Doctor Who- Series 5, Episode 13: The Big Bang

I can’t be bothered with writing this review. Instead, I’m going pop to the future and bring back a finished copy so I don’t have to bother. …

Brilliant! Got it! Here we go (Ctrl-V)

OK, so I suppose Doctor Who is about time travel, but no one in its history has played fast and loose with temporal physics to the same extent as head writer Steven ‘Underhenge’ Moffat. He layers paradoxes upon paradoxes until he’s created a headache-inducing lasagne of confusion.

At the end of ‘The Pandorica Opens’, the Time Team are in a massive pickle. Enough pickle, in fact, to garnish a billion cheese sandwiches. Amy’s dead, the Doctor is locked in an inescapable prison box and the Universe is about to have its celestial life-support machine switched off.

But it’s all ok! Immediately after the credits, a future version of the Doctor appears in a puff of smoke, gives his sonic screwdriver to Robot Rory (who’s glumly cradling his dead ladyfriend) and tells him to open the Pandorica with it before disappearing again.

Argh. The Biggest Cliffhanger Ever is all resolved in less time than it takes to make a cup of tea. A bit of a cheat, perhaps, but there’s a lot to fit in.

You see, the universe hasn’t collapsed- not entirely anyway. It’s in the process of imploding, meaning they’ve got, hmm, about 45 minutes to save the day?

How convenient- that’s how long an episode of Doctor Who is! Woo!

After Rory springs the 102AD version of the Doctor out of his trap, they pop Amy (who’s suffering from a rather bad case of Being Shot) into the Pandorica to ‘regenerate’ using the whizzy restorative technology it contains.

Thing is, Amy needs to stay time locked in the easy-to-escape-inescapable-prison for quite a while. About 1894 years, to be precise, as the only thing that can heal her is a sample of her own DNA. Basically, she needs to wait until she’s born so that her younger self can touch the Pandorica and trigger the healing process.

Got it? Good.

The now physically immortal (and frankly rather dashing) Plastic Centurion Rory Action Figure will guard the box until she wakes up in a couple of millennia.

Hey, don’t roll your eyes! Yes, he would go mad. Yes, it would cause them significant relationship problems in the future. But what’s wrong with you, you unromantic cynic? Suspend your disbelief! It’s a fantasy show, innit?

As soon as I started ignoring the (many) plot holes, this episode instantly became a big, frothy, luxurious cappuccino of fun. A reanimated stone Dalek begging for mercy from a gun-totin’ River Song? Cool! The Doctor time-hopping around the place like a fez-wearing Marty McFly? Hell, why not? Rory punching the Doc? Ha! Serves ol’ squareface right.

However, I have to admit that while it thoroughly stimulated my ‘woo, ha, what jolly larks’ glands, the episode didn’t really engage my emotional, er, bits. Possibly because it did all feel a bit rushed. When they did stop briefly for a bit of a ‘sad moment’ (Amy’s farewell to the Doctor) I wasn’t particularly moved.

But who cares? It’s meant to be Saturday night family entertainment, unsullied by romantic overtures, overly-solemn moments and tortured monologues. If I want high drama, I’ll watch an opera or Hollyoaks or something.

The programme is, in essence, a slightly silly concept, and the new writing team seem well aware of that – hence tongue in cheek episodes chock full of witty lines and references to ‘Space Florida’. I’m not saying they should change it into ‘Noel’s TARDIS Party’ with the Daleks as Mr Blobby – just that it’s nice to see Doccy Who not taking itself too seriously.

My only real gripe about this particular episode was the fact that the majority of the series’ more intriguing mysteries weren’t solved, as the characters were far too busy running around tidying up the big soggy mess they were in at the end of ‘The Pandorica Opens’.

After the credits rolled, I barked the following questions at my blank TV screen:

Who does the croaky, creepy ‘Silence Will Fall’ voice belong to?

Why did the TARDIS explode?

Who the flipping flip is River Song?

Was the ‘time engine’ in the Lodger the source of the landing tracks that River encountered in Amy’s garden?

Why were the…

Oh, never mind.

I’m sure they’ll sort it all out in Series 6. But the big reveal – once it finally comes – had better be more spectacular than a golden unicorn shitting rainbows.


About Hilary Wardle
Hilary is a freelance journalist and copywriter who writes for a wide range of websites, magazines and newspapers, including Buzzfeed, MSN, The Poke, Chortle, the Guardian and the Independent. She specialises in arts and entertainment, comedy, video games and viral content. Contact her at

One Response to Doctor Who- Series 5, Episode 13: The Big Bang

  1. Abigail says:

    You don’t know River Song? Well I think I can answer most of your questions after all I watch the same episode of Doctor who about 3,4, no maybe 5 times a week and get the doctor who DVD Files every fortnight. Okay 5 was an exaduration but 3 or 4 isn’t.
    1. Maybe, Prisoner 0 from The 1st ep (The Eleventh Hour)
    2. The TARDIS exploded because the old one exploded and caused cracks in time and to cause the END OF THE UNIVERSE but it wasn’t big enough? and so the TARDIS exploded again because… SILENCE WILL FALL.
    3. River song is someone from The Doctors future and The Doctor is someone from Rivers past. River kills a man and it’s the best man she’s ever known so it’s most likely The Doctor! BOO HOO, but maybe not anyway, that hasn’t happened yet (DOCTOR WORLD) but has happened (RIVER WORLD), River was in, Silence in the Library, Forest Of The Dead, Two weeping Angel episodes, The Pandorica Opens and The Big Bang (2) but River Song is still a stranger!
    4. I DONT KNOW

    So I hope that sums it all up for you and I hope I don’t seem like some Know-it-all freak who’s trying to make you look silly by answering most of your questiions in a know-it-all way. BTW that was a cool Doctor Who reporty type thingy mebobby jing.
    THANKYOU From Abigail! Have a nice day.

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