News Categories
Archives

Best of Matt Smith: The Pandorica Opens / The Big Bang

best-of-matt-smith-pandorica

Across the next couple of months Doctor Who TV is running a series of polls to celebrate Matt Smith’s era. We want you to cast your votes on every episode and at the end we’ll be comprising a list to find the top scoring.

We continue with the Series 5 finale comprising The Pandorica Opens and The Big Bang. All you have to do is rate the story with your score out of 10, so get voting and join us again tomorrow for the next episode.

Step back in time...

COMMENT GUIDELINES

Please be civil and keep article comments relevant and on topic. Flag and report any offensive/trolling behavior, or contact us with details.
Please do not post SPOILERS including anything from leaked episodes! Your account could be banned. For complete details on our comment policy please read.
201 comments
JolomontheCube
JolomontheCube

Series 5:


TEH: 9/10


TBB: 4/10


VOFD: 6/10


TTOA/FAS: 7/10


VOV: 9/10


AC: 10/10


THE/CB: 7/10


VATD: 9/10


TL: 7/10


TPO/TBB: 8/10

Oliver J. "cool"
Oliver J. "cool"

The Pandorica Opens was excellent. The Big Bang was poor.






Balatsoukas Pavlos
Balatsoukas Pavlos

Hmmm... Moments, just moments. That what this episode gave to me - storywise at least... Lines to remember (the least one can expect from the Great Moff), and this whole timey-wimey that is so ugly as a resolution to any problems the characters face, but still very clever. The actors gave their best, the direction is just spectacular... One particular moment comes in mind, something I will probably never forget: Just before the Pandorica closes, trapping the Doctor "forever", we see the faces of his enemies, still and emotionless. Just there, for only a couple of seconds, the Dalek eyestalk appears... The camera is not upright, a small flame is burning in the background, the music is haunting and sad... It was probably the first moment in my adult life that I felt that the Daleks are actual alive creatures, and not just oversized pepper pots. Feared, hated across the universe... Yeah, the direction is the only thing worth mentioning. Unfortunately, I found the story itself weak (although it was "crazy" sci-fi, much closer to the books than the average episode) and weirdly unimportant... An 8 from me.


PS. I really cannot "judge" or watch this episode as the closing/finale of series 5, since the show just goes on - I strongly feel that only a handful of episodes deserve to be watched as anything else than mere episodes (for example, any anniversary ones - The Three Doctors, Remembrance of the Daleks, The Day of the Doctor - or, God forbid, the last ever episode).

WhoPotterVian
WhoPotterVian

10/10-You only have to watch the Pandorica speech to see it's utterly fantastic.

eddiescthomas
eddiescthomas

I loved The Pandorica Opens. Full of fast paced moments along with a concrete story. The Big Bang, to me, had a lighter, less dramatic tone to its predecessor (I found the Sonic Ex Machina a tad irritating) though both parts are whimsical and full of fun. 7/10  


ilyootha is back in home Universe
ilyootha is back in home Universe

10/10, for many reasons, but above all - for some of the most enjoyable timey-wimey stuff in the history of the show. The pre-title sequence with the message being delivered throughout the years, the Doctor helping himself and Amelia via ontological paradoxes, the revelation that there wasn't actually a plothole in Flesh and Stone... Time travel in its full glory - that what really makes Doctor Who for me!




gunslinger19
gunslinger19

discounting the doctor trilogy, this is my favourite finale. TPO gave us the epic "hello stone henge!" speech and the last few minutes when the doctor's sealed into the pandorica still give me goosebumps. Amy's supposed death was shocking and a smuch as I loved the character (her and rory are my favourite companions) I wouldn't have minded for her to have died there as it was such a beautiful scene that could have had more impact. the gathering of so many enemies could have seemed forced considering it had never really been done on the show before, but somehow they pulled it off! the big bang works less well and I was slightly disappointed that they abandoned the Roman setting. however, its still a fantastic wibbly wibbly episode! probably the best use of time travel on the show :D

lukashcartoon
lukashcartoon

This was a perfect two parter finale. Nail biting cliffhanger, end of the universe threat, time travel shenanigans and dramatics speeches, character driven humor and lonely goodbyes

LeightonWestwoo
LeightonWestwoo

As this is a episode rating I thought to bring this one up. Every Steven Moffat serise has been different his first was a very light story arc with fun and action and the introduction to a new crew. his second was a very strong story arc with lots of action and made you need to focus on the episodes moving doctor who into a different direction. his third was a very brave dessicion  and could of ended in disaster with every week a new adventure an for the first five advenutres their was no story arc. Unlike the russel t davies era when all of his first three serise were very similar all verry simple one word arcs first bad wolf second torochwood third mr saxon. Russel t davies fans can you think of a come back.

AlessandroArsuffi
AlessandroArsuffi

I gave it 8/10. It was a very good double episode and certainly the best finale of Moffat's era. Still, I can say that it doesn't shine when compared to other Series 5 episodes (The Eleventh Hour, Vincent and the Doctor, The Lodger).

DawnTime
DawnTime

A big fat 10 from me, yes I agree as above one of the best series finals. More adult I think than the one's in Russell T era.  Loved it.  This series this two parter and the angels two-parter have been my favourite's and have 10's from me.

Judge Claude Frollo
Judge Claude Frollo

10/10.

A brilliant episode. It also gave me hope that Amy would become a better companion. She did.

WiblyWoblyTimyWimyMOFFAT
WiblyWoblyTimyWimyMOFFAT

10/10 Possibly is TPO better then TBB but both are great episodes.TPO has nice plot and a fantastic location. Also I love the Timey Wimey stuff in TBB. And if we could vote sepeatley I would give both 10/10!

homunculette
homunculette

The best thing Steven Moffat has ever written, in my opinion.  Pandorica fits the RTD established format of narrative collapse and building up to insane tension, and everyone thought that in the Big Bang the tension would explode and we'd have a huge climax.  But as soon as the opening "1898 years later" card hit, it was clear that was not what we were in for.  What we got was a finale about how great it was to be watching Doctor Who, with the show delighting in the things it could do and the emotions it could raise in a relatively simple episode.  Watching the Big Bang live on TV was my personal greatest Doctor Who experience ever.  10/10.







JamesCresswell
JamesCresswell

This finale wasn't bad, but it did promise all and deliver nothing. Take The Pandorica Opens. It was a brilliant buildup episode. You had everything there having a go at The Doctor, even the kitchen sink if you looked closely enough. Using Stone Henge the way they did was very clever. Plus it was a bonus to me at the time, as I live very near there, but I digress.

River Song was at her best, and not in the least bit annoying ( which makes a change ) and even Amy was tolerable. 

Usually I can't fault Matt Smith, however in this episode he wasn't on top form. If memory serves, he was suffering from a bad cold or the flu at the time. So it's understandable that the speech he gave sounded forced and fake.

That aside though, I loved the Cyberman, or rather what was left of it hanging around the Pandorica. Only one niggle was the line, 'You will be assimilated'. Terrible and a blatant ripoff. Could have done without a substitute Borg.

Also the Pandorica itself, I don't know who was in charge of camera angles that day, but take a hint. Don't take shots of Amy leaning against the Pandorica when the walls are made of cardboard.

So at the end, we have The Doctor locked up inside. River trying to escape an exploding TARDIS. Plastic Rory has killed Amy ( I will try to contain the cheers ). The Alliance turned into stone or whatever and the universe exploding all around us. Leaving only the Earth as a beacon in the darkness.


During the week, there were all sorts of theories and explanations of how The Doctor was going to get out of this, on different forums. Then on the following Saturday, we have our answer. What a disappointment. Moffat uses a cheap timey wimey cop out as usual. Honestly, Moffat ought to employ some of those people on them forums, as their theories were a damn sight better than what he came up with.

The only redeeming factor of The Big Bang was little Amelia, the stone Dalek and River. I liked the Dalek stalking them through the museum. Very reminiscent of the episode Dalek. Also it shows yet again that one Dalek on their own is a much bigger threat and more frightening than thousands of the bloody things.

Matt Smith must have gotten over his cold or whatever, as again he was on top form. Loved the speech he gave little Amelia. Then we have him disappear in the crack.  I will refrain from telling the usual jokes at this point. As there are probably children here.

So then we cut to Amy's wedding. Then yet another cop out by Moffat, Amy imagines, dreams call it what you like, The Doctor back into existence. 

Yawnnnnn Of course we have The Doctor doing his ridiculous dancing at their reception. After which we get a little visit from River when he is about to go back to his TARDIS. She gives him a few subtle hints of things to come. Then promptly disappears.

So in closing, if I had my way I would have given The Pandorica Opens an eight out of ten on it's own. However, The Big Bang spoils what could have been a truly epic finale. With that in mind, I can only give the two together 5/10






Angie Whodini
Angie Whodini

10/10 no question. I love this episode for so many reasons; the clever plot, the way Rory and Amy are handled, the funny parts are well-executed, Matt's acting in particular, both resolutions and OMG that speech; that I can forgive that I generally don't like the type of paradox depicted in the episode (even though it's 'justified'). This is just a two-parter I've seen at least 6 times and I never get tired of it, I don't know why. The script and directing are fantastic. I don't know.... kudos!

Nightmarish
Nightmarish

10/10 for me, no compromise. These two are probably the episodes of New Who I've re watched the most, other than maybe the Eleventh Hour. They were both masterfully done, in all aspects, writing, acting , directing, and they are the ideal episodes of Who. This is one of Steven Moffat's masterpieces. No matter how much people may complain about him, sometimes he manages to write the ideal episode(TEC/TDD, Blink, SITL/FOTD, TEH, these two, and TDOTD)

Oodkind
Oodkind

Season 5 results for me:

-Eleventh (10/10), one of my all-time favorites.

-Beast (6/10), some good moments, though not the most interesting. I found it enjoyable.

-Victory (4/10). Sadly, just not up to par. With anything. 

-Angels (8/10). The first part was brilliant. The second part wasn't as good. I didn't like the way the Angels were made out in many parts.

-Vampires (6/10), It had it's moments, but not particularly interesting.

-Amy (6/10) Same reason as above.

-Silurians (7/10). It had great elements, but it could have been better.

-Vincent (8/10), because while the overall working of the episode was brilliant, some plot elements just weren't.

-Lodger (7/10) It had great elements, and the characters worked. 

-Pandorica (9/10) It wrapped up the season nicely. It was fun.

Polyphase
Polyphase

I liked TPO but not to keen on TBB, Just seemed a bit too much. Mostly the dancing though :)

5/10

Oodkind
Oodkind

I'll give it a 9/10, which may be a bit generous, but it is an enjoyable episode. I like the featured comment's explanation:

"This series really captured a kind of fairy tale vibe, whilst still retaining the science fiction in earnest, and the series finale really exemplifies that."

This pretty much sums it up. I found some aspects to be a bit to unlikely; especially the whole Big Bang 2 thing, but it fit into the overall plot arc. That's pretty much my biggest complaint.

Overall, it fit series 5 very well, and summed up a lot. What it didn't address, Time of the Doctor did, albeit badly. I can't say it's my favorite, and i think it did a lot to make certain villains seem overused, but it was enjoyable while it lasted. I would give it an 8.5/10, but I guess that rounds to a nine.

Me and Stuff
Me and Stuff

Here's why I don't like the new comment system:
It used to be the case that if you organised the posts after "Best" you could have the top-rated comments. That's gone now and what's left is "Hot Threads", which actually only means "divisive threads", because people expressing unpopular opinions will always attract the most commenters. 


And what that leads to is a very annoying air of negativity. It's no secret that there are people out there who like to bitch about everything once a writer they don't like is mentioned. And in this case, 4 of the 5 "Hottest Threads" are negative. And this is under one of the most popular serials of NewWho. I have nothing against constructive criticism, but under the Disqus system, distructive and overly negative comments like "And it all goes downhill from here" and "Thinks of the finales after this *throws up*" would have been buried in downvotes and we could have focused on the interesting comments. Now they are the most visible of all of them. 


I really don't want DoctorWhoTV, which used to be one of the last bastions against fandom-bitching, turn into a place discussing how rubbish the show is, when clearly the large majority of people is still really enjoying it. And I have no desire to return to a comment section if its this full of unconstructive negativity. That's not what being a fan should be about.

Seaborn W Deadman
Seaborn W Deadman

ELEVEN! (tries to select both ten and one so it adds up. Fails.) Seriously though I could watch this episode a billion times and still not get tired!

Galactic Yo Yo
Galactic Yo Yo

I still think that this (along with maybe "The Day of the Doctor") is probably Steven Moffat's finest hour as showrunner. (It's not as good as "The Empty Child"/"The Doctor Dances", but almost nothing is.)

Ninjauthor
Ninjauthor

Pandorica opens a strong 1st part: 9/10, big bang a weaker average episode for a season finale 6/10,



Deus_Ex_Machina
Deus_Ex_Machina

My scores for series 5:

- Eleventh (6/10)

- Beast (3/10)

- Victory (1/10)

- Angels (10/10)

- Vampires (6/10)

- Amy (7/10)

- Silurians (6/10)

- Vincent (10/10)

- Lodger (9/10)

- Pandorica (10/10)

Deus_Ex_Machina
Deus_Ex_Machina

Define toy the best series final to date. Only Moffat could pull of having the universe cease to exist as the cliffhanger. More like this please Moffat. 10/10.

Pockydon
Pockydon








Not only is The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang my favourite ever Doctor Who story, it is quite possibly one of my favourite things ever put on television in the history of ever. Yes, I love it that much. 


Let's start with The Pandorica Opens - my favourite single episode ever. It's perfectly written, perfectly acted, perfectly directed, and just all around perfect in every conceivable way. Every moment is brilliant, and the last 10 minutes is quite possibly the most shocking final twist in any story. I remember my little 12 year old self (I think) sitting watching this episode, and being completely blown off my face when it was revealed that the Pandorica was meant for the Doctor. This is really an episode that gets better the more you watch it, as all of the Doctors comments about the Pandorica make so much sense - and really put into view what his enemies think of him. The fact that he's just digging himself into even more of a hole throughout the entire episode is genius, and accidental backwards logic of the villains of the end, with River being the one they need to lock up, is some fantastic double-crossing from Moffat. 

It's safe to say that this episode was absolutely epic, and The Big Bang had a lot to deliver on. And deliver it did! I've seen people say that The Big Bang was a disappointing conclusion; that it took the easy way out. I completely disagree. I think The Big Bang was the best possible solution to that cliffhanger, and taking it down to a more personal scale was the whole point of the episode. It didn't need to have billions of Daleks, or all the companions, or Gallifrey returning. It wasn't about any of that. It was about four characters who we have grown to love over the past series, and it is the culmination of their emotional and character journeys throughout the series. It's not about the Pandorica, or the Daleks, or any of that. It's about little Amelia Pond, who's life didn't make sense. A brilliant mystery hidden in plain site. I haven't even gone into detail about how tight the writing is, or how clever the script, or how brilliant the acting, and if I did I would be here all day. The Big Bang is fantastic, and is easily one of the best resolutions to a cliffhanger in Doctor Who history.



























TheOncomingFish
TheOncomingFish

A brilliant final! Such amazing, clever writing, an example of Moffat at his best IMO. I loved all the timey-wimey paradoxes of it- 11 going back in time to give Rory the screwdriver to set him free so he can go back in time and give Rory the screwdriver, Amelia being thirsty and 11 going back in time and taking her drink, which is the reason she's thirsty in the first place. That is classic Moffat and it was brilliant to watch. The acting was superb, especially from Matt (that scene when young Amelia is in bed and he's talking to her is incredible. He looks young but he manages to come across as so very old and weary... Matt is an amazing actor). I also liked the fairytale elements of it. Amy remembering Rory was touching, and there were some hilarious moments too. Everything was balanced perfectly; there was fast paced adventure, but there were also moments when the episode slowed down and gave emotion. There was also some hilarious comedy, elements of darkness to balance that out, and on top of that Moffat managed to put in every different villain the Doctor has ever faced (well, near enough), and yet none of it felt forced or like he was trying to achieve too much. There were so many different elements and they fitted together perfectly. That is how to write an episode of Doctor Who. 10/10, my favourite series final. 


AztecsDaleksAndCavemen
AztecsDaleksAndCavemen

Reasonably alright 6/10


Still not keen on the idea of finales, but I admit this one had its twists and turns. The problem is, looking back in retrospect, this is the nature of Steven Moffat's finales. It's by no means a bad thing and this is his first mind-bender so I would have to come at it from a different perspective and say it was unique at the time of broadcast, but it did start a mould where intricate plotting lead to opera-style arcs. After a while amongst all the appreciation I have for the scale of it, I just wanted the programme to return to the way it used to do things.

carlosvalero772
carlosvalero772

9/10 for me. Definitely my favourite series finale of NewWho, although The Big Bang brings the score down by 1 point. However, I feel like series 5 is Moffat's best series of his tenure. Overall, it's the best. So yh, 9/10. Stupendous finale and massive cliffhanger. Love it.

lukashcartoon
lukashcartoon

While you have some interesting viewpoints, I'll disagree with Amy imagining the Doctor as a cop out. Two things were established by mid point of this series. 1) Amy had a special relationship with the crack because she grew up with it. 2) it had been mentioned that Amy could bring back Rory when he disappeared. When they didn't, it was to show how difficult it was.

Con in Sydney
Con in Sydney

You are a hard person to please, aren't you?

 Notsosmartguy  the dalek of Jersey
Notsosmartguy the dalek of Jersey

Probably my favorite moment was seeing the doctor being confronted with the alliance even though when I saw this I had no idea who most of those monsters were ( I was new at the time) Matt Smith's acting was amazing here:-)

Nightmarish
Nightmarish

Only 10?! If I could I'd give 11. Probably the best episodes Moffat has ever written, and Matt's acting is just amazing.                                               




"It's funny, I thought, if you could hear me, I could hang on, somehow. Silly me. Silly old Doctor. 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. But that's OK: we're all stories, in the end. Just make it a good one, eh? Because it was, you know, it was the best: a daft old man, who stole a magic box and ran away. Did I ever tell you I stole it? Well, I borrowed it; I was always going to take it back. Oh, that box, Amy, you'll dream about that box. It'll never leave you. Big and little at the same time, brand-new and ancient, and the bluest blue, ever. And the times we had, eh? Would've had. Never had. In your dreams, they'll still be there. The Doctor and Amy Pond... and the days that never came."

Angie Whodini
Angie Whodini

@Pockydon  This comment is overwhelmingly positive but I can't help but agree with you. That's how good I think the episode was to me. :)

Angie Whodini
Angie Whodini

I agree. I like the 'old, new and blue' speech more than the other though because it just is very emotional while at the same time and ingenious last attempt to get out of the situation. Whatever Eleven says later, I think he didn't know at the time if he would make it and it was like a final goodbye to the universe before it threw him out like he was never there. And Matt is just splendid in it.

DawnTime
DawnTime

@Nightmarish

I love that speech, prefer it to the one earlier when he is addressing all the aliens which is the more popular one.

Me and Stuff
Me and Stuff

@ivegotkidneys @Me and StuffThe problem is that with 180 comments it's impossible to get something like a conversation going when you only sort by newest or oldest. Every comment system needs some kind of automatic organisation, otherwise it's just a list of people giving out ratings. I know it's not absolutely horrible, but I still feel it worked a lot better the old way.

Nightmarish
Nightmarish

For me, good acting is when you look at someone and don't see the actor, but the character. In that respect, Matt is definitely one of the best actors I have ever watched, he really gets into it and in that moment, his voice is just so beautiful and emotional. I think I'm going to cry now.