Doctor Who

Season 5 Episode 12

The Pandorica Opens (1)

Aired Saturday 8:00 PM Jun 19, 2010 on BBC America
out of 10
User Rating
420 votes

By Users

Episode Summary


A Van Gogh painting ferried across thousands of years, communicating a disturbing prophecy to the Doctor, a message on the oldest cliff-face in the universe and a love that lasts a thousand years. In 102 AD England, Romans receive a surprise visit from Cleopatra. Nearby, Stonehenge conceals the Pandorica, a prison-box of legend. As it slowly unlocks from the inside, terrible forces gather in the heavens above. The fates are drawing close around the TARDIS – is this the day the Doctor falls? There is just one certainty: Silence will fall...


Who was the Episode MVP ?

  • Utterly mesmerizing.

    Dont know how the Dr. Who reboot fell from its pearch so dramatically for so long, and yet can return from out of the abyss and deliver something so balanced, well paced, terrifying and overall captivating as this! Ep11 gave me a glimmer of hope, and to follow with this absolute borderline masterpiece. Well its a 2 parter, so onwards and upwards onto the final episode for season 5.
  • The Pandorica Opens

    The Pandorica Opens was a beautiful and perfect episode of Doctor Who. I really enjoyed watching because there was a lot of significant character and plot development. It was awesome watching The Doctor try to assess The Pandorica all the while not realizing it's true purpose. It was great to see all the various villains from episodes past congregate at The Pandorica. I liked how every thing played out and it was interesting to see Rory as a Roman soldier. I look forward to watching the season finale and seeing hoe events unfold!!!!!!!!!moreless
  • Tears from the Universe

    This to me is one of my favorate two parters of the series, part one really goes into dark unfun teritory as we see for once the good guys lose. The only bad thing for me was I felt some of the middle was just a bit slow like something more needed to happen.

    There really isn't much I can say about it, it's really more about build up and the reveal. I really like the design of the Pandorica which is made to look like a giant chinese puzzle box, kinda like the one from the movie "Hellraiser". I even like the moments of mystery and suspense, from the Cyberman's body parts attacking both the Doctor and Ami, kinda reminds of the movie "Re-Animatior", I always thought the Cybermen were both cool and creepy at the same time. But then there was of course the return of Rory which I'll admit came as a supprise because it just simply came out of nowhere, well not exactly I'll explain that latter, but I was relieved he was back I really like the character, it teed me off he died.

    I really liked the interaction between both Amy and Rory again. I liked how slowly but surely as both talked a bit more, Amy's subconcious was clicking as she was crying but she didn't know why.

    Then of course when River Song takes a trip in the Tartis which takes her to Amy's house and like in the reveal in the movie "The Ususal Suspects" we see the source of the Romans, the Pandorica, and even the return of Rory and why he's dressed as a Roman soilder are all from the imagination of Amy, how well you have to wait for part 2 for that answer.

    The last minutes of the episode I'll admit are heartwrenching as we see things for River Song, Amy, Rory, and the Doctor all go to hell. River Song can't get the Tartis under control again and it explodes. Then there was the Doctor, which had a great but surreal scene as we see all of the Doctor's enimies have created an alience and the Pandorica was a trap for the Doctor. In a way that scene displays the subconcious fear all heroes and superheroes have of their enimies one day overcoming them. It really was surreal to see because for once we see the Doctor actually lose, there is no possible way he can outwit his way out of this one. We see that this unholy alience is doing this to suposedly save the universe, though I don't feel this really constitutes them the title of heroes, because their really not doing it for a selfless reason but for a selfish reason their own survival, let alone all the atrrocities each faction commited in the universe one good deed alone won't erase all that.

    But mostly I felt it was really an excuse just to be able to finally defeat the Doctor. And we see the Doctor and the desperation in his voice as he is telling everyone the truth about why the universe is ending and he's the only one that can stop it, but none of them want to listen to him or even care. And as we see the Pandorica closing, I'm was thinking Noooooo! I honestly didn't know how the Doctor was going to get out of the Macgyver like trap, there really is no possible way out of there. But also I knew what they were doing wasn't going to work, as we see in the end the universe ends all the same.

    But the saddest one for me was seeing Rory and Amy. Rory was struggling and fighting off the programing of the Cybermen to turn against his friends with all his will and might. But as that was happening we see Amy finally remembering Rory again which was really sweet. But then a heart breaking moment when his programing finally overrides Rory's will and his hand gun comes out and shoots the woman he loves. Just seeing Amy die I'll admit made me cry; these final minutes I wasn't sure of anything anymore.

    Great losses are tears from the universe.moreless
  • Mother of all cliffhangers

    I like that things are finally climaxing. This "tip-toeing" around the cracks in the universe/end of all things was getting a bit tiresome.

    Now, there is almost too much in the final 10 minutes of this episode; the first part ties it all up, but then the mad dash begins.

    I really like how the Pandora's Box was meant for the most powerful being in the universe - and judging by the little speech on the top of Stonehenge in which he "shooshes" thousands of alien starships, this may well be true.

    The intricate ploy to capture the doctor is indeed monumental, as all these powerful races throw their considerable differences aside to capture him; it is worth exploring that their case has merit - the Doctor is, after all, a time and space traveler who frequently changes various things in the fabric of the universe, so it's not beyond the realm of possibility that he is indeed - the greatest threat to the universe!

    Obviously, it will probably not turn out to be this way, but wouldn't it be the biggest shocker in British TV history?

    I was a bit overwhelmed by the last 10 minutes, it seemed too forced and could use better spacing/timing and, please forgive me, but a couple of times my thoughts were: "Oh, man, how great Tenant would be here".

    Looking forward for Part 2!moreless
  • Fantastic cliffhanger but raises a lot of questions.(SPOILERS)

    I thought this episode was good for a penultimate episode, it ticked all the boxes; brought in a lot of enemies for the Doctor to face,gave some hint to explaining what's been happening throughout the series and having a a great cliffhanger at the end. I loved the opening scene which brought many of the Doctors friends together and followed one painting through a huge span of years. It was great to have River come back, especially considering she's a bit less smug this time around and I've got to say I found the scene between Rory and The Doctor was quite funny. On a small note I'm glad we had a finale which didn't revolve around the Daleks (though I liked some of the previous finales I did think the Dalek storylines got a bit repetative)

    However there were a few things I didn't like. The fact that all the Doctors enemies came together to imprison him was a fresh idea but it raised a lot of questions; How come the cybermen are back in this universe and at pretty much full strength? The last time we saw them the Doctor destroyed them all and the time before that he sent them all into the void. Plus The Doctor mentions that there a large number of Dalek ships in the atmosphere (somewhere in the hundreds) but there were only five last time we saw them and they only had one damaged ship, so the Daleks have managed to replicate an army yet have not done anything with it, like I mentioned I like the fact that the last few episodes don't revolve around the Daleks but still at least give some reason why the Daleks haven't tried to exterminate the rest of the universe. The Doctor using the roman army to defend the pandorica, admittedly they weren't real soldiers and they didn't actually fight any of the aliens but if they were human and had actually fought then they wouldn't have lasted five minutes, why would the Doctor put people in danger when he knows they can't win, I mean what are they going to do? Throw spears at the Spaceships? One other thing; how does the doctor know the pandorica is at stonehenge? There's a ton of exposition which brings the Doctor to the the right time but then he just up and rides to stonehenge and don't say why.

    All in all a good set up for the season finale hopefully it will answer all the questions.moreless
Bill Paterson

Bill Paterson


Guest Star

Ian McNeice

Ian McNeice

Winston Churchill

Guest Star

Sophie Okonedo

Sophie Okonedo

Liz 10

Guest Star

Arthur Darvill

Arthur Darvill

Rory Williams

Recurring Role

Alex Kingston

Alex Kingston

River Song

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (8)

    • When the Doctor is telling Amy his plan to visit Planet One, she is wearing red gloves. Her gloves disappear when she takes the Doctor's hand, and then reappear as they exit the TARDIS.

    • When the Pandorica opens and the Doctor says "The final phase. It's opening," the shot is flipped. In that shot, Matt Smith's hair falls on the left side of his face, when it normally falls on his right, while it falls on his right side just before and just after that shot.

    • When Vincent Van Gogh is shown, his left ear is intact. But by 1890, he had cut off the lower lobe.

    • Commander Strak's name is misspelled "Stark" in the closing credits.

    • Early in the episode, the Doctor and Amy read the message on the cliff face using the TARDIS' translation capabilities. However, in the episode, Time of the Angels, Amy wasn't able to read a similar message on the home box.

    • The message River leaves for the Doctor reads "HELLO SWEETIE ΘΣ Φ ΓΥΔϟ". ΘΣ (Theta Sigma) was the Doctor's nickname during his days in the Time Lord Academy, a fact previously stated in the original series stories The Armageddon Factor and The Happiness Patrol.

    • The appearance of a Uvodni (from The Sarah Jane Adventures story Warriors of Kudlak) and the Weevils and Blowfish (seen many times in Torchwood) marks the first time aliens from the spin-off shows feature in the main series.

    • Among the alien races that are approaching Stonehenge are "Chelonians". The Chelonian race premiered in the New Adventure "The Highest Science" and were also featured in the Missing Adventures novels "The Well-Mannered War" and "The Crystal Bucephalus".

  • QUOTES (11)

    • The Doctor: One day it would just drop out of the sky and tear down the world.
      Amy: How did it end up in there?
      The Doctor: You know fairy tales. A good wizard tricked it.
      River: I hate good wizards in fairy tales. They always turn out to be him.

    • Amy: It's weird, i feel.. I don't know, something.
      The Doctor: They fall out of the world sometimes, but they always leave traces. Little things you can't quite account for. Faces in photographs, luggage, half-eaten meals. Rings. Nothing is ever forgotten, not completely. And if something can be remembered... it can come back.

    • The Doctor: Go get her.
      Rory: But I don't understand. Why am I here?
      The Doctor: Because you are. The universe is big, it's vast and complicated, and ridiculous. And sometimes, very rarely, impossible things just happen and we call them miracles. And that's the theory. Nine hundred years, never seen one yet, but this would do me.

    • Doctor: (distracting a cyber-arm) Hey look at me, I'm a target!

    • Doctor: (Shouting through a loudspeaker) Come on, look at me! No plan, no back up, no weapons worth a damn, oh, and something else I don't have, anything to lose! So, if you're sitting up there in your silly little space ships with all your silly little guns, and you've got any plans on taking the Pandorica tonight, just remember who's standing in your way! Remember every black day I ever stopped you, and then, and then, do the smart thing! (pause) Let somebody else try first.

    • The Doctor: Hello again.
      Rory: Hello.
      The Doctor: How've you been?
      Rory: Good, yeah. Good. I mean, Roman.
      The Doctor: Rory, I'm not trying to be rude. But you died.
      Rory: Yeah. I know. I was there.
      The Doctor: You died and then you were erased from time. You were never born at all. You never existed.
      Rory: Erased. What does that mean?
      The Doctor: How can you be here?
      Rory: I don't know. It's kind of fuzzy.
      The Doctor: Fuzzy?
      Rory: Well, I died and turned into a Roman. It's very distracting.

    • Amy: Why am I crying?
      Rory: Because you remember me. I came back. You're crying because you remember me.

    • River Song: Doctor, this once, just this one time, please, you have to run.
      The Doctor: Run, where?
      River Song: Fight, how?

    • Cyberman Head: You will be assimilated.
      Amy: Yeah? You and whose body?

    • The Doctor: Yes, okay, okay, okay, okay. Dalek fleet, minimum 12,000 battleships, armed to the teeth. Ah, but we've got surprise on our side! They'll never expect three people to attack 12,000 Dalek battleships. 'cos we'd be killed instantly, so it would be a fairly short surprise... Okay, forget surprise.

    • The Doctor: You graffitied the oldest cliff face in the universe.
      River: You wouldn't answer your phone.

  • NOTES (0)


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