The Pandorica Opens
19 June 2010
Alex Kingston (River Song), Arthur Darvil (Rory), Tony Curran (Vincent), Bill Paterson (Bracewell), Ian McNeice (Winston Churchill), Sophie Okonedo (Liz Ten), Marcus O’Donovan (Claudio), Clive Wood (Commander) , Christopher Ryan (Commander Stark), Ruari Mears (Cyber Leader) , Paul Kasey (Judoon), Howard Lee (Doctor Gachet), Barnaby Edwards (Dalek), Simon Fisher Becker (Dorium), Joe Jacobs (Guard), Chrissie Cotterill (Madame Vernet)
|Written by||Steven Moffat|
|Directed by||Toby Haynes|
|Produced by||Peter Bennett|
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. The Pandorica, which contains the most dangerous threat
- Amy Pond appeared to die in this episode but will be resurrected by the Pandorica in the following episode, The Big Bang.
- Almost every major enemy since the beginning of the new Doctor Who series (as well as a few from the classic series) are mentioned though not all appeared. The list of enemies include the Daleks, the Cybus Cybermen, the Slitheen, the Sontarans, the Judoon, the Hoix, the Weevils, the Uvodni, the Sycorax, the Silurians, the Autons, the Roboform, the Nestene, the Chelonians, the Drahvins, the Atraxi, the Zygons, the Terileptils and the Draconians. They formed an alliance, but some of them were unseen. The Slitheen were also mentioned but not seen. River also mentions the Haemogoths, who briefly appeared in The Forgotten Army.
- In the fairy tale of the Pandorica, the Doctor is not the good wizard. Rather he is a “nameless, terrible thing soaked in the blood of a billion galaxies. The most feared being in all the cosmos [who would] just drop out of the sky and tear down your world.” While the Doctor considers himself non-violent, his name means “warrior” in the native tongue of the Gamma Forests, and he is specifically referred to as such in the story of the Pandorica. “There was a goblin, or a trickster. Or a warrior.” (A Good Man Goes to War)
- The writing on the cliffs reads “HELLO SWEETIE TS F G???”. TS (Theta Sigma), informally Thete, was a nickname of the Doctor at the Time Lord Academy on Gallifrey.
- This is the first episode to feature an in-narrative use of the time vortex seen in the series 5 title sequence.
- The Weevils, Blowfish and Uvodni are the first aliens originally from a spin-off series to appear in the main show.The Chelonians from the novels get their first mention in a TV episode.
- When River starts mentioning the aliens that are approaching the Doctor, the Cyber-Leader and the Supreme Dalek are heard talking about their plan for the Doctor.
- At least one reviewer thought this message on the cliff of Planet One was not unlike a scene in in Douglas Adams’ book, So Long And Thanks For All The Fish, which featured the last message of God to his creation lit in flames on a cliff face.
- This episode deliberately evoked the feel of the Indiana Jones franchise. River’s scene at the Maldovarium is a gag drawn directly from the teaser sequence of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. The use of flambeaux in the cavernous “under Henge” was directly inspired by the teaser to Raiders of the Lost Ark. Finally director Toby Haynes played back a cue from Raiders while filming the sequence of the Doctor, River and Amy entering the “under Henge” to give the sequence appropriate tempo. (“Alien Abduction”)
- The disembodied Cyberman head tells Amy, “You will be assimilated.” Though modern viewers might think this a line borrowed from the Borg, a Star Trek cybernetic species similar to Cybermen, in fact the line is in The Tenth Planet.
- Amy Pond describes her deep interest in Roman culture. Karen Gillan’s original appearance on Doctor Who was that of a soothsayer from Pompeii in The Fires of Pompeii
- The story is set at Stonehenge and the episode broadcast just a few days before the real Summer Solstice.
- When River begins having problems flying the TARDIS, the Doctor tells her she’s not flying it right, to which she promptly replies, “I’m flying it PERFECTLY. You taught me!”. In their previous meeting (from the Doctor’s POV), River mocked the Doctor for not being able to properly fly the TARDIS, always leaving the brakes on when it lands. She also implied that the Doctor might not have been the one who had taught her. It would be revealed in Let’s Kill Hitler that it was the TARDIS herself who taught River.
- This story marks at least the fifth time in televised Doctor Who that the fate of every universe is at stake. (The Invasion of Time, Logopolis, Journey’s End, The End of Time)
- Amy doesn’t know who the Cybermen are, despite meeting them in Blood of the Cybermen.
- River’s main costume in this story was deliberately designed to evoke both Princess Leia and Han Solo, so that she looked like, according to Toby Haynes, a “female Han Solo”. (The Big Bang)
- According to Toby Haynes, this episode had no bigger budget, “and maybe even a little less”, than other episodes in the series. (The Big Bang).
- Similar to Rise of the Cybermen and The Stolen Earth, this episode is the first part of a two-part story, and features no “Next Time” trailer at the end.
- The painting that Vincent Van Gogh dedicated to Amy, “The Sunflowers,” can be located in the opening scene on an easel behind Van Gogh’s sofa. The painting would later be shown at the Van Gogh exhibit at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris (Vincent and the Doctor).