Friday, September 9, 2016

Whovian Chatter: The Smith Years Series Five

Ghost here, thanks for joining.

I'm going to be examining Doctor Who... every single episode.  I'm going to take you on a journey through the 50+ years worth of this show, showcasing the good and the bad along the way.  For each episode I'm going to give you a very brief rundown of the plot, how good/bad the story is, and anything interesting about the episode.  Basically I'll just talk about whatever comes to mind for each of them.  These will be a more in-depth overview of the series as a whole so you can see which stories or episodes (if any) you want to check out for yourself.  Today I'm going to be talking about

The Eleventh Doctor
Matt Smith
Series Five

Series five ran from April 3, 2010 to June 26, 2010 and contained thirteen episodes.  After four wonderful years of David Tennant as the Doctor, we come to Matt Smith... my favorite Doctor.  At this same time, Steven Moffat took over as showrunner.  Moffat decided to start his tenure with practically a clean slate which makes Series five another great spot to start watching.  Yes things from previous seasons still mattered but we had nothing being left over from the previous seasons.  We have a new doctor, a new TARDIS interior, and a new set of companions in Amy and Rory.  In all the years we've had Doctor Who, this is the first time that a proper couple has been companions (though Rory doesn't join till episode 6.)  I love Amy Pond as a companion; she's one of the best companions that the show has produced... but I do have to say Thank God for Rory!  Prior to Rory's inclusion Amy just sort of came across as another Rose and Martha situation... but with her fiance/husband on board, they became something truly special and phenomenal.

Moffat took the idea of the season-long story arch and spiced it up a bit.  While each season or half season would have it's own story arch... it sometimes wasn't alluded to all that often in the season.  Sometimes something was mentioned and wouldn't even come to a real proper conclusion until much later.  It was as if he had an idea for exactly what he wanted to do for multiple seasons and carefully crafted each reference to lead you along multiple paths.  The main story arch of series five revolves around a mysterious crack that keeps appearing in various places in the universe...while also making mention of Silence.

Episode 1
The Eleventh Hour

Due to the damage his regeneration had caused the TARDIS interior, the new 11th Doctor crashes in Scotland where he meets 7 year old Amelia Pond who helps cook him some food, however all is not as it seems for the girl.  There is a crack in her wall which is actually a crack in time and space itself and from the other side are voices that "Prisoner Zero has escaped."  As the Doctor seals the crack shut, a light beam comes out and the TARDIS cloister bells begin to ring.  The Doctor must travel in time even briefly to stop the engines from overheating and tells Amelia to pack her bags; he will be back in five minutes to bring her along.  The Doctor lands the TARDIS once again only to find that twelve years have passed and that the light beam was actually Prisoner Zero escaping and has been living in an unseen room in Amelia's (who now goes by Amy) house.  Prisoner Zero attacks but then runs away as the Atraxi, large eyeball aliens who run the prison appear due to the Doctor's reappearance on Earth.  The Doctor and Amy run into Rory, Amy's boyfriend who works at the local hospital and has been taking pictures of comatose patients he has been seeing walking around town.  The Doctor realizes that Prisoner Zero is a shape shifter and is using the subconscious of comatose patients to maintain a disguise.  The Doctor rushes to the hospital and creates a computer virus on Rory's phone to lead the Atraxi there to Prisoner Zero as it has pictures of every form he can take.  Prisoner Zero then takes control of Amy's mind having had 12 years to establish a psychic link, but the Doctor uses this to guide her mind to remembering what Prisoner Zero actually looked like when she encountered it at her house.  The Atraxi eliminate Prisoner Zero and the Doctor sends them away.  The TARDIS has finally rebuilt itself inside and the Doctor takes it for a quick ride only to land 2 years in the future once again and finally bring Amy along.

It's kind of odd to say that a Doctor's first episode is one of their best but it truly is one of Matt Smith's greatest episodes.  There's just something about it that works very well between his childish nature and interacting with young Amy.  While the idea of the Doctor being an imaginary friend was done well in The Girl in the Fireplace, here it was done possibly even better as it has a more realistic outcome with Amy being a tiny bit bitter and seeing therapists.  Also the Doctor's speech to the Atraxi about how the Earth is defended and telling them to run was just brilliant.  All in all this is a must see 11th Doctor episode.

Episode 2
The Beast Below

The Doctor and Amy arrive at the Starship UK in the far future where everything seems just a bit off.  There is a child crying because her friend has been taken but nobody seems to be helping.  There are strange smiling robots around that are keeping everyone in check, strange tentacle looking things are appearing in the ship, and the Doctor notices that the ship appears to be moving but the engines don't appear to be on at all.  While the Doctor runs into a woman named Liz 10 who is also investigating the ship, Amy is captured by monks and taken to a voting booth where she learns the truth about the ship and is given a choice to protest it or force the room to make her forget it.  She chooses to forget but leaves a message for herself to get the Doctor off the ship.  The Doctor arrives and forces the booth to choose the protest option and they are plunged to the bottom of the ship where they find themselves inside the mouth of some large creature who vomits them out.  Once out of the mouth they meet with Liz 10 who reveals that she is actually Queen Elizabeth X, but monks come and take all three to the Tower of London.  There they discover that the ship was actually built upon a giant Star Whale who is the last of his kind and they have exposes the nerve center of his brain to receive electrical shock to pilot the ship around.  The Doctor is furious but Amy sees children in the Tower as well; the whale refused to eat children.  Taking in all her information, Amy uses the Queen's hand to release the whale from his torture allowing him to go free... but to their amazement he stays put and moves the ship even faster.  Amy realizes that the Star Whale was just like the Doctor, very old, very kind, and the last of his kind who showed up to help humanity out of compassion.  The pair leave the now pain-free whale and return to the TARDIS only to have the phone ring.  It's Winston Churchill who is face to face with a Dalek.  As they leave, a crack is seen on the side of the ship.

No matter how many times I watch this episode, I still don't know how I feel about it.  It's not really that great but it's not really that bad.  I'd call it more standard but it's far too weird to just be a standard episode.  The idea of the whale mirroring the Doctor was really nice and the setting was unique but at the same time the stuff with the smiling robot people didn't really add up and the punishment system made little sense.  Liz 10 was also fairly annoying.  I just don't know.  It's got it's charm but it's also got it's problems and it's just extremely difficult to pinpoint for me.

Episode 3
Victory of the Daleks

The Doctor and Amy land in Churchill's bunker where they meet the man himself fighting the Nazis.  However, Churchill assures the Doctor that his previous call was a false alarm as his fear turned out to only be a new robotic inventions called Ironsides which were created by Professor Edwin Bracewell.  Churchill shows off these Ironsides to the Doctor; the Ironsides are Daleks but are not acting like Daleks.  These are being docile and subservient.  The Doctor remains suspicious and eventually tries to coax aggression out of the Daleks.  However, upon stating  "I am the Doctor and you are the Daleks" the Daleks initiate their plan using his "confession" to activate a device on a Dalek ship.  The Daleks on Earth then turn on Churchill's men and expose Professor Bracewell as an android they had created before teleporting to their ship.  The Doctor follows in the TARDIS.  There he learns that this Dalek ship had fallen through time and were possibly the last remaining Daleks alive.  They were trying to revive their race with the device on board but because they were not pure Daleks (having been created by Davros from his cells) the device needed a confession that they were Daleks.  Brand new Daleks emerge from the machine and exterminate the older models who die willingly.  Meanwhile, Amy convinces Churchill and Bracewell to use the borrowed Dalek technology to allow the spitfires to fly into space and attack the Dalek ship.  They do so and just as the Daleks are about to be destroyed, the Daleks turn on a bomb inside Bracewell himself.  The Doctor chooses to save Earth and convinces Bracewell that he is more human than machine thus deactivating the bomb.  The Daleks use the Doctor's compassion to escape.  The Doctor and Amy then begin to leave as the Doctor is confused by Amy not remembering any of the times the Daleks had invaded Earth when she was younger.  They leave in the TARDIS and another crack is revealed in the wall behind it.

This episode is pretty good.  It's interesting to see the Daleks acting in a very non-Dalek way.  Ian McNeice also does a fantastic job as Winston Churchill.  This is one of the few episodes that I really think would have been better as a two-parter cause parts of it are quite rushed...however I'm not sure if they could have filled two whole episodes with it either.  It's about an episode and a half's worth of content.  This episode's biggest sin isn't necessarily a fault with the episode.  For some reason, Moffat and the Daleks aren't exactly the best combination.  Moffat tends to set it and forget it when it comes to Daleks stories by making a change or doing something fairly significant in an episode then either ignoring that completely or reversing it the next time they appear.  The new multi-colored pure Daleks we see here?  Aside from an extremely brief cameo in the finale for this season, we never see them again. You'll really see what I'm talking about come Series Seven.

Episode 4 and 5
The Time of Angels / Flesh and Stone

By complicated means, the Doctor and Amy are summoned by River Song to help at the crash site of a ship called the Byzantium.  On board the ship is a single Weeping Angel who is growing stronger from the ship's energy.  River then calls down help from Father Octavian and his militaristic clerics.  While the Doctor and River pour over a book about the Angels to try to find a way to eliminate it, Amy becomes trapped inside a room where a repeated 4 second clip of the angel has started to move and is closing in on her.  "That which holds the image of an angel becomes itself an angel."  Amy is able to turn off the power to the tv but not before accidentally looking the angel directly in the eye.  Amy begins to feel something in her eye.  The group attempt to reach the Byzantium by going through a Maze of the Dead filled with statues where the angel can easily hide among.  Only after River and the Doctor discuss the fact that the local lifeforms have two heads do they realize that all these statues only have one head.  They are all weeping angels and they are all gaining energy off the crashed ship.  The angels corner the group but the Doctor messes with a gravity ball and they end up on the Byzantium itself.
At this point Amy begins to count down backwards as the image of an angel has imprinted inside her eye and is slowly killing her.  The Doctor tells her to shut her eyes in order to stop the countdown and suffocate the angel.  He and River leave her behind with the clerics.  Another crack in the universe appears and the angels begin feeding off the time energy it was spewing out.  Unfortunately the crack begins to get larger and one by one the clerics guarding Amy investigate and disappear completely.  River and the Doctor realize that this crack has come from a fracture in time itself and that anything that approaches it is erased from time itself.  They are able to figure out the exact date that this time-shattering disaster will occur, June 26, 2010.  The Doctor also realizes that they can easily shut the crack by tossing a complicated time-space event at the crack such as the Doctor himself or the whole of the Angels.  After guiding Amy through the ship via radio, the Angels begin sapping the ship of power causing the gravity to fail and the angels to fall into the crack and seal it.  With the angels having never existed, Amy returns to normal.  River bids the Doctor farewell and tells him that he will see her again when the Pandorica opens.  He dismisses this as a legend.  Amy asks him to take her home as she wants to show him something.  While at her home, she shows him her engagement ring and wedding dress.  The next day is supposed to be her wedding day with Rory, and her wedding date is June 26, 2010.

This was an interesting two-parter.  It continued the mystery of who exactly River Song is and how she knows the Doctor so well.  It also mentions the fact that she was imprisoned for murder...something that will come into play next season.  Moffat wanted to make a more action oriented sequel to Blink and for the most part he got it.  It was pretty suspenseful at time... that being said the episodes were littered with scenes that were just very dull and stopped the action vibe in its tracks when they showed up.  However the cardinal problem with this episode is one single thing that I'm not entirely sure anyone else cares about.  We see the angels move.  When Amy is being directed through the ship with her eyes close, we see one of the angels actually move.  To me they were always much creepier when they just sort of appeared and changed position.  The viewer also not seeing them move was a fantastic touch in Blink and it sort of ruined things a tiny bit here.  Thankfully they learned from this mistake and we haven't seen one move since.  All in all a fairly solid two episodes.

Episode 6
The Vampires of Venice

The Doctor decides to gatecrash Rory's bachelor party and bring him along in the TARDIS for a romantic trip to 16th century Venice.  While there, the city's patron Rosanna Calvierri claims the black plague is rampant outside the city.  The Doctor knows this to be false and suspects this to be an excuse to seal off the city.  As they investigate they discover a man distraught that his daughter Isabella hasn't contacted him since enrolling in Calvierri's school for girls.  Amy enrolls in the school in order to unlock the gate from inside for Rory and the Doctor but is captured by the girls and sent to be transformed into one of them.  While sneaking around, the Doctor and Rory believe that the girls are being turned into vampires.  Isabella, who hasn't been fully converted yet, frees Amy and the pair meet up with the Doctor and Rory to escape.  However, Isabella cannot leave the complex as she can no longer tolerate the direct sunlight.  The others seal off the exit and eventually throw Isabella into the canal to be eaten by something living underwater.  The Doctor returns to the school and questions Calvierri who reveals that she is an aquatic alien (using a cloaking device) with vampiric qualities who left their world when the cracks in the universe began showing and all they could see was silence.  Out of their race, only the males survived, save herself, and she intends to sink Venice and transform all the women into their race to continue their species.  After Calvierri sends the girls to kill the Doctor and end up destroyed in a gun powder explosion,  Calvierri sets off the device to create earthquakes and sink Venice.   Amy and Rory fight off Calvierri's bodyguard as the Doctor tries to dismantle the machine and does so just in time.  Calvierri taunts the Doctor for causing the genocide of her race and jumps into the canal with her cloaking device on to be devoured by her kin.  Amy and Rory head back to the TARDIS but as the Doctor enters, everything falls completely silent due to the appearance of a new crack in time.

I've said it before and I'll say it again.  Thank goodness for Rory.  Amy as a solo companion was great and fantastic... but it's the added dynamic of having the man she loves in the TARDIS with her that makes them work so well.  It's not necessarily what they do in regards to the plot that I talk about but it's just the little interactions that make them work so well.  This is a great first episode for Rory and an inventive one for the season.  I enjoyed the vampire lore being explored even if they were fish people in all reality.  The scene in which Calvierri and the Doctor interrogate each other is also brilliantly written and acted.  It was a fun adventure.

Episode 7
Amy's Choice

The Doctor, Amy, and Rory have found themselves in a rotation between two realities and being taunted by a being calling himself the Dream Lord.  In one reality, Amy and Rory have stopped traveling with the Doctor five years prior and are living in a small town of Leadworth with Amy very pregnant.  However, in this reality the bodies of the elderly have been taken over by an alien race who can instantly kill you with a spray from their mouths.  In the other reality, the three are on board the TARDIS but it has completely died and is drifting slowly towards a cold star and will freeze to death.  The Dream Lord tells them that they must choose between the two realities to figure out which one is real and to kill themselves in the false reality.  Killing themselves in the dream will make them permanently stay in reality, but choosing wrong would (of course) mean their deaths.  The Dream Lord then keeps Amy awake in the TARDIS reality while the Doctor and Rory wake up in the Leadworth reality.  He tells Amy that it must ultimately be her choice as the other two will follow her decision.  He then sends her to the Leadworth reality.  There, she and Rory are defending their home from the aliens as the Doctor is trying to save people in the town.  Amy believes herself to be going into labor which catches Rory off guard and he is killed by the spray of the alien.  The Doctor shows up and Amy has made up her mind.  She is willing to risk her life at a chance to see Rory once again and has the Doctor ram a van into their house to kill them.  The three wake up on the TARDIS as the Dream Lord congratulates them on picking the right one and bringing the TARDIS back online.  The Doctor then sets the self destruct and the trio die once again.  They wake up on the TARDIS completely safe.  The Doctor had figured out that someone called the "Dream Lord" wouldn't have any powers on reality and knew they must have both been a dream.  He then discovers some psychic dust that had fallen into the TARDIS console and caused the whole thing to happen.

This story is funny, interesting, and honestly great.  Toby Jones does a fantastic job as the Dream Lord especially with all of his quips and contempt for the Doctor.  While the visual of old people breathing death on you is.... weird to say the least, it doesn't really detract from how strong the script is for this episode.  This one is definitely worth a watch!

Episodes 8 and 9
The Hungry Earth / Cold Blood

The Doctor, Amy, and Rory land in Wales in 2020 where they see their future selves on an adjacent hill having come back to relive their past a tiny bit.  They encounter a mining operation lead by Doctor Nasreen Chaudhry and her assistant Tony Mack.  The massive drill has dug deep into the earth and has been uncovering minerals that haven't been seen in millions of years.  A minor earthquake causes the ground to open up and begin swallowing Tony and Amy.  Tony is saved but Amy is pulled down by an unknown force.  The surveillance machines then alert them that three lifeforms are traveling up the drilling shaft.  The group barricades themselves in the local church and discover that these beings are reptilian humanoids; a completely different group of Silurians to the ones the Doctor has encountered before.  Two of the Silurians kidnap Tony's grandson Elliot and escape back underground, however the third Silurian is captured by the humans but not before she strikes Tony with her venomous tongue.  Now that both sides have a hostage, the Doctor and Nasreen travel underground in the TARDIS to attempt peace talks.  The Doctor believes this may be a tiny grouping like before but they discover a massive complex with hundreds of Silurians still in suspended animation.
Amy awakens underground to be in a scientific lab along with Elliot's father, Mo where a male Silurian scientist is performing experiments on them.  The Doctor and Nasreen are discovered by some of the warrior class that have been awoken by the drill (and seeing it as a threat on their lives.)  Amy and Mo escape the lab and discover Elliot in a sleep state.  The Doctor and Nasreen are taken to be executed and after a failed attempt at rescue from Amy and Mo, the scientist awakens one of the elders of the Silurians to deal with the situation.  The Doctor then contacts Rory and asks him to bring the hostage down through the tunnels as they will be conducting peace talks.  Unfortunately, Tony's daughter has already killed the hostage for not helping remove the venom from her father.  The peace talks almost succeed when Rory brings the lifeless body of the Silurian in.  The leader of the warriors attacks causing the Doctor, the elder, and the humans back to the lab.  The Doctor and the elder provide a plan to gas the corridors to send the warriors back to their sleep chambers and allow the Doctor and humans to escape.   Tony elects to stay behind so that he can be cured from the venom and Nasreen stays with him.  The Doctor and the others make for the TARDIS and when they get there, they find yet another crack in the wall.  The Doctor reaches his hand in hoping to find some shrapnel.  As he pulls it out, the dying and gassed warrior leader shoots at the Doctor.  Rory pushes him out of the way and is hit by the shot.  Rory dies in Amy's arm and the crack in time reaches out and claims him, erasing him from time itself.  The Doctor tries to keep Amy focused on Rory but a sudden tremor in the TARDIS causes her to break focus and forget Rory had ever existed.  The Doctor lets Elliot and his parents back out on the surface where Amy sees herself (now without Rory) waving once again on the hill before hopping back in the TARDIS.  The Doctor then pulls out the shrapnel that he extracted... it's a piece of the TARDIS sign.

Let me start off with the positives.  Rory dying and being forgotten was very well done, you could feel the sadness and emotion in that one little scene... especially if you watch this two parter immediately after watching Amy's Choice where she chooses death over a life without Rory.  Also the TARDIS shrapnel was a nice addition to the mystery of this season.  Everything else?  Yeah it's bad and boring.  I haven't been this bored with a set of episodes since the classic series.  Part of the problem is that this is basically a complete retelling of the Jon Pertwee story Doctor Who and the Silurians.  Now I do realize that reintroducing the Silurians would most likely need to involve a story similar to their first one, but it was just done so much better in the 70's.  Also I'm not quite sure how I feel about the new look of the Silurians.  The old ones were goofy but they worked.  The new ones had definite sexual differences and the females are reptiles with boobs.  Although the new look of the female Silurians is honestly pleasing to look at... I hope I don't have to explain to you why reptiles having boobs is stupid.  Only watch this one if you want to watch every episode.

Episode 10
Vincent and the Doctor

The Doctor has decided to take Amy to an art museum showcasing the works of Vincent Van Gogh.  However, upon a closer look at The Church at Auvers, the Doctor notices what seems to be an alien face and the pair travel to 1890 to investigate.  There they find Vincent as a very lonely man with a bad reputation whose "insanity" is blamed for the death of a local girl.  The Doctor and Amy convince Vincent to let them stay with him and he opens up to Amy sensing the loss of Rory that even she isn't aware of.  That evening Amy is attacked by a creature that only Vincent can see.  He then sketches the creature and the Doctor is able to identify it as a Krafayis, an invisible race that look kind of like chicken lizards.  With the knowledge that the alien will appear at the church they stick around with Vincent who becomes extremely depressed and shuts himself away when he realizes they won't be staying long as "everyone leaves me in the end."  The next morning the Doctor and Amy plan to take on the Krafayis alone but Vincent eagerly joins them because if Amy can "soldier on" then so can he.  Vincent begins painting the church and sure enough the alien appears.  The Doctor, Amy, and Vincent go after it and Vincent is able to help them avoid the invisible alien's attacks.  Eventually the Krafayis attacks Vincent and gets impaled on his easel.  The Doctor soothes the dying and scared creature as it passes and the trio return outside where Vincent explains how he sees the world.  The next day, the Doctor and Amy decide to treat Vincent as they take him to the museum where his works are on display.  Vincent becomes overwhelmed with emotion at his seemingly worthless paintings being seen as masterpieces and breaks down as the curator describes him as one of the greatest painters of them all.  They return Vincent to his time and say their final goodbyes.  Amy asks to return to the present sure that there will be more paintings but is crushed to find that Vincent still committed suicide weeks after their time together.  The Doctor consoles her that life is a mixture of good and bad and that while they couldn't undo all the bad in his life, they still certainly added some good to it as seen by the Krafayis no longer in the church painting, and his Vase with 12 Sunflowers now has the inscription "For Amy."

If you can get over the fact that this is Vincent van Gogh fighting a giant invisible chicken monster then you can see the true beauty of this episode.  This is a masterpiece of an episode and I hope that they get author Richard Curtis to return to the show to write more.  It's one of my absolute favorite episodes, and one of the best episodes the show has ever produced because it hits you on an extremely emotional level.  It very delicately and masterfully tackles the issues of depression.  The last five minutes of this episode never fail to make me cry each and every time I see it.  There is no "maybe" with this episode.  Watch it!

Episode 11
The Lodger

The Doctor has landed in modern England, but a sudden rush of air tosses him to the ground as the TARDIS dematerializes with Amy inside and refuses to materialize once again.  With Amy's help, the Doctor finds the disturbance to be located in the second floor of a set of apartments.  The Doctor then decides to take the room for rent in the first floor apartment with Craig Owens in order to figure out what is on that second floor without alerting it to what he is.  Neither the Doctor or Craig are aware that people are being lured off the street to the second floor apartment and not returning.  The Doctor then spends the next two days creating a scanning device out of common household items and trying to act as human as he can by inserting himself in Craig's life.  He becomes the star soccer player on Craig's team, fills in for him at work when he becomes sick, and even encourages Craig's crush Sophie (whom he hasn't told about his feelings) to pursue her dreams of traveling overseas to help animals.  Craig becomes angry over potentially losing Sophie and demands that the Doctor leave, which forces the Doctor to reveal to Craig who (and what) he is and why he is their.  As the pair argue and discuss, Sophie arrives and is lured upstairs.  The Doctor and Craig follow to find the upstairs to actually be a space ship with a time engine who crashed quite some time ago and used it's cloaking device to disguise itself as a second floor to the apartments.  The machine identifies the Doctor as a compatible pilot and begins to take control of his body.  The Doctor convinces Craig to touch the control panel himself before the Doctor is forced to do so as his own desires to stay exact where he is with Sophie would be too powerful for the engines.  He does so and proclaims his love to Sophie.  They kiss and the ship malfunctions, ultimately imploding once the trio were out.  Craig gives the Doctor a spare set of keys to his apartment and say he is welcome anytime as a crack appears behind Craig's refrigerator and widens.

This is a nice little distraction episode.  James Corden does an excellent job as Craig, who is basically just a normal guy and a definite straight-man.  However Corden just has this charm about him that makes Craig incredibly lovable.  Also the humor in this episode is above standard with the Doctor trying to fit in and occasionally being very awkward.  That's... bout all I can say really.  It's just a decently good but pretty funny episode.

Episode 12
The Pandorica Opens

The Doctor and Amy land in England 102 AD after following a message from River Song.  There they find her posing as Cleopatra with a group of Roman Legionaries.  She shows the Doctor an undiscovered painting by Vincent van Gogh called "The Pandorica Opens" which depicts the TARDIS exploding and had written the time space coordinates to where they were.  The Doctor theorizes that the Pandorica, a fabled prison for the universe's most deadly being, must be stored somewhere memorable nearby...Stonehenge.  The Doctor, River, and Amy head to Stonehenge where they find an underground passage and the Pandorica, a giant metal box fitted with every type of lock imaginable.  River notes that the rocks of Stonehenge are sending out a signal to every enemy the Doctor has ever had and asking them to meet there.  The Doctor sends River to bring the TARDIS to Stonehenge as a group of Roman volunteers shows up to assist, lead by Amy's fiance Rory.  Neither the Doctor nor Rory can explain his existence as he was erased from time itself.  However Rory becomes distraught when Amy doesn't remember him.  The Doctor assures him she will with time and sends him to be with her.  River attempts to pilot the TARDIS to Stonehenge, but an outside force lands it at Amy's house on June 26 2010 where a crack appears on the TARDIS monitor.  River notices that landing patterns are seen at Amy's house and someone has broken in.  River finds in Amy's room a book about Pandora's box, a children's brook about Roman Britain and a picture of her and Rory.  River contacts the Doctor and lets him know that the whole thing must be a trap extracted from Amy's memories.  She returns to the TARDIS but she finds herself trapped inside a time loop as the TARDIS begins to explode but is trying to save River and itself from destruction.  At Stonehenge, the Romans are shown to actually be Autons who capture the Doctor as every manner of enemy teleports down to the Doctor.  Amy finally remembers Rory just as his auton nature turns on him and he unintentionally kills her.  The enemies of the Doctor force him into the now open Pandorica.  They theorized that the cracks in time and the universe were caused by the TARDIS and believing that only the Doctor can pilot the TARDIS they organized a plan to seal him away in the Pandorica so they could save the universe from him.  The Doctor pleads as the Pandorica shuts.  Suddenly explosions go off all around earth as the stars fade away and everything falls to silence.

Obviously this is part one of a two-part story but the tone and setting of each episode are so incredibly different I chose to talk about them separately.  The Doctor's speech to his enemies during this episode is a fantastic little bit of writing/acting.  It's also a really neat idea to have a group of various alien races who are usually set on destruction or extermination etc. to band together to (in their minds) actually save the universe for once.  It's always good to see multiple sides, or a new side of the same old foe.  My one big annoyance with this episode is the show's refusal to call Autons what they are.  It'd been since the 9th Doctor's first episode five years prior since we've seen Autons and it'd have been nice to have at least a throwaway line calling them out by name.  By the time I'd gotten here I had forgotten the "killer mannequins" from Rose and didn't realize till I became a fan of the classic series that this was an alien race and not just some robots made by the band of aliens.

Episode 13
The Big Bang

As Rory is morning Amy's death, the Doctor appears using a vortex manipulator from the future and hands Rory his sonic screwdriver to free his younger self from the Pandorica before returning to the future.  Rory frees the Doctor who place's Amy's body inside.  The Pandorica is the perfect prison and won't allow anyone to escape even by dying.  It will keep her in a state of undead until it can restore her to life with a sample of her DNA which won't happen till she's born in the future.  The Doctor finds River's discarded vortex manipulator and jumps forward to 1996 while Rory in his ageless auton body decides to stay behind and wait out the time guarding Amy.  In 1996, the Earth, Moon, and what appears to be the Sun are the only things left in the universe.  Young Amelia Pond finds a note from the Doctor to go see the Pandorica on display at the museum and after touching it, the Pandorica revitalizes Amy and opens.  The Doctor appears having traveled forward and they all meet with Rory who is working as a security guard.  Suddenly an older injured version of the Doctor appears and whispers something to his younger self before seemingly dying as young Amelia Pond disappears as a result of the universe collapsing.  As the three head to the roof, a Dalek which had turned to stone begins coming back to life due to the light and essence from inside the Pandorica.  The Doctor sees the sun and realizes it's actually his TARDIS exploding and that River is trapped inside.  He saves River but then the Dalek appears and shoots him.  He travels back in time as River destroys the Dalek.  The three return to the Pandorica to find that the Doctor had told his younger self to cause a distraction so that he could modify the Pandorica to fly into the TARDIS as it has just enough of the original universe still inside it to cause the Second Big Bang and return everything to the way it was.  He flies off into the TARDIS as it explodes completely.  The Doctor awakens having survived but traveling backwards through his timeline as each of the cracks begin closing around him.  He finally ends up on the day he and Amelia first met.  He tucks her into bed and tells her a story before walking into the final crack, erasing himself from time and the universe in order to restore it.  On June 26, 2010, Amy wakes up with her family having been restored and ready for her wedding date.  She and Rory are at the reception when she finds a blank diary left by River which prompts her memories of the Doctor and the story he told about the TARDIS... something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue.  Her memory brings the Doctor back into existence and she along with her husband fly off with the Doctor in the TARDIS.

This was a really neat and interesting way to end the season.  It was also kind of cool to bring a Doctor Who meaning to the old wedding saying.  Now I did have to write this in a way that made it concise enough to bother with which meant a few things were written in a more logical order than the order in which the episode chose to showcase the events.  You'll be seeing a different experience than what you read and honestly the viewing experience is better.  It hits you with more confusion and mystery than the straightforward presentation I tried to give here.  All in all this is a fantastic way to end the season and well worth a watch!

2010 Christmas Special
A Christmas Carol

Amy and Rory are on board a space liner for their honeymoon when it loses control passing through strange electrified clouds and cannot land.  Amy calls for the Doctor who find that the clouds are being controlled by a spire.  The Doctor lands his TARDIS and tries to operate the machine but it is "isomorphic" meaning that only one man, Kazran Sardick can operate the machine.  Kazran is a bitter old man who refuses to allow the ship to land safely.  The Doctor decides to change Kazran into a kinder person in a scheme inspired by A Christmas Carol.  The Doctor introduces himself as the Ghost of Christmas Past and goes into Kazran's past and begins to change events.  There he finds a young man who is fascinated with the planet's clouds which allow fish to fly.  Eventually the two are attacked by a shark and the shark becomes injured, unable to make it back into the atmosphere.  Young Kazran suggests going to the cryogenic chamber where his father keeps people frozen as security for the loans he gives out.  Kazran opens up the chamber of a young woman named Abigail whom he has a slight crush on.  The shark follows them to the chamber but Abigails singing is able to subdue the creature and they place it in the chamber and release it into the atmosphere using the TARDIS.  As they go to place Abigail back in suspended animation, Kazran promises to come back every Christmas Eve.  The Doctor follows through with this as the trio have several adventures every Christmas Eve for years until the two fall in love.  However one Christmas Eve, Abigail tells Kazran a secret which causes him to end his Christmas Eves with the Doctor and keep Abigail frozen indefinitely.  Back in the present (of the story) Kazran has now stopped being cruel and heartless but is now a bitter and heartbroken man who still refuses to allow the ship to land.  Then, Amy appears as a hologram from the ship and introduces herself as the Ghost of Christmas Present.  She shows him the people singing on the ship trying to do like Abigail had done but it wasn't working.  They then reverse the hologram to bring Kazran "on board" where the captain pleads with him but he doesn't relent.  Back in the cryogenic chamber, Kazran tells hologram amy that Abigail had a terminal illness and that he could release her at any moment but she would have a single day to live.  The Doctor appears and apologizes.  He then tells him that it is time to see the future.  Kazran knows he will die cold and alone and taunts the Doctor, but the Doctor steps aside to reveal Kazran's childhood self is actually the one being shown the future.  Kazran relents, his heart touched by the love of Abigail and tries to turn off the machine... however the Doctor has changed him too much and the machine doesn't recognize him.  They have to use something they know works.  Kazran opens Abigail's compartment and they project her singing into the clouds which release them allowing the ship to land.  Amy and Rory re-join the Doctor as Abigail and Kazran have one last Christmas together.

This is the first ever episode of Doctor Who that I watched so I certainly have a massive soft spot for this episode.  The whole reason I watched this was because it was a science fiction show doing a take on A Christmas Carol...which is a book/movie/experience that I will always enjoy.  It plays with Dicken's novel quite well.  Not to mention they were able to secure Michael Gambon for the role of Kazran.  I don't even need to mention whether or not he was good because it's Michael Gambon... of course it's good.  If you can get over the fact that there are flying fish, and they go on a sleigh ride using a shark then you will most likely enjoy this one as well.  It's one of the best Christmas episodes the show has produced!


That was series five.  Though it had some annoyances here and there and some really bizarre inclusions liek an invisible chicken lizard, flying sharks, and killer old people, if you can just accept the weirdness for what it is you have a really great season!  The two-part silurian story is the only one that I would even classify as anywhere near bad... though I'm still not sure where to put The Beast Below.  It was a great start for my personal favorite Doctor.  Please join me again as we continue to examine all of Doctor Who.

This is Ghost, fading into the darkness
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