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Series 1-7 Face-Off: Episode 12

Doctor Who TV is running new series pitting all the revival episodes against each other to decide your dream run. This will be done on an episode by episode basis. Today we continue with the 12th episode of each of the seven series so far.

Note: Splits are not counted and specials will have their own categories at the end.

episode-12-face-off

Introduction by Mark Spurdle.

Today’s Candidates

  1. Bad Wolf (2005)
  2. Army of Ghosts (2006)
  3. The Sound of Drums (2007)
  4. The Stolen Earth (2008)
  5. The Pandorica Opens (2010)
  6. Closing Time (2011)
  7. Nightmare in Silver (2013)

What makes a good Episode Twelve?

During Series 1-5, episode 12 would be the pinnacle of Saturday viewing. The series was building up towards the grand finale and Episode 12 would be the first of a two-parter finale. However, in recent series Moffat has approached a single part finale; meaning Episode 12 of Series 6 and 7 being a standalone episode.

But let’s start with the Series 1-5 format. And what does make the first part of finale so good? Three things: 1. Build-up 2. Answers slowly being answered (and perhaps a few more questions raised) and a kick-ass cliff-hanger. The first part needs to have good pace and a natural build-up; a sense that the questions will soon be answered and that the story is slowly progressing into a belter. The Series 1-5 episodes above all have the qualities stated in this article. Fundamentally and overall; the first part of the finale is effectively to boost character development and move the arc forwards by substantial pace.

Now, on to the standalone episodes; in recent years Episode 12 has had a small part in the series arc. Series 6 gave us a joyful “romp” that perhaps gave a lighter tone, perhaps to build us up for the bonkers finale that is to come. The episode can sometimes be overlooked as people simply want to get to the finale and the episode can be dismissed as “childish” and not needed. These episodes do need to have qualities such as being both enjoyable and light-hearted. Of course they certainly need to end on a cliff-hanger to throw us into the finale; and Closing Time of course did this perfectly.

Predicted Winner

Of course it had to be The Pandorica Opens! Everywhere I’ve looked all I see is praise for this smashing episode. And why not? It is bloody brilliant. In my opinion Moffat should apply the two-parter scheme with Series 8′s finale. The Wedding of River Song is adequate and The Name of the Doctor is okay in small doses. Although the two are okay(ish!), I think Moffat’s best finale is undoubtedly this piece of wonder; and this is down to the two-parter system giving it time to breathe, develop and be a constant giver of brilliance. The Pandorica Opens give us Matt as his whimsical, dark and hilarious best, Amy at top form and Rory developing into the character that we all adore and miss.

The episode of course (like all of Series 5) has us, the audience hanging to the edge of our seats; on the point of falling and face planting the table or floor. The idea of the Pandorica is simply stunning and really highlights Moffat’s brilliant mind and work. The constant questions of “What on earth is in that bloody box?!” are answered with the brilliant revelation that it is in fact the Doctor. Whether you all saw it coming…I certainly did not! And what a revelation! We’re also introduced to the “Alliance” which in my eyes is a stroke of brilliance. Although the Alliance did not get THAT much viewing time; they certainly played a huge part and delighted me to no end. And of course this episode has the third key feature of a two-parter finale; a kick-ass cliff-hanger. I thought the world was over, that Amy was gone (bloody BBC even put a tribute to Amy on their site) and I genuinely could not see a way out of it for the Doctor. It left me stunned, confused and filled with sadness. So yeah, I guess I can see why it is the predicted winner.

The Dark Horse

Bad Wolf is in short the definition of “brilliant romp”. I’m surprised to see some criticism aimed at the “spoofs” but I find them both hilarious and in some way…rather dark. Imagine the day when TV gets to the point when death is involved, imagine the day when TV takes over, imagine the day when it is law to watch and own a TV. RTD is the master of underlying themes and presenting the possibilities that Earth could come to. Although this episode is not arc heavy it certainly does possess some of the qualities above: it has a good and strong build up, we’re left with various questions about “who actually used the transmit beam?” because come on, it was never going to be the simple game show runners. We’re left to wonder who the “Masters” are and what on earth is going on with these game shows?!

The episode boasts the underlying themes such as what really happens after the Doctor gets involved with current events, the lasting effects of his intervention and how they shape the future. The Anne…Droid is superb and downright hilarious and although I despise Big Brother, it was brilliant to see the Doctor in “the house”. The cliff-hanger is superb and really makes the audience exclaim “holy *insert swear here*!” and launches us into the brilliant The Parting of the Ways. I’m not 100% sure why this episode isn’t given positive acclaim as much as I’d expect. Perhaps the spoofs were too much; perhaps you simply had a bad day when you first watched it. But this episode is certainly a force to be reckoned with in this poll.

Writer’s Pick

The Sound of Drums. What an epic episode. The episode shows the return of the beloved Master and really casts Series 3 into “bliss”. We not only see the return of the Master, but the return of a situation I always love; the Doctor losing and being powerless. The Master is Prime Minister of Britain, full control of everything around him and has the upper-hand on the Doctor. We see what his inclusion and intervention has caused for the Jones family and we see the world at his feet. Every scene the Master is in equals a brilliant scene. The part involving his own party being gassed is just marvellous and really shows Simm’s brilliance. Of course the Master’s brilliance does not stop there; the moment the Master meets the Jones family is just pure evil. I’ve never seen such evil before. “This country has been sick. This country needs healing. This country needs medicine. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that what this country really needs, right now, is a doctor.”- oh the Master is simply brilliant. Like this episode all over! The episode boasts one of my favourite scenes in New-Who; the alley scene when the Doctor, Martha and Jack become “ghosts”, it features stunning music that really captures the mood and sombre feel to the trio’s predicament.

But what else does this episode have? Well for starters the brilliant song “Voodoo Child” by Rogue Traders. What a song! And of course it features in one of the greatest cliff-hangers in all of Doctor Who. The monstrous Toclafane are released to the world to bring a shining new future but instead bestow a massacre. The Doctor has been turned old, the earth is being destroyed and Martha has been transported away from the Valiant back down to the lands of the Earth and all hope is lost. But why is this better than the predicted The Pandorica Opens? Because we see the devastation of modern Earth, the Master and RTD perhaps at his best, if not near best. The devastation and excitement metre is cranked up to full and we gain a simply classic episode. What a belter!

Vote

You’ve heard Mark’s thoughts, but what about your own? Which one tops your list? Vote below.

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167 comments
GWad84
GWad84

My choice: The Pandorica Opens. "Look I'm a target!" I chuckle everytime.

2nd Choice: The Sound of Drums

3rd Choice: Bad Wolf

DW_girl
DW_girl

For me:

1) The Pandorica Opens 10/10

2) The Sound of Drums 9.5/10

3) The Stolen Earth 8.5/10

4) Army of Ghosts 8.5/10

5) Nightmare in Silver 8/10

6) Closing Time 8/10

7) Bad Wolf 7.5/10


ThereWasAWarAndWeLost
ThereWasAWarAndWeLost

Episode 12s are always better than episode 13s. (except series 1 and 2, where they were just as good). Sound of Drums/ Stolen Earth/ Pandorica Opens are sooo much better than LOTTL/ Journey's End/ Big Bang. Went for Pandorica Opens in the end - that cliffhanger!!!!!

StephenMatthews
StephenMatthews

I so agree with you, I think in some instances his character definition is mediocre .

But I have to say day of the doctor is just pure magic. I voted for stolen earth as it is my fav season

JJ2000
JJ2000

12. The Pandorica Opens - It was just EVERYTHING and MORE!!!! Why couldn't that be the 50th Anniversary, it would have been a damn lot better.

AnthonyMercer
AnthonyMercer

I always vote for Army of Ghosts whenever it is an option just because it has my favourite cliffhanger in the whole revived series. I really didn't see it coming at the time!

NewWho2012
NewWho2012

I'll probably pick The Pandorica Opens because I enjoyed that episode most of all out of this selection, but it order of shocking cliffhangers, The Stolen Earth would be first as the Doctor semi-regenerating really threw me and I was completely gobsmacked as to how he would get out of that situation, followed by the Pandorica Opens probably because they didn't give us a preview for either episode.

Bert_Macklin
Bert_Macklin

Pandorica Opens. That cliffhanger was spectacular.

The Living Angel
The Living Angel

I can't decide between, The Pandorica opens and The Stolen Earth, so I'm just not going to vote this time.

Liana21
Liana21

The Pandorica Opens without a doubt. Matt is simly superb in this episode and the speech is epic.

Skylord Maldon
Skylord Maldon

The Pandorica Opens, but for the RTD era I would pick the Sound of drums :)

JolomontheCube
JolomontheCube

Boy this is a toughie, but I'm picking the Pandorica purely because the stakes were higher. The sound of drums was really good but it never amounted to the pandorica

Caitlin_1403
Caitlin_1403

Bad Wolf, Army of Ghosts, The Sound of Drums and The Stolen Earth are all amazing in my opinion but I chose TSOD simply for being that powerful, an amazing build up and that cliffhanger. It'd be the Pandorica Opens and Closing Time in 6th and 7th place here- I'm not really a fan of both of them.. Definitely going for Doomsday tomorrow. Rose and 10 are my OTP





Patrick Mogueeglie
Patrick Mogueeglie

I'm torn between Pandorica and Bad Wolf. I also loved Silver but it being a stand alone episode I didn't go for that one, same goes for Closing Time(even though I loved the redesigned Cybermats). I couldn't handle the "Voodoo Child" scene in Sound, however short that was. Army of Ghosts was okay but I personally don't think it's as good as some of the others on the list (don't shoot me please). Davros is my favourite Who villain, but I preferred Bad Wolf and Pandorica as they were better crafted episodes in my opinion. Hmm, I think I'm going to go with Pandorica. 



DawnTime
DawnTime

Well I am going for the predicted winner 'The Pandorica Opens' Brilliant .mind bending stuff.  Was never a fan of the  sound of drums I think it was all a bit silly. Can't stand it when the Doctor is reduced to an old husk. terrible idea. The rest are Ok but not epic like Pandorica.

tealeaves
tealeaves

For me Pandorica remains the series finale opener that did everything right. The massive amount of payoff in the pre credit sequence, the stone henge speech, the epic scale, the life and death of Amy Pond sequence, the cybermen in their scariest appearance since Age of Steel.

floppy_who
floppy_who

You all realise don't you, that at the end of all this voting for the various episodes in each series, we're going to have enough data for DWTV to compile the definitive list of which series is best...voted for by ourselves.

There are going to be some interesting discussions on here if that list is published.....but as the community voted for it, there's not a lot that can be done other than accept the result.

Wow, isn't democracy great!

ReadingBadger
ReadingBadger

1. The Pandorica Opens

2. Bad Wolf

3. The Stolen Earth

4. The Sound of the Drums

5. Army of Ghosts

6. Closing Time

7. Nightmare in Silver

Note: It was very close for numbers 2-5.

needcomicmoney
needcomicmoney

Voted Pandorica, but Stolen Earth and Sound of Drums just as good.

TheTimeOfTheCommenter
TheTimeOfTheCommenter

Definitely The Pandorica Opens for me! A fantastic start to my favourite finale! :D

mgm1229
mgm1229

Again, an embarassment of riches. Great stuff in every episode. I'm going for Bad Wolf, as it does something I love. It puts a mirror up to our lives, but then extrapolates out to a far distant future on a wicked twist. I love seeing 9 flirt with Lynda with a y, Jack and the defabricator, Rose with the Anne-droid. I really could list a highlight from each of these episodes, but Bad Wolf says the most about humanity.

stargazer0118
stargazer0118

The Stolen Earth is my fav! A true blockbuster in every way and very rewatchable.  The Sound of Drums in second place; that phone conversation between the Doctor and the Master was masterful! 

chinnysandshoes
chinnysandshoes

It's either Stolen Earth or Pandorica. I love Stolen Earth for the sentiment, but Pandorica wins for me on the sumptious dialogue alone. I see Donna's coming of age as a companion - intelligent, unafraid, yet still kind and compassionate - fully and so satisfying in this episode. But Pandorica has some of the show's greatest lines, of the kind that will be legend. Although The Doctor's speech defying the forces gathered ahead was a real pleaser (and scenes like this recalls to me how River told Ten that the very mention of her Doctor can send armies fleeing), I am more interested in Rory, I suppose for similar reasons as Donna in Stolen Earth.

Nightmarish
Nightmarish

Uh oh…This means we have to vote for finales tomorrow.

Oncoming_Badger
Oncoming_Badger

The Series 3 finale is by far my favorite but I'm giving that's vote to The Pandorica Opens and tomorrow's to the Last of the Timelords

1. The Sound of Drums

2. The Pandorica Opens

3. Bad Wolf

4. Nightmare in Silver

5. Army of Ghosts

6. The Stolen Earth

7. Closing Time

Disolus
Disolus

The Army of Ghosts... That cliffhanger. THAT. CLIFFHANGER.

Deus_Ex_Machina
Deus_Ex_Machina

I really do not know. "Closing Time" was pretty meh, but the rest are all brilliant. I think that, for the first time in Doctor Who TV history, I'm going to skip this poll just because I can't decide which one to choose.

sontaran17
sontaran17

Pandorica is the winner for me today! Closely followed by NiS, TSE and CT

NerdWithWings
NerdWithWings

The Pandorica Opens wins this one for me. Though, to be fair, TPO/TBB are possibly my favorite Doctor Who story ever - definitely my favorite from S5, and among my favorite 2 parters as well.

Unibot
Unibot

The Pandorica Opens - no contest really. Excellent two parter. HELLLLLLOOOOOO STONEHEDGE! 

  1. The Pandorica Opens (2010)
  2. The Sound of Drums (2007)
  3. The Stolen Earth (2008)
  4. Army of Ghosts (2006)
  5. Bad Wolf (2005)
  6. Closing Time (2011)
  7. Nightmare in Silver (2013)


DrWhoGoesThere
DrWhoGoesThere

I have to agree with you on this one, DWTV.  The Pandorica Opens will have to be the winner.

Planet of the Deaf
Planet of the Deaf

The Pandorica Opens, easily



I have to pick you up on your "The Name of the Doctor is okay in small doses" comment. It's a LOT better than that :-)

EricPavlat
EricPavlat

1) The Sound of Drums--absolutely epic.  2) The Pandorica Opens.  3) The Stolen Earth.

Polyphase
Polyphase

Certainly not the best episodes these ones, I would only give Bad Wolf 7/10

1)Bad wolf

2)The Stolen Earth

3)Army of Ghosts

4)Nightmare in Silver

5)Closing Time

6)The Pandorica opens

7) The Sound of Drums

Seaborn W Deadman
Seaborn W Deadman

Jack: What does that mean? Do I get to compete with somebody else? No, like I said. Face off. (Pulls out the chainsaws)



DrKnockers05
DrKnockers05

I enjoyed 'Closing Time' and 'Nightmare in Silver' but all the other 5 ended on huge cliffhangers; huge army of Daleks, ghost Cybermen and the Cult of Skaro, the Master taking over the Earth, the return of Davros and a possible regeneration, and the Allegiance trapping the Doctor with Amy dead and the world basically ending...

Like the Doctor said in 'Amy's Choice'; "Hold on tight. This is going to be a tricky one"...

Kiki Kiki
Kiki Kiki

My favourite of all time – TSE/JE.

Baker Street is excited for Series 8!
Baker Street is excited for Series 8!

How can you beat Matt's epic speech?

(Read this to "Words Win Wars" for extra effect!)

"Hello, Stonehenge! Who takes the Pandorica, takes the universe. But bad news, everyone... because guess who? Ha! Listen, you lot, you're all whizzing about - it's really very distracting. Could you all just stay still a minute because I AM TALKING! The question of the hour is, who's got the Pandorica? Answer: I do. Next question: who's coming to take it from me? 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 spaceship, 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. Let somebody else try first."

shyx111
shyx111

I can't see where the problem is •_•

Planet of the Deaf
Planet of the Deaf

@floppy_who It'll be a fairly wonky list, as there'll be weeks with more than one classic, so one will get rejected, and we may end up with only single parts of two parters!

cautiousvlogger
cautiousvlogger

@Disolus  was completely ruined by the next time trailer from Fear Her (The Cybermen weren't even a surprise and neither were the Daleks as you saw clips from where people were getting exterminated in Doomsday)

supermoff
supermoff

@Baker Street… is the Moment!  Not to mention "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 a theory. Nine hundred years, never seen one yet, but this would do me..." This is not just the greatest finale opener, but one of the most quotable episodes in the show's history. Practically every line of dialogue is sumptuous.