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'Doctor Who' - 'The Big Bang' Recap (Season Finale)

by Brad Trechak, posted Jul 24th 2010 10:00PM
Doctor Who(S05E13) Only in a show like 'Doctor Who' can you end the universe and then have an episode afterwards.

Showrunner Steven Moffat proved his writing chops in this one as he tied together the nagging issues of the season's arc fairly well. Of course, he did leave a plot thread dangling, but somehow I suspect he left it to deal with next season or quite possibly as a story arc for his entire run on the program. 2013, which would be 50 years of 'Doctor Who,' isn't that far away.

Had Russell T. Davies written this season, he would have had the Doctor fighting all of the enemy aliens we saw in the last episode and outsmarting them in the end with a deus ex machina. Moffat's way is better even though he used a completely different deus ex machina.
Moffat also accomplished the rather admirable goal of having an unrealistic ending, even by 'Doctor Who' standards. The show, however, has always been more fantasy than science fiction (just ask Terry Pratchett), so the ability of Amy to "remember" the Doctor into existence is forgiven. Hell, Moffat has been building up to it since the premiere and the idea of memory being the binding force of creation has been prevalent throughout the season.

There are still unanswered questions, of course. Who blew up the TARDIS? Who was the voice that said "silence will fall?" I suspect the two are related. It would be an awesome way to return the Master (the only major enemy absent from the lineup in the last episode). I'm just saying.

Did I mention that the episode was awesome? It was. When Amy's parents suddenly appeared at the end, I had originally thought that the cracks made them vanish, but then realized that it would mean Amy had never been born. The Christmas Special will represent the first time the Doctor has ever traveled with a married couple (Ian and Barbara were close, but not quite). It took a former English teacher as a showrunner to realize that the TARDIS is old, new, borrowed and blue at the same time. Moffat excels at writing non-chronological stories.

Once we learned that there were no stars in the sky, my first thought was how could Earth survive without the sun? Moffat's twist provided a nice explanation. It's funny how well those Vortex Manipulators work under the Doctor's care.

Now that the 'Doctor Who' universe has reset (again), Moffat can arbitrarily ignore events in the history of the program that inconvenience him which will probably include every attack on Earth by an alien species since the series was relaunched.

I still like David Tennant more as the Doctor. Perhaps it was the idea of "living the dream" in which a 'Doctor Who' fan actually got the leading role. However, Matt Smith has grown on me. Still, I imagine what the show would have been like with Tennant as the lead and Moffat as the showrunner. Ah, one can dream.

There's so much more to say, but I'll leave it to you. What did you think of the season?

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Lowiczanka

Is it a renewal, a change of appearance, reincarnation? What does it mean when the Doctor Regenerates? Read more in my blog. (if you already read it on my secondary blog site, there are some additions.)
http://lowiczanka.wordpress.com/2010/10/04/regeneration-of-the-doctor/

October 03 2010 at 9:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Edward

so after all this, why/how the cracks in the universe showed up was never explained

August 01 2010 at 10:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Oceans

Well my actions after putting up to this season till the finale is no more watching Doctor Who till Steven Moffat leaves. His writing is more like for kids entertainment with very exaggerated fantasy and not a single grain of interesting action, just boring and unattractive plots which end where they start.

And the viewing figures will continue to fall...

July 26 2010 at 5:47 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Oceans's comment
John

I'm pretty sure I read ratings were up in the UK and continued going up with the finale being the highest. And really, those are the important ratings. And I think they were higher than previous seasons there but I really could be wrong?

July 26 2010 at 9:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Lowiczanka

It seems most everyone is in agreement. This was Steven Moffat at his best. And Matt Smith was great !
He has moved up my list of favorite Doctors, though David Tennant will always be No. 1.
Read more in my blog:
http://lowiczanka.wordpress.com/2010/07/26/the-cloister-bell/

July 25 2010 at 10:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
BostonKaren

I thought this last episode was the most confusing mess! I think Stephen Moffat really fails at continuity. I like River Song, Rory, and Amy, and the new Doctor is even growing on me, but this season is so poor compared with RTD's! It's not surprising that viewing figures keep falling. What a disappointment!

July 25 2010 at 4:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to BostonKaren's comment
medstud

I too found this season very disappointing, not for the acting, but for the writing. I expected a whole lot more from Moffat than the loops holes we saw throughout this season. Having Amy remember the Doctor into existence is just as bad if not worse than RTD's doctor healing himself by getting energy off of people. Worst for me is having the Doctor getting himself out of Pandora's box. RTD would've gotten hanged by this, but Moffat farts and people are singing him praises

July 26 2010 at 12:56 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
John

I started in this camp but I really think the finale got a lot better as I sat with it for a couple weeks. I think if it were tennant with this material people would love it more. Matt Smith is fine as was Eccleston, but i really liked tennant.

I mean, think about it, season 3 finale, he just had the whole planet think 'doctor' and it reverted the age change? RTD had his share of fantasy over scifi that was believeable. I may have liked the last seasons more, but it's really clear how much work, care and respect they are giving to this universe. It's hardly basic children's fare.

July 26 2010 at 9:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
justelise

I've become a big fan of Rory and Amy, but specifically Rory. I can do without Matt Smith as the doctor. I'd love to see what a better actor could do with Moffat's material.

I am excited to see what's in store for Alex Kingston (River Song) next season. I've been a huge fan of hers since ER.

July 25 2010 at 10:38 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
charleswheeler

Well, at least this sort of explains why the stories at the beginning of the season were so childlike (or childish). Amelia is writing/remembering them, and as she ages, so do her stories.

But, really, Moffat threw a lot of flash into the last 2 episodes to end with a (big) bang, while leaving plenty of loose ends. I expect he'll be picking them up beginning next series. He better.

So, somebody explain to me again why Amy forgot her parents? And why her "remembering" the Daleks as giant brightly colored IKEA salt shakers made them so? And her magic memory meld of the Wizard of Oz/Star Wars/WWII ... since she remembered it that way, it is now reality?

To paraphrase the voice from the grocery store: "Clean up on series two, please, clean up on series two." (By which I mean Moffat series two, of course.)

July 25 2010 at 2:33 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Joe Siegler

Of the series finales since the show has returned, this one is the most satisfying. Also, if you go back and look at Pt 2 of the Angels story, you do see the bit with the Doctor going backwards. It was well placed, as I didn't pick it up as a different on first watch.

July 25 2010 at 1:41 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Alex

I thought it was a fantastic ending to a fantastic season! However Brad appears to have misinterpreted certain elements of the story, given his comment about Moffat being able to ignore elements of Who continuity he doesn't like. The restoration of River's diary, the fact that after the Big Bang the Doctor was able to revisit parts of his time scream, and Rory's comments about being plastic and the Doctor being at his stag all indicate the universe is back the way it was, with the only difference being that Amy and Rory appear to have experienced their adventures with the Doctor -- and not, at the same time. Wibbly wobbly-timey wimey, as Moffat says. But he has far too much respect for the series history, especially with, as you say, the 50th anniversary coming up, to render all this history moot. Also, doing so would screw up Torchwood, which is entirely predicated on being a followup to the Dalek/Cybermen invasion. Much like the Pandora's box upon which the Pandorica was based, you can't put this all back in the box again.

July 24 2010 at 11:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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