Note that the index below - apart from the introduction - is alphabetical, not chronological, with the season and episode in parenthesis. The reviews themselves are chronologically arranged, with the season starting with the 2005 reboot, not with the original 1963 series. This page covers seasons 1 through 5, but focuses pretty much exclusively on the Steven Moffat era. Seasons 6 and beyond are covered on a different page.
- Amy's Choice (5.7)
- The Beast Below (5.2)
- The Big Bang (5.12)
- Blink (3.10)
- Cold Blood (5.9)
- The Doctor Dances (1.10)
- The Eleventh Hour (5.1)
- The Empty Child (1.9)
- Flesh and Stone (5.5)
- Forest of the Dead (4.9)
- The Girl in the Fireplace (2.4)
- The Hungry Earth (5.8)
- The Lodger (5.11)
- The Pandorica Opens (5.13)
- The Silence in the Library (4.8)
- The Time of the Angels (5.4)
- Vampires of Venice (5.6)
- Victory of the Daleks (5.3)
- Vincent and the Doctor (5.10)
Doctor Who is the longest-running science fiction show ever, having begun transmission on 23 November, 1963. It went through a hiatus in the mid nineties, but was resurrected at full throttle in 2005 by Russell Davis and hasn’t looked back. It's now run by Steven Moffat, one of the finest writers there is.
Although the same lead character 'The Doctor' (who is a Time Lord, able to travel through time and space in his machine called the TARDIS) has been featured in every episode since the beginning, it’s not been played by the same actor. When the original actor, William Hartnell decided he wanted to retire from the role in what was then a very successful show, the writers cooked up the idea of the Time Lords being able to regenerate. That is, if they were dying, their body would reorganize and renew itself, changing The Doc's appearance and often his personality, to some degree, but his memories remain intact.
This brilliant strategy has resulted in there being eleven doctors over the course of the show, with each one's regeneration now being anticipated with fascination as we see the new character emerge from the old.
Because of the show's immense history, I'm not about to review every show! I have seen every show (at least all those which are extant - some have been lost, some are audio only, so seen should be understood to be 'heard' as well!), but I'm only going to focus on what I call the 'Steven Moffat era'. He's the current show runner, but before that he wrote several eps for the show, so I'm going to start with those eps, and then focus on his tenure as head writer, which coincides with Matt Smith's tenure as The Doc.
(note the eps are numbered from the reboot, not from the original show in 1963!)
The Empty Child is the first Doctor Who episode which Steven Moffat wrote. It’s part of a two ep story which concludes with The Doctor Dances (also reviewed here). It begins with the ninth Doctor (played by Christopher Eccleston) and his companion of the series, Rose Tyler (played by Billie Piper), chasing a rogue Chula ship through space, heading towards Earth.
As they follow it, the ship begins (for no other reason than that Moffat thinks it's more fun to have this thing that looks like a bomb drop on London during World War 2) to drift through time and ends up landing in London in 1941. Rose thinks that The Doc should scan for alien technology, but he's adamant that they'll find it since he knows where it landed to within a small area. She's annoyed with him for not using high tech, chiding him that he should be more 'Spock' ("Would it kill ya?" she asks in her charming London accent. Rose herself is from the London of 2005, not 1941).
So they land and depart the TARDIS. Now the most important thing after any landing is that The Doc and his companion get separated. This is a critical rule in this show. So while The Doc wanders into a nightclub (where the performer is singing It Had to be You!) and hilariously starts asking (from the stage) if anything has dropped from the sky recently (in bomb-ravaged wartime London!), Rose stays outside and sees a child, evidently wearing a gas mask, high up on a roof calling for his 'mummy' (you have to imagine that word in a prim British accent in a six-year-old child's voice). She clambers up there to rescue him, finding a convenient rope hanging down for the last leg, but as soon as she grabs hold of the rope and starts climbing, she's torn away from the building, and to her horror, realizes that she's hanging from the broken mooring rope of a wartime barrage balloon!
Picture Rose, wearing a union flag T-shirt, flying through the air over London during an air raid conducted by the Luftwaffe! On a point of order: note that the term 'Union Flag' is the correct one; not that it really matters what we call it these days, but strictly speaking, it’s only called the Union Jack when it’s flown from a ship; however, Rose herself, who in a later show corrects someone on this very point (if memory serves, which it often doesn't), refers to it as the Union Jack in this ep.
Meanwhile The Doc returns from his fruitless nightclub visit to discover that Rose has disappeared. He's mumbling to himself that his companions never listen, when the phone rings on the TARDIS. If you looked up the ref I gave to the TARDIS, you'll know that it’s a poor copy of a Brit police box from the 50's and 60's. They're no longer to be found now, but were quite common when this series was originally transmitted (when British police officers did not routinely travel in radio-equipped cars). The TARDIS is supposed to be able to change it’s exterior appearance to match the surroundings, but the chameleon circuit is blown and The Doc never seems to be able to fix it - not even with his sonic screwdriver, and now the box has become such an institution in Britain, no one wants to see it changed!
Anyway the phone rings which is a problem since it’s a fake! It’s not hooked up to anything and consequently it’s never rung before. But it’s ringing now and when The Doc goes to answer it, young Nancy, a girl of about 16 years, appears from nowhere to tell him not to answer it. The Doc does anyway, but when he turns to face her again, Nancy has disappeared. On the phone is the same voice which Rose heard, asking the same question: "Are you my mummy?" This phrase is now an in-joke on the Doctor Who circuit. In a later ep, the tenth doctor uses the phrase when he sees someone in a gas mask, which killed me at the time.
The air raid siren goes off and The Doc, peering over a wall trying to discover whence Nancy, sees a family heading out to the bomb shelter at the end of the back yard, and then he sees Nancy and some kids head right into the vacated house. They're intent on stealing food and other stuff whilst the actual family is in the shelter. A dangerous business, but it's a living.
Inside the house we see that Nancy is very much the mother. She makes sure the kids wash their hands, that they sit down and pass the food around in an orderly fashion, only one slice of meat each. There must be a dozen kids. Then suddenly, The Doc is among them. Nancy is fearful of him, but he's not going to turn her in. Instead he asks them if anything odd fell from the sky, and Nancy tells him that something did, on the night her kid brother Jamie died.
The gas mask boy shows up at the front door asking for his mummy and wanting to be let in because bombs are falling. Nancy is terrified and orders all the kids out of the back door. The Doc wants to let him in but she says he will end up just like the kid if he touches him. The Doc asks what the kid is like and Nancy answers that he's empty.
Meanwhile, we meet Captain Jack Harkness, (played by John Barrowman) an air force veteran of the RAF (even though he's an American), who is watching Rose flying over London hanging from the barrage balloon. He is one of two recurring characters whom Moffat has introduced to the series.
When The Doc opens the door, to see what the deal is with this gas mask boy, he's gone and so is Nancy, but The Doc follows her and finds that she has a little hidden camp to which she has brought food for 'her children'. The Doc asks her who it is whom she's lost, and she tells him all about how awful she feels because she got her younger brother killed when she left him to go get food. He was killed the night the Chula ship landed when he followed her. The Doc paraphrases something which the Duke of Wellington supposedly said before the Battle of Waterloo: "I don't know what you do to Hitler, but you frighten the hell out of me." Since he is a time traveler, The Doc may well have heard Wellington actually say, "I don't know what effect these men will have upon the enemy, but, by God, they frighten me."
Meanwhile Rose falls from the barrage balloon only to be caught by a light-beam which drifts her down to the awaiting arms of Captain Jack. Jack shows her psychic paper professing him to be a member of the RAF, but she's not fooled by the paper, and when she tells him and returns it to him, it reveals as much to him about her as it did to her about him. He thinks she's a time agent come to arrest him for his con tricks. He tells her of the Chula 'warship' which he will give to her if they let him go - but there is a deadline. In two hours a German bomb will fall on it and it will be destroyed. Seeing the rope burns on her hands, he calls in the Chula nanogenes, which fix her skin instantly. He breaks out some champagne and takes her up onto the spacecraft's roof. It's invisible and it's tethered to Big Ben tower! He says he can find The Doc because he can scan for alien tech and Rose is suitably impressed. They dance on the invisible spacecraft roof!
Nancy tells The Doc that before he sees the 'bomb' he must see the doctor! He breaks into the hospital that Nancy has pointed out to him, and discovers scores of 'patients', all wearing gas masks and in street clothes, all apparently dead. He meets Doctor Constantine (interesting name!) and asks him why they're all wearing gas masks. Eerily, Constantine replies, "They’re not." He invites The Doc to examine them - but not to touch them. The Doc is amazed to discover that they all have exactly the same injuries, including the brain trauma, right down to the scar on their right hand. The gas mask is not being worn - it’s fused to their face! The other doctor has that same scar on his hand, and he appears not at all well.
Jack and Rose arrive at the hospital, Rose introducing The Doc as Doctor Spock. Nancy goes back to the house to get more food. While she's there, the empty child arrives and Rose is cornered. At the same time, in the hospital, Doctor Constantine undergoes a morph. A gas mask starts to protrude from his face and his eyes literally bug out and form the gas mask eye pieces. That image was rather disturbing the first time I saw it. It still looks Eerie, even on repeat viewing! All of the patients awake and start cornering The Doc, Rose and Jack. That's where this ep ends!
In the old days, Doctor Who used to be episodic, with stories running over usually three to five eps, one per week, and Steven Moffat was a big fan of the old series, so it’s unsurprising that he likes to write episodic stories if he can, with cliff-hangers wherever possible. He has another two-part story which I'll also review. Now, on to The Doctor Dances!
Part one of this two-part ep left us with The Doc and Nancy both being threatened by the gas mask people. The Doc resolves this by treating them exactly like the young boy and telling them they've been bad and they must go to their room immediately. This works! The Doc is pleased: "I'm really glad that worked because those would have been terrible last words!" The patients retreat and so, too, does the young child threatening Nancy. She whimpers as he goes, saying softly, "Jamie!"
As she's about to leave the house, the owner comes back in from the bomb shelter and traps Nancy, threatening her with the police. He keeps telling her what an awful person she is to steal the food which was won by the sweat on his brow. Nancy advises him that if he doesn’t let her leave, she'll tell everyone how he's getting those extra cuts of meat. She declares her knowledge along these lines: "People think it’s because your wife is very friendly with the butcher, don’t they? But it’s not your wife who's friendly with him is it? Oh look! There's the sweat on your brow!"
You know, people talk about Joss Whedon (covered in the Firefly and Serenity entries elsewhere in this blog) as something special, and he definitely has a way with words and a way with direction, but he's not a patch on Steven Moffat when it comes to plot and turn of phrase.
Back in the hospital, The Doc, Rose, and Jack are discussing the child, listening to his voice on a tape, but when the tape runs out, the voice is still there: the child is in the room with them! Jack produces a gun which can cut a square hole in a wall or door, and he takes out the door lock, allowing them to escape. Trapped in the hallway by the re-stirred up patients, Rose uses what she calls 'The Squareness Gun' to cut a hole in the floor. The gun can also re-seal the hole, so for the nonce, they're safe, but they're now trapped in a room from which there's no exit. The Doc says to Rose, "One: we've got to get out of here; two: we can’t get out of here. Am I missing anything?" to which Rose replies that Jack has disappeared into thin air.
Jack has returned to his ship using his teleport, and he comes back in his ship and rescues The Doc and Rose by beaming them out of the room. He heads back to the 'bomb' site and Rose discovers that while Jack would dance with her, The Doc won't. Nancy is also at the site, but she's captured by the guards and handcuffed to a table next to a soldier who has a scar on his hand. Nancy is in tears and close to panicking, begging the officer to punish her however he feels fit, but to not keep her cuffed in the tent where this guy is. Right as the guy starts to change, The Doc, Rose and Jack arrive to free her.
They go to the Chula ship and The Doc realizes that it's an ambulance, not a warship. Jack defensively declares, "Well they use ambulances in wars!" The Doc figures out that when Jack first opened it, it freed a bunch of medical nanogenes like the ones Jack has on his ship (also of Chula origin), but which in this case have no idea of how humans are supposed to be configured. Their first encounter was with Nancy's poor brother Jamie who had just died from his injuries. The nanogenes took his condition to be the norm and started 'fixing' everyone else to match it.
There's a small logic problem here in that if Jack was the first to open the Chula ship, then the nanogenes would have encountered him before the dead child. They might have escaped when the ship crashed, before Jack got there, but this option would seem to be excluded since Jack says he opened the ship. The Doc's attempts to open it result in the Chula alarming and arming, ready to explode, and all of the gas mask people show up, surrounding them.
Nancy sees her brother Jamie, and The Doc tells her he needs his mother, and realizes that Nancy actually is his mother, not his sister! She was an unwed sixteen-year-old who wasn't welcome anywhere and so made a family of her own with the orphaned kids. Nancy finally embraces her son no matter what the consequences, but the nanogenes realize that there's a DNA relationship between these two people, and they figure out how humans really should be configured.
Why they didn’t figure this out before, since we all have a DNA relationship, is a mystery, but they immediately 'correct' all the others, bringing them back to normal life. One woman accosts doctor Constantine, saying that she had only one leg when she came to the hospital, now she has two. Doctor Constantine replies, "Well there is a war on. Is it possible you miscounted?"!
This leaves the Chula ship about to explode, but Jack whisks it away with his ship with it held in stasis, only to discover that he can’t ditch it without it exploding. He has two minutes to live, and resigned to his fate at last, he has a martini and prepares to face his end when the TARDIS materializes inside his ship and rescues him. Finally, The Doc dances with Rose as they head off to their next adventure.
This business of the TARDIS materializing in odd places is used to great humorous effect. One time it materialized between two trash skips and the tenth Doc has to de- and re-materialize it to get the door facing the right way so he can get out. Another time during the current (eleventh) doctor's tenure, it materialized inside itself, so that when you exited the door, you came right back out of the door of the 'inner TARDIS!'
This begins with a screaming, panicking crowd of people dressed as they would have been during the reign of Louis Quinze of France. We see the king himself and his mistress, the Madame de Pompadour approaching the fireplace in her bedroom. She speaks into the fireplace saying something along the lines of "The clock has stopped, it’s time; we need your help doctor." The king is dismissive of this plan, but the Madame de Pompadour insists that he has always been there for her.
We move back to a slightly earlier time, with the eleventh Doc, Rose, and Mickey, Rose's boyfriend alighting from the TARDIS which has materialized on a ship stranded in space. The Doc notices that whilst the ship is running at full power, they're going nowhere and he presciently remarks that the power being generated is quite sufficient to blow a hole in the universe. They start wandering around and find a fireplace with a burning log fire, which is a startling thing to find on a spaceship. They see a 7 year old French girl, Jeanne Antoinette Poisson, through the fireplace, who evidently can see them, too. They talk briefly.
A few moments later, The Doc discovers that he can operate the fireplace like a revolving door, and he spins it 180º to find himself in the bedroom of the same girl. She's in bed, but she wakes up and talks with him. He discovers that it's several months later in her time, whilst only a few minutes in his. He learns her name, but does not grasp at that point who she really is. Oddly, when she was a child, Jeanne was in a convent, so it's unlikely The Doc would have encountered her at home on two consecutive visits even had he been timely enough to have met her on one.
But I digress, and in order to discourage your egress, I must continue apace with our congress, yes? The thing which fascinates The Doc is that the clock on her mantel-piece is broken, yet there's a ticking sound in the room. He looks under the bed and sees on the other side, two feet clad in Louis Quinze era shoes. When he stands, there's a humanoid wearing a mask, facing him across the bed. The Doc removes the wig and mask to find an oddly-shaped 'head' in clear plastic that's full of what look like small brass clockwork mechanisms. The Doc is overjoyed at this. extolling the beauty of it, and declaring that he couldn't possibly destroy something as wonderful as this. The Doc is often in the position of effusing over things which would perturb, scare or terrify any ordinary person.
Meanwhile, back on the ship, Rose encourages Mickey to explore. At first he argues that The Doc told them to wait, but when Rose lures him into go along with her plan she exclaims, "Now you're getting it!" As they explore, they discover that there is a real organic eye in a camera, and an organic beating heart inside the wall of the ship. There's also a horse! And no crew whatsoever. They also discover a series of portals into Jeanne's life at different periods.
Back with The Doc, we find that the clockwork guy, having explained that the young girl isn't ready yet, attacking him using a blade that has appeared from one of his arms. He slams it into the fireplace where it gets stuck in the wood, so The Doc pivots the fireplace back into the ship, taking Mr Clockwork with him, and there, Mickey freezes it with some sort of gun (or maybe it's a fire extinguisher! This is the 51st century, who knows!). Before The Doc can examine the thing any more, it dematerializes, looking like it's whooshing upwards in a stream of particles.
In order to figure out what's going on, The Doc returns to talk with the young girl, but he encounters a young woman instead. Her name is Reinette. That word means 'little queen' in French, and therein lies a problem. You may be wondering how The Doc can converse with those who speak a foreign language, and the answer is another neat trick of the show. The TARDIS does real-time translation for those who have traveled in it. The TARDIS gets into you somehow once you've been a passenger, making you perceive time slightly differently inter alia, and one of those other things is this language translation.
So far so good. But in this particular case, where her nickname means something (many names do actually mean something besides just being a name), why is it that the TARDIS doesn't translate that? Does it know it's actually a nickname? How? We can only speculate at this point, but our speculation will be aided immeasurably by what we learn later. The TARDIS is very smart; we learn this in a startling ep which we'll encounter during the Matt Smith era, an ep which could probably only have been written by Neil Gaiman.
Reinette realizes that The Doc is the very same person she met all those years ago, but he has not changed. Once The Doc finally gets it, he realizes, from her nickname, that Reinette is actually Madame de Pompadour - yes, the very woman who gave her title to the Pompadour hair style. She says, "So many questions, so little time!" and kisses him passionately. The Doc is somewhat stunned and then declares joyfully, "I've been snogged by Madame de Pompadour!" - although since she had not been given the title at that point, his declaration might have seemed more than a little odd to her.
I believe that pompadour means pink, so really this is Mrs Pink! And that honorific, 'Mrs' is actually à propos here, because one thing which is very conveniently papered over in this story is that before Jeanne Poisson (Jean Fish in English interestingly defined as 'cold-blooded aquatic animal with fins and scales'!) became Madame de Pompadour, she was actually a married woman: Madame Le Normant d'Étiolles (Mrs Normalizing Bleach! I am not making this up!). But keep her marital status in mind for later.
The Doc finds that the clockwork robot will answer Reinette, but not him, so she commands it to answer any and all questions put to them, and it's during this Q&A that we learn what's going on. The robots are apparently refitting the ship, but since they've run out of stock components, they've been making do with human organs, which explains why none of the crew is to be found - they're all embedded in the ship by then! The robots' interest in Reinette is answered by their chant "We are the same," but it seems to make no sense! The robot also explains that the last component is Reinette's head, but when The Doc asks why they have not killed her, the robot explains that she is not yet complete. He has no idea what this means, so she agrees to let him explore her mind in a mind-meld.
During this exploration, she remarks upon a lonely childhood, and as he is agreeing with her, he realizes that the childhood she refers to is his, not hers. He breaks the link and asks her how she managed to read his mind too. She responds charmingly, "A door, once opened, may be passed through in either direction." Now, however, she has a complete grasp of what's going on, and she understands that The Doc is a time traveler. She decides to lead The Doc off to dance with her, and whilst this diversion is going on, Mickey and Rose are captured and are about to be parceled out for organs, but The Doc returns and saves them. He wanders the ship looking at what they have discovered, followed by the white horse, trying to figure out why the robots want Reinette, and why they have to wait until she is 'ready'. He will never find out! They do, however, discover the portal to when Reinette is ready, and it's horrible (it's the screaming scene from the start of the ep)
Rose is sent through an earlier portal to warn Reinette, and when Rose has trouble explaining what's going on, Reinette figures it out: it's like a book, and while The Doc and his companions can open it at any page, she must go through it page by page from start to finish. She demands to see the ship, and passes behind a curtain which Rose and Mickey have just come through. In the ship, she hears the screams from the future portal and determines that she must return and prepare for it, trusting The Doc to appear exactly when he's needed.
This brings us full circle to when she calls into the fireplace for The Doc. He appears not to be there, but when the entire complement of palace inhabitants is herded into the ballroom, The Doc dramatically rides his white horse through a window (which appears as a large mirror to the people in the palace). Louis 15th tells him pompously, "I'm the King of France" to which The Doc replies classically, "Oh yeah? Well I'm the Lord of Time and I've come to fix the clock!" I adored that part.
The Doc tells the robots that he has disabled all of their portals. They cannot return to the ship, and neither can he. Being no longer of utility, the robots disable themselves and all is well, except that The Doc is stranded, but Reinette knows differently. She shows him the fireplace in her bedroom. It's the original fireplace through Which she first saw The Doc! She had it moved to the palace when she became the King's mistress, and since it was 'offline' when he disabled the other portals, he can fix it and return to the ship and his beloved TARDIS!
He tells Reinette to pack a bag and he will return for her shortly. Why he does not take her with him is unexplained, but when he returns, he finds Louis 15th there, who tells him Reinette has died. They watch her coffin being hauled away in a carriage, and Louis hands The Doc a letter from her which explains how weak and tired she is and how she hopes for him soon. Jeanne Antoinette Poisson died at 42 from tuberculosis. It's strange that The Doc doesn't appear to know this is coming given how much he does know of her. He's left to depart on another adventure with Mickey and Rose and mourn her in private.
We often find this weak plot line when The Doc meets someone with whom he would like to pursue a friendship or something more, but it's derailed, and in this case, the derailment makes no sense (except that it would change history if she simply disappeared) because The Doc is a time traveler! I hate to say this about a writer of Steven Moffat's stature, but there have to be smarter ways of writing it than this! The Doc could have taken the TARDIS and gone back for her, but he does not, and no explanation is given for why this is. Yes, there is the old trope of not being able to cross his own timeline (and we see the consequences of this during the Matt Smith era), but it's still weak, and yet it's still what we have to deal with.
But here's the weird thing to which I alluded earlier: The Doc is offering to elope with Reinette, who is not only the King of France's mistress, she's also Mrs Le Normant d'Étiolles, wife of Charles-Guillaume Le Normant d'Étiolles! A young adult and children's TV show with the lead character running off with someone else's wife? What a shocker! No wonder Moffat kept her marriage out of the story!
Now we get to the absolute most brilliant TV show of all time: Steven Moffat's Blink. It has garnered for itself a very respectable garland of accolades. Given that it's impossible for a mere human to write a truly perfect ep, Moffat came as close as it's humanly possible to get with this one, and while it still does have issues, it's without a doubt the best I've ever seen. And it's weird, too, because this is a Doctor Who ep in which The Doc almost doesn't appear! The original story for this, in a very different form, appeared in the Doctor Who Christmas Annual for 2006 where it was titled: What I Did In My Christmas Holidays By Sally Sparrow.
One of the things they do in these shows is to produce an occasional 'doctor lite' ep, where the doctor is largely absent, because he's actually working at that same time on another ep elsewhere. We see this in series 4 with the back to back eps 4.10 Midnight and 4.11 Turn Left which feature almost entirely the doctor without his companion in this case Donna Noble, in the first, and the companion without The Doc in the second.
Blink is the first Doctor Who ep to be directed by a woman since 1985 and Hettie MacDonald does an outstanding job. C'mon you girls, get up there and direct some! This is urgent! The ep itself is also largely about a girl. It starts with Sally Sparrow. This role is played by Carey Mulligan, who is probably the only actress who could have played this part to the perfection which she achieved. And it was a hard row to hoe getting there from what wikipedia says. I'm so glad she made it). This ep would not have been right without her!
Sally is evidently really interested in photography to the point where she's willing to scale the fence to a derelict house and goo inside to photograph it at night! Except that she's in for the most startling turn of events of her young life. She moves through the house photographing whatever takes her fancy, but in one room she notes that there is something written beneath the peeling wallpaper. She tears off small strips at a time, each one revealing an ever more intriguing message:
THE WEEPING ANGEL
OH, AND DUCK!
NO REALLY, DUCK!
and she ducks as something is thrown at the wall. We never learn what that's all about.
Now she's rather freaked out but she does not panic. She looks closely at the weeping angel she can see in the yard, through the window. It is a full sized statue of a woman with her raised hands covering her face, but it's not moving, nor does it look threatening. She pulls the last piece of the paper away to reveal the last part of the message which reads: LOVE, THE DOCTOR (1969). I love the way he punctuates!
The weeping angels are not in fact statues - not in the story and not in real life during the filming! They are actors who are made-up to look like statues and then pose, wearing masks There is some digital magic done to prevent them appearing to move even slightly on the screen. The effect is amazing, and it meant that the director could pose them however they wanted without having to build a new statue each time.
Sally hurries over to her best friend Kathy Nightingale's house despite the late hour. Why Moffat chose to name the two girls after birds is not explained, which is especially annoying since it's Sparrow who visits the house at night and Nightingale who visits the next day!
Kathy gets a call and despite complaining about being woken, she tells Sally to come over, and Sally informs her that she's already in the kitchen making coffee! Kathy hangs up and starts to get out of bed and then panics. We soon discover why. Her brother is staying with her and is in the habit of going to the bathroom in the middle of the night, butt-naked. Sally encounters him and he's so sleepy he has to ask her if he's got trousers on. She smirks and shakes her head.
The next morning, the two of them visit the house, which is called Wester Drumlins named after a house in which Moffat once lived. During their exploration of the place, Sally finds a key on a piece of string hanging on the hand of one of the angels which are now in the house. She's interrupted by a knock on the door. In case it's trouble, Kathy hides in a room close to the front door as 'back-up', and Sally answers. There's a guy there who has a letter for her. He says he was told by his grandmother to deliver the letter to her at this address on this day at this time.
Sally thinks it's a joke or something, but the guy leaves when she turns to investigate a noise in the room where Kathy was hiding. Kathy is nowhere to be found, and so Sally reads the letter which explains that her friend has somehow been transported to 1920 where she married the first guy she met, and Sally shouldn't worry or feel bad, because she's had a happy and wonderful life with a great guy, and produced several children and grandchildren, one of whom Sally has now met. Sally leaves the House and we see in the windows that each of the four angels is watching her.
Kathy has expressed in the letter that her only concern is her brother, and that Sally must tell him that she has gone away for a while. Sally visits the local graveyard and finds Kathy's gravestone. She discovers that Kathy lied about her age to her prospective husband and smirks, saying "You lying cow!". Next she visits Kathy's brother Larry, to give him the news, and whilst she awaits him (he works in the video rental store below where his sister lived), she's disturbed by a video suddenly starting to play which features The Doc speaking as though he's having a conversation of which only his side can be heard. He seems to be interacting with what Sally says, and that creeps her out.
Larry shows up and recognizes her. This is another totally charming moment which only Mulligan could have carried. Sally gives Larry the message and then asks Larry about the creepy video, and he explains that it's a mystery. There are seventeen DVDs each of which has an Easter egg containing a small part of the complete video. When you put them all together, it makes a one-sided conversation which has become something of a cult on the Internet as people try to figure out what it means. He gives her a list of the 17 DVDs on which these Easter eggs appear. Other than the Easter egg, there seems to be no connection between them.
Sally next goes to the police station to report Kathy's disappearance. Whilst she's waiting for the detective to show up, she notes a statue on a building across the street. The camera slowly zooms onto her eyes and she blinks in slow-mo, whereupon the statue has gone! She imagines she's imagined it, and meets Billy Shipton, the detective in charge of certain disappearances, of which there have been many at Wester Drumlins. In the garage where the cars are kept from the people who've disappeared, there is also the TARDIS! Billy explains that while it's like a 1950's police box, it's not a real one because the windows are different. This is an inside joke because when the original TARDIS was created, it was not an accurate copy!
Billy explains that no one can get into it because although it appears to have a standard Yale lock, they cannot find a key which will fit it. He asks Sally for a date and this is yet another great moment which would not have worked had it been anyone other than Mulligan acting it IMO. After she's left, Billy turns to find the angels in the garage, by the TARDIS. He stands in front of one of them and again we're treated to the zoom with slowly blinking eyes, and Billy finds himself in 1969 with The Doc and his current companion, Martha Jones played by Freema Agyeman. They explain to him that the weeping angels are really an alien race who exist on the potential energy created by zapping someone back in time. They're the only psychopaths to 'kill' you considerately The Doc explains. He also tells Billy that they're going to need his assistance.
Immediately, Sally, outside in the pouring rain, remembers the key in her pocket, but when she returns to the garage, Shipton and the TARDIS are both gone. She gets a phone call, and goes straight to the hospital where she finds Billy, now an old man, lying in bed, dying. He explains to her what happened to him. He says he got into publishing and then into video, and it was he who put the Easter eggs onto the DVDs. No one until this point has ever been able to explain them. This is where there's yet another classic Moffat line. Billy mentioned that it was raining when they first met, and Sally exclaims, "It's the same rain!". I found that simultaneously heartbreaking and hilarious. Same Rain is actually the name of a pretty decent song by Sam Phillips.
Billy says that The Doc gave her a message to pass on to Sally, which is "Look at the list". Next she's calling Larry and asking him to meet her at Wester Drumlins. She's found the connection between the DVDs: it's her! She owns all of them and only those 17.
They meet at the house, and play the entire DVD Easter egg collection sequentially. Sally ends up having a conversation with The Doc, and Larry is freaked out. He's writing down her side of the conversation for the first time, in short-hand, which offers another delicious Mulligan moment! This interaction is amazing and worth seeing just for itself. Sally learns that the angels are quantum locked and key on vision: as long as something can see them, they become literal stone, but as soon as they're unwatched, they move blindingly fast. In fact, I can't stand it, I have to watch this part of the ep again! I'm going to take a break and watch it right now. I'll be right back....
"You can do short-hand?"
"The angels have the phone box. I've got it on a T-shirt!" I want it on a T-shirt!
This exchange gives me goosebumps every time I watch it. But you have to have seen the previous interaction to get the best from it. You can see that here.
See? I told you I'd be right back. Now where were we? Oh yes, The Doc's conversation stops suddenly and he offers his famous blink speech: "Don't blink. Don't even blink. Blink and you're dead. They're fast; faster than you could believe. Don't turn your back. Don't look away, and don't blink. Good luck." He tells them that his transcript has run out, and the only reason she would have stopped conversing with him is that the angels are coming. There are shadows moving, and an angel is in the room with them. They have to watch the angels without blinking. Sally leaves Larry by himself whilst she tries to find a way out that's not blocked by angels.
Given how utterly amazing this is, I have to overlook this but when I isolate it and consider it, it's a serious weakness in that the principals are frequently not looking at the angels and yet these amazingly fast predators are somehow too slow to get them! I can only assume that part of it is explained by the fact that, as discussed int he review of Primeval, predators do not need to feed all the time, so sometimes, even when they're not being seen, they don't attack. But the scene with Larry and Sally trying to escape, and ending up in the basement where they find the TARDIS and are suddenly surrounded by angels is creepy and amazing.
In the basement, all four angels appear and they try to turn out the light. Sally lets herself and Larry into the TARDIS, since she has the key, and as soon as they're there, the TARDIS activates, dematerializing, but leaving them behind! They almost panic, thinking the angels will get them, but they discover that since there was an angel on each side of the TARDIS, as soon as it has vanished from their midst, they're left looking directly at each other and therefore can never move! Actually they're not - one of them is not being observed directly, but perhaps they only need to be in the general line of sight rather than be the actual focus of view.
The final scene shows Sally and Larry working together in their video store some time later. The original transmission of this declared it to be one year later, but in the DVD version, there's no indication of when this took place. She's still obsessing on the notes and materials related to the angels episode, but Larry is concerned that it might be getting in the way of something else. Sally denies there's anything else, telling him it's just a video store, nothing else. As Larry goes out to buy get some milk, Sally sees a cab pull up outside and Martha and The Doc get out! There's this amazing profile of her looking out of the window, her face soft and her eyes deep, deep brown. She runs out with her file and gives it to The Doc, telling him he'll need it because he will become trapped in 1969 at some point in his future. Then she wishes him goodbye.
Meanwhile, Larry has returned, sans milk, and is standing there with his mouth open wide. Sally takes his hand and leads him back into the store, her obsession dispensed with, her life ready to go on.
This is part one of a two-parter, where The Doc meets someone who knows him very well, but whom he has not met yet. That's what makes this episode irresistible for me.
So we begin with a Doctor Moon psychoanalyzing a young girl by the name of Charlotte Abigail Lux. He invites her to enter (in her mind) her library, which is a place of sanctuary for her and is huge. Almost as soon as she appears in the library, seeing shelves and shelves of books all around her, she becomes aware of someone else being there. There should never be anyone else in the library. Worse, whomever it is wants into the room where Charlotte is standing, and they want it badly, banging and banging on the door. She begins to panic. Then the titles roll!
After the titles, we see The Doc materializing in the TARDIS with his then current companion Donna Noble (played by Catherine Tate who is a British comedian, and who appeared in a sketch with David Tennant, who plays The Doc in this ep, for Comic relief in 2007 Tennant plays a relief teacher, with Tate playing a student (which given that she was around forty at the time takes some gall! But this skit is hilarious, and I recommend it. Tennant employed a British accent in his Doctor Who role, but he employs his regular Scots accent in the skit.
So The Doc and Donna are inside the biggest library in the universe. The entire planet is a library, but as they soon discover, no one is there; all that there is, is millions upon millions of books. Note that these are shelved paper books, even though this is the 51st century (Moffat evidently adores the 51st century - that's when his 'The Girl in the Fireplace was set). When The Doc queries the library information system to find out where everyone else is, he discovers that there is a million million lifeforms, but only two humanoids! He can't figure it out. Donna suggests that maybe they've arrived on a Sunday, but The Doc assures her that he never lands on a Sunday, because Sundays are so boring!
They consult Courtesy Node 710/Aqua for further information, and Donna is amazed to discover it has a real human face. The Doc tells her that in this century, humans donate their faces to things like this. The courtesy node advises them to "Run! For god's sake, run! Nowhere is safe!" When asked for further information it offers, "Count the shadows! If you want to live, count the shadows!" It has no further information.
At this point The Doc reveals that the reason they came to the library was that he got an urgent message on his psychic paper to meet someone here: someone who signed the message with a kiss. He doesn't know who sent it. Suddenly the lights start going out all the way down the hallways towards them, one row at a time, and the two of them decide to hastily vacate the area, which ends up with them banging on a door and coming through it to where we began the show pre-credits, but instead of a young girl, we find that there's an airborne security camera in the shape of a small ball, which collapses to the ground.
We discover that whatever Charlotte says appears on the ball as a really primitive marquee LED message. We don't use this kind of screen that much today, so why one would still be employed thirty centuries from now is a mystery, but the messages says, "The library has been breached; others are coming," and soon the door opens and in come several humanoids dressed as astronauts. The first of these takes a look at The Doc and says, "Hello Sweetie". This is our first glimpse of Professor River Sing, archaeologist, and is a person with whom we're going to become very familiar when we enter the Matt Smith era.
The Doc says he's a time traveler, he points and laughs at archaeologists. That's when River announces that she's an archaeologist. The leader of the expedition is Strachman Lux, and he demands to know why River made him put his helmet back on. She says, "I don't fancy you!". Strachman has a personal assistant, Miss Evangelista, who asks if she could help anyone as The Doc orders them to put up any lights they have to keep the shadows at bay, but the other astronauts all refuse her help. When Donna, concerned very much that she's demeaned and rejected like this, asks them about her, they explain that she's useless. She couldn't tell the difference between the rest room and the escape pod. They had to go back for her. Twice.
Strachman Lux demands that The Doc and Donna sign non-disclosure agreements which both of them promptly rip up. Later, River informs The Doc that she refused to sign one as well: "I'm getting worse than you!" she tells him.
In a quiet moment, she takes The Doc to one side and asks him where they're at, taking out a notebook or diary which has a pattern on the blue cover which makes it look like the outside of the TARDIS. I want that diary! Even if it has blank pages, I still want it! River calls 'pretty boy' as she labels The Doctor, over to her and they sit, and River begins paging through her diary asking a question every now and then.
The Doc: For what?
River: The usual: for coming when I call.
The Doc: Oh, that was you?
River: You're doing a very good job acting like you don't know me; I'm assuming there's a reason?
The Doc: A fairly good one, actually.
River: OK! Shall we do diaries then? Where are we this time? Aah, going by your face, I'd say it's early days for you, yeah? So, um, crash of the Byzantium? Have we done that yet? Obviously ringing no bells. Right, um, ah: picnic at Asgard; have we done Asgard yet? Obviously not. Blimey! Very early days then. Oh, life of a time traveler! I never knew it could be such hard work. Um...look at you! Uh! You're so young!
The Doc: I'm really not, you know.
River: Oh, but you are! Your eyes! You're younger than I've ever seen you!
The Doc: You've seen me before then?
River: Doctor, please tell me you know who I am?
The Doc: Who are you?
The Doc becomes intrigued by River's diary after this, and she has to warn him off it, speaking what becomes (along with "Hello Sweetie!") a catch phrase of hers: "Spoilers!" declaring that he can't see the diary. "It's against the rules!" she announces, and when he asks whose rules, she tells him, "Yours."
Meanwhile Charlotte hears the house phone ringing but apparently she's the only one who can hear it. Next she sees The Doc on her TV. "The library has never been on television before! What have you done?" she exclaims! When he disappears prematurely, she starts messing with the remote control to get him back and in the library, the people there see books start to jump off the shelves.
River is digging further into the CAL, the core library system, and she discovers that 4,022 have been saved, no survivors. No one knows what this means. If over four thousand were saved, how can there be no survivors?! It's been a century since anyone was last in the library, and River states that the last message to come out before it went dead was that the lights were going out. The reason for her expedition is to discover what happened.
Strachman asks her if she's only just met The Doc, and she replies enigmatically, "No, he's only just met me!" Whilst this is going on, Miss Evangelista is trying to attract there attention to an open door, but no one will listen, so she investigates herself, and we hear a loud scream. Everyone rushes to investigate and they find nothing but a skeleton ion a space suit. Then the creepiest thing happens, which is that her neural relay, which holds her neural pattern for a while even after she's dead, starts "ghosting" - that is, as it degrades, it gives all outward appearance of her being fully alive and functional, but as her pattern degradation continues, indicated by a reducing number of illuminated green bars, her speech becomes more and more limited and repetitive.
She says she can't see anything and asks if the "nice lady" is there - which is Donna, the only one who related to her as though she were human. Donna has to talk to her as her neural pattern finally dies. Eventually it becomes so bad that River turns it off. This is important for the last couple of scenes in part 2 of this story. The Doc likens it to a "footprint on the beach; and the tide's coming in."
Having seen this, The Doc now knows what they're up against, and he invites them all to meet the Vashta Nerada, literally: the shadows which melt the flesh. He tosses a chicken leg (apparently people still eat real dead chicken in the 51st century!) into a shadow, and by the time it has passed through the shadow, it has been stripped bare. Apparently the Vashta eat chicken, but not bones. The Doc tells them that not every shadow is Vashta, but that any shadow could be. The Vashta are tiny, tiny things which are shadow, but which aren't related to the shadow cast when light is blocked.
Back in Charlotte's home, Doctor Moon is telling her that everything she has believed is actually the reverse of what she believed: the dream world is actually real, and her home and everything she thinks is real, is a dream. He tells her that there are people in the library who need to be saved. Meanwhile, Donna is asking River if she knows The Doc, then why doesn't she know Donna herself? But River carefully avoids answering that question.
One of the astronauts, Dave, is addressed by The Doc employing one of his catch-phrases which always begins: "I'm sorry, I really am very sorry..." and he tells Dave that he now has two shadows. This means that the Vashta have him. They advise Dave to put on his helmet to try and protect him, but it's too late. He becomes a skeleton in a suit (although his suit curiously isn't shredded like Miss Evangelista's was), and he starts to pursue them. Meanwhile, Donna is teleported somewhere, and her face appears on one of the courtesy nodes, chanting, "Donna Noble has left he library. Donna Noble has been saved." This is interspersed with chants from Dave: "Hey, who turned out the light?" and the show ends!
Charlotte is watching everything happen now as though it's a show on TV. She sees Donna being delivered to the hospital in an ambulance, and Donna is fast-forwarded through her recovery and then her life! It's as though she has only to think a thing and it happens! Doctor Moon is guiding her through this, often reminding her "You forgot; and then you remembered!" She's suddenly fishing with a nice guy at the river; then she's being carried through the door as a blushing bride, and suddenly she has two children!
In the library, River sees the Doc working with his sonic screwdriver and she asks him what's wrong with it.
River: What's wrong with it?
The Doc: It's a signal...coming from somewhere, interfering with it.
River: Well, use the red settings.
The Doc: It doesn't have a red setting!
River: Well, use the dampers.
The Doc: It doesn't have dampers!
River: It will do one day.
River produces a sonic screwdriver even more advanced than The Doc's own!
The Doc: So, some time in the future, I just give you my screwdriver?
The Doc: Why would I do that?
River: I didn't pluck it from your cold, dead hands if that's what you're worried about!
The Doc: And I know that, because...?
River: Listen to me! You've lost your friend; you're angry; I understand, but you need to be less emotional, Doctor! Right now-
The Doc: Less Em-...I'm not emotional!
River: There are five people in this room still alive! Focus on that! Dear god you're hard work young!
The Doc: Youn-...Who are you?
Strachman: Oh for heaven's sake! Look at the pair of you! We're all going to die right here, and you're just squabbling like an old married couple!
River: Doctor, one day I'm going to be someone that you trust...completely, but I can't wait for you to find that out, so I'm going to prove it to you. And I'm sorry, I'm really...very sorry.
(she whispers something in his ear)
River: Are we good? Doctor...are we good?
The Doc: Yeah. Yeah, we're good.
We learn later that she has whispered to him his true name. This is something he would never have divulged to someone he does not trust.
Donna sees a strange woman in black, her face covered, leaving her home's front door, and she discovers a note, evidently left by this woman, asking Donna to meet her in the children's playground, the next day. Instantly, Donna is heading with her kids into the playground. The kids run off to play and Donna sits on the bench by the woman. it turns otu tha thtis woman is Miss Evangelistas, recreated in the library's core computer, with her face distorted, but her brain augmented. Miss Evangelista educates Donna to the fact hat she is also in the computer;s core, and everything is an illusion. Donna looks at the kids and realizes that all the kids are clones of only one boy and one girl, all wearing the same clothes.
Skeletal Dave returns and the Doc manages to talk with him (that is, with the Vashta which have taken him). He learns that the Vashta Nerada are in the library because the paper for all these books was taken from the forest where they lived, and they were transported there as spores. To avoid the Vashta skeleton, The doc beams down to the library core where he meets Charlotte Abigail Lux, CAL, who is Strachman's aunt, preserved in the library core because she was dying from a disease which was evidently incurable even thirty centuries hence.
The Doc determines that he can save the library by killing himself (how that works is a but of a mystery, nor is it explained why he feels it necessary, but River Song turns the tables and sacrifices herself instead.
The library is safe, but the Doc is heartbroken. He and Donna, who is now magically corporeal again stand looking over the library, preparing to leave. The Doc places her sonic screwdriver on top of her diary on a ledge, and walks away with Donna, but he's still obsessing over why he would give River a screwdriver, and suddenly it hits him! He runs back, grabs her screwdriver, and opens it, to find her neural relay preserved in it. It is, despite the significant time which has passed, not yet degraded, presumably preserved by the power from the screwdriver so he races down to the core again and hooks it directly into the library computer, downloading her patterns into the core.
Inside the core, we see her reunite with all of the astronauts who died, including Miss Evangelista, now restored to her former appearance, but still retaining the mental upgrade, and everyone hugs. Now the Doc realizes why he gave his screwdriver to River Song.
Rest assured we have not yet seen the last of her. In the Matt Smith era upon which we're about to embark, we'll see how River Song arrives, and how she hooks up with the Doc and his companions. We'll see her at her riveting best. Yes, River Song is in the pantheon with Kitai, with Molly Millions, with Kaylin Neya, and with Amy Pond! We'll meet the best doctor ever and the most kick-A companions ever.
You can see the disastrous regeneration from David Tennant's tenth Doctor to Matt Smith's eleventh Doctor here. I find it odd that the eleventh doctor is amazed to find that he has legs, eyes, nose ("I've had worse!" That was hilarious!). Every Time Lord looks human. They all have two legs, arms, hands, ten fingers/thumbs, two eyes, etc. Why would this be a surprise? We know that skin color can change (even though every Doctor has been white so far), and even gender (as the eleventh doctor indicates when he appears to fear, after feeling his mass of hair, that he's a girl!), but nothing major changes in the way the eleventh Doctor seems concerned with.
The Doc, now played by Matt Smith, is fighting to regain control of the TARDIS after the tenth doctor's catastrophic regeneration, which set the thing on fire. Meanwhile, young Amelia Pond is a Scots girl with a gorgeous accent, living with an aunt in Leadworth. Leadworth doesn't actually exist; the location where filming took place was in Wales, in the town of Llandaff which curiously is the home town of Cheryl Gillan a British MP - no relation to Karen Gillan!
Amelia is praying to Santa because she's concerned about the crack in her bedroom wall, which she thinks is no ordinary crack. Just as she's asking for a policeman (or someone), she hears a crash out in the back yard, and Lo! and Behold! there's a blue police box lying on its side with an odd glow emanating from it.
Amelia hurries outside and finds a young man in process of climbing out using a grappling hook. He asks for an apple, claiming that he has a craving and remarking to himself that cravings are a new thing for him. Amelia observes that he's wet and his clothes are dirty and torn.
Amelia: Are you OK?
The Doc: Just had a fall...all the way down there, right to the library. Hell of a climb back up.
Amelia: You're soaking wet!
The Doc: I was in the swimming pool.
Amelia: You said you were in the library!
The Doc: So is the swimming pool.
Amelia: Are you a policeman?
The Doc: Why? Did you call a policeman?
Amelia: Did you come about the crack in my wall?
The Doc: What crack? (falls off the TARDIS holding his chest and gasping)
Amelia: Are you all right, mister?
The Doc: No, I'm fine! This is OK! This is all perfectly normal. (Blows out regeneration mist)
Amelia: Who are you?
The Doc: I don't know yet. I'm still cooking. Does it scare you?
Amelia: No. It just looks a bit weird.
The Doc: No, no no! The crack in your wall! Does it scare you?
The Doc: Well, then! No time to lose! I'm the Doctor. Do everything I tell you. Don't ask stupid questions. And don't wander off. (walks smack into a tree)
Amelia: Are you all right?
The Doc: Early days...steering's a bit off.
Amelia: If you're a Doctor, why does your box say 'police'?
So they enter Amelia's house. All propriety of a seven-year-old girl taking a strange man into her home is of course glossed over! OTOH, this is a weird man climbing out of a glowing box and blowing some sort of "magic dust" out of his mouth! Amelia offers him a succession of foods, starting with an apple, all at his request, only to have him reject them, one after another, until she prepares fish sticks (called fish fingers in Britain and much more substantial than the wimpy fish sticks) and custard, into which he dips each fish stick before eating it. Immediately after this, the most amazing conversation takes place as they investigate the crack in the wall, which again shows the strength of Moffat's writing and the presence of Matt Smith, to say nothing of the charm of Caitlin Blackwood in the role of Amelia.
The Doc finishes his fish sticks and sips the last of the custard giving himself a custard mustache. Meanwhile Amelia is diving into large scoops of ice cream.
The Doc: Am I? Good! Funny's good. What's your name? [now he asks!]
Amelia: Amelia Pond [not Pong as I typed initially! That would never do!]
The Doc: Aw! That's a brilliant name! Amelia Pond. Like a name in a fairy tale. Are we in Scotland, Amelia?
Amelia: No! I had to move to England. It's rubbish!
The Doc: So what about your mum and dad then? Are they upstairs? I thought we'd have woken them by now.
Amelia: I don't have a mum and dad; just an aunt.
The Doc: I don't even have an aunt!
Amelia: You're lucky!
The Doc: I know!
The Doc: So your aunt: where is she?
Amelia: She's out.
The Doc: And she left you all alone?
Amelia: I'm not scared!
The Doc: Course you not! You aren't scared of anything! A box falls out the sky; a man falls out of a box; man eats fish custard, and look at you: just sitting there! So you know what I think?
The Doc: It must be a hell of a scary crack in your wall!
So the head up to her room to investigate the crack. The Doc takes a look at it. His first comment is a riot: "You've had some cowboys in here! Not actual cowboys; though that can happen...." Amelia offers The Doc an apple which he saves for later in his pocket. This to me is a weak spot since his first request was for an apple, but he rejected it out of hand claiming he hated it, so why would he take it now? He does it almost absent-mindedly, and it's needed for later, so we'll give Moffat that one! Amelia explains that her mother used to cut little smiley faces onto the apples for her.
Meanwhile the Doc is investigating the wall with his sonic screwdriver and discovers that the crack isn't in the wall. If the wall was knocked down, he explains, the crack would still be there. It's a crack in space-time which here links to another planet from whence an voice, the voice of the Atraxi, a race which evidently consists of one huge eye(!) emanates, exclaiming that 'Prisoner Zero has escaped'! The Doc tells Amelia, "You know when grown ups tell you everything is going to be fine and you think they're lying to make you feel better? Amelia assents and the Doc continues, "Everything's going to be fine."
He gets zapped by something through the crack, which does him no apparent harm. Shortly thereafter, discovers an extra door in Amelia's house, at the top of the stairs, which was hidden from him before. But before he can investigate that, he hears odd noises from the TARDIS and he tells Amelia that he has to go because the engine is phasing. She's amazed to discover that this box is a time machine. He assures her that he just needs to run the engine for a few minutes, and he will be right back. Amelia toddles off to pack her little suitcase, and she waits in the yard for him, eventually falling asleep on top of her case. In the house, we see a shadow quickly move across the screen.
The Doc returns but now it's daylight, and Amelia is nowhere in sight. The Doc enters the house, and upstairs is examining the previously hidden door when he's laid out by someone wielding a cricket bat which, contrary to what you might think, is not something used for killing crickets. It's rather more substantial than that! The Doc wakes up to find himself handcuffed to the radiator and a police woman in a disturbingly short skirt is apparently radioing for back-up. The Doc asks her what happened to Amelia Pond, and is told that she hasn't lived there in six months. The policewoman radios in that he knows something about Amelia Pond!
The Doc asks her to look out of the corner of her eye, where she doesn't want to look, and she finally sees the extra door, which stuns her. Contrary to Doctor's orders, she opens the door and goes into the room which is deserted and rather derelict. She finds his sonic screwdriver and then encounters Prisoner Zero who in his native form, has the appearance of a nightmarish version of a Moray eel, but is silvery in color and rather more insubstantial. It hangs from the ceiling. She runs out and the Doc uses his screwdriver, which apparently isn't working properly, to lock the door to the room. He then uses it to escape from the cuffs as the prisoner gets out of the room and now appears in the form of a man with a Rottie on a leash - but the Rottie is not making and sound, and the man is barking!.
The Doc then discovers that the woman is not a policewoman at all, but a kiss-o-gram. He and she escape into the yard where he discovers that she is actually Amelia, but she goes by Amy now, and it's not been five minutes, not even close, since he left her, but twelve years! As they exit the yard and run into Leadworth, she explains heatedly that it's been "twelve years and four psychiatrists!" She kept fighting them because she refused to admit that the "Raggedy Doctor" wasn't real. This part and the scenes following right after it are some of the best, in my opinion. Karen Gillan is riveting (not literally, although that can happen). They hear a warning start to issue from the speakers on a nearby ice cream van, to the effect that if Prisoner Zero doesn't surrender his home will be incinerated.
Bursting into someone's home, the Doc determines that this warning is being issued over all wavelengths in all languages, and therefore the 'home' which is going to be incinerated is actually the entire planet. The old woman in the house recognizes him, and so does her grandson. The Doc is confused. He has a brand new face - how can anyone know who he is? Exiting out onto the village green, the Doc is trapped by means of his tie being locked into a car door. Amy isn't at all pleased with him, and demands that he tell her who he is. He hands her the apple with the smiley face cut in it, which Amelia had given him, and which the older Amy now looks at in disbelief. it's still fresh even twelve years later. The Doc asks her to trust him just for twenty minutes until he can fix this problem.
He seems very perturbed at one point that the village "duck pond" has no ducks, demanding to know how Amy knows it's a duck pond if there are no ducks! Then he recalls something he saw, and we're treated to an amazing flickering set of staccato images which finally end up with Rory Williams, a nurse at the local hospital. We've met him briefly before, seeing him upbraided by a snotty doctor for calling her into the coma ward to tell her that a patient asked for her (actually, and tellingly, he simply said the word 'doctor'). She abuses him for claiming that coma patients have been speaking, and then they all start speaking. Rory claims he saw one of them in the village and tries to show her a picture on his phone, but she orders him to take the day off. There is no excuse for her conduct! Rory is doing exactly what a good nurse should do, but fortunately, later, she's eaten by Prisoner Zero, so justice is served (kinda!).
The medical doctor demands that Rory leave immediately and take the rest of the day off to get his act together. I can't recall what the hierarchy is Britain, but in the US, this could never happen since the nursing body is completely separate as an organization, from that of the doctors, and no doctor can demand that a nurse take the day off like that - especially not without having a back-up nurse available to fill in.
So when The Doc and Amy see Rory on the village green, this is how he ended up there, and whilst everyone else there is taking pictures of the energy shield that is moving across the sky and darkening the sun, Rory is taking pictures of a man with a Rottweiler on a leash. The Doc grabs Rory's camera phone and asks him what he;s doing. Rory explains the guy shouldn't be there and then weirdly, they both talk together saying "Because he's in a coma in the hospital".
The Doc tries to attract the attention of the Atraxi, who are making ready to incinerate the Earth, by using his sonic screwdriver to destroy lights and phone box thinking the Atraxi will detect the alien (for Earth) technology, but they do not. The Doc's screwdriver explodes, and Prisoner Zero escapes by turning into a mist and draining down a drain. No, really. The Doc tells Rory and Amy to go clear out the hospital, and he goes to pass on some vital information to a conference of astronomers which is formed to discuss what to do with the gigantic energy shield. Later he joins the other two at the hospital, where Prisoner Zero is now a woman with two young girls, evidently siblings. The speaker's voice changes between grown-up and childish.
The Doc reveals that he has sent a virus to every computer in the world, and which contains a link to the pictures in Rory's phone: pictures of every form that Prisoner Zero can take. He will now be discovered by the Atraxi, but he's forgotten one form: young Amelia Pond. Prisoner Zero assumes that form which causes older Amy to pass out. So far, he's safe, but The Doc realizes that Amy is dreaming this, so he talks to her and forces her to dream of, and therefore reveal, the true form of Prisoner Zero, since she has actually seen this form. As soon as she does, the Atraxi zap Prisoner Zero.
But before she leaves, she predicts ominously, "The Pandorica will open, silence will fall."
But The Doc isn't satisfied and as the Atraxi start to leave, he calls them back using Rory's phone. While he's waiting on them, he goes into the doctor's changing room at the hospital and steals a few clothes which give him the eleventh Doctor's "look". Then comes his famous scene: the Atraxi data search on the Doctor quickly goes through every single generation of him, all the previous ten, and then the eleventh steps right through the last image and tells the Atraxi to run!
He returns to his TARDIS, which is now done 'cooking' and is all set to resume its function. The Doc opens the door and smiles, and says, "Oh you sexy thing!" He steps in, taking off before Amy can catch up with him. But later, two years later, when she's sleeping, it returns, and Amy hurries out in her nightie
So at the end, the Doc of course returns and invites Amy into the TARDIS. He's heard pretty much everything everyone says upon first entering his time machine - usually it's some remark about it being bigger on the inside. Amy, of course, is different.
The Doc: Well? Anything you want to say? Any passing remarks? I've heard them all.
Amy: I...I'm in my nightie!
The Doc: Oh don't worry! Plenty of clothes in the wardrobe. And, possibly, a swimming pool! So...all of time, and space, everything that ever happened or ever will...where do you want to start?
Amy: You are so sure that I'm coming...
The Doc: Yeah! I am!
The Doc: Because you're the Scottish girl in English village, and I know how that feels.
Amy: Oh do you?
The Doc: All these years living here; most of your life, and you've still got that accent! Yeah, you're coming!
Amy: Can you get me back for tomorrow morning?
The Doc: It's a time machine. I can get you back for five minutes ago. Why? What's tomorrow?
Amy: Nothing. Nothing! Just, you know, stuff.
The Doc: All right then: back in time for 'stuff'.
The TARDIS pops up a brand new sonic screwdriver, this time with a green light (but does it have red settings and dampers? We don't know!).
The Doc: Oh! A new one! Lovely! (whispers to TARDIS) Thanks dear!
[Amy has a brief panic attack]
Amy: Why me?
The Doc: Why not?
Amy: No seriously! You are asking me to run away with you in the middle of the night! It's a fair question. Why me?
The Doc: I don't know! Fun! Do I have to have a reason?
Amy: People always have a reason.
The Doc: Do I look like people?
The Doc: Been knocking around on my own for a while; my choice, but I've started talking to myself all the time; it's giving me ear ache
Amy: You're lonely! That's it! Just that.
The Doc: Just that. Promise.
But when The Doc says that, he's standing by the TARDIS monitor, and it's showing the crack in Amelia Pond's wall on the screen - just the crack! The Doc turns it off having glanced at it briefly. Clearly he knows something he's not telling Amy.
The Doc: So your're OK then? 'Cos this place, sometimes it can make people feel a bit...you know-
Amy: I'm fine. Fine! It's just...there's a whole world in here just like you said! It's all true. I thought, well I, I started to think that maybe you're just a madman with a box.
The Doc: Amy Pond there's something you'd better understand about me because it's important, and one day your life may depend on it: I am definitely a mad man with a box!
There's a secret Amy is also keeping from the Doc. As the camera pans over her raggedy Doctor toys, we end up looking at a wedding dress hanging on the closet door!
There is a secret scene which was not transmitted when the show aired originally, but which explains the opening scene (after the titles) in episode 2. Amy is amazing in this scene. Go take a look at it.
OK, I have to say up front that this isn't one of Moffat's better efforts, but it's OK. And what a bizarre title! The Beast Below. It reminds me of a line from Puretone's Totally Addicted to Bass.
Anyways, in a school classroom in 3309AD, the kids are being given their test results by a curious-looking rather clownish head-on-a-torso-in-a-booth. It's called a Smiler, and it's like something from an old-fashioned funfair, but dressed like a cleric! When the last kid, Timmy, gets bad results, he's told he can't ride the lift and must walk down the 20 floors to London as a punishment.
Like this is any punishment for a healthy young kid! I would have loved the chance to race down twenty flights at his age! His sister Mandy tells him she'll wait for him down there, but unknown to her, he decides to use the lift anyway. Inside is another clown-magistrate. Its face swivels to reveal a much sterner face, and the lift plunges all the way to floor zero, where he's ejected in terror as the clown-magistrate swivels yet again to reveal a rather horrific and even more stern face than the previous one! Not that someone being ejected from the lift would actually see that third face....
After the titles, we see Amy floating outside the TARDIS in an air bubble, with the Doc holding her ankle. Evidently this is what happened immediately after the last (secret) scene in ep 5.1. This is a little odd, because the TARDIS, in the titles, was just shown falling through rather cloudy, but beautiful tunnels! And Steven Moffat seems to have forgotten whatever physics he learned in school for this ep. He has Amy floating up by the TARDIS roof as though she's about to be sucked away if The Doc wasn't holding her by the ankle, for no other reason than that it looks more dramatic than if she were floating near the floor.
They pass by the Starship UK, which has what look like skyscrapers on it, each very massive and labeled (or labelled, if you prefer - I feel like I ought to be using English spellings in these Doctor Who reviews!) with the English county from whence its inhabitants derive. Evidently the entire population of the UK (but not Scotland - they got their own ship, Amy discovers later!) is now traveling on a generation ship.
They land on the Starship and observe, on the TARDIS external monitor, Mandy crying over the loss of her brother. As Amy watches the monitor, rambling on about something, The Doc appears in the picture. Still wearing her night-time clothes from the end of ep 5.1, Amy wanders out of the TARDIS to catch up with him. He points out that though Mandy is crying, no one is paying any attention to her; it's though they don't care or they know they can't do anything to help her. He also points out the curiosity of the Smilers (more on these anon). Then he grabs someone's glass of water from a nearby table - telling the owner that he's looking for an escaped fish. Having placed it on the floor, he looks at it closely and notes that the water isn't vibrating - it's perfectly still. But he's being watched, and his behavior noted.
The Doc decides he must investigate further, and he sends Amy off after Mandy, thereby achieving the aim of every show: separating the companion from The Doc. Amy fails in her tail, since Mandy surprises her, and then says they can't go any further this way: the route is blocked and sealed off and enclosed with a candy-striped awning, fastened with a padlock, which Amy promptly picks. Inside, she sees a tentacle rising up from the broken floor. It seems like it's trying to stab her, but when she hastens backwards out from under the awning, she finds herself surrounded by strange dudes in hoods, and one of them squirts her with something from his ring.
Down by the engine room, The Doc discovers there are no engines! Why this is actually a problem in the way The Doc seems to think it is, is a mystery, but this is a common failing of space operas: they always seem to think that if the engines fail the vehicle will coast to a stop just like a car does when it runs out of gas! No! In space, an object remains stationary, or it keeps moving at a constant speed, until and unless it's acted upon by some force. As long as the ship is moving at speed, it could jettison its engines entirely, and it would continue moving.
In fact, that's precisely how we get satellites into orbit, as it happens. Most of the trip to the Moon and back in the early seventies was done without any engines running! The spacecraft fired engines to start the trajectory, and then the engines were shut down. Apollo 13, the one which lost its main engines because of an explosion, actually went all the way around the Moon and returned to Earth with hardly any input from any engines; the lunar trajectory was designed that way precisely in case of such an accident. Apollo 13 pretty much only required engines (in this case in the lunar module's engines) to set it up for the re-entry speed and angle.
But moving on...A woman in a porcelain mask, called Liz 10 shows up and congratulates The Doc on discovering that there is something serious adrift (other than the spacecraft! lol!). She says she will be in touch and makes a dramatic exit. Meanwhile, Amy wakes from her induced sleep to find that she's in a voting booth with a video monitor and three buttons: Protest, Record, and Forget. A guy on the monitor identifies her as Amelia Jessica Pond, and gives her age as 1,306! When trying to assess her marital status, something in which she's very interested, it says it has no data! Amy watches the video, to which we aren't party, and suddenly she has made her choice - evidently to forget, but she left herself a recorded message in which she tells herself to get The Doc and leave Starship UK ASAP. The Doc shows up and the two of them are unceremoniously deposited on floor zero - which turns out to be the mouth of the beast below!
But The Doc uses his sonic screwdriver to make the beast vomit and they escape, whereupon the Smilers turn their most horrendous faces at them. The Doc mocks this saying, "What are you going to do now?" and the Smilers actually open the booths and climb out, but Liz 10 comes to the rescue and shoots them. However, the Smilers start to recover, so the three of them, with Mandy in tow, run away, only to be captured by the hooded dudes. We discover that Liz 10 is actually Queen Elizabeth the tenth, and although she's supposedly fifty, she's had rejuvenation treatments to keep her young. Actually Liz 10 is played by Sophie Okonedo, who played the four-handed woman in Æon Flux, and she actually is getting on for fifty, believe it or not, but she does look considerably younger!
When the hoodie guys demand that she go with them, she reminds them that she's the queen, but the men insist that she has to go to the Tower, ordered by the highest authority. In the tower (which is in the basement!), she learns that she herself ordered that this be done if she learned too much about the starship. Now she has to make a choice, after watching the video, to either forget, or to abdicate. This time, we get to see the video, and we learn that the ship is powered by a star whale, which came by Earth when the UK was about to be scorched by a very badly misbehaving sun. They captured it and are zapping its pain center with electricity or something like it, directly into its brain, to keep the ship moving. Again with the complete absence of Newton's Laws of Motion! Once the ship is moving, they could have freed the whale and the starship would have kept going. Of course, they'd have no way to slow down, change direction, or stop, if they did that.
Meanwhile, the doctor is very angry with Amy for choosing to forget, and thereby removing the decision about what to do from him. He tells her that when he's done here, he will take her home and leave her. She sits down in a corner with Mandy and notices all the children appearing; the star whale evidently killed adults, but not any of the children. Amy recalls The Doc coming to her aid when she was a child. Both he and the star whale are the last of their kind, and they're both kind to children!
Suddenly she jumps up and tells The Doc to stop what he's doing. He's preparing to zap the whale's brain, essentially make it a vegetable, so it will continue to power the ship but feel no pain. It's the least problematic course of action, he's determined: he can see no way out of it, since everyone seems to believe that the starship will disintegrate (again for no reason at all) if they stop playing Whack-a-Whale™, but Amy grabs Liz 10 and forces her hand down onto the 'Abdicate' button. The whale ceases to be zapped and everyone waits for doom to befall them, but the ship actually speeds up. It turns out that the whale didn't stop by Earth accidentally, It had heard (again, no explanation for how a whale can hear in a vacuum) the cries of the children, and came to their aid voluntarily, just as The Doc came to Amy's aid. And she figured it out and saved the whale!
The Doc and Amy depart, and we see the whale swimming happily under the starship (in what medium it's moving to propel itself remains a mystery!), but as the camera pans across the starship, we see, once again, the crack in space that we saw in Amy's bedroom wall in ep 5.1!
Mark Gatiss is a collaborator with Steven Moffat. They work on the Sherlock series together, and Gatiss even appears in that series. There isn't a single incarnation of the Doctor which has not had to tangle with the Daleks. They came into the very first series in the second episode. Back then, each episode consisted of several weekly parts, and this was the second of those episodes, so the Daleks were actually the first alien life form ever to appear in the show, other than the Doctor himself.
Since then, it has become clear that The Doc and the Daleks are mortal enemies, and their knee-jerk (not that they have knees!) reaction to him is to chant "Exterminate!" immediately upon seeing him. They refer to The Doc as 'the predator of the Daleks' and as 'the oncoming storm'. Back in the era of Tom Baker (the most favorite doctor of all time until David Tennant came along) in the episode set The Genesis of the Daleks, he had the opportunity to exterminate them - or perhaps more accurately, to prevent them ever becoming the race of terror they were destined to become, but he chickened out, so everything you see today arising from them is all on the fourth Doctor!
Moffat is a big fan of the original Doctor Who series, and one of his stated goals when taking over as head writer was to get back to the original series more in terms of how the TARDIS was designed - which IMO he failed to do! The current design ('desktop' as the fifth Doctor referred to it in a special!) isn't anything like anything in the original series, nor is it really like it was in the Peter Cushing movie, although it is reminiscent of that, which I think is what Moffat was actually aiming for. He also wanted to bring back some of the aliens from the original series. The Daleks had already been brought back by Russell Davies, so he was preempted there; however, he did decide that it was time for a major makeover.
Not that the Daleks haven't been made over many times. It seems like whenever they reappear, they're slightly different from the originals that we first saw in 1963. There's a ten minute video about the new Daleks on YouTube featuring Steven Moffat himself, Mark Gatiss, Matt Smith, Karen Gillan, and a host of others who were involved in bringing them to the screen.
But Moffat's claim was that the Daleks were the most reliably defeated of all of The Doc's foes and he wanted to stir things up a bit. He did this in two stages, first with 5.3, and then again, in a different way, with 7.1. So in this ep, which follows directly on from the previous one wherein The Doc got a call from Winston Churchill, we find him alighting in war-torn London. yes, the Brits are still obsessed with World War 2 (as indeed we saw during the ninth doctor's tenure, and we will see again in the next series after this one! Maybe if The Doc had hung around longer, he would have run into his ninth self and Rose! lol!
We find a WAAF who seems to serve no purpose except as a symbol of tragedy during the war - of people losing loved ones. We learn at the end of this ep that her boyfriend died. She was played by the charming Susannah Fielding who gets a bit naughty in one of her movies, but it's entirely in keeping with the standards Russell Davies set and Steven Moffat seems to be perpetuating. When we hear there's an imminent attack by German Stukas (from Sturzkampfflugzeug, meaning 'dive bomber', Churchill appears and announces that it's time to roll out the secret weapon, whereupon, on the plot table, someone pushes out a model of a Dalek! Then the titles roll.
It's actually doubtful that any Stukas attacked London. At the start of the Battle of Britain, German air-power was used against British airfields, the intent being to destroy British air power and enable a German invasion, but because they were slow and difficult to protect, the Stukas were never, to my knowledge, used over London, and were actually withdrawn from assaults on Britain due to unacceptable losses, particularly in August 1940. They had much more success against shipping in the English Channel, but even this success was diminished after the Battle of Britain.
When The Doc lands and steps out of the TARDIS, he's met by Churchill and several army squaddies who have their rifles trained on him. Churchill hold his hand out, not to shake, but to receive the TARDIS key - evidently an old joke which the Doc laughs at and refuses. The soldiers lower their rifles and Churchill takes The Doc and Amy up to the roof. No one seems to even notice Amy's incredibly short skirt in 1941 London, let alone think there's anything wrong with it! On the roof, The Doc is confronted with a Dalek in an olive drab paint job. He tries to tell Churchill that this is a deadly alien, but Churchill assures him that these "ironsides" were invented by Professor Edwin Bracewell, a scientist working for the government. The Doc tries to recruit Amy into telling him how dangerous these things are, but Amy is completely ignorant about them. The Doc is now totally freaked out: Amy should be very familiar with Daleks from their invasion of Earth during a previous Doctor's tenancy (tennant-cy, get it?! Never mind!).
The Doc cannot convince anyone how dangerous these aliens are, and the Daleks are playing just as dumb as everyone else. So why doesn't he take the top off the Dalek and show everyone the living creature inside? There's no explanation for this! But we'll let that one slide. This time! Hilarious moment: the Dalek asking Bracewell, "Would you care for some tea?". Bracewell is Scots, so Amy likes him straight away. Amy is freaked by The Doc's behavior, especially when he takes a huge spanner (wrench) and tries to beat the crap out of the Dalek - all to no effect. Then he says exactly what the Daleks have been waiting for: "I am the Doctor and you are the Daleks!" Immediately they transmit his "testimony" and the progenitor is activated on a nearby Dalek spaceship.
The Daleks shoot two soldiers, and when Bracewell tries to control them, declaring "I created you!" the Daleks respond, "NO! We created you!" and one of them shoots off his left hand to reveal that Bracewell is a robot! The Daleks then teleport to their spaceship with The Doc in hot pursuit in his time machine. He refuses to take Amy, telling her that she will be safer there, to which she responds tartly, "So I've got to stay safe down here in the middle of the London blitz?"
When The Doc arrives on the Dalek ship, he struts out saying, "How about that cup of tea now?" Immediately the Daleks want to kill him but he takes out a biscuit (a cookie) which he claims is a Jammy Dodger holding it up, claiming that it's the activation button which will explode the TARDIS, taking them all with him. Obviously, it isn't. Neither is it a Jammy Dodger for that matter: Jammy Dodgers have a heart shaped center; The Doc's cookie doesn't, but we all know "the Doctor lies"!
Nevertheless, they refrain from trying to kill him and instead go into a Q&A in which they explain that they were on the one space craft which was not destroyed by the tenth doctor because it was lost in a time warp which returned it to this era. They tell him that they found a progenitor device containing pure Dalek DNA, but it would not activate, because no Dalek alive has pure Dalek DNA. They needed a witness to certify who they were, and The Doc was perfect for this role. The regeneration was activated, and as The Doc stands there, the door opens and five brand new Daleks unlike anything seen before, exit, one after another, in bright colors: white, blue, orange, yellow, and red. They each have their own function, too, (in the same order): supreme, strategist, scientist, eternal, and drone. Supreme is the leader (either that or in a trio, it sings old Diana Ross songs..., and presumably the red is the workhorse warrior, but no one is saying what the eternal means! Perhaps it's something like the progenitor device.
I actually don't like the new Daleks. My favorites were the Imperial Daleks seen in the seventh doctor's first ep of the 25th season (of the older series) and the other styles in that show were interesting, too.
Anyway, getting right back from memory lame, the new Daleks destroy their weak predecessors and immediately unleash a beam upon London which turns on all the lights, thereby destroying the blackout and allowing the Nazi's to target better. In response, Churchill unleashes his new weapon: space-borne Spitfires! Quite absurd, of course, but great fun nonetheless.
A pilot with the code-name 'Danny Boy' leads a flight of 3 aircraft in an attack on the Dalek craft. But two of them get shot down, again with the pieces falling down even though they're in space. I guess people never quite learn enough about physics.... When The Doc finally clues in and drops the Dalek shield, Danny Boy, the last remaining aircraft, finally hits the disruptor on the Dalek ship which again allows the lights to go out in London. The air raid warden says "Thank the Lord!" but it's actually Danny Boy who deserves the thanks.
The Daleks now threaten to destroy Earth if The Doc doesn't back off. He claims that they have insufficient power to do this, and he tells them that he can't trust them anyway because "There isn't a sincere bone in your body...there isn't a bone in your body!" but they reveal that Bracewell is actually a bomb! Now The Doc faces a choice - destroy the Daleks or save Earth. Of course he chooses Earth, and of course the Daleks get away, but they trigger the Bracewell bomb anyway! It's an 'oblivion continuum' bomb with a convenient timer which the Daleks kindly set with sufficient time for it to be defused by The Doc. He tries to talk Bracewell into tapping into his human feelings. but he isn't getting anywhere with this until Amy suggests that he has a love somewhere in his life. "Ever fancied someone you know you shouldn't?" she asks. She's talking about her unrequited feelings for The Doc, of course, but as it happens, it applies to Bracewell, too.
As he remembers Dora Bella, he finds he really is human after all, despite his artificiality, and the timer fails. The Daleks can't believe it, and they bug out quickly before The Doc can come after them. The Doc bemoans that the Daleks have won, but Amy perks him up with "You saved the Earth! Not too shabby, is it?" The Doc goes around and disables or destroys (or whatever) all the Dalek technology (to Churchill's extreme chagrin), and finally The Doc and Amy go to Bracewell, who says he's also ready to be dismantled. But The Doc and Amy make up some farcical story about having something else to do first, dropping broad hints about Bracewell taking off, and eventually he takes the hint and heads out, to find his beloved Dora.
As they're about to re-enter the TARDIS (after Amy has retrieved the TARDIS key from Churchill who tried to steal it), he takes her to task once more about the huge problem: that she doesn't remember the Dalek invasion. They travel back to her room (in which he parks the TARDIS!) because she has something to show him - and finally she tells him all about her wedding and starts dropping really broad hints about her desire to have a quickie with him before she gets married.
Now one thing you need to understand here, is that the companions have never actually hit on the doctors until this reboot starting in 2005! In the older series, the relationship has always been strictly platonic and completely honorable. Something changed after the reboot! Since then, it's been the case that every single companion - with the sole exception of Donna Noble - has hit on every doctor the've been with! So it's hardly surprising to find that Amy Pond is in this position. She's not even the first companion to kiss a doctor: Martha Jones took that honor (although the doctor kissed her, and for honorable reasons as it happens!), but it's never happened before that the companion has sought to lure the doctor into bed in so overt a fashion.
The Doc honorably refuses, and realizing that there's something seriously wrong here (in addition to Amy's passion) he says, "I need to get you sorted" which in Britain has more than one meaning, and Amy lays on the bed and says, "Now that's what I'm talking about", but The Doc bundles her into the TARDIS, telling her that they need to deal with this problem, focusing on her clock as it ticks to midnight.
Moffat gets into high gear in this ep, too. It starts out with some guy outdoors, with birds tweeting in the background, and he has this huge red lip-shaped lipstick mark on the side of his mouth. A senior guy comes up to him and announces that he's been zapped with an hallucinogenic lipstick, ordering his minions to 'find her'. We discover we're on a spacecraft, not out in a field. Next we see see a sharp pair of bright red, impossibly high-heeled shoes walking along a corridor on that ship, and the woman wearing them stops to engrave a cryptic message on a black box.We see The Doc and Amy in a museum - the museum of the order of the Headless monks (which will be important in a later ep). Amy is complaining that she wanted to visit a planet. What's the point of visiting museums when he has a time machine, she ponders, and then concludes that it's how he keeps score.
The Doc isn't listening. He's pondering the High Gallifreyan text on a Home Box - like a black box in an aircraft (which isn't actually black and there's two of them) but in spacecraft. If the craft runs into trouble, the box returns home so they always discover what happened. Amy asks The Doc what the text says, and he says, glumly, "Hell Sweetie!"
Back on the craft, River Song has been trapped by an airlock the guys looking for her. The leader tells her, "The party's over Doctor Song" to which she replies, "I needed to see what's in your vault!" he tells his cohorts to wait until she runs and then make it look like an execution. River is looking up at the camera in the ceiling. She looks down at her "watch' and says, "Triple seven five slash three four nine via ten zero twelve slash acorn. Oh, and I could do with an air corridor." Then she looks at the guys and says, "Like I said on the dance floor, you might want to find something to hold onto!" and she blows the airlock!
Out in space, she flies straight along the air corridor into the TARDIS where she lands right on top of The Doc and tells him, "Follow that ship!" Amy, who has never met River, finds herself amazed that River can fly the TARDIS (with her red shoes hung on the TARDIS monitor handle!).
River: Piloted the the ship to its destination and parked right alongside.
The Doc: Parked us? We haven't landed!
River: Of course we've landed! I just landed her!
[Note the gender of the TARDIS - this will be important in a later ep!]
The Doc: But it didn't make the noise!
River: What Noise?
[The Doc makes the usual TARDIS landing noises]
River: It's not supposed to make that noise! You leave the brakes on!
The Doc: Yeah, well, it's a brilliant noise! I love that noise. Come along, Pond!
But The Doc gets even when River tries to make him wait whilst she completes planetary environment checks. The Doc knows exactly where they are and tells her all about it.
River: He thinks he's so hot when he does that!
Amy: How come you can fly the TARDIS?
River: Oh, I had lessons form the very best!
The Doc: Well, yeah!
River: It's a shame you were busy that day!
(Note that River's contention here: that it wasn't the Doc who taught her, is contradicted in the later ep The Pandorica Opens)
Outside, they're on a barren, rocky piece of ground facing a huge cliff into the face of which is carved a temple, and on top of which is the Byzantium - the crashed ship that River recently escaped from. You may recall from the ep where the tenth doctor first met her that she asked him about the wreck of the Byzantium. Amy asks to be introduced, and The Doc says, "Amy Pond; Professor River Song" to which River responds "Oh, I'm going to be a professor some day? How exciting!" and The Doc feels bad because he just gave away a spoiler.
River tells The Doc he is wrong, there is one survivor on the wreck. She needs a boost for her communicator, so she says, "Doctor, can you sonic me?" which he does, and she curtsies to him. Amy finds this as amusing as it is fascinating, and she asks him who River is? Meanwhile River gets out her blue TARDIS diary and starts trying to figure out where they're at as she evidently always does. She asks, "Have we done the bone meadows?"
After River has indicated to The Doc that there is a weeping angel inside the wreck of the Byzantium, four soldiers beam down (and show the Star Trek people how to arrive at a possibly hostile planet in this manner). Their leader introduces himself to The Doc as Father Octavian, Bishop 2nd class, announcing that he has 20 clerics at his command. The Doc later mentions to Amy that it's the 51st century (again!) and the church has moved on. He tells Amy very harshly that this situation is very, very serious and asks, "Any questions?" to which Amy responds, "Is River Song your wife?"
River has changed into military fatigues and The Doc is wailing about how humans have spread all over the galaxy: "Humans! You're everywhere! You're like rabbits! I'll never get done saving you!" By this time they have a couple of military pods set up and in one of them there is a video monitor which shows a repeating four-second loop of a black and white image of the angel in the Byzantium's hold. Whilst River is showing The Doc a book someone wrote about the angels, Amy notices that the one they have on the tape loop has moved! Whee River remarks that she has to keep a set of pictures of The Doc to remember what he looks like, he suddenly realizes that there are no pictures in the book that he has. He wonders why, and when he reads the part about angel images, he discovers why: anything which holds the image of an angel becomes an angel itself!
Meanwhile the Angel in the pod with Amy - which has no become locked so she cannot get out, has come out of the TV, and Amy has to figure a way to stop it because The Doc and River cannot get in. She solves it but now she has something in her left eye. Later, when she rubs it, dust falls out.
The clerics blast a hole into the catacombs beneath the temple, and they all start migrating up through the walkways to the wrecked ship. The catacombs are full of statues of the extinct race which lived there. It takes them a long time to realize, because of a perception filter, that all of the statues, which have only one head, are angels, not statues of the native, two-headed race. They have been dormant, but are now being revived by the leaking energy from the wrecked spacecraft. Meanwhile, the angels have been killing off the clerics one by one, and one of them, Bob, now starts talking to The Doc on the two-way radio he carries.
After Amy sees River correct The Doc on something she says. there ensues this conversation:
Amy: You are so his wife!
River Oh Amy, Amy. Amy! This is the doctor we're talking about! Do you really think it could be anything that simple?
River Oh you are good! I'm not saying you're right, but you are very good!
At one point, with Bob catching up to them, Amy finds her hand has turned to stone. She has it fixed to the railing and cannot move it. The Doc bites her hand to convince her that it's her imagination, and they move on. Finally they reach the point right below the wreckage, and they can go no further. There is no way out, the bottom of the wreck is visible 30 feet above their heads, the angels are coming, and their lights are flickering. That's when The Doc tells Angel Bob that they've made a mistake. Bob asks, "Sorry, can I ask you again? You mentioned a mistake we'd made?"
The Doc takes Father Octavian's gun, and he replies, "A big, big mistake! Really huge! Didn't anyone ever tell you that there's one thing you never put in a trap if you're smart? If you value your continued existence; if you have any plans about seeing tomorrow, there's one thing you never ever put in a trap!" Bob asks, "And what would that be, sir?" to which The Doc responds, "Me!" and he fires the gun.
This continues immediately from the previous week's ep, with The Doc firing the gun, which he uses to destroy the gravity ball light in the ceiling, which was illuminating the area. As he does this, he has instructed everyone to jump, and we discover that what happened when they jumped was that the artificial gravity on the ship above them took over from that on the ground below, and so now they are upside down on the ceiling , but it looks the right away up to them. The angels are above them looking down at them.
Of course this is highly improbable, and even were it possible for it to work as indicated, they still failed to address the brutal fall of thirty feet, onto their heads, which would have left at least a few of them bruised, if not dead! But moving right along now...!
The Doc uses his magic sonic screwdriver to get them through the hatch into the ship, where their orientation is slightly different again. They close that hatch, but the angels are in hot pursuit and are even then trying to batter their way into the ship. The Doc and his people are in an airlock, and even when they get through that, they're in a seemingly pointless corridor, at the end of which is another locked doorway which, River assures them, leads directly to the secondary bridge. The only way to open it is to redirect all power from everything, even the lights, to the door, which they do, but this means the angels, who have now broken through, can get to them, but they hold them off by firing their guns, thereby illuminating the scene in a very scary staccato fashion. Eventually they're onto the bridge, and they seal all doors with some magnetic clamps which Father Octavian has failed to mention until now. Why they didn’t employ these earlier is a mystery.
On the subject of mysteries, why is it that they didn’t simply break the arms and heads off the weeping angels as soon as they realized what they were? I can see how Amy and The Doc wouldn’t do this because they're avowed pacifists, but given their dire circumstances, I don't see how River, who is nowhere near pacifist (as we shall see in later eps) or Father Octavian could fail to come up with this solution. Of course, then the peril would be over, and the show would die! Oh well.
At one point during this escape, the Bishop asks River, "Do you trust this man?" to which River responds, "I absolutely trust him." The Bishop remarks "So he's not some kind of madman then?" and River, hilariously, I think, repeats, "I absolutely trust him."! The Bishop threatens to tell The Doc who she really is, and this mollifies River considerably, which, given her irrepressible character, is quite startling to see. Now we have a welcome mystery!
River asks The Doc how long they have before the angels break through this last door into the control room, to which The Doc replies, "Five minutes" and Amy immediately says, "Nine". River and The Doc look at her but say nothing. The Doc reveals that the space craft has a forest which is used to turn starlight into O2. How this works is a mystery, but let's move on! As The Doc that they can escape through the forest, Amy says, "Eight". Again some of them look at her but say nothing. Shortly afterwards, she says, "Seven" and denies that she said it when she's asked what that means.
Bob contacts The Doc to try and scare him by telling him that the angels are on their way, but The Doc is unmoved, saying that in the control room, they have comfy chairs and things, to which Bob replies, "We have no need of comfy chairs" and The Doc says, "I made him say 'comfy chairs'". That, to me, was hilarious! Amy laughs and says, "Six", and The Doc now grills her about why she's counting down. The Doc asks Bob why she's counting and Bob tells him she has something in her eyes. The Doc asks what's in her eye and Bob tells him, "We are." The Doc mumbles, "That's extremely very not good."
They all begin to exit through the forest. The Doc is the last to leave and the angels come in and grab his jacket, but they fail to take him, distracted by the crack in the universe that has been following The Doc since this season opened. The Doc beats a hasty retreat sans jacket. This is important as I shall show you shortly. In the forest, Amy feels very ill. River examines her and discovers from her machine that Amy's dying. She tells Amy she's fine. The Doc arrives and looks at the instrument and tells Amy she's dying. When River expresses dismay, The Doc admonishes her with, "Yes, you're right! If we lie to her, she'll get better!" which is odd, because he always lies!
After some agonizing, he decides that if Amy closes her eyes, it will preserve her life, or at least prolong her expectancy for it. River starts asking him what's to be done next, ans he rambles on for a bit and finishes with:
The Doc: ...Anyway, that's not the plan.
River: There's a plan?
The Doc: I don't know yet, I haven't finished talking!
He goes on a bit more and ends up:
The Doc: We're going to stabilize the wreckage, stop the angels, and cure Amy!
The Doc: I'll do a thing.
River: What thing?
The Doc: I don't know! It’s a thing in progress. Respect the thing!
I love Moffat when he writes like this. This is when the team splits up. Why they do is a mystery given that the angels are coming through the forest, and Amy cannot open her eyes, and they have more than enough people to carry her. But then we wouldn’t get a scary and interesting scene, of course. So The Doc decides to go on, and River goes with him, and the Bishop says, "Where Doctor Song goes, I go, indicating that she's actually in his custody for some crime. Off they go.
Remaining behind are Amy and four clerics, each facing a different direction to watch for the angels, which are approaching but are temporarily frozen by the gaze of the soldier clerics. Suddenly, a light - a brilliant white light - appears in the distance, and the cleric in charge sends two of the men to find out what it is, since it has resulted in all the angels leaving. Why they don’t simply use this opportunity to move towards where The doc went is another mystery. The two clerics never return, so one of the two remaining soldiers goes to find them, and he doesn't return. Amy is disturbed to discover that the remaining cleric does not remember any of the other three. Amy insists upon looking at the light, and she realizes it’s the same shape as the crack in her wall at home. The last soldier leaves Amy alone, assuring her he will stay in radio contact. Now she's alone and whilst she talking to the last cleric, he stops talking.
The Doc contacts Amy on that radio and tells her she must come to him. He sets up a homing signal which she must follow on the radio, but she cannot open her eyes. Eventually, she realizes that she's surrounded by angels (that's the scary bit), but they're so distracted by the light that they assume she can see them since she's strolling through the forest. She has to thread her way through them using the obstruction signal on the radio, but she trips and falls. On a side note here, Amy does not know how to lace her boots. They're oddly laced! They show her feet shuffling through the forest several times, and I found this amusing and cute. I wonder if they did this to depict her as younger and helpless, or if Karen Gillan is just sloppy about lacing her footwear? Anyway, as she feels around for the radio she dropped we see, for the first time, the angels actually move! That's the interesting bit!
In the control room at the other side of the forest, The Doc and River, sans the Bishop, who has been captured by the angels, are trying to figure out how to stop the angels. They become short tempered and fight with each other. River is trying to get the transporter working so she can beam Amy back to safety. The Doc is realizing that the only way to close the crack in the universe is to feed it himself - something complex. But he also realizes that the angels are sufficient, so after River has succeeded in fixing the transporter and rescuing Amy (which she all but sticks in The Doc's face), they all hold onto the railings and remove the craft's gravity, causing all the angels to fall into the crack, whereupon it closes - back down to a crack rather than a gaping hole, that is, but it still isn't sealed. It’s still happening, somewhere in time.
At one point, The Doc has said to River, "I could bloody kiss you" to which River responds, "Oh well, maybe when you're older!" (and yes, that kiss will come!). At the end, they’re all standing by the TARDIS waiting for River to be beamed up and taken back to the Storm Cage prison. She remarks, "You, me, handcuffs! Must it always end this way?"! Why River did not get a pardon for what she did here (since that was supposed to be the deal) is yet another mystery, but she's still in Storm Cage when we next meet her. Not that this makes any difference to her, because she breaks out whenever she wants, and then breaks back in again after she's done whatever she broke out to do! River Song needs and deserves her own series. Now that The Sarah Jane Adventures is over with the death of Elizabeth Sladen from cancer, TV could readily bear a River Song Adventures.
At this point, River reveals that the reason she's in Storm Cage is that she killed a good man. A very good man. The best man she's ever known. She tells The Doc "You will see me when the Pandorica opens," to which The Doc responds: "That's a myth!" (It's not!).
Vampires of Venice was written by the guy who created Being Human, which is reviewed elsewhere in this blog. The story begins in 1580, with a man handing his daughter Isabella over to the ruling family in Venice (Rosana Calvieri and her son), who run a school where daughters of impoverished men stand a better chance of a decent life than they would have enjoyed had they remained with their father. Rosana and her son are rather suspicious-looking characters.
Back in the present The Doc pops out of the cake at Rory's stag party! Upon seeing the startled reception he gets, he says, "I thought I’d burst out of the wrong cake. Again," and he goes on to relate to Rory that he has kissed Amy and she's a great kisser! You can hear a pin drop in the bar, full of Rory's friends. The Doc says, "Funny how you can say something in your head and it sounds fine...."
In the TARDIS, he announces to the prospective couple that he's taking Rory and Amy on a romantic getaway. He needs to make up for stealing Amy on the night before her wedding, and for kissing her. He's desperately trying to get them back together again as they should be, so that Amy loses her interest in him. He's very disappointed that Rory doesn’t say that the TARDIS is bigger in the inside. The companions and other visitors always say this and The Doc enjoys it, but Rory has taken the opportunity to read up on some sci-fi and physics in the meantime, so he understands that the interior is in another dimension. This annoys The Doc!
One of the tropes of Doctor Who is The Doc and/or the companion being chased down corridors by villains and aliens, which is humorously referenced here when Amy declares that she wants to go somewhere nice since she's tired of running down corridors. They end up in 1580 Venice, which date pleases The Doc because he doesn’t want to run into Casanova. He owes him a chicken. They have to show their papers to get into the city and after offering the psychic paper, the Doctor is greeted as an important person, Amy as a countess, and Rory as her Eunuch!
After witnessing an incident with the father from earlier trying to unmask Isabella amongst a parade of veiled girls from the school, The Doc is moved to investigate, leaving Rory and Amy to wander the city exploring. She's telling him what she and the Doc have been up to and they hear a scream. Amy is off like a shot to investigate, whilst Rory hesitates and then follows, confused. This shows how much Amy has come along since her first trip. Rory will develop in the same way, but it takes him longer and it's more impressive when we see it.
They find a girl who has been assaulted by the son of Rosana, and Amy takes off after him, surprising Rory who, as a nurse, is checking on the girl. Amy fails to discover where the son went - he fled down an alley which ended right at the water, and he's nowhere to be seen.
The man who is trying to find out what has happened to his daughter helps the Doc to sneak into the school by causing a distraction. Inside, the Doc discovers some girls whom he cannot see in a mirror! They reveal their vampire teeth. The Doc meets with Rosana, and he tries to announce himself using his psychic paper which reveals a picture of the original Doctor Who from 1963. When Amy meets The Doc later, they’re all excited about vampires and oddities, and Rory is aghast at how they seem to welcome this danger and adventure.
Against Rory's wishes, Amy gets introduced to the school by Rory, who pretends to be her brother. She is going to try and find Isabella, and she also unbolts the hatch which the Doc and Rory later sneak in through. Rory is complaining to the Doc about his relationship with Amy. When they get into the school, they're chased by the "vampire" girls. Meanwhile, Amy is captured and bitten but she escapes, damaging a perception filter box on Rosana, and revealing her to be some sort of alien crustacean-like creature from planet Saturnine. Amy, Rory, The Doc, and Isabella escape, but the latter finds that she cannot face the sunlight, and she retreats into the building. The next day she is fed to the 10,000 sons who are living in the canal. It turns out that Rosana is transforming all these girls she takes in, into brides for her sons.
The Doc goes to see Rosana and when he tells her he's from Gallifrey, the home world of the Time Lords, she says he ought to be in a museum. Rosana tells him that her people ran from the silence in the cracks in the universe, but the females did not survive. She needs to create new females or her race will become extinct. Her plan is to flood Venice and provide a habitat for her people. The Doc tells her he will fight her, not join her, because she didn't even know Isabella's name.
The Doc, Rory, Amy and Isabella's father are planning what to do next when they're visited by the "vampire" girls. The three TARDIS crew escape, but Isabella's father, who has nothing to live for now his daughter is dead, he believes, chooses to take out the girls by blowing them up with some gunpowder he has stored there, killing himself in the process. Rory has lectured the Doc on what he does; he's dangerous because he leads people to believe that they must risk their lives for him. The Doc, at this point, orders Rory and Amy back to the TARDIS, taking Rory's lecture to heart.
Unfortunately, Rosana's son is stalking them and Rory takes him on, Rory’s broom stick against the son’s sword! At one point during the fight, Amy trains a mirror on the son, and he takes the sun full in his face and disintegrates. The two of them then abandon their plan of going to the TARDIS in favor of helping the Doc. He is in the school, and he tells them to pull all the wires out of a control panel whilst he climbs to the roof of the school to disable the storm clouds which Rosana has generated. The Doc succeeds in stopping it, and Rosana, discovering that all the girls are dead, asks The Doc if his conscience can bear yet another extinct race, and throws herself into the canal where her sons eat her thinking, because of her perception filter, that she's just another snack.,/p>
As they enter the TARDIS, Amy says, "Got ma spaceship, got ma boys, my work here is done!" She enters the TARDIS intent upon making a nice cup of tea. Rory says, "We are not her boys!". The Doc says, "Yes we are!" and Rory agrees, but as they enter, everything goes quiet. They look back out of the door and can hear nothing. The silence has fallen on 1580 Venice.
This ep is rather a weird one. And it’s all about Amy's choice of one sort or another. It begins with Amy, pregnant and in the kitchen (no solid word on whether she's barefoot, but it appears not). She's feeling like the baby is about to arrive, and she calls out loudly to Rory who arrives home on his bike and rushes in only to find her sitting eating the baking batter she was preparing, telling him that it was a false alarm. This is her first pregnancy she explains, and she's not sure how to read the signs.
The sound of the TARDIS landing (with its brakes on!) attracts them outdoors where The Doc has crushed their flower bed. He greets them, and they sit on a bench in the village of (Upper! as Rory insists) Leadworth, enjoying the singing birds and the quiet life. Next they're all falling asleep only to wake up on the TARDIS discussing what a weird dream they had. Amy is excitedly relating that she was pregnant: "I was huge! I was a boat!", but she reacts negatively when Rory and The Doc agree with her, as though they're insulting her by labeling her a boat. They can't understand how they all had the same dream. But they can still hear the birds, and they immediately wake up back in the village.
After the titles, they wake up back in the TARDIS and all power shuts down which amazes The Doc because that's not supposed to happen. Before they can do more than simply remark about the cold, they're back in Leadworth. When The Doc shows surprise that Rory is a doctor now, he responds, "Yeah! And unlike you, I actually passed some exams!".
They're suddenly back in the TARDIS and they meet an intruder who announces himself to be the Dream Lord (since The Doc is the Time Lord). He has nothing kind to say about The Doc. He also starts stirring up things between Amy and Rory: about whether she prefers The Doc or her fiancé, which is a sore point with Rory. Amy declares she is with Rory, but she seems a bit hesitant to make that declaration. The Dream lord explains that one of their two worlds is a dream, the other is reality. In each world there is a deadly danger. Once they choose which is reality, they will be safe - if they choose correctly.
Next they're back in Leadworth, and they enter a retirement home, The Doc remarking on how really old the people are. The Dream Lord shows up and tells them a bit more: if they die in the dream world the dream, they die in reality, he declares, adding, "Ask me what happens if you die in reality!" Rory inevitably asks him and he snaps, "You die, stupid. That's why it's called reality!" He remarks that even one reality is too much for The Doc, so he should take two and call him in the morning, whereupon they fall asleep again, and awake in the TARDIS, which is now apparently about to collide with a cold sun, which is sucking heat out of the TARDIS and slowly freezing everything.
Back in Leadworth, The Doc complains bitterly that it’s so boring in the village that he can’t think straight. Amy goes into labor, but suddenly turns it around showing she was faking it. She chides The Doc that he just went white as a sheet, so how dare he complain that her life is boring?
Back in the TARDIS, Amy and Rory are trying to find warm clothes and hashing out the issue of her relationship to The Doc, who has created a generator out of small manual kitchen appliances. They put on ponchos which Amy has made by cutting a slit in blankets. Rory declares, "Oh, a poncho! The biggest crime against fashion since lederhosen!" but he nonetheless dons it. They ponder how a sun can be cold. The Doc complains that the universe is huge and he hasn’t been everywhere, which is a diametrical change from his normal posture of knowing everything about everything.
Back in Leadworth, the Dream Lord shows up again ranting on about how The Doc loves redheads. He asks, "Did he tell you about Elizabeth the First? Well she thought she was the first!" This is an ongoing joke in the series about what exactly happened between him and Elizabeth 1st. The old people from the retirement home show up in large numbers, and reveal that they have an alien parasite, an Eknodine, inside them which is what has been keeping them alive into a very ripe old age. The alien can puff out green smoke which disintegrates people. Amy and Rory take off in one direction, heading home, The Doc heads in another.
Back in the TARDIS, the Dream lord splits them up, keeping Amy with him. In Leadworth, Rory now has a sleeping Amy to try and haul upstairs as the old people try to break into his home. After a dalliance in a butchers store, where the dream lord harasses him again, The Doc escapes and joins Rory and Amy, but the old people start breaking into the house, and Rory is hit with the green smoke. He disintegrates. Amy is massively distraught and rages at The Doc "Well what use are you" when he tells her he’s sorry, there’s nothing he can do.
This is when Amy makes her choice. She decides that she doesn't want to be part of any world in which Rory doesn't exist, so this world must be the fake one. She and The Doc climb into the VW bus he was earlier using to rescue people from the old folk aliens, and she drives it smack into the house, apparently killing the pair of them, whereupon she and The Doc both awake in the TARDIS with Rory, who is curious about what happened, but they do not share it with him.
The Dream Lord shows up and congratulates them on their escape. He restores power to the TARDIS which begins flying away from the cold sun, and he disappears, but The Doc starts taking actions which will blow up the TARDIS. He has determined that the Dream Lord's behavior indicates that this, too, is a dream, and when the TARDIS explodes, they all awake in the real world in the real TARDIS.
The Doc has realized that, under the influence of psychic pollen which had got into the TARDIS, he had conjured up the Dream Lord from his darker side, although this doesn't explain the two realities swapping with both Amy and Rory sharing each with him. It does show his concern that by encouraging her to travel with him in the TARDIS, he's keeping her from her life with Rory which might well end up as depicted in the dream. However, Amy seems to have made her choice and she’s now firmly settled on Rory.
Chibnall has written a lot of eps for Torchwood and Doctor Who and a couple for Life on Mars. The present on under review starts with a guy, Mo, in a Welsh village saying goodbye to his son and wife as he heads off to the night shift in the mine. This misleadingly suggests he's a coal miner, but he isn’t. He greets those from the off-going day shift who are thrilled at finally having drilled down to 21 km. Since the continental crust is only 30 - 50km thick, they were getting to a point which was almost through it at that point! It's a good thing they were not over water since the oceanic crust is much thinner. Mo settles down to watch the monitors, but soon something goes very wrong, and a hole appears in the rather thin concrete floor revealing loose earth beneath it. As he investigates it, sticking his hand into the dirt, he discovers that there's empty space beneath it, and suddenly he's sucked into the hole.
The next morning, The Doc, Amy, and Rory materialize. They were supposed to be in to Rio de Janeiro, which accounts for Amy's usual leggy outfit: her most revealing yet. Amy and Rory briefly see themselves from ten years into the future waving back to them from across the valley. Rory chastises Amy for wearing the engagement ring when it could get lost or damaged(!), and she gives it to him to return to the safety of the TARDIS, whilst she and The Doc head off to investigate a huge drilling rig they can see from the church yard where they've landed.
They meet Nasreen, one of the supervisors of the drilling activity, and her colleague, Tony who happens to be the father of the woman (Ambrose) married to the guy who disappeared the night before. The Doc is concerned that the ground doesn’t feel right, and there are sporadic outbreaks of 'blue grass' growth in the church yard which seems odd to The Doc because the grass should be extinct.
Rory comes out of the TARDIS to be confronted by Ambrose and her son Elliot, who think he's a plain-clothes cop who has shown up in response to their call about bodies disappearing from the graveyard! He doesn’t disabuse them of this belief, and ends up looking at a freshly-dug grave. Their uncle was supposed to have been buried in it on top of their aunt, but when they dug the grave, they found that her body had disappeared. Rory has no explanation, but Elliot tells him the only explanation is that the bodies were removed from the bottom of the grave.
In the mine HQ, a very small, confined Earthquake opens many more holes in the floor. The Doc tells them all to run, but Tony is caught in a hole and against The Doc's advice, Amy pulls him out only to slip in herself. The Doc cannot free her (not that he tries very hard) and she sinks beneath the earth.
The Doc realizes that this 'earth' is a bio-reactive substance designed to retrieve things of interest from the surface, pulling down anything with which it comes into contact. He wonders, if the mine drill has stopped, why he can still hear it, and he discovers that there's something coming up from 30Km down, very fast, heading for the surface. A huge energy dome covers the immediate area, through which no one can get in or out, and it starts to darken so that it looks like night outside. The Doc has everyone retreat to the church (why there and not the TARDIS?!), but sends one or two of them out to get some monitoring equipment which despite the impossibly short time, they manage to put up all around the church - not that any of it does them any good!
Rory is furious that Amy has disappeared, but The Doc says he needs his help to get her back, and Rory calms down. When The Doc sees Ambrose bringing cricket bats and shotguns, he tells her not to bring weapons. He lets Elliot wander off to get his headphones without paying any attention to the dwindling time and so of course, Elliot is captured by this humanoid and lizard-like visitor which sticks Tony with its tongue, but which is captured by The Doc using the chilling effect of a fire extinguisher. The one he has captured is a female called Alaya of the Silurians, a race of reptile-like creatures, which is nonsense since there were no reptiles in the Silurian period of Earth's history - only fish! The Doc further exposes his ignorance by labeling them Homo reptilia which is a totally nonsense name! Worse than this, though Alaya is a reptile, as female, she has breasts which only mammals have!
So no, this scenario is bullshit! Anyway, the Silurians are familiar to The Doc since he has encountered them before, although these seem to be a different species from the one he knew in an earlier of his incarnations. They are a cold-blooded race which inhabited Earth before humans came along, and which retreated underground when Earth was threatened by a planet which appeared to be on a collision course. Now here's where this goes completely off the rails! Our Moon formed only some fifty million years after the Earth did, when it was busted out of our planet by a collision with a Mars size object (as far as science is able to determine at this point). The collision resulted in the liquefaction of the Earth, so nothing alive would have survived, not that there was anything alive at that point (and especially not saurians which only showed up about a quarter billion years ago!) since Earth was far too hostile and hot to spawn any life.
Bringing back old villains from the earlier Doctor Who series was a stated goal of the writers when the series was resurrected in 2005. It began quite early on with the return of the Daleks, a species which The Doc thought he had wiped out in the Time War, followed by classics such as the Sontarans and the Cybermen. In each case, the resurrected version has been far superior to the cheesy old version many of us loved as children, and the Silurians are no exception. In place of the cheap, fixed faces of the earlier versions, we're treated here to a very humanoid-looking face made up to look reptilian, the immovable faces of the older version being explained now as a mask which the warriors wear to protect their eyes from bright sunlight.
When The Doc removes her mask, he describes Alaya as beautiful, and she actually is. She tells The Doc that they were awakened when the drill threatened to destroy their life support. When she claims they are the last of her kind, The Doc describes her speech as the 'Campari defence' which is either something made up or something which Chibnall doesn’t understand. The closest thing I came to it was the 'Camara Defense' which is a chess ploy! The Doc decides to go down to the Silurian abode underground to talk peace with them, and Nasreen volunteers to go with him. He doesn’t take Alaya for utterly inexplicable reasons. He leaves this "alien" creature with Rory, and with the two people who have most reason to wish her harm: Ambrose, who has now lost both her husband and her son to the Silurians, and Ambrose's father who wanted to dissect Alaya to see if he could figure out how to cure his poisoning! Go figure! More than this, Alaya is extremely hostile, calling them apes and declaring that she would be happy to die because it would start a war which the Silurians must inevitably win!
Amy, who has been absent for most of this ep now reappears in a glass-lidded coffin. One of the Silurians - a male this time - opens it and announces that he's going to dissect her. The Doc and Nasreen get into the TARDIS and it sinks through the earth, so they don’t have to fly anywhere. When they get out, they are 30Km under ground and it’s not at all hot. There are plants goring and they discover a huge city, but it appears deserted.
The Doc and Nasreen are gassed and captured by Silurians - which are all female warriors. Meanwhile, Malohkeh, the Silurian doctor, is about to embark upon a dissection of Amy when he is called to examine The Doc and Nasreen. Amy, meanwhile, has picked Malohkeh's pocket and now has the remote which will free her and Mo. They escape. For reasons unknown, Rory asks that Ambrose guard the prisoner. Why this is even necessary is a mystery because she's quite literally chained up and has shown no desire to escape. Tony is scared he will die and he offers to free Alaya if she will tell him how to cure the poison. Alaya expresses wonder that he has not yet died (no word on what that's all about) and jeers at him asking why she would want to escape when she can stay and watch him die.
Malohkeh tries to decontaminate the Doc. Why? Bacteria and viruses evolve for their hosts. It’s unlikely anything we have could hurt reptiles and vice-versa, especially after the two classes have been separated by very many millions of years. The Doc tells Malohkeh he isn’t human and the bizarre procedure is stopped. The Doc asks for celery, which is a reference back to the fifth incarnation of the Doc. This referring back to previous doctors is something Moffat particularly likes to do and no doubt encourages other writers to do as well. The Doc offers to trade their prisoner for the human prisoners, but the female leader of the Silurian warriors, Restak, is very hostile to him, especially after she learns of his previous encounters with other Silurians in the past.
Wandering around the Silurian city, Amy & Mo discover warriors - hundreds of them - in stasis. They also discover Mo's son, but they cannot wake him. They procure two of the gas guns for themselves. Topside, Ambrose learns how infected her dad is and goes to plead with Alaya who is unmoved. Ambrose threatens her with a taser, and Alaya is killed. Her dad is really angry with her.
Amy & Mo finally run into the Doc and hold the Silurians art gunpoint but are easily overpowered. Restak wants to try them and execute them but is at odds with Malohkeh, who leaves in a huff. Restak exclaims, "We used to hunt apes for sport!" Restak contacts the surface and demands that Alaya be returned. No one tells her Alaya is dead. Rory tells Tony and Ambrose that they must return her body, and all three of them, for no apparent reason, take Alaya's body down below.
Malohkeh returns with Elbane, the leader of the Silurians whom he has presumably just awoken. Elbane is neither pleased with Restak nor with Rory returning Alaya's body, but he agrees to sit down and talk. The Doc has Nasreen and Amy negotiate with him. Meanwhile Restak is awakening more warriors and there's a shoot-out but the Silurians are such bad shots that they don’t hit anyone! Maybe if they took of their masks they might see better underground, but of course, then the make-up department would have to make up everyone's face to look Silurian, so they keep their masks on! It’s actually the same actress who plays Alaya and Restak: Neve McIntosh, a Scot, who goes on to play a different Silurian - a much friendlier one, on the Doc's side - in a several future eps. No word on exactly where she came from!
Eventually, the Silurians have to retreat because Elbane has ordered a decontamination of the entire city. He has seen that there can be no meeting between his people and the humans, so they go back into stasis for another 1,000 years to try again another day. The Doc later warns Ambrose that she must start preparing everyone for this - starting with her own son Elliot.
As they vacate the city, before they enter the TARDIS, the Doc sees the same crack which has been pursuing him from the start. He reaches into it and pulls out a piece of shrapnel to see if he can figure out what caused the explosion in the first place, but before he has time to look at it, the light gets Rory and he slowly disappears, thereby becoming erased from existence. Amy wants to fix this, but the Doc bustles her into the TARDIS and takes it topside. He demands that Amy keep remembering Rory so he's not lost completely, but she soon forgets him, it seems. After they have said their goodbyes and go back to the TARDIS, Amy sees herself across the valley, again, but there's no Rory with her and she doesn’t question this; however, after when she enters the TARDIS she says, "You boys." like she still remembers Rory on some level.
The Doctor takes this opportunity to take a quiet look the shrapnel he took from the universal crack and it’s a charred piece of the TARDIS - a piece of the white police sign on the outside of the door!
This is one of my least favorite eps, but it has its moments. In the Louvre in Paris, we see a docent giving a tour of an exhibition of Vincent van Gogh's paintings, and behind him we see The Doc and Amy slip by. They become fascinated with something painted in the window of the church in Van Gogh's L'église d'Auvers-sur-Oise (there really isn't anything there in the actual painting). If you're in any doubt about how to pronounce his name: van Goh, van Goff, van Gokh, it's none of those! There's no explanation offered for why van Gogh speaks with a Scots accent, but they do make a humorous remark about it. Note that all of the paintings mentioned in this review can be seen in wikipedia.
The Doc finds out exactly when that was painted (June 1890). The docent says that within a year, Vincent killed himself, but it was actually within a month! The Doc takes the TARDIS back there, where they encounter Vincent trying to get a drink at a sidewalk cafe (the one featured in le café la nuit in return for one of his paintings (autoportrait avec le chapeau de paille). He's laughed at and turned away. The problem here is that the sidewalk cafe was in Arles, in the south of France not in Auvers-sur-Oise (at the opposite end of France), which is where The Doc and Amy find Vincent. Arles was where Vincent lived during most of the last year of his life. But he shot himself in Auvers-sur-Oise, and that's where he's buried with his brother Theo. The gunshot did not kill him, but the infection which set in from his untreated wound did, in less than two days.
Vincent won't take charity from the Doc, but he will share a bottle which Amy has bought. What she used for money is a mystery. They're interrupted by a woman who has found a girl's body. Vincent is chased away, his madness blamed for her death. They take him home where he warns Amy to be careful of a painting La chambre de Van Gogh à Arles, which he says is wet, but this was supposedly painted in 1888, and again in 1889, so it could hardly be wet in 1890! Recall that he's in Auvers-sur-Oise, which is where he paints the church, so it;s a mystery as to why his room there is exactly like the one in Arles! In Auvers-sur-Oise, he lived in an attic, which is still preserved today.
Amy is attacked outside by the same invisible thing which attacked the girl and which is seen in the painting of the church. Vincent realizes that he's the only one who sees this creature. He and The Doc fight it but the Doc looks like an idiot because he can't see anything. The Doc asks Vincent what the creature looks like, and Vincent quickly paints over one of his pictures to paint a quick portrait of it, just about causing Amy and The Doc to have heart-attacks over it.
The Doc heads out with the painting and gets an appliance on the TARDIS to try and identify it, after he's used his own image to test it: it prints out pictures of the first two incarnations of the Doc (again in Keeping with Moffat's vision of linking the present doctor to his past). The machine fails to identify van Gogh's impressionist picture although van Gogh was a post-impressionist (he painted impressions of posts...?!). He puts together a shabby little artifact with which to see the creature, and is able to view it in a bicycle mirror. They wake van Gogh (Amy has brought lots of sunflowers!), and he goes to get his stuff together to paint the church, but he fails to come out. When they go in, he's having a breakdown. He quotes the words he supposedly said to Theo on his death bed, but eventually he recovers and they go to the church.
Vincent can't pronounce his own name, but he can see the sadness in Amy, which she fails to recognize since she doesn't remember Rory - not on a conscious level. On the way to the church, they pass the funeral procession for the girl who died, and on the coffin are sunflowers. Given that van Gogh had already painted his famous vase avec douze tournesols by then, this seems a bit weird, especially his commentary on it, and it completely makes a mockery of the final scene of this ep.
The Doc gets bored waiting on Vincent painting the church. He moans, "Is this how time normally passes?" and regales Amy and Vincent with tales of Michelangelo "whingeing" about being too high up when he's painting the Sistine chapel ceiling, and how he had to tell Picasso that it's one eye on either side of the face....
The Doc sees the beast in the church and enters to tackle it, followed by Amy who promised, of course, to stay where she was, and Vincent who declares his love for her. The Doc realizes that the beast is blind, and Vincent accidentally impales it on his easel and kills it. Afterwards, they lay on their backs in the churchyard, heads together making a star and look at the sky which transforms into Nuit étoilée au-dessus du Rhône as they look. The next day they take him to Paris to see his own exhibition in the Musée d'Orsay. Finally the Doc gets to see the reaction he wants when Vincent is amazed at the TARDIS.
They arrive back in Auvers-sur-Oise and say goodbye only to discover that Vincent killed himself anyway. As inaccurate as this ep was, the ending, seeing Vincent seeing his own success and crying tears of joy is really a moving image, fictional as it is. I'm not an admirer of van Gogh, but if only he could have seen this, would he have met the same end? We can only guess, and my guess is that he would have, just as this ep depicts.
The Doc is just stepping out of the TARDIS when he's thrown out and it dematerializes with Amy still inside. Next we see a guy walking by a two-story house and he hears a voice calling from inside asking for help. He walks in and goes upstairs and the door slams behind him. Downstairs, Craig and Sophie are not realizing that they're in love. He's trying to get a room rented. Sophie says he has to get her a man and Craig responds, "Otherwise you'll have to settle for me" and she replies, "You'll have to settle for me first."
The Doc shows up at his front door wanting to rent the room. He hands him a brown paper bag containing three thousand pounds, not knowing it's way too much. He talks his way inside and cooks a meal and gets his way. Craig can't see the point of Paris, but both of them see "The Rot" on the ceiling. Later Sophie thinks The Doc might be a drug dealer. Meanwhile, the upstairs tenant is luring a woman into the house with the claim that his little girl is hurt. Neither one of these victims has evidently ever thought of calling the police or an ambulance!
The Doc contacts Amy and realizes that a localized time loop is being caused by the activities of the guy upstairs. He tells Amy to keep the zigzag plotter on full to protect herself! Meanwhile he can't use the sonic because of the interference from upstairs. He has to cobble together another of his bizarre appliances, but before that, Craig recruits The Doc to play on his football (soccer) team. Since Matt smith has played on the youth teams of Northampton Town, Nottingham Forest, and Leicester City, this was no problem for him. He would have gone into football as a career if he hadn't injured his back and been steered into acting. As The Doc, he plays brilliantly, but after the game a weird time loop keeps replaying the same few seconds over and over again. He contacts Amy to tweak the TARDIS to fix it.
Craig, who can't see the point of London, and Sophie are about to have a heart to heart about his feelings when The Doc pops up behind the couch. He is as clueless as to how much they need space as he is as to how humans generated six billion people if they behave towards each other as Craig and Sophie are doing right then. Sophie starts thinking she should go see the world, and Craig doesn't talk her out of it so she thinks he doesn't care for her! Craig touches the rot and gets sick, which the Doc treats with a cup of tea. While he's sick, The doc goes in to work at the call center in his place! Craig is shocked that The Doc is a sensation and Sophie is bringing him tea and biscuits (cookies).
The Doc asks Amy to get the plans of the house he's in. He sits on the stairs talking with the cat about what's going on upstairs, and Craig gets annoyed with everything: talking with the cat, sending his girlfriend away, being better at football! and tries to throw him out. The Doc headbutts him and passes on all his personal details. Meanwhile, the lodger upstairs, appearing now as a small girl, lures Sophie up there. Craig realizes that Sophie's upstairs because of her keys in the door. Amy tells the Doc that he can't go upstairs because there's no upstairs! It's a single-story building so the entire upstairs is a time machine disguised by a perception filter.
The AI is trying out people one by one to see if they can pilot the ship. The Doc realizes it's only people who want to leave who are eligible, so as the Doc is being forced to put his hand on the control - a move which would be disastrous, he talks Craig, who doesn't want to leave, into touching it first. This shuts down the ship and reveals to Sophie that Craig loves her.
The Doc leaves the happy couple with this thought: "Now then, six billion four hundred thousand and twenty six people in the world. That's the number to beat!" As he leaves, the camera slides to the side of the fridge to reveal the crack in the universe. The Doc tells Amy she must leave a note in the news-agents window to show him which flat is available for rent. She looks in his pocket for a pen and finds Rory's engagement ring in its little red box. She starts to remember something.
This is probably my favorite pair of eps of all time, with the possible exception of the very first ep of the Matt Smith era. It starts out like a review of the entire season. In France, in 1890, Vincent Van Gogh is crying in bed, obviously undergoing a meltdown. His doctor and a maid look at his last painting, which we cannot see, and they cannot understand. In the cabinet war rooms in London, in 1941, we find that Bracewell is showing Churchill that same painting, assuring him that it's a genuine van Gogh. Again, we don't see what the painting is. Churchill calls River Song in the Stormcage containment facility in 5145. River tells Churchill that the TARDIS is smart, unable to find The Doc, she has re-routed the call to River, who promptly escapes using her hallucinogenic lipstick. Seriously? They never frisk her to take that away from her? And evidently in 5145 they're still using 45s - from our century. How quaintly anachronistic!
Next we're at The Royal Collection in 5145 and River is stealing that same canvas (of which we now are treated to a teasing view of the back, illuminated by River's flashlight. She snatches the canvas and is making her way out when the lights come on and Liz 10 is there, with a gun, announcing, "This is The Royal Collection, and I'm the bloody queen. What are you doing here?" River shows her the painting and the queen looks heartbroken. Next, River is buying a vortex manipulator at The Maldovarium in 5145. She's told by the seller, Dorium, that it's "...fresh off the wrist of a handsome time agent", and then he looks at the delivery alien and adds, "I said off the wrist!" I don't know if this is meant as a reference to Jack Harkness or not, but Moffat has stated that unlike with the previous two incarnations of the Doctor, he isn't going to be involving Torchwood in the present doctor's adventures. River offer shim a device which can disarm micro-explosives in payment, and when he asks what kind, she informs him "The kind I just put in your wine!"
On the TARDIS, Amy is carefully examining the engagement ring she found. The Doc interrupts her to tell her they;ve landed on Planet One, the oldest planet in the universe, which has a cliff which contains fifty foot high letters conveying a message from the dawn of time. The very first words in recorded history read, "Hello Sweetie" and give coordinates, which the Doc follows to find himself in Roman Britain 102AD. Amy declares that this was her favorite period: "Oh, I know! My favorite topic at school: Invasion of the Hot Italians! Yeah, I did get marked down for the title."
A Roman soldier arrives to greet The Doc, and takes him to Cleopatra, who turns out to be River. This is pretty cool looking, but here's a better one which actually honors her with her full title. Most renderings of how Cleopatra was supposed to have looked show her with quite dark skin, but she was of Greek lineage, not Egyptian or African. Of course, that doesn't mean she could not have come from a lineage which also included a darker skin color.
Cleopatra's image was not very complimentary on the coins which were struck featuring her profile. A marble bust made during her lifetime is a bit more complimentary, but we have no way of knowing if the unknown sculptor was forced to render her in a more attractive light, or if this bust really does show her as she was. There are computer-generated images of her (and of her sister whom she supposedly had murdered).
The Doc tells her, "You graffiti'd the oldest cliff face in the Universe!" to which River responds, "You wouldn't answer your phone!" She shows him the painting, and finally, we see it: it shows the TARDIS exploding. Given that both Cleopatra and Julius Caesar were long dead in 102AD, the Romans behavior is inexplicable at best, but lets press on!
The title of van Gogh's painting is The Pandorica Opens. The Pandorica was supposed to be some sort of prison for the most dangerous warrior in history. The Doc decides that if you buried the most dangerous being you'd want to remember where it was, so he, River, and Amy head to Stonehenge where he discovers an underground chamber which contains the elaborate grey cube called The Pandorica.
The Doc thought it was a legend, and has no knowledge of who this being is supposed to be who's imprisoned there. In the chamber, they find parts of a Cyberman. Amy remarks that The Pandorica sounds like Pandora's Box - one of her favorite stories as a kid. The Doc remarks that it's odd that this adventure involves Amy's favorite period of history and her favorite story. He mentions that in fairy tales it's always the good wizard who manages to trap the evil being, and River remarks that in her experience, the good wizard is always the Doc.
River discovers that The Pandorica is being opened from the inside and it will be only a matter of hours before whatever is in there is free. The security is the highest she's ever seen. The Doc realizes that the stones all around them are amplifying a signal that's going to everyone, everywhere, that the Pandorica is opening. River announces that Earth is surrounded by at least 10,000 star ships. They hear Daleks. They hear Cyberships. They hear Sontarans. River reads off the list of those she can identify: Terileptil, Slitheen, Chelonian, Nestene, Drahvin, Sycorax, Hemogoth, Zygon, Atraxi, Draconian. The Doc decides he can fight all these with Roman soldiers!
Next we find River sent to recruit the Romans. Why she would go instead of Caesar himself (The Doc) is a mystery. but her exchange with the Roman commander is wonderful!
Roman Commander: So, I return to my command after one week and discover we've been playing host to Cleopatra; who's in Egypt! And dead. [Finally!]
River: Yes. Funny how things work out.
Roman Commander: The sky is falling and you make jokes! Who are you?
River: When you fight barbarians what must they think of you?
Roman Commander: [Laughs] Riddles now?
River: Where do they think you come from?
Roman Commander: A place more deadly, and more powerful, and more impatient than their tiny minds can imagine.
[River disintegrates an entire piece of furniture with her gun]
River: Where do I come from? Your world has visitors; you're all barbarians now.
Roman Commander: What is that? Tell me! What?
River: A fool would say the work of the gods, but you've been a soldier too long to believe there are gods watching over us. There is, however, a man, and tonight he's going to need your help.
After a brief consultation, the commander informs River than one of his men has volunteered to help. Back in the 'under-henge', Amy confronts The Doc about the engagement ring. He tells her that if something can be remembered, it can come back, but Amy assumes the ring is something he bought for a woman. Their conversation is interrupted by the loose Cyberman arm which starts shooting at them. Amy has no idea what Cybermen are, but she learns fast when a severed head comes to life and snatches her arms with its loose cables, dragging itself towards her. She grabs it and pounds it on the rocks, tossing it to the floor, but it fires some sort of dart into her neck and announces that she will be assimilated. Amy smart-mouths back, "Yeah? You and who's body?" whereupon a headless one-armed Cyberman body heaves into view.
She grabs a flaming torch and swings it, backing up and becoming woozy from the effects of the dart. She backs into an enclosed space behind some doors, and the Cyberman is trying to get in when a sword comes point first through the door, having pierced the Cyberman and pinned it to the door. Amy sees that it's the volunteer Roman soldier who saved her, and we see that it's Rory, but Amy passes out.
The Doc shows up and starts talking to Rory like he's never been gone, and eventually he stops dead and confronts Rory about how he can possibly be there, pushing at his chest with a finger, which nudges Rory back a few inches after which he returns to his original position. For some reason this strikes me as hilarious, which I'm sure is what director Toby Haynes intended. The Doc says, "Rory, I'm not trying to be rude, but you died! to which Rory responds, "Yeah, I know. I was there!". Later he says, "I died and turned into a Roman; it's very distracting!" Classic stuff!
Just when Rory wants to discuss Amy and the Doc doesn't, The Pandorica decides to open. The Doc goes up top and stands on a rock and talks to the alien visitors. He announces he has the Pandorica and asks who is coming to take it from him. he says, "...just remember who's standing in your way; remember every black day I ever stopped you, and then...and then do the smart thing: let somebody else try first!"
River enters the TARDIS and tries to fly it to the Doc, and runs into trouble. It's not behaving. In the under-henge, Rory discovers that Amy doesn't remember him. He's melting down when The Doc tosses him the ring and tells him to go get Amy: "The Universe is big; it's vast, and complicated, and ridiculous, and sometimes, very rarely, impossible things just happen and we call them miracles, and that's the theory. Nine hundred years, never seen one yet, but this would do me; now get upstairs. She's Amy and she's surrounded by Romans; I'm not sure history can take it."
River is really confused and disturbed by her problems in the TARDIS, but it lands her in Amy's back yard. River is now even more confused and she enters the house, scanning, realizing that something else has visited this house, and it's not The Doc. In Amy's bedroom, she discovers Amy's artifacts related to the Doc when she was a child. She says, "Oh Doctor, why do I let you out?" She discovers that Amy has a book about Roman Britain, and another book about Pandora's box.
Rory talks with Amy. She asks him his name, and still doesn't recognize him. As he talks to her she sheds a tear. River has found a picture of Amy and Rory and he's dressed as a centurion. River tells everything to the Doc, who doesn't understand, but the TARDIS is misbehaving again. River manages to land it but can't get out.
Rory is still trying to convince Amy that she knows him, and suddenly, all the Romans seem to reboot, including Rory. As he tries to hold onto himself, Amy suddenly remembers him. And the Pandorica opens. There's no one inside. The Daleks, the Cybermen, the Judoon, the Sontarans, and others all arrive and tell the Doc that The Pandorica is ready for him. Rory and the Romans turn out to be Autons. Rory's hand opens, turning into a gun and he shoots Amy. The Doc is put into The Pandorica and it's sealed. The TARDIS begins to explode with River inside.
Now is that a cliffhanger or what?
Amelia's aunt tells the visitor that she doesn't want her niece growing up and joining one of those 'star cults' - she doesn't like "that Richard Dawkins". Caitlin Blackwood's facial expression at this remark is priceless.
You may wonder why Amelia's aunt picks on a biologist when they're discussing astronomy, but Dawkins does have a connection with Doctor Who: he's married to Lalla Ward who was companion Romana to the fourth incarnation of The Doc, and one of the only two companions he's ever had who was a Time Lord herself.
While she's listening (from the stairs) to her aunt and the visitor discussing her behavior, Amelia notes that someone wearing a fez has dropped something through the letterbox opening in the door. She retrieves it and discovers that it's a brochure for the National Museum. Inside there's a picture of the Pandorica which has been circled in red ink, and on the back is a note in that same ink saying, "Come along, Pond/".
She has evidently talked her aunt into taking her there because the next thing we see is the two of them arriving at the museum and Amelia, in her little red wellies, tugging her aunt through the building not looking at anything until she arrives at The Pandorica, standing there with her nondescript cup of soda in her hand. On their way to The Pandorica, Amelia passes two ancient and corroded Daleks. At the Pandorica, she's about to take a drink when her soda is snatched out of her hand by someone who quickly disappears, but she's distracted from the theft when she sees a Post-it note on the Pandorica which reads, "Stick around Pond/", so she does, emerging from her hiding place after the museum has closed. As soon as she touches the Pandorica, it opens, the brilliant light illuminating the Daleks behind her. When it's fully open, we see Amy Pond inside, and she says, "Okay, kid, this is where it gets complicated!"
After the titles, it's 1,894 years previously and Rory is sitting with Amy's dead body talking to her. Just as he mentions that The Doc once said that there could sometimes be ridiculous miracles, and expresses a wish for one himself, The Doc arrives wearing a fez and carrying a mop. Now, Arthur Darvill's expression is priceless! The Doc says, "Rory, listen! She’s not dead...well, she is dead, but it’s not the end of the world...well, it is the end of the world. Actually, it’s the end of the universe. Oh no, hang on." and he disappears again. The he reappears
The Doc: You need to get me out of the Pandorica.
Rory: But you're not in the Pandorica.
The Doc: Yes I am! Well I'm not now, but I was back then. Well, back now from your point of view, which is back then from my point of view. Time travel: you can't keep it straight in your head! It's easy to open from the outside: just point and press. Now go!
[The Doc disappears again, and reappears again]
The Doc: Oh, and when you're done leave my screwdriver in her top pocket. Good luck.
The problem is that The Doc hasn't told Rory to put Amy into the Pandorica in his place! All that comes later. Rory opens the Pandorica to The Doc's utter amazement. He realizes that instead of being a prisoner, he has a future because he came from his own future and gave his sonic screwdriver to Rory. He looks around the under-henge and discovers that there are two corroded Daleks and other beings which look equally corroded and are frozen in time. He asks Rory where Amy is and Rory confesses that he killed her. The Doc goes topside, examines her, and tells Rory that he could probably save her if he had the time, which infuriates Rory. The Doc tells him, "Your girlfriend isn't more important than the whole universe," whereupon Rory socks him in the jaw, knocking him down and yelling, "She is to me."
The Doc was testing him and is pleased that he passed. They take Amy down to the Pandorica. The Doc tells Rory that Amy is special because she grew up with a crack in her wall with the whole universe leaking through it, and when the Nestene took an imprint of her, they got more than they bargained for. He tells Rory that the Pandorica will preserve her because it cannot be escaped from, not even by dying, and all she needs is a scan of her DNA, and then it will have all it needs to restore her.
The Doc plans to use River's vortex manipulator to take them to the future, but Rory has a problem with that. He stays to guard the tomb, and over two thousand years becomes a legend associated with the Pandorica. His last recorded appearance was when he was seen pulling the Pandorica out of the warehouse in which it was stored, in order to save it from a fire caused by incendiary bombing during the World War 2 blitz of London. He has never been seen since then and is thought to have perished in the fire. When Amy learns this she is heartbroken. She doesn't tell Amelia who she is. Right then, one of the Daleks, restored by the light from the Pandorica, just as Amy herself was, comes to exterminate them, but it has insufficient energy for its weapon to work. The Doc appears and says, "Come along Ponds!" and they escape.
The Doc knocks over a mannequin in the museum, catching the fez it was wearing, and he forgets he has it in his hand as he tries to explain to Amy what they're going to do. As the Dalek approaches them, the security guard for the museum shows up. The Doc, trying to save his life, tells the Dalek to scan him because he's not a threat and he doesn't have a weapon. The Dalek complies and concludes that the guard is unarmed, but the guard drops his flashlight and reveals that he is Rory and still has the Auton gun built into his hand. He fires at the Dalek, blinding it. Amy flies at Rory and hugs him fiercely.
While they're kissing passionately, Amelia asks The Doc if she can get a drink, but the Doc is more interested in the fact that it was The Pandorica which revived the Dalek, which comes back to life. They flee the area. The Doc realizes that he still has the fez and puts it on his head. Then he grabs a mop to slide between the door handle to try and keep out the Dalek, at which point Rory tells him that's exactly how he appeared 2,000 years ago when he first saw him. So The Doc goes back and meets Rory, comes back, puts the mop through the door handles, goes back to Rory and give shim the sonic.
Back in the present, The Doc realizes that he no longer has the sonic because he just gave it to Rory, so he goes back a third time and tells Rory to leave the sonic in Amy's pocket top pocket where, back in the present again, the Doc retrieves it. There is one more issue: he asks Amelia how she knew to come to the museum, and she shows him the brochure and the Post-it note, so he grabs a fresh brochure off the stand, together with a Post-it, and writes the notes which he delivers, finally, grabbing the drink from earlier Amelia to bring it back to give to present Amelia! Brilliant! I loved this scene, and could watch it over and over. It's so cool and so Moffat!
As they're about he head up to the roof, a second doctor appears, a duplicate of the first, and dies in front of them after passing on a brief message to the first doctor. The Doc says he has twelve minutes and rushes off up the stairs past a bust which looks at first blush like that of the one of Cleopatra 7th kept at the Alt es Museum in Berlin (and can be seen on the wikipedia page) but which actually isn't of her. It would have been amusing if it were!
Rory is insisting that they can't leave the Doc dead, but the living doctor points out that Amelia has disappeared. As they disappear, the Dalek is restored. On the roof, we're treated to a beautiful skyline view of St Paul's Cathedral and 30 St Mary Axe, known as The Gherkin, Out of sight is the Tower of London. We're looking looking east, which is correct since it's morning, because that's where the sun would be rising, but The Doc assures them it's not the sun - it's the TARDIS exploding with River still on board, endlessly repeating a time loop of fixing the console, running to the door, saying, "I'm sorry my love" and repeat. But one time she's halfway to the door and there is The Doc waiting for her. He says, "Hi, honey, I'm home!" and River looks at her watch and says, "And what sort of time do you call this?"
The Doc pulls her out of the TARDIS onto the rooftop. When she sees Rory she tels him she dated "...a Nestene duplicate once: swappable head! It did keep things fresh!". River says, "Right then, I have questions, but number one is this: what in the name of sanity have you got on your head?" The Doc tells her it's a fez. "I wear a fez now. Fezzes are cool!" River looks once at Amy, and she snatches the fez from the Doc and tosses it into the air so that River can destroy it with her trusty disintegrator gun which has robbed probably more than one Roman of his bookshelf.
The Dalek arrives and they beat a hasty retreat back inside. The Doc is less concerned about his impending death from a Dalek as he is about how the Dalek can even exist. The Doc thinks he can reboot the universe using The Pandorica. "One spark is all we need" he tells River, and she asks, "For what?" to which he replies, "The Universe 2.0 right before the Dalek shoots him.
Rory disables the Dalek again and as River is talking to the Doc, he dematerializes himself to appear to himself twelve minutes minutes earlier. Rory and Amy go to find him, and River says she will be along in a minute. She has business with the Dalek....
Dalek: Systems restoring. You will be exterminated!
Rory: We've got to move. That thing's coming back to life.
River: You go to the Doctor. I'll be right with you.
Dalek: You will be exterminated!
River: Not yet. Your systems are still restoring, which means your shield density is compromised. One alpha meson burst through your eye stalk would kill you stone dead.
Dalek: Records indicate you will show mercy! You are an associate of the Doctor's!
River: I'm River Song. Check your records again.
River: Say it again.
Amy and Rory arrive at the stairs to find that the Doc has disappeared. River arrives just as Amy states, "But he was dead" River asks her who told her that, and she replies that The The Doc did to which River responds, "Rule one: the Doctor lies." Amy asks her where the Dalek is and River replies, "It died."
When they find the Doc, he's strapped into The Pandorica. He had used them as a distraction while he did what needed to be done. River figures it out. She says, "Oh that's brilliant! It might even work!" The Doc plans on flying the Pandorica into the heart of the explosion. The Doc wants a word with Amy. She asks River what will happen to him, and River tells her that all the cracks will close, but The Doc will be on the wrong side. There's an amazingly touching scene between the Doc and Amy. Matt Smith is brilliant. He's concerned about Amy's parents not being in the huge house. He tells her that she brought Rory back and she can bring them back.
The TARDIS completes its explosion and we see time reversing. The Doc finds himself in the TARDIS, but Amy is there with another version of himself. He finds himself on the street outside the house where he lodged. It seems he can attract Amy's attention but she can't see him. He finds himself back in the forest where Amy is while they're fleeing the angels. Go back and re-read that for a mention of this. He talks to her and then finds himself back with Amelia Pond waiting in the yard for him to come back. He carries her to bed, and he sits and talks sadly to her, resigned to his fate. He says, "When you wake up, you'll have a mum and dad and you won't even remember me! Well, you'll remember me a little. I'll be a story in your head, but that's okay: we're all stories in the end. Just make it a good one, eh, because it was, you know, it was the best: a daft old man, who stole a magic box and ran away. Did I ever tell you I stole it? Well, I borrowed it; I was always going to take it back. Oh, that box! Amy, you'll dream about that box! It'll never leave you: big and little at the same time, brand-new and ancient, and the bluest blue ever; and the times we had, eh? Would've had; never. In your dreams, they'll still be there. The Doctor and Amy Pond... and the days that never came."
Brilliant! Perfect! Old and new, borrowed and blue? Hold that thought! As we see his shadow on the blue wall blur into darkness, Amelia awakens, notes that the crack has gone, and falls back to sleep. Outside, the stars shine brilliantly. Next, it's morning, and Amy wakes up. It's her wedding day and her mother bustles in with breakfast and Amy is surprised that it's her mom and surprised that she's surprised. She hugs her dad like she's never seen him before. She calls Rory and tells him she thinks she's forgotten something big.
At the wedding reception, her father begs for two more minutes to work on his speech. Amy sees River song walk by the window of the reception room and stands up suddenly. Rory doesn't know what's up. As she sits down, he notes that she's crying. She asks him why, and he insists that it must be because she's so happy, but she says, "No, I'm sad! I'm really, really sad." almost destroying poor Rory. She asks him why she's sad and then notices an old blue notebook on the table, with empty pages. Rory reminds her of the old wedding superstition: that the bride should have something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue.
This is a bit of an issue, because if River remembers The Doc, then why hasn't she been able to call him back? If she doesn't, then why would she give Amy the notebook?! This was partially covered earlier where she tells Amy that Amy has a better handle on The Doc than she does because River is only just getting to know him, which doesn't make a lot of sense either, but let's let it run, eh?!
Just as her father stands up and begins to make his speech, Amy looks around the room and notes a bow-tie, bracers (suspenders), and a single tear falls onto the blue notebook, and she suddenly stands up and rudely interrupts her father, talking about her imaginary friend, "...but," she declares, "he wasn't imaginary, he was real! I remember you, I remember! I brought the others back; I can bring you home too, Raggedy man, I remember you and you are late for my wedding!"
The TARDIS materializes and the Doc gets out and congratulates 'Mr Pond'. Rory protests that it doesn't work like that, and then agrees with The Doc that it does! The Doctor Dances, and later, he sneaks out and heads back to the TARDIS where River surprises him. He returns the Blue Book which now has its notes all back in place, and he hands her the vortex manipulator, which she puts back on her wrist. During this there is one of the most delicious exchanges ever:
River: Did you dance? Well, you always dance at weddings, don't you?
The Doc: You tell me.
The Doc: The writing's all back, but I didn't peek.
River: Thank you.
The Doc: Are you married, River?
River: Are you asking?
The Doc: Yes.
The Doc: No, hang on, did you think I was asking you to marry me or or or or asking if you were married?
The Doc: No, but was that yes or yes.
The Doc: River, who are you?
River: You're going to find out very soon now, and I'm sorry, but that's when everything changes.
Woah! After she's dematerialized, Amy and Rory show up and go inside the TARDIS. The Doc gets a call. He's needed somewhere, and he tells the two of them, "I think it's time to say goodbye." They agree with him and open the TARDIS door. Amy shouts, "Goodbye!" to the outside world, and they take off with him."