Doctor Who: Season 5, Episode 12

The Pandorica Opens (17 Jul. 2010)

TV Episode  |  TV-PG  |   |  Adventure, Drama, Family
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River Song returns to deliver The Doctor a serious warning from his allies: the mythical Pandorica, said to contain the most feared creature in the entire Universe, is opening.



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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Marcus O'Donovan ...
Clive Wood ...
Ruari Mears ...
Howard Lee ...
Barnaby Edwards ...


When an unknown Van Gogh painting is found in a house in France in World War II, it's pretty obvious who it's meant for. It's left to Prime Minister Winston Churchill to try and contact the Doctor and does so in a round about way via an imprisoned Dr. River Song. The work is called Pandorica Opens, the Pandorica being a mythical enclosure for the most dangerous thing in the universe. The Doctor soon finds themselves in Roman Britain where at Stonehenge they discover the fabled Pandorica. Rory, who was supposed to have been erased from time and never existed, is now a Roman soldier but Amy doesn't recognize him. River travels to the future in the TARDIS and discovers something important in Amy's room. Written by garykmcd

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Release Date:

17 July 2010 (USA)  »

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16:9 HD
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Did You Know?


7 plump actors were seen for Dorium. See more »


When River Song is talking to the Romans and they have realized she is not actually Cleopatra, space ships fly over and everything shakes, so visibly that the characters all wobble around as though the ground is vibrating. An ornament hanging from the ceiling, however, fails to move even a fraction, revealing that it is, in fact, just the camera wobbling. See more »


Liz 10: This is the Royal Collection, and I'm the bloody Queen!
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Referenced in Doctor Who: Cold Blood (2010) See more »


Doctor Who Theme
Written by Ron Grainer
Arranged by Murray Gold
Performed by BBC National Orchestra of Wales
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User Reviews

Steven Moffat Ruins A Great Show
6 July 2010 | by (California) – See all my reviews

Just pretend for a moment that, back in the days of Patrick Troughton, 'Romana Mark 2' mysteriously appeared, and said: "Hello, Doctor. We've never met, but one day we'll have some great adventures together!". It would have been terrible, wouldn't it? Well, Steven Moffat has more or less done exactly that to the present 'Dr.Who' series. In 'The Silence Of The Library/Forest Of The Dead', he introduced the character of 'Professor River Song' ( Alex Kingston ), about whom we know little except that one day she is destined to play a big role in the Doctor's life ( possibly a new companion or even...a wife! ). At one stroke, Moffat has negated any suspense in the show, as we know now the Doctor must survive in order to meet 'River' in the future. One of the great things about 'Who' is ( or rather used to be ) that you don't know what's coming up. Thanks to Moffat we do. Rather than this being an inspired idea on his part, he has effectively tied the programme down, meaning that whoever replaces him as show-runner ( and I sincerely hope it is soon ) has to include 'River' for continuity reasons. It is like reading the last chapter of a book before getting round to the first.

'The Pandorica Opens' was the much-trumpeted first part of the season finale. The Doctor and Amy follow clues that lead them to Roman Britain where River is posing as 'Cleopatra'. Underneath Stonehenge is the Pandorica, guarded by a dismembered Cyberman. One of the centurions is Rory, last seen in 'Cold Blood'. Only he's not Rory - but an Auton. So how did River manage to live amongst these Romans without realising they were not human? A fleet of spaceships lands, containing almost every one of the Doctor's arch-enemies ( we had to take River's word for it - we only saw a few Daleks, Cybermen, Sontarans, and Judoon ). The notion of a 'Coalition Of Monsters' is one of the oldest fan-fiction plot devices in the book. I'm sure that when Moffat was in short trousers he was churning out stuff like this. The thing is, fan-fiction rarely works when adopted by so-called professionals. Just imagine a 'James Bond' movie featuring an alliance composed of 'Blofeld', 'Dr.No', 'Goldfinger', and 'Scaramanga', and you'll get the idea. The monsters put the Doctor inside the Pandorica, feeling him to be a threat to the universe. Why not kill him instead? It makes no sense for the Daleks to regard the Doctor as a threat to the universe when in 'Journey's End', they had tried to end it themselves! This story is full of more inconsistencies than any I can remember.

Unlike the season finales of the Russell T.Davies era, there aren't even any flashy special effects on display. Where did the budget for this season go to? On bacon rolls and coffee for the cast? 7.57 million tuned in - a respectable figure, admittedly - but 1.45 did not come back for 'The Big Bang', giving it a low rating for a finale - 6.12 million - whereas 13 million tuned in two years ago for 'Journey's End'.

If 'Dr.Who' is to endure, I suggest the B.B.C. hires a replacement for Moffat as soon as possible. He is that most tragic of figures - a man fooled by his own publicity. He presumably thought the Hugo awards he picked up for his earlier 'Who' efforts confirmed him as a great writer, incapable of making mistakes. Well, he is not and this episode ( along with 'The Big Bang' ) proves it.

11 of 41 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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