Sunday, 27 June 2010

Doctor Who: The Big Bang

Spoilers follow, and in fact, I haven't recapped the plot (mostly because, to be honest, I'm not actually sure that I followed it) so none of this will make any sense if you haven't seen the episode.

OK, first things first - my excuse for blogging this, aside from the odd Roman, is that River Song is an archaeologist, so let's look at that. I love her slightly Indiana Jones-y outfit - in fact, she was very much a female Indiana Jones throughout this episode. Since we haven't yet met a version of River who doesn't know the Doctor, this is less out of place than usual, as an archaeologist who may or may not be married to the Doctor is much more likely to be handy with a weapon and up for some action adventure than your average university lecturer. I especially loved her totally brutal, cold-hearted annihilation of the Dalek who killed her lover - perhaps she is Steven Moffat's version of Captain Jack, who can be the tough guy with a gun that the Doctor can't be.

I loved the Pandorica and the battered Dalek ending up in the museum, though I thought calling it 'The National Museum' was pure laziness - why not just mock up a couple of rooms from the British Museum and add some stock exterior shots? I loved the timeline of all the things that had happened to the Pandorica through the centuries as well - that felt like a very 'real' touch - and every time anyone mentioned the story of poor Plastic!Rory guarding Amy for 2000 years I welled up. The image of the Roman centurion running from a World War Two bomb was strangely awesome and powerful, though unfortunately it did lead me to wonder why he waited until World War Two to change his outfit.

(Edited to add: It appears that the 'National Museum' is in Wales - I've never been to Cardiff, which is presumably where it is, and hadn't heard of it. Depending where Leadworth is, that could be a more sensible location but I confess, even though I live in Wales at the moment, I'd still rather have seen the British Museum, there's no museum quite like the British Museum!).

As for other, non-history related things...

The plot made no sense. Maybe when I've watched it twelve times, like an episode of The West Wing, it will all come together and everything will be logical and sensible, but on first viewing (which is the viewing that counts, really, as if you don't enjoy it the first time, you won't bother watching again) none of it makes any sense whatsoever. I think the two biggest issues were, 1) Surely a universe without the Doctor will be a very unfortunate universe? With everyone being overrun by Daleks and so on? This is a very bad plan! (OK, the universe is in dire peril, but still). However, Dad then reminded me that actually, if I recall my nerdy internet reading correctly, Doctor 4 was at least partially responsible for the emergence of the Daleks anyway, so maybe the universe will actually be better off without the Doctor causing all the problems he then goes on to solve. And, 2) how exactly can the Pandorica bring people back to life? For much of this episode, it seemed like it was just a slightly updated version of the Goa'uld sarcophagi from Stargate.

There was also a distinct lack of tension, due to the fact that I know the show isn't ending, so the Doctor will be fine. All through the lovely, tender scenes with Amy and Amelia, I just wanted him to get on with it so I could see how it all resolved itself and get to the much, much more interesting questions - what's going on with River? When will she marry the Doctor? Who did she kill and, presuming she killed the Doctor (since she said it was a very good man, seems a bit obvious but it could be him) when will she do it and, most importantly of all, if she kills him, will he finally regenerate into Adrian Lester like I want him to?! Most of which, it seems, we'll have to wait for Christmas, if not longer, for answers. I wasn't quite sure whether I liked that the bigger story - including the 'silence' - isn't resolved yet, or whether it was annoying. On balance, I think I liked it, as it gives us all something to look forward to, though a couple more answers, or hints, in this episode might have been nice.

I liked Amy and Rory's happy ending a lot (SO happy that Rory is properly human again!) and loved Rory as 'Mr Pond', though I worry for poor Rory's safety. I love the idea of a married couple on the TARDIS, but how can the writers resist the urge to kill him off again? The Doctor's comedy dancing at their wedding was pretty cool, though no Angel.

Other random thoughts... Not sure about the ‘wacky’ music. No, Doctor, no one is listening to you because you’re making absolutely no sense whatsoever. It’s all getting a bit Time Traveller’s Wife again. ‘It might even work’ says River – yes, if it’s a million to one chance, it might.

We end on a couple more history related notes. The Christmas special may or may not revolve around an Egyptian goddess loose on the Orient Express... IN SPACE! Which could be cool. And Amy's father is called Augustus.... why, why, WHY??!! (I would like to finish on a snarky note, but just watch Steven Moffat, the Structure King, somehow tie Amy's father in with Father Octavian and make me sound like an idiot...)


  1. My theory is that River is the Rani, and she already has killed the Doctor once when she zapped Colin Baker's TARDIS with her beam of doom, causing him to turn into Sylvester McCoy.

  2. Part 1 was a nice opener, but it left alot for Part 2 to do. The many ridiculous minutes spent pretending the Doctor may never come back could have been put to better use.

    I also felt it was too convoluted and can't be bothered with a re-watch.

    I remember the horribly predictable Starship Titanic episode - so dread the Orient Express in Space already. I wonder if that is the Gaiman penned episode?

    I was really excited that Moffat was taking over, but so far, apart from the Vincent Episode, I havent seen anything that surpasses anything from the RTDavies era.

    Being a fan of Velitrae's Imperator Divi Filius, I also picked up on the naming similarity you mention. I think that is all its meant to be.. a deliberate naming similarity. eg. like Rani in Sara Jane Adventures :)


  3. The part that really annoyed me was that if the Pandorica is meant to be some sort of super prison, why does it open every time someone waves a sonic screwdriver at it? Or touch it? Or just sort of want it to open up? Seems like a bit of a design flaw. And as all his enemies went to all the trouble to trap the Doctor into it, wouldn't it have been worth checking whether or not he and his companions happen to have the ONE thing that will make the ultimate prison spring open every five minutes. Also what is the point of the restraints on the chair if whenever the door opens, the restraints open too? Surely when the door opens is when you most want the person imprisoned in there tied to the chair. Its almost like the Daleks wanted the Doctor to get out again.

  4. Building a prison openable by sonic screwdriver does seem especially pointless and stupid... I kept wondering why they didn't just blast him three times so that he ran out of regenerations. which would have been much easier!

    I'm not sure whether we'll actually see the Orient Express IN SPACE! - I wonder if, like Space Florida, that's just one of those places that gets mentioned for fun and then forgotten about. I guess it depends whether or not they want to do another Christmas Special where the heroine wears a wedding dress the entire time!

    River could be the Rani... though if she's going to be another Time Lord, I'd rather she turned out to be Susan's grandmother ;)

    Vincent and the Doctor was by far the best episode this year, and even that didn't get as good as RTD's best. I never thought I'd be wishing for him to come back, but I am!

  5. It was fun to see Matt Smith pop into Glastonbury this year, whilst Orb happenned to be doing their famous rendition of the DW theme. I couldn't imagine Hartnell doing that!

  6. The biggest lost opportunity was the Fez.

    Instead of shooting it they should have just thrown it off the edge of the building, and then the Dalek could have slowly floated up wearing it...

  7. I loved the fez bit but that would indeed have been awesome... maybe someone will photoshop it in?!

  8. I did enjoy the ep a lot but, like the first ep, felt it suffered from having some rather obviously signposted plot points. I'd worked out that they needed to pitch the Pandorica into the exploding Tardis about ten minutes before River did (and actually, I feel that they deliberately had to make River look a bit stupid in order to achieve that).

    Also, feel that it was indeed too easy to get anyone out of the Pandorica. If it wasn't the sonic, it was a DNA imprint (or whatever) from the person imprisoned...

    And they so totally could have just filmed at the BM - they let people do that occasionally... :)

    Still, I'm ecstatic beyon belief that Rory is now apparently going to be a proper companion! \o/

  9. Me too! I like Rory a lot and I love having three companions, there's so much more you can do with three people


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