Home Reviews Doctor Who Season 5 Episode 12 – The Pandorica Opens Review

Doctor Who Season 5 Episode 12 – The Pandorica Opens Review

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Stonehenge holds a secret. but what secret? © BBC
Stonehenge holds a secret. but what secret? © BBC

A trail of clues leads the Doctor and amy to Ancient Britian and the Romans at Stonehenge. Underneath that monument lies the fabled Pandorica, containing the most feared being on the universe.


As usual, Matt Smith plays an interesting and believable Doctor, battling to find solutions that even his vast store of knowledge is unable to unravel. His scene where he meets Rory is very well done, by all parties. Amy is still Amy, blundering around the place, unable to take extreme danger very seriously. This time the Doctor had to resort to the full power of his voice to stop her approaching a Cyberman’s arm. Was I upset by what happens at the episode’s end? No, it was more of a (short-lived, I expect) relief.

The Cyberman head provided the most unsettling part of the episode, as it tried, Borg-like, to make Amy into some kind of Cyberman – it wasn’t clear how this would happen. Probably just as well!

The Doctor (Matt Smith) shouts a lot at the alien spaceships, and you can make out some of it... © BBC
The Doctor (Matt Smith) shouts a lot at the alien spaceships, and you can make out some of it... © BBC

Rather than a Russell T Davies-style over-the-top episode ending with all guns blazing this was a sombre-music piece – and the music this episode was really good – with all the suns quietly exploding, leaving just the Earth (which either also vanished, or just faded into the end titles). I just wish the sound editing improves – I still can’t make out half of what the Doctor shouts at the alien spaceships (which was a bit of a daft scene)

It’s an interesting episode, and never lets its direction become obvious. I’m not sure, however, that it ever became truly exciting. The worst moment, by far, was the appearance of a whole bunch of the series’ monsters. It’s very tenuous that the Daleks would form an alliance with any other races and there’s no reason here why they should.

Ultimately, though, this episode left a string of questions, which I have every expectation that a writer of Steven Moffat’s calibre will answer. So here are some of them…

  • Why was Bracewell still with Churchill? Surely in the Dalek story he was given time by the Doctor and Amy to escape to Scotland? So why was he still there?
  • The oldest cliff in the universe. A rather daft idea – as if there isn’t a cliff anywhere else on the planet. And for how long is it the oldest? Surely at some point the planet would have been destroyed when its sun died, and then another planet would be the oldest. So probably not somewhere “from the dawn of time”. And surely if it was so famous, the Time Lords would have had a look?
  • Why do the Doctor, Amy and Song ride to Stonehenge on horses? Why not use the TARDIS? (Well, because the plot needs Song to try to pilot it later on)
  • Why was there a Cyberman head above ground at Stonehenge? Had the sentry popped out for a look? Had the Celts really been powerful enough to stop it? Hadn’t the Cybermen all been sucked back into their parallel universe? (Although the Cybermen in Victorian London story may have explained this). Wouldn’t a Dalek sentry have been better?
  • Song says, “Everything that’s ever hated you is coming here tonight”. Why Draconians? They didn’t hate him. Do the Judoon hate the Doctor? How do the Zygons even know about the Doctor? What were Silurians doing in the group – aren’t they really good guys?
  • Song says that no one knows how old Stonehenge is. Er, this is from someone who has travelled in time…?
  • With all these races turning up, from all different times, do they all have time travel ability? In which case, what made the Time Lords lords? Also, do all these races now have the ability to beam around? And I can’t say I like this ability of people to ring each other across Time – too easy.
  • Song’s hypnotic lipstick – now it works on plastic Nestenes?
  • So all these enemies of the Doctor have him in their grasp. Then why didn’t they KILL HIM?
  • Most interesting of all, who is the mysterious voice,“Silence will fall”?
River Song (Alex Kingston) with a cyberman head, Amy Pond (Karen Gillan) and The Doctor (Matt Smith) - from an alternate time-line? © BBC
River Song (Alex Kingston) with a cyberman head, Amy Pond (Karen Gillan) and The Doctor (Matt Smith) - from an alternate time-line? © BBC

Next week’s episode is a complete mystery and I have nothing but admiration for the production team keeping it a secret, and for Moffat’s plotting leading us to such a mystifying point.

Unfortunately, I’m not really excited about the next episode, just intrigued, but I have a sneaky feeling that I’m going to see the whole of this season differently after next week…

[Rating: 4.5]