The end of the series. The end of the universe. The end of my increasingly late reviews. ( For now. )
Steven Moffat draws all the strands of his complex arc plot together ( well, most of them ) and delivers a dazzling, exciting and emotional finale. Two episodes that give the loyal viewers what they deserve: a terrifying threat to the universe, some truly epic visuals, moments of high drama for the regular cast, a satisfyingly complex story, and River Song in very tight leggings.
Via an amusingly absurd, wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey message from the dawn of the universe, the Doctor and Amy are drawn to Roman-conquest era Britain, and to the Pandorica itself, buried under Stonehenge. After some wonderful moments which reference Indiana Jones ( the Pandorica's chamber ) and The Thing ( ancient Cyber-technology on the attack! ) we discover that the Doc's been tricked by a Secret Society Of Who Villains into a trap from which he can never escape, fashioned from Amy's memories. Poor old Rory, who has "died" a few times already, is brought back for a touching reunion, only to be revealed as a deep-cover Auton who kills Amy just as she remembers him. The Doctor is dragged into the Pandorica, as the assembled hordes of Daleks, Cybermen, Judoon, etc. etc. look smugly on, ignoring his cries that only he can save the universe from non-existence. The only person who could possibly save the day is River, but she's trapped in the Doc's Tardis, just as it explodes. So, basically.....
end of the universe.....
..... not quite. The second part of the story is less of a sugar-rush of huge moments, but smaller and more personal in scale. As far as any story about the death of the universe and a second Big Bang could be called "smaller scale".
The universe has gone. All that remains is the Earth, a small dot in the infinite darkness. Young Amelia Pond spends a Night At The Museum, where she discovers fossilised Daleks and the legendary Pandorica. Which opens to reveal..... Amy Pond?
"OK kid, this is where it gets complicated."
The Doctor has escaped from the Pandorica with the help of Plastic Rory, young Amelia and a total disregard for the laws of cause and effect, which can obviously only be bypassed when the timelines are crashing, the universe is shrinking, and the writer has a deadline to meet. There's also a mop, a soft drink and a fez involved ( a fez? ) but thinking about all that just gives me a headache.
The Doctor plans to reboot the universe by using the Pandorica's "Restoration Field", powered by that exploding Tardis. But first he has to get the time-loop-trapped River out of said blue box, which is exploding. In space. Oh yeah, and the Restoration Field has a habit of rebooting fossilised Daleks too, which doesn't help. Of course the Doctor manages to save the universe and set it back on track, but at the cost of deleting himself from history. He must stay behind that bloody crack in time for it all to work. ( Sorry about that "bloody crack" phrase. Ouch! )
Matt Smith has some truly wonderful scenes as the Doctor sees his life rewinding when the timelines are reconfigured. He tells young Amelia a bedtime story about the Raggedy Doctor, "the daft old man who stole a magic box".
"When you wake up you'll have a mum and dad, and you won't even remember me. Well, you'll remember me a little. I'll be a story in your head. That's OK - we're all stories in the end."
We finally get to see Amy and Rory's wedding. All her family and friends are there, yet someone's missing. With a little help from River's Diary ( Spoilers! ) Amy remembers who ( or Who ) and calls him back to reality, for a spot of post-wedding dad-dancing. And the fairytale that is Season Five / Thirty-One / Fnarg comes to an end with a fairytale happy ending: the prince and princess say "Goodbye" to their old lives and run away with the strangely young-looking old wizard, for more adventures in ( and out of ) his magic box.
Five Bow Ties Out Of Five.
Five Fezes out of Five. ( "Fezes?" What is the plural of "fez"? )