Episode 11 – THE LODGER
Gareth Roberts produced yet another trademark comical script for an entertaining filler before the two part series finale. We were introduced to Craig Owens who was played by James Corden. Amy was trapped in the TARDIS and it was fun seeing the Doctor go off by himself and have to fit into human life. The damp on the ceiling of Craig’s flat was a bit pointless but the old man upstairs asking for help and then changing form to ask more and more people to come upstairs and help him was creepy. Although there was never any real threat, that wasn’t the point of this episode. It was tremendous fun to see the Doctor integrate into society. I enjoyed the dynamic between Craig and the Doctor and seeing the Doctor become Craig’s equal and then go onto surpass him was very entertaining. At football, and then at work, the Doctor as beginning to unintentionally overshadow Craig and it was good to watch. Although he looks human, we saw in this episode that despite all the time he spends on a Earth, he really is alien to a lot of things. I hope Craig Owens returns to complete his trilogy of stories and I hope Roberts is chosen to finish it off. The ending was a bit strange but overall I this one of the most entertaining fillers of the modern series. 7/10
Episode 12 – THE PANDORICA OPENS
This episode started brilliantly as we saw several characters from previous episodes of series five return briefly. Vincent Van Gogh’s mysterious painting had been passed on through time and was eventually acquired by River Song in a very entertaining sequence. The picture of the TARDIS exploding was beautiful and tied in with the Doctor pulling a piece of the TARDIS from the crack in Cold Blood. The setting of Stonehenge added a lot of drama to the episode and when they finally got underneath the ground, the episode certainly took a dark turn. The arm of the Cyberman was very sinister and seeing it shoot at the Doctor and Amy was a great scene. Matt Smith gave another brilliant speech from the top of Stonehenge, transmitted to all of the surrounding spaceships, it was the standout moment of the episode for me. I loved seeing all of the monsters working together. The Alliance was a great idea and the twist that the Pandorica was meant to enprison the Doctor was very clever. I don’t think anyone was expecting to see such a huge array of monsters. It would’ve been nice to get a proper explanation as to how Rory became a Roman. The Doctor claimed it was a “miracle” which was just a throwaway line. There were some shocking editorial errors in this episode. It’s easy to overlook the odd mistake but constantly we saw the Doctor using the sonic and it cut to a different angle and it was in the other hand and his fringe was flipped. These were amateur mistakes that although didn’t affect the story, were a bit off-putting. Overall though I enjoyed this episode, it was dramatic and the cliffhanger really looked to be an impossible situation. River was in an exploding TARDIS, The Doctor was trapped in the Pandorica and Amy was dead. 8/10
Episode 13 – THE BIG BANG
Once you get your head around this frantic episode and work out what actually happened, you should realise it’s a fantastic way to round off a successful first series for Steven Moffat. Not a lot of fans use this word for Moffat, but this script was genius, I have no idea how he thought all of this up. The beginning of the episode where we see a young Amelia open the Pandorica to find Amy, it was mind boggling, but it all came together beautifully as the episode went on. I loved seeing the Doctor appear in front of Rory back in Stonehenge and then later on see the Doctor be told by Rory that’s what he looked like when he appeared in front of him. Seeing the story play out from more than one timeline was immensely satisfying in what was such a rapidly paced episode. The resolution of the Doctor flying the Pandorica into the TARDIS to reboot the universe was also very clever. We were treated to a brilliant bit of CGI as Big Bang II took place. Amy remembering the Doctor at her wedding was another clever way of the Doctor being restored in an episode jam packed full of stupendously clever plot points. We also saw the famous fez for the first time in this episode, there was still time for fun during the finale. It is quite difficult to instantly understand what you’ve just watched, but once you finally get it, it’s brilliant. Do feel free to ask any questions below if there were any aspects you didn’t quite grasp. You need some knowledge of future storylines to work out the plot in its entirety but it’s still a brilliant episode on its own. This is my favourite finale since series one and is a satisfying conclusion to a strong series. 9/10
Fun Fact: “The Big Bang” is so titled not because the a Doctor recreates the Big Bang. Moffat decided to give the episode this name as it was the episode where River Song was narratively conceived…cheeky man.