

RIVER: He’s going to fly the Pandorica into the heart of the explosion.
HEATHER: Well, he better bloody well hurry up about it.
NICK: We’re on a tight schedule here, people.
HEATHER: Seriously.

The Doctor is asking for Amy. River explains that if this works, the Doctor will be on the other side of the cracks in time when they close, and he’ll never have existed.

RIVER: Now please: he wants to talk to you before he goes.
AMY: Not to you?
RIVER: He doesn’t really know me yet. Now he never will.

The lighting in this scene is phenomenal. Not only does the Doctor look ancient, he also looks like a completely different face.

Oh, you know what I mean.

And we have nearly half an hour left! I’ll never last.

The Doctor talks to Amy about the impossibilities of her life, about her missing parents (who haven’t died; she’s just forgotten them as time swallowed them up), and he tells her that nothing is ever forgotten, but she has to remember. He says that she can bring her parents back, if she remembers them.

DOCTOR: You’ll have your family back. You won’t need your imaginary friend any more. Amy Pond. Crying over me, eh? Guess what?
AMY: What?
DOCTOR: Gotcha.


Then he takes off, to the fabulous Doctor action theme, which I love (like a brother).

He sends one message back to River: “Geronimo.” Oh, thank goodness they’ve used that sparingly.

Then we flip backwards through time, through Amy’s death, and the destruction of the universe, then the Doctor wakes up in the TARDIS.

DOCTOR: Legs? Yes. Bow tie? Cool. Eh, I can buy a fez.

But it’s not now, it’s last week, when they went to Space Florida. (We assume this joke is especially for Heather, who was raised in Terrestrial Florida, as I guess we call it.)

Amy can hear the Doctor, both here and when he flips back three weeks to “The Lodger.” But she can’t see him.

But if she hear him, then this is a good time for the Doctor to flip back to the time when Amy can’t open her eyes, in the stone angels two-parter.

AMY: Doctor, the crack in my wall. How can it be here?
DOCTOR: I don’t know. But I’m working it out.

And he looks over at his other self, as his other self works it out. Love it.

The Doctor tells Amy she needs to remember what he told her when she was seven, and then flips back to when Amy was seven. She’s asleep in the garden in her cute wellies, and he picks her up and takes her back to bed.

He sits next to her and talks about her parents, and how she won’t remember him.

I have to try and get this next bit verbatim.

DOCTOR: I’ll be a story in your head. That’s okay. We’re all stories in the end. Just make it a good one, okay? Because it was, you know. It was the best. The daft old man, who stole a magic box, and ran away. Did I ever tell you that story? Well, I borrowed it. I was always going to take it back. That box. Oh, Amy: you’ll dream about that box. It’ll never leave you. Big and little. Brand new and ancient. And the bluest blue ever. And the times we had. Would have had. Never had. In your dreams, they’ll still be there. The Doctor and Amy Pond. And the days that never came. The cracks are closing. But they can’t close properly till I’m on the other side. I don’t belong here any more. I think I’ll skip the rest of the rewind. I hate repeats. Live well. Love Rory. Bye bye, Pond.

Then his shadow flashes on the wall above Amy’s bed, and he’s gone.

When Amy wakes (and she’s apparently sleeping in her watch, which leads to a conversation I can’t blog), she’s an adult, who glances over at her Raggedy Doctor toys, all laid out on the bureau, and her mum comes in and gives her breakfast, freaking Amy out.

Even more freaky, her dad is in the living room. “And you’re my tiny little Dad!” she says, throwing herself on him. Her parents are nonplussed by this, but when she rings Rory, he doesn’t seem to notice that anything’s amiss, and Amy’s distracted by her wedding dress.

Next thing we know, Amy and Rory are married—and there’s River walking slowly past the windows of the reception hall.

RORY: Ah, you’re crying.
AMY: So I am. Why am I doing that?
RORY: Because you’re happy, probably. Happy Mrs Rory. Happy, happy, happy.
AMY: No, I’m sad. I’m really, really sad.
RORY: Great!

River has left her TARDIS notebook, but it’s blank. Amy asks why anyone would leave such a gift, and Rory reminds her of the “old wedding saying.”

Amy’s dad (Augustus Pond, a Roald Dahl name, as Nick points out) starts giving his speech, as Amy looks around the room and notices braces and bowties and all sorts of signs.

Then Amy stands up, telling her dad to shut up. (People are used to that, from Amy, is the implication of this scene.) She tells the story of the Raggedy Doctor, ending with “Raggedy Man, I remember you. And you are late for my wedding!”

The TARDIS starts materialising, and Rory asks what it is.

AMY: Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue.

As the TARDIS appears, Rory says, “It’s the Doctor. How could we forget the Doctor?” Luckily, the Doctor’s wearing white tie.

AMY: You absolutely, definitely may kiss the bride.
DOCTOR: Amelia, from now on, I shall leave the kissing to the brand-new Mr Pond.
RORY: No. I’m not Mr Pond. That’s not how it works.
DOCTOR: Yeah, it is.
RORY: Yeah, it is.

The Doctor dances spectacularly badly.

Then he slips away to the TARDIS, where River finds him.

RIVER: Did you dance? Well, you always dance at weddings.
DOCTOR: You tell me.
RIVER: Spoilers.
DOCTOR: The writing’s all back, but I didn’t peek. Are you married, River?
RIVER: Are you asking?
DOCTOR: No, hang on a minute, did you think I was asking you to marry me, or asking if you were married?
DOCTOR: No, but was that “Yes” or “Yes”?
DOCTOR: River, who are you?
RIVER: You’re going to find out very soon now. And I’m sorry, but that’s when everything changes.

The Doctor tries to sneak away, but he’s interrupted first by Amy and then by a phone call about an Egyptian goddess loose on the Orient Express in space (please, please be the Christmas special), and he says this has to be goodbye.

AMY: Oh, I think this is goodbye. Don’t you?
RORY: Yeah, this is definitely goodbye.

Then Amy leans out the TARDIS in her wedding dress, shouting “Goodbye!” and we’re out until Christmas. See you all then!

Share your thoughts [9]


Matthew Smith wrote at Jul 11, 11:05 am

So many great funny lines in that episode and lots of little hints about next season. Loved the happy ending, very well executed without being stupidly over the top but still involving the destruction of the entire universe! I grinned like a moron for the whole episode.

The weakest link was the way the pandorica could be opened and closed with so little effort after last weeks introduction of it as taking a lot of effort to open and close.

Looking forward to orient express in space, in the meantime I think I’ll be trying to catch a little rnr in space Florida!

P.S. The live blogging itself had some quality one-liners, cheers to the peanut gallery and of course our lovely host Catriona.


Catriona wrote at Jul 11, 11:44 am

Aw, shucks. Thank you for them kind words.

I loved this. I’m sure there are flaws, but I loved it. Part of this might be a reaction to how terribly disappointed I was by “End of Time” (and I wasn’t the only one: Speak You’re Branes had a response to someone complaining about genetically engineered bacteria where they said they’d “never create anything more terrifying than that episode of Doctor Who where Bernard Cribbins kept bursting into tears and trying to tell The Doctor how much he loved him”—right here) and I wasn’t (as we discussed at length here), I wasn’t much of a fan of the ending of season four, either. But this one I was perfectly happy with.


Wendy wrote at Jul 12, 05:21 am

I liked the one liners and the fez. It was also pretty light-hearted which was nice. I’m pretty sure I didn’t understand the complexities of the plot but I’m guessing that didn’t really matter. :-)


Catriona wrote at Jul 12, 05:52 am

It was certainly less fraught than “End of Time.” But I found the scene in the Pandorica (in the museum) touching, and the scene by Amelia’s bedside was lovely (even before I twigged the significance of the story, which took me a little while). A nice balance of light-hearted and melancholic, with a lovely happy ending.


Drew wrote at Jul 12, 06:15 am

I loved it of course, brilliant, brilliant, brilliant, however, it does raise the idea that the Doctor can escape the unescapable trap simply by getting himself out it in the future when he is already out of it. Wibbly-wobbly I know, but it also threatens to undercut any suspense.

Beautiful set up for the next season because we still don’t know who was piloting the Tardis towards destruction.


Catriona wrote at Jul 12, 06:43 am

Yes, I liked the set-up for next season—nice hint of continuity between seasons but nothing too rigid.

I wasn’t too worried about the lack of suspense, because they undercut that right from the start, in a way. Before we even cut back to Rory holding the dead Amy, we knew it was Amy in the box. So I was held in suspense for a week between episodes, and that was it.

But the time paradox is a good point. I do hate time paradoxes. It never makes any sense to me how he’s out of the box in the future if he’s still in the box in the past. Gives me a splitting headache.


richard wrote at Jul 12, 08:01 am

I’m rarely worried by these things (I am the perfect compliant audience member!) but, for the record… In The Pandorica Opens, The Doctor went out of his way to tell us he could open it “Easily! Anyone can break in to a prison…”.

There are also any number of worthy explanations for the time paradox, although the trick is, first you have to believe in time travel… I’m going with “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic”, which explanation is capably supported by putting the Doctor in a fez, giving him a mop, and having Amelia say “How can he do that? Is he magic?” I’m sure there’s a variation of Schrodinger’s cat that’s relevant too.

The problem with using time paradoxes to solve major plot points is it begs the question, why doesn’t he pop back along his own timeline every week, causal nexus be damned!? If necessary I shall take as rationale the various throwaway lines about the diminishing universe being so tiny it was safe to flit about with the vortex manipulator. No need to worry about killing your own grandfather if he’s already never existed.

Gorgeous episode, wonderful tricks and treats (Stone Dalek FTW!) and sneaking the Doctor’s entire backstory into that “old wedding saying”? – Genius!

Many, many thanks, Catriona, for the live-blogging season; and I look forward to the seasonal live-blogging.


Catriona wrote at Jul 13, 03:40 am

As far as I’m concerned, any technology whatsoever, advanced or otherwise (and that includes pens), is indistinguishable from magic: I always was rubbish at science. I’m with Mycroft Next: how do thermoses know to keep cold stuff cold and hot stuff hot?

Okay, I might be exaggerating slightly, but not by a great deal.

So I’m quite happy to accept that the sonic screwdriver can do anything, and basically the Doctor’s the only one who has one of those (except The Master, and he seems to be back on Gallifrey now, wherever that is and River), so essentially the Doctor (and River) can do anything.

I’m perfectly happy with that arrangement.

The Doctor’s “no slipping back along your own timeline” hard-and-fast rule has always had a series of massive “except for” clauses—like when he tells Martha the exception is “cheap tricks.” And even then he only did it because he’s already done it—and there’s that headache starting up again.

Still, I thoroughly enjoyed this season, except that I thought the Winston Churchill episode was a bit rubbish and, while I didn’t think the Silurian two-parter was rubbish, I did think it was ambiguously paced (which robbed much of it of its tension, to my mind), a bit boring, and rather a waste of a good old-series adversary. But apart from that, I think the season’s been a cracker!


Tim wrote at Jul 13, 03:54 am

This was great fun. The plot devices were potentially heavy, but they were so deftly handled that I hardly noticed. Excellent balance of humour, action, pathos and timey-wimeyness. And great work from the leads.

I’m not comfortable with the Tardis having that level of power; I don’t think it meshes with previous implications, but there’s no canon, I guess. I also had to roll my eyes at the Dalek asking River for mercy. But reconstructing the entire universe from a boxful of atoms is a stretch so ludicrous that I can’t help but admire the hutzpah of it. Similarly for Amy remembering the Doctor and the Tardis back into existence. (I was hoping that Amy’s specialness would turn out to be a bit more special, but we can’t have everything.)

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