27 June 2010

Doctor Who: 31.13 The Big Bang

The Big Bang brings Doctor Who’s 5th season (or 31st) to a stunning conclusion, and thus closes out a somewhat uneven year.

When we last left our heroes, the Doctor was trapped in the Pandorica, Amy was dead, and River Song was about to be blown up with the TARDIS. Then, within mere minutes, the Doctor has escaped his imprisonment and we discover Amy is not that dead - and when things shift 1,894 years into the future, who was not surprised to see, when the Pandorica opened in 1996, it contained Amy instead of the Doctor, in what must be the longest pre-credits sequence since the series returned?

Anyways, as with part one, The Big Bang resembles the old RTD era, down to the deus ex machina Moffatt unleashes here, along with the paradoxes and a lot of techobabble. And once again, the Doctor needs to sacrifice himself to save the universe, and as he flies the Pandorica into the heart of the exploding TARDIS, insteading of dying, he finds himself back in his TARDIS and rewinding in time. As the Doctor unwinds through this last season, he sees events which relate to The Lodger. Next he visits the events of Flesh and Stone, revealing that his message to Amy seen in that episode was given by a future Doctor -and one of the first clues the fans got that somehow the Doctor was traveling back through his own time stream. Finally, he arrives in seven-year-old Amelia's house after she waited for him in The Eleventh Hour. It is here, where the episode gets a bit of let down. Much like in the Last of the Time Lords, it seems all it takes to save the Doctor is to speak his name or remember him. Again, this deus ex machina can be forgiven if only because the performances are brilliant. Matt Smith, once thought too young to play the Doctor, really shows why he was chosen to play this role. Yes, he’s young, but behind his eyes, hides an old soul.

Karen Gillan is perhaps her best in this story, as well is Arthur Darvill, who appears to become the first male companion in the TARDIS since Turlough left in TOS. And, I think, this is the first for Doctor Who, by having a married couple travel with the Doctor -even though Rory is a Nestene.

What's most unique about this episode was that the sinister rasping voice that said "Silence will fall" was never explained. Nor was the reason for the TARDIS exploding. For one thing - as some people have suggested - it was too late to introduce a villain, even a classic Who villain like Omega (that rumors earlier in the week thought it might be), so there was no space left in the episode, I guess, to explain any of those things.

So it means season 32 will start with an already established mystery, with a lot of time explain what or who is behind all of it.

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