And what's more, most of it made some kind of sense.
I see a couple of non sequiturs (or nons sequitur? or is it the same in singular and plural?) around the Pandorica. Last week it was an inescapable prison; this week it doesn't merely hold its prisoner in stasis (which makes perfectly good sense), but actually exudes some sort of healing radiation that allows Amy, the Dalek and (presumably, after he's been exterminated) the Doctor to come back from near death. It also flies. The idea that the inside of the thing, isolated from the collapsing version of the universe, could potentially be used as a back-up template for the universe as it used to be, seems fine to me, but I'm not sure about the rest of it. I'm also not clear on whether the Doctor's still meant to be flying it in the scenes when he gets to briefly stop off in previous episodes and set up his return.
The only other thing I'm not absolutely, entirely happy with is the bit where River Song pulls the now hackneyed “Look me up” trick on the Dalek, which promptly begs for mercy. I don't really know why, but that just doesn't sit right with me.
Otherwise, a satisfying finale. The Pandorica Opens still doesn't feel like the first part of this finale, more as though it was just what needed to be shown to set up for this, the proper story, the tale Moffat's been waiting all series to tell. I think of it in the same way as I think of Utopia, the set-up for 2007's finale, and I probably ought to promote it from a 6 to a 7 out of 10 to bring it into line with that. The Big Bang, meanwhile, is pretty darn tantalisingly close to being a full 10. I just don't know if it really deserves the top mark. But it is a magnificent bit of Who.
I probably ought to be mortified by it. After all, it's the biggest reset button the show has ever seen – not just the final episode, but the entire 2010 series (and potentially some earlier bits) has now no longer happened except inside the heads of the leading cast. And even though it's a reset that still allows for continued character development, I don't feel that Amy's developed at all – there doesn't seem to be any change whatsoever between ep1 Amy and ep13 Amy. (This is something I may pick up on in a separate blog post.) Funnily enough, Rory has changed, which just rubs it in more. But the big reset obviously fits in with the “fairy tale” theme Moffat's been pimping to anyone who'll listen, and (in the nicest possible way) I think it's right for the 2010 series.
Among the many things I liked:
- The fossilization of all the villains who locked the Doctor into the Pandorica. It's a neat alternative to having them flip-flop in and out of existence in a time paradox kind of way, and it's very evocative.
- On that note, the stone Dalek. Yes, I know I'm easily disgruntled by never-ending Dalek returns, but as long as they do interesting and unusual things with them, I'm happy. And although arguably the Dalek's role in this episode is not hugely different from the Cyberman's role in the previous episode, it's handled with sooo much more flair.
- The opening few minutes of the episode, which were just perfect Who. Now, if there'd only been some way of having this bit at the start of the two-parter...
- Tying the TARDIS in with “Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue”.
- The Doctor's appearance at the wedding reception – it just wouldn't have been right any other way.
So there it is – best episode of the year. The rundown looks something like this:
The Big Bang
Vincent and the Doctor (a close second)
The Time of Angels
Flesh and Stone
The Eleventh Hour
The Pandorica Opens
The Vampires of Venice
The Hungry Earth
Victory of the Daleks
The Beast Below
A series of extremes, I think, but then aren't they all? Further mumblings about the series as a whole may follow in due course.