In the previous episode, the universe ended.  This was considered by many to be a bad move.  Can The Doctor, who is now locked in a huge box by his enemies, find a way to undo the destruction of the universe?  Well, I certainly hope so.  Apparently the only thing that can survive the end of the universe are spoilers, cause they're all OVER this article.  Otherwise, dive in and let's see if this all gets sorted.


by Steven Moffat

Directed by Toby Haines

The story starts 1,894 years after the end of the previous episode.  Young Amelia Pond is praying to Santa about the crack in her wall, in scene that seems eerily familiar.  There's a sound outside in her yard, and she rushes to the door...but there's nothing there.  She climbs into bed, somewhat disappointed.  The next morning, she's talking to a social worker about a painting she's drawn of the sky, with the moon surrounded by stars.  But that's silly, of course...because there's no such thing as stars.  From the top of the stairs, she sees an odd man drop a leaflet into her letterslot, a flyer to a museum exhibit of historical anomalies, including the mysterious Pandorica. 

She drags her Aunt to the exhibit, and after another mysterious note on the Pandorica advisers her to "stick around", she hides till after closing.  Sneaking past the rope, she touches the Pandorica...which begins to open.  The room fills with light, and within it sits...Amy Pond?

Yeahbuwha?  Perhaps it'll make more sense after the opening credits.

We shoot back 1,894 years, just after the end of last episode. (get used to that...) The Auton duplicate of Rory Williams, with Rory's mind now back in control, is sitting despondent, his fiancÈ  dead in his arms.  The aliens are gone, he's the lone witness to the end of everything.  He quietly wishes that one of those crazy miracles that The Doctor says happen sometimes.  Which is of course when The Doctor arrives in a flash of energy.  He's wearing a fez and carrying a mop for some reason, and is quite happy to see Rory.  He hastily explains that Amy isn't dead, or at least she won't be, but pops off after only a moment or two, leaving Rory confused.  He pops back, sans mop a moment or two later, explaining that Rory must go downstairs and release him from the Pandorica.  Rory has a bit of trouble grasping this, as The Doctor's clearly not in the Pandorica, he's talking with  him.  He hands Rory his Sonic Screwdriver and pops off again, popping back one final time, telling Rory to leave it in Amy's top pocket when he's done. Rory, bafflement kicking mourning right out of the room, follows his confusing orders.  He opens the Pandorica with the Screwdriver, with the Doctor inside equally confused as to how this ha happened.

Looking around the room, he sees that the assorted races who entrapped him have all vanished; only a handful leftover beings like The Daleks remain, turned to stone, like fossils.  The entire universe has been deleted from history, with the Earth left behind solely as a result of being at the epicenter of the destruction.  She suddenly realizes something else he doesn't see...Amy.  Rory takes him up top, where Amy lays dead.  The Doctor explains that he doesn't have time to help her, and doesn't have time to worry about the simulated feelings of an Auton.  Rory pulls back and decks The Doctor, and he couldn't be happier about it.  He was testing to make sure that there was a real Rory in that duplicate; test succeeded, he sets off to help Amy.

The Pandorica is designed to keep its captor alive.  He places Amy in it, and it will keep her alive, barely, but it needs a sample of her uninjured DNA to restore her.  And it'll get that in 1,894 years, when little Amy Pond touches it in the national museum.

Back in not-quite-present, young Amelia is confused as to who the young lady who just fell out of the big black box is, and Amy is loath to explain, waving her off with a "Long story".  A long story indeed - in addition to the stone Daleks from the room where the Pandorica was left, there's a long timeline of the history of the device, the countries that have claimed it.  She realizes that she's been in this box quite some time indeed.  But not, apparently, alone

Back in the past, Amy is safe in the Pandorica and The Doctor and Rory plan to travel forward using the Vortex Manipulator that River Song obtained to travel back earlier.  At least, The Doctor plans to.  Rory realizes that it means leaving Amy alone and unprotected, something he's not willing to do.  His Auton form is very long-lived, if not indestructible, and he resolves to remain and be Amy's guard for as long as he possibly can. 

At that moment in our time-ish, Amy is listening to a recording of the legend of the Roman Centurion who has guarded the Pandorica since its first discovery.  He was last seen pulling the box from a burning warehouse at the time of the London Blitz.  Amy realizes who is must have been.  Her thoughts are interrupted by an eerily familiar chant - somehow one of the stone Daleks has been activated, and is headed towards them.  The Doctor appears before them all, just having finished his advice to Rory. The Doctor advises running, and so they do.  A guard enters the room, but the Dalek dismisses him, believing him unarmed.  That is, until his hand drops down and reveals an Auton weapon.  Rory (for Rory it is) sends the weakened Dalek packing, followed by a tearful reunion.

As they run through from the museum, The Doctor pops back to the point where he gives Rory his directions - once before he uses the mop to bar a door, another after he figures out Rory'll need the Sonic Screwdriver to open the Pandorica, and a third once he realizes that leaving the Sonic in the past leaves him without it, so he reminds Rory to leave it in Amy's pocket...which he quickly retrieves it from.   He then asks young Amy how she knew to come here - she shows him the pamphlet...with his handwriting on it.  He pops back to set that bit up, and they head for the roof.  But they're stopped by...The Doctor.  And he doesn't look well - he tumbles down a flight of marble steps and lands near death at the bottom.  The Doctor we've been following checks on him, only to have something whispered in his ear. The Doctor remarks that he has "twelve minutes", and they head to the roof.  Amy and Rory hesitate, and The Doctor tells them they have to hurry or they'll all end up like little Amy...who while they were distracted, has vanished, not from the room, but existence.  The Earth is hanging on by a thread, and they need to find a solution or the universe will disappear up its own existence. 

Up on the roof, The Doctor is looking for his TARDIS, or, since it exploded, he's looking for an explosion.  He asks a simple question - if all the stars in the universe never existed - what's hanging in the morning sky, warming the Earth?  It's the TARDIS, exploding at all moments in time at once, its heat keeping the Earth alive.  And trapped inside it, in a timeloop to keep her safe, is River Song.  The Doctor uses the Vortex Manipulator to pull her out, adding to their numbers by one.  There's barely time to celebrate, as the Dalek has recharged enough to come after them.  As they run, The Doctor hatches a plan.  The Pandorica contains the ability to restore a lifeform with a sample of its DNA.  The box contains a sample of the Universe from before its destruction.  With  enough power, it should be able to use that sample to restore the universe.  And it's good plan, if the Dalek hadn't chose to catch up to them at just that moment and shoot The Doctor.  This is the moment that they saw The Doctor appear from, and so he flashes back to twelve minutes ago.  They eventually find him sitting in the Pandorica, the Vortex Manipulator wired up to its workings. 

Just before he leaves, he asks to talk to Amy.  With him flying the mad device into the exploding TARDIS, he'll be the only thing that won't be restored after the explosion transmits through time.  He assures Amy that if she can keep her family in her mind, even her Mom and Dad, who she "lost" all those years ago, they'll be back when it all comes back.  He reminds her that things that vanish leaves behind memories, echoes, and special people, like her can bring them back, just like Rory came back.

The Pandorica takes off into the sky, into the explosion, and it explodes.  The Doctor is sent back through his own timeline, slowing down at random moments.  He sees Amy at several points, and tries to speak to her.  She can hear him, but not enough to understand him clearly.  He hatches a plan.  Falling backwards, he stops as he and the Clerics leave Amy alone as they head off to fight the Weeping Angels.  Sitting alone with her eyes shut, and nothing to distract her, she can hear him.  He talks to her, reminding her to remember what he told her when she was a child.  She doesn't remember what he told her, and it's only now we realize, it's because he's yet to tell her.

He falls further, back to Amy's house, the night she waited.  She's sleeping in the backyard, still on the little suitcase she packed.  The Doctor picks her up and carries her back to bed.  She stays asleep, and he just sits there talking to her. telling her about all the adventures he's had, and all the ones they would have had together.  As he leaves, she awakens for a moment, sees no one, and drops back to sleep.  We pan out to the window, showing the night sky, the moon...and the stars.

Amy awakes on her wedding day.  All is well, and when she sees her mom and dad, she reacts as if she hasn't seen them in years, tho she can't place why.  She even calls Rory, asking if he feels like he's forgotten something terribly important, but he can't help her.  It's only at the reception does it all come together.  One fellow's bow tie, another's suspenders, and a funny tattered blue book (with blank pages) that a mysterious lady leaves for her.  She remembers The Doctor, and as she stands up and declares so to everyone's embarrassment, lo and behold the TARDIS appears, to everyone's amazement. 

He meets River Song outside, and gives her back her diary, which is now full with notes and entries again.  The Doctor tries to find out more about her, and she assures him she'll find out more quite soon...and that she's quite sorry about what will come.

He stays for the reception, and tries to sneak off afterwards, but Amy and Rory chase after him, and when he gets another call from someone in time, they wish their family farewell and take off with him.  Reprise the theme song and roll the credits!

A wonderful end to a solid series.  Matt Smith grabbed the role of The Doctor and never let go.  Karen Gillan is the latest in a series of strong female companions, and with two men at her beck and call, looks like there's no stopping her. 

BACKGROUND BITS AND BOBS - Trivia and production details

THEY SHOULDN'T EXIST, AND YET THEY DO - It didn't get a lot of play on screen, but the Pandorica is one of a series of mad historical anomalies on display at the museum.  In this post-destruction Earth, history didn't quite happen as it should; penguins lived on the Nile instead of cats, Polar Bears live in the desert, and only madmen see stars.  It's a lovely little bit of background detail.

AND MOSTLY DEAD IS PARTLY ALIVE - There's a lot of concepts we've seen elsewhere in this episode, and not all just from Moffat's past work.  The Pandorica bears more than a small thematic resemblance to the prison box used to contain Mr. Hyde in his modern updating of the story, Jekyll.  All the hopping madly back and forth in time is something Moffat has played with before, as far back as his parody story for Comic Relief.  When he uses it, he keeps it light and whimsical, which is exactly right for this show. 

TOUCH-A TOUCH-A TOUCH ME - There's been a theme of things being awakened by touch in the new series.  It's Rose Tyler's touch that re-activates the Metaltron in the story Dalek, and four series later, it's The Doctor's voice that allows them to be reborn anew in Victory of the Daleks.  Rose isn't supposed to touch her baby self in Father's Day, and the consequences are quite dire. 

"I don't trust that Richard Dawkins" - Dawkins is a noted British scientist, one of its most fervent defenders of the theory of evolution, and most of interest to the Internet, the coiner of the term "Meme".  He's an espoused atheist, and one of the most prominent critics of the concept of creationism as a scientific theory.  So the idea of him starting a cult is quite ironic indeed.  He also happens to be married to Lalla (Romana II) Ward.

BIG BAD UPDATE -  Some viewers are probably upset that The Silence wasn't revealed and explained here, but folks like me are amazed at the possibilities.  Moffat is working on multi-season story arcs, something as new to the show as the series arc was five seasons ago.  This isn't just a story getting a sequel, this is deliberate laying of threads and clues that won't bloom for a full year, possibly longer.  Moffat is playing the long game, and that's going to keep people tuned in. 

TILL TIME STANDS STILL AND THE RIVER RUNS DRY - Similarly, there's more and more suggestion that there's more to River Song than meets the eye. But we're in a rather unique position with her - we've already seen her ending.  At the end of her life, she will be trusted enough by The Doctor to give her his Sonic Screwdriver and tell her his real name.  And both these things happen AFTER the events we've seen this season. Not the kind of things one does for someone that does BAD things to them.  It's going to be rather jarring for her to turn into a bad guy, if that's the plan.  But if that's the play, we still know the ending, as, again, at the point in her timeline we've seen her this season, River has already experienced the events that we won't see till next season, or maybe even later.  I've mentioned this before, but with each successive time we've seen River, we've seen her from earlier in her timeline.  Each time we see her, she's slightly less experienced.  Will we see her first meeting with The Doctor?  It'll be curious to see how far they take the character back up her adventures. 

She's a very mysterious character - she seems to be the only one who actively remembers The Doctor after the universe reboots - if she didn't, she'd have had no reason to show up at Amy and Rory's wedding.  She provides the last bit of reminder Amy needed to bring the Doctor back, something that River apparently couldn't do.  Amy was not able to hold onto Rory's memories, because while her standing as a time traveler made her able to remember people only tangentially connected to her life, when her own timeline was being rewritten, she was unable to hold on.  The Doctor was, however.  But when the Doctor was un-done, Amy was only able to remember him with a great deal of prodding, which River was able to supply since she apparently DID remember him.  That implies that she's more of a temporal anomaly than amy, more on par with The Doctor, something touched on in Flesh and Stone.  The Clever Theories abound as to who she "really" is, and humorously enough, they're pretty much the same theories as to who Donna Noble "really" was.  I'm confident Steven will have something in plan wholly different from anything we can think up.

NEXT TIME ON DOCTOR WHO - Well, that's rather a question, isn't it?  There are already rumors swirling about as to the bad guys are on the Christmas special (I'll not say here, but it rhymes with the title of Nick Lowe's 1983 album) as well as what's up for next season.  We know Neil Gaiman is writing an episode, and obviously Moffat is writing some, but that's it so far.  All else you've heard is hearsay, flummery and japery.

COMPANIONS 4, THE DOCTOR 1 - This is the fourth of five seasons where the Doctor's bacon was saved by the companions.  With the more deus ex machina ending of the first season, things got more under the companion's control, with Donna Noble having firm control of what was going on in her finale.  Here you could make the argument that The Doctor merely loads the information that Amy will need to bring him back, but she's a strong enough personality that she remembers and believes things to a greater degree than most people, like the way she tenaciously hung onto the memories of The Doctor through "all those psychiatrists". 

THREES COMPANY TOO - We've had boyfriend and girlfriend travel in the TARDIS together in Rose and Mickey, but that ended up not lasting.  Here we've got a married couple traveling with The Doctor.  And all three of them agree that Amy's the man about the house.  Since this (hopefully) means the romantic triangle is settled, it'll be curious to see the relationship between the three in the coming season.  Right now I'd say Arthur Darvill is the weak link in the team, not as a result of his acting, as he's wonderful, but as a result of Rory still being a bit of an Arthur Dent of a character.  They did a good job of building him up to a degree throughout the series, especially by his actions and choices in this last episode, but at the end of the episode, technically, he didn't do any of it, he just remembers having done it.  They're going to have to do something to keep him from being a Harry Sullivan that we can't wait to see the back of.

OF ALL THE WORDS OF TONGUE OR PEN - Technically, the entire universe the morning of Amy's wedding is a massive parallel timeline where The Doctor never existed. Considering how wildly off things got when he was gone for only a few months in Donna Noble's world of Turn Left, it's amazing there's a universe at all with him not here to keep things in line.  One would have to assume that since he still existed in potentia in Amy's mind, the effects of his protection sort of kept the bad things away long enough for her to bring him back properly.  It's vaguely similar to the explanation of the creation of the 52 universes in the DC series - as soon as he was re-created, he retroactively had always been there, and all the things he did happened as they did before.

SERIES ONE - Or did they? Moffat referred to this season of Doctor Who as "Series One" in a number of interviews before it began, raising many questions and eyebrows among the fans.  His explanation is that each series is someone's first. But in point of fact, with the reboot of the universe, he's really started the whole universe over.  Odds are all of The Doctor's past adventures will have still happened, especially since Matt will be appearing on the DW spinoff series The Sarah Jane Adventures.  But we might see some bits of history change a bit.  It'll be curious to see how the Daleks are explained the next time they appear - how long will they discuss the fact that they got a major redesign, and just treat them as if they've always looked like that?

So, folks, what were your faves and raves of the season? There's a perfectly good forum thread just below to share your thoughts on the season, predictions for the next season, and maybe someone can try and guess exactly how anatomically correct the Auton Rory was...

What'd you think of the big finale?

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