Doctor Who 5.12: Welcome To The Plastic Beachhead

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Before I go any further, I have to say: I knew we’d see Rory again.

Okay, I mean, I thought we’d see Rory as a human being, not an Auton who ends up forced to shoot the love of his life – and, seriously, wasn’t it heartbreaking to watch him try and fight his programming as Amy finally remembered him? When she was crying and asking “How could I forget you?” I was a mess, and knew then that she’d end up shot, even though I again am choosing to believe in both the Power of Love and the Power of Doctor Who Is A Kids Show to heal her – but still: I called Rory’s return, dammit.

There was a lot to love about “The Pandorica Opens,” even if it was mostly set-up for next week’s grand season finale. If nothing else, what a set-up: Bringing back all manner of characters from this season to try and send the Doctor a message about something that he already kind of knew (The destruction of the TARDIS), bringing back even more villains who – gasp! – may be the good guys this time around, and the tease of an explanation about what, exactly, is going on with that whole crack-in-time thing. Oh, and the return of someone who really shouldn’t exist, and a grand historical joke or two. What more could you want?

Going in reverse order: I am a sucker for impossible romance, and so the idea that Rory exists again because Amy really couldn’t forget about him, not entirely, was kind of wonderful; I’m not entirely sure the mechanics actually work out (How, exactly, did he end up as a Roman Auton? Coincidence? Some large cosmic plan that we still don’t know about?), but I’m willing to let it be fudged for the inevitable happy ending we’ll get next week. I also loved seeing the various characters from this season again, not only because it speaks to the Doctor not being the danger that the various aliens seem to believe he is – All the characters are willing to drop their guards to help him because they believe in his inherent goodness, after all – but because it adds a feeling (admittedly, one that’s not entirely earned) that the season has all been working towards this one climax; even the use of the time tunnel sequence from the credits in the actual episode, as River piloted the TARDIS, made everything seem part of one greater whole.

But for all the enjoyable razzle dazzle, little actually happened this week: The Doctor was guided by the Pandorica, via Vincent Van Gogh’s painting, to find the Pandorica and get trapped inside by an alien alliance who believe it’ll prevent the destruction of the TARDIS and end of the universe… but we still don’t know why the TARDIS was about to be destroyed, or why Amy is so important that her memories were used to construct the aliens’ trap, or keep Rory alive (or, for that matter, why the crack in time first appeared in her house). It’s frustrating – but in the best possible way – to be so close to an explanation and yet so far. This week, we got the sizzle, but there’d better be a big steak waiting for us next time.

And here’s a question for those of you with better ears than me: Who was that talking about silence falling in the TARDIS? Was that the Dream Lord?

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