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Recap / Doctor Who S31 E13 "The Big Bang"

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The Doctor and his latest companion.note 

"OK, kid, this is where it gets complicated."
Amy Pond

Original air date: June 26, 2010

Production code: 1.13

The one where Amy and Rory wed, and the Doctor adopted a fez. Again.

Written by Steven Moffat. The second part of the 2010 season finale.

The Doctor's stuck in the Pandorica, Amy might be dead, and Rory's a Roman with a gun inside his hand — the very gun that may have killed her. Seems like things aren't going as planned. River's trapped in the TARDIS. Which is on fire. She's feeling the heat on repeat. She'll require someone she can trust, someone with a bowtie, but he's been locked up and left to die.

Cut to 1,894 years later, to little Amelia's house where she's praying for Santa to seal the crack in her wall. There's something outside, a gust of wind, but when she goes to look, there's no one there. No raggedy Doctor with a crashed blue box here to fix the crack in her wall. Later, she holds up a painting she drew of the night sky, with the Moon and stars. Stars that her aunt and her psychiatrist don't recognize. "You know this is all just a story, don't you? You know there's no such thing as stars."

Downstairs, someone's deposited a pamphlet through her letterbox. It's from the National Museum with a picture of the Pandorica on it. "Come along, Pond". The next day, she drags her aunt to the museum, past a stone Dalek, into the Pandorica room. Someone steals her drink. There's another note on the box ("Stick around, Pond") and she hides until everyone leaves. Amelia reaches forward and it opens under her touch, light spilling out to reveal... a grown-up Amy. "Okay, kid. This is where it gets complicated."

Back at Stonehenge, Rory is cradling Amy's body, trying to get through to her. With the universe ending, they weren't even born, twice in Rory's case; she'd laugh at that. Please, laugh. He could really do with one of those ridiculous miracles the Doctor talked about just about now. Promptly, the Doctor appears in a flash of blue light, holding a mop and wearing a fez. He tells Rory, who is barely comprehending what has just happened, that Amy is not dead (well, she is dead, but there is still a chance to help her) and it is not the end of the world (well, it is the end of the world, but they still have a chance to prevent it). But in order to help Amy and save the world, Rory must first get the Doctor out of the Pandorica. Something which confuses Rory, as the Doctor is standing in front of him, plainly outside the Pandorica. The Doctor attempts to explain it all, but eventually just sums it up as "time travel, you can't keep it straight in your head", and gives Rory his screwdriver to open the Pandorica with. Just point, and press, and put the screwdriver in Amy's pocket when he's done. Then, zap! he's gone again. When Rory does get him out, everyone in the room who locked the Doctor in is just dust and stone, afterimages of things that never existed, echoes in time. Fossils. The two of them are still here, though, because they're in the eye of the storm.

Upstairs, Rory shows the Doctor that he's killed Amy. The Doctor doesn't blame him; he's just part of the Nestene Consciousness, a lump of plastic with delusions of humanity.

"But I'm Rory now. I'm Rory–"

"That's just the software talking," the Doctor says, which, okay, is just harsh. The Doctor could bring Amy back if he "had the time", but all of creation has been wiped out from the sky, there are people out there who never existed, were never born, more lives lost than he can imagine. Rory's girlfriend isn't more important than the whole universe–





He just had to check. They go downstairs. "And take that look off your plastic face, you're getting married in the morning!"

Memories are a powerful thing, the Doctor explains, and Amy is not an ordinary girl, having spent most of her life with a time-crack in her wall and all. The Nestene used her mind to create the Auton Romans and got way more than they bargained for; like Rory's heart and soul, for instance. The Doctor gently leaves Amy a psychic message and puts her in the Pandorica. It's a trap you can't escape from, not even in death; it'll keep her just barely alive, since she's Only Mostly Dead.

Back to the museum. Amy's recovered, and recognizes her confused younger self.note  She looks at Amelia, checks her hair and height, and dates it to 1996. She catches sight of the history of the Pandorica on the wall.

Underneath Stonehenge, the Doctor grabs River's Vortex manipulator and prepares to travel them 2000 years to the future; it's still there, just another version of it. But Rory has doubts. Sure, nothing can supposedly get in there, but the Doctor did. So, wouldn't she be safer if Rory stayed? Well, yeah, but 2000 years is a long time and he wouldn't be able to sleep and he'd go mad. But yes, obviously, she'd be safer. Then why would Rory leave?

The Doctor: Why do you have to be so... human?
Rory: Because right now I'm not.

The Doctor leaves Rory a few instructions: he's living plastic, but not indestructible, so stay away from heat and radio signals. And for God's sake, however, bored he gets, stay out of– zap!

And so Rory draws his sword, sits down beside the Pandorica and waits.

In the museum, Amy looks over the Pandorica's history, all 2000 years where it's been across the Earth; Stonehenge, then Rome, then Italy, then Germany... A short film accompanying the exhibit narrates that throughout its long history, there would always be an iconic Centurion there guarding it, warning people of the consequences if it was opened before its time. It explains that the last time he was seen was in the London Blitz, dragging it away from the fire that destroyed its storage place, his final act saving the box he'd pledged loyalty to for 2000 years. It is believed he perished in the fire that night.

Cue the audience: "Oh, Rory."

Then suddenly: EXTERMINATE! The stone Dalek has come to life and zap! "–trouble." The Doctor is here from the past. "Come along, Ponds!" A museum guard shows up and the Dalek goes after him, while the three run.

Dalek: Scans indicate intruder, unarmed.

"You think?" Museum guard Rory, having taken quite a few levels in badass during the last 2000 years, shoots the Dalek with his Arm Cannon and disables it for a while. Amy freezes, then runs toward him and they have a tearful reunion which consists mostly of babbled endearments and quite a lot of kissing. The Doctor tries to break them up, but neither of them really give a damn about much of anything right now — including the end of the world. Or breathing. Oh, and little Amelia is thirsty.

They lock the Dalek in the room. When Rory realizes that the Doctor looks exactly like he did 2000 years ago when he gave him the sonic screwdriver, the Doctor zaps back (to Rory at the beginning) and forth for a while, getting himself out of the Pandorica, fixing time loops and leaving messages. And Amelia, here's a drink. He's grabbed a fez from a mannequin in the museum. Then, suddenly, another Doctor appears on top of the stairs, burnt, jacket torn, dishevelled, and collapses. He whispers something into our Doctor's ear and... dies. Without regenerating. The good news is, they have twelve minutes.

And little Amelia has vanished. Meanwhile, the Dalek is busy restooorrrring.

They go up to the roof, where it's day. The Sun's gone since no stars ever shone, but there's a big ball of light in the sky. It's the TARDIS exploding, exploding at every point in time and space, keeping those who still exist on Earth warm. The Doctor grabs a satellite dish and it picks up River's voice. The TARDIS has trapped her in a "Groundhog Day" Loop, freezing her in time so she relives her last moments over and over and over again. The Doctor zaps to her and brings her to the roof.

River: Right then, I have questions, but number one is this. What in the name of sanity have you got on your head?

Yeah, he wears a fez now, fezzes are cool. Amy and River immediately decide otherwise, tearing it off his head and blowing it up with a laser pistol.

And then: Exterminate!

Back downstairs! The Doctor blocks the Dalek beams with the satellite dish. They have exactly four-and-a-half minutes to go before he's shot, so he takes some time for exposition: the light from the Pandorica was a restoration ray, it repaired Amy because it had her DNA but it managed to partially restore the Dalek too. There are millions of atoms in that box, and theoretically, it can restore everything given enough power. Like cloning a whole body From a Single Cell. They're going to reboot the Universe. The Big Bang 2.

Exterminate! The Doctor's down! And he's zapped himself away again.

Rory and Amy run for it and get back downstairs, while the Dalek faces off with River, who's unamused that the Doctor is (apparently) dead.

Dalek: You will be exterminated!
River: Not yet. Your systems are still restoring, which means your shield density is compromised. One alpha-meson burst through your eye-stalk would kill you stone dead.
Dalek: Records indicate you will show mercy. You are an associate of the Doctor's.
River: I'm River Song. Check your records again.
Dalek: Mercy?
River: Say it again?
Dalek: Mercy!!
River: One. More. Time.
Dalek: Mercyyyyy!!!

River glares.

Back downstairs, Amy and Rory find the Doctor's body missing. River comes strolling around the corner, reminding them of Rule Number 1: The Doctor lies. Amy notices River is alone.

Amy: Where's the Dalek?
River: It died.

They find him in the Pandorica, having dragged himself there. The rest of them were a diversion, so he could work down here. Reality continues to collapse around them and it's speeding up; the museum room they're standing in is now much emptier. But the Pandorica has a restoration field; powered by an explosion happening everywhere in space and time, it can act as a Reset Button. The Doctor's wired the Vortex manipulator to the box, so he can send it into the heart of the exploding TARDIS and give the spark that reboots the Universe. Then they'll all wake up where they ought to be, and none of this ever happened.

The Doctor will be at the heart of the explosion, River explains. "Trapped in a never-space, the Void Between the Worlds. All memory of him purged."

The Doctor wants to speak to Amy. She asks why her instead of River. River says it's because the Doctor doesn't really know her yet, and now he never will. The Doctor asks Amy about her family, that big, big house she lived in all alone when he picked her up, those empty rooms, her parents nowhere to be seen. She's lost her parents, she says, but she can't even remember them, or even how. That crack in her bedroom wall has been eating away at her life for a long time now, the Doctor says. The girl who didn't make sense. "Nothing is ever forgotten, but you have to try."

That crack in her wall, the Universe pouring into her head, she'll be able to remember them. She just has to remember, and when she wakes up, her family will be there. The Doctor won't, but she'll have her family back.

"You won't need your imaginary friend anymore."

And hey. "Gotcha." Bye-bye, Pond.

The Pandorica lifts off and the Doctor sends a message to River's transmitter: Geronimo.

The Doctor flies the Pandorica into the explosion. Things rewind, events unhappen. And he... wakes up in the TARDIS. Okay. "I escaped, then. Love it when I do that." Legs? Got it. Bowtie? Cool. Fez?... He can buy one. Until he hears his own voice from the console, babbling about a beach with automatic sand. He's in last week, when they were going to Florida IN SPACE!. He's rewinding within his own timestream. The crack in the TARDIS wall is sealing.

He rewinds again, to Colchester, where Amy is putting the card in the window. The Doctor calls out to her; she turns but doesn't see anything. The crack in the pavement is sealed. Rewind again to aboard the Byzantium, in the generated forest, until after past!Doctor leaves. He tells her to remember what he told her when she was seven. So it wasn't an error, the whole jacket thing! We knew it!

Rewind again, to Amelia's house (note the scary open door), where she's fallen asleep in the garden atop of her suitcase. He picks her up and tucks her into bed, then sits beside her. When she wakes up, he says, he'll be a story in her head but it's okay; they all are, in a way. Just make it a good one, because it was, you know. A daft old man who stole a magic box and ran away. Did he tell her that? Well, borrowed it, really, and he meant to give it back but never had the chance. She'll dream about the box that's big and little at the same time, brand new and ancient, the bluest of blue. Adventures they had. Would have had. Never did. The Doctor and Amy Pond and the days that never came. The crack in her wall is closing now, but they can't close properly until he's on the other side. Oh, well. He skips the rest of the rewind.note 

The Doctor: I hate repeats. Live well. Love Rory. Bye-bye, Pond.

Amelia wakes up. Outside her window, the stars are back.

In the morning, we're back to Amy's wedding day and her mum's brought her breakfast. Amy is surprised at first, then confused about why she's surprised. Her dad's downstairs, but it's like she's never seen them before.

Wedding dinner! Amy's dad fails to give a speech, and Amy is laughing until she sees River walk past the window. And suddenly, she's crying, but she doesn't know why. Because she's happy, Rory tries, but she's not; it's because she's sad — but why is she sad?

There's a blue notebook on the table in front of her with nothing written in it, a present a woman left. It's just a present, a wedding thing. Her eyes fall on a bowtie, a man's bracesnote , the notebook that looks like a blue box. She cuts off her dad's speech:

Amy: There's someone missing. Someone important. [...] When I was a kid I had an imaginary friend. The raggedy Doctor. My raggedy doctor. But he wasn't imaginary. He was real. I remember you! I remember! I brought the others back, I can bring you home too. Raggedy Man, I remember you, and you are LATE FOR MY WEDDING!

She remembered him through words. "Something old, something new, something borrowed... something blue."

For a moment nothing happens, but then the glass vibrates, there's wind from somewhere and...

Vworp, Vworp, Vworp

He's back! And wearing a spiffy tux with top hat, to boot. Rory instantly remembers ("I was plastic!").

The Doctor: Hello, everyone! I'm Amy's imaginary friend, but I came anyway.

She's so happy she's ready to kiss him again, but the Doctor insists that the only one doing the kissing will be Mr. Pond. Rory briefly objects that that's not how last names work, then has to agree that in their case, it just is.

The Doctor's only here for the dancingnote . And he does it really... creatively. Later, Rory and Amy slow dance, while the Doctor watches from the doorway. "Two thousand years. The boy who waited. Good on ya, mate."

The TARDIS is parked in Amy's garden. The Doctor goes back to it, and River shows up. He gives her back her notebook and her Vortex manipulator. He asks her a series of questions, she gives back a series of non-answers. Is she married? Is she saying yes to being married or does she think he's asking her to marry him? Was that a yes or yes?

He's going to find out who she is very soon. That's when everything changes. And zap! she's gone.

He's about to run again, but Amy and Rory catch up. There are things left unresolved; the Big Bad still hasn't been revealed yet, someone brought the TARDIS to this point in time-space and blew it up, that voice from nowhere still hasn't been explained. Then he gets a phone call. Another Sealed Evil in a Can has escaped on the Orient Express. In space! He has to go, something's come up, so this is goodbye. Amy and Rory agree:

Amy: [standing in the TARDIS doorway, waving back at the house] Goodbye! ... Goodbye...

And vworp, vworp...

The Doctor: Don't worry about a thing, Your Majesty. We're on our way.

But the Doctor isn't going to the Orient Express. He has a time machine, it'll keep for the thousand-odd years until he can get around to it. Instead, he's going to find another adventure for Amy and Rory... while they do something a bit... passionate on the ladder for their TARDIS bunks.


  • Act of True Love: Auton!Rory's absolutely epic and yet secret two thousand years of warding of his beloved while she was in the Pandorica.
  • Affectionate Gesture to the Head:
    Amelia: I'm thirsty. Can I get a drink?
    The Doctor: Oh, it's all mouths today, isn't it! [puts his fez on her, covering most of her head]
  • Ain't Too Proud to Beg: A Dalek begs River for mercy after it shoots the Doctor, and realises just who she is.
  • And I Must Scream: Downplayed, since he could still move, talk and interact with other people, but Rory waited 2000 years, fully aware for every moment, unable to even sleep. The Doctor thought it would drive him insane. He was wrong.
  • And the Adventure Continues: At the end, the Doctor receives a phone call regarding an Egyptian goddess and the Orient Express, IN SPACE!
  • Alternate Universe: The immediate effects of the previous episode are no Doctor and no stars, but then the rules of time and space start breaking down. Also, if a brief exchange between Amy's aunt and her psychiatrist is to believed, apparently well-known atheist Richard Dawkins is now involved in a "star cult".
  • Apocalypse How: The fallout of the one in the previous episode is witnessed — it's an inversion of the death of reality as threatened in the last few major climaxes in that Earth is perfectly fine (as is the moon), with the TARDIS explosion acting as a substitute for the sun to ensure life and humanity still develops in the diminished alternate timeline; but past the moon and substitute sun, there's now absolutely nothing and there never was. And the Class Z-2 is still progressing over the episode and is erasing what's left bit by bit, until eventually reality itself will never have happened.
  • The Atoner: Rory's making good on his failure to save Amy writes him into the myths and legends of many civilisations.
  • Back for the Finale: After the Continuity Cameos of the last episode, 7-year-old Amy makes another appearance. And the actress has a cameo at Amy's wedding, presumably playing a younger relative of Amy's.
  • Back from the Dead: Rory (for real this time) along with the rest of the universe thanks to the spacetime-wide Reset Button, and also Amy's parents.
  • Badass Boast: "I'm River Song. Check your records again."
  • Bad Vibrations: That scene near the end where the wine glasses vibrate, then things start blowing around. Although since they herald the return of the Doctor, they're Good Vibrations.
  • Bait-and-Switch:
    • At the beginning, the viewer thinks that young Amelia is going to open the Pandorica to free the Doctor... and then it turns out to be her older self inside.
      Amy: [to Younger Amy] Okay kid. This is where it gets complicated.
    • Also at the very end, when the Doctor has to deal with an Egyptian goddess, on the Orient Express, IN SPACE!
      The Doctor: Sorry, something's come up. This will have to be goodbye.
      Amy: Yeah, I think it's goodbye. Do you think it's goodbye?
      Rory: Definitely goodbye.
      [Amy goes to the doors, leans out and waves goodbye to Leadworth]
      Amy: Goodbye! Goodbye.
      The Doctor: [smiling] Don't worry about a thing, your Majesty. We're on our way!
  • Batman Gambit: The Doctor relies on Amy's memory recall for him to come back to reality.
  • Big Bad: The Stone Dalek is the only threat remaining after the majority of the universe is wiped out. The mysterious unidentified Greater-Scope Villain who caused the TARDIS' destruction has already acted at the beginning of the episode and plays no further part in events.
  • Big Damn Reunion: After Amy's released from the Pandorica and the reveal that Rory became the museum guard they see each other for the first time in 2,000 years. Cue a Big Damn Kiss that leaves the Doctor wondering how they're able to breathe.
  • Big Entrance: The TARDIS itself gets one, in the middle of the wedding reception.
  • Blatant Lies: In the most wonderful way.
    Amy: Okay, Doctor, did I surprise you this time?
    [The Doctor appears in a pimped out tuxedo, with matching hat]
    The Doctor: Uh, yeah. Completely astonished. Never expected that.
  • Bookends: As in "The Eleventh Hour", the episode begins with a shot of Amelia's house and garden, and then a transition to her bedroom, where she's praying to Santa to do something about the crack in her wall. Only this time, there is no crashing TARDIS to interrupt.
  • Borrowed Without Permission: The Doctor claims he "borrowed" the TARDIS. This is at least partly to give Amy a buried memory of the TARDIS keyed to the Old, New, Borrowed and Blue rhyme.
  • Break the Cutie: When Amy watches the video about the Last Centurion never being seen again after the Blitz (fire + plastic = not good), she breaks down completely.
  • Brick Joke: "However bored you get, stay out of..." [the Doctor teleports away] [...] [next scene, Amy and Amelia have just discovered the stone Dalek has come to life, and the Doctor pops in] "... trouble."
  • By "No", I Mean "Yes": The Doctor's explanation to Rory on how to save Amy:
    The Doctor: Listen, she's not dead. Well, she is dead, but it's not the end of the world. Well, it is the end of the world. Actually, it's the end of the universe.
  • Cardboard Prison: As powerful a prison the Pandorica is said to be, the sonic screwdriver opens it easily. This is a Call-Back to the previous episode, when the Doctor pointed out that prisons are easy to open from the outside, but hard to open from the inside.
  • Casual Danger Dialogue: When the Doctor rescues River from the exploding TARDIS.
    The Doctor: Hi, honey, I'm home.
    River: And what sort of time do you call this?
  • Catchphrase: Had all gone to plan, the Doctor's last words to his companions would have been "Geronimo!"
  • Chandler's Law: The Dalek serves this purpose by interrupting a conversation four times, and then it turns into a critical clue. How does it keep coming back? The light of the Pandorica? How does the Pandorica do this? It has a copy of the previous universe where Daleks still existed.
  • Clap Your Hands If You Believe: The Doctor was erased from existence, but Amy remembering him brought him back. It Makes Sense in Context.
  • Combat Pragmatist: The stone Dalek shoots on sight, seemingly giving the Doctor a mortal wound in the process. However, he survives as the blast wasn't at full power.
  • The Constant: Amy to the time-consumed universe, post-"Big Bang 2" because the time crack empowered her to be so.
  • Continuity Nod: Many:
    • "Fezzes are cool" to "bowties are cool".
    • "You're Mr. Pond" to the "We're not her boys." "Yeah, we are" exchange in "The Vampires of Venice".
    • Rory's ~2000 years staying out of trouble "unsuccessfully" references the Doctor saying the same thing.
    • The scene where Amy starts crying at her wedding party oddly echoes the one where she meets Rory again.
    • "He was the stripper at my stag."
    • "Gotcha."
    • Legs? Yes!
    • The Doctor calls Rory the boy who waited.
    • When Rory blasts the Dalek the first time he shoots it in the eyepiece, blinding it. This has happened several times in previous stories. ("My vision is impaired!")
    • The Doctor, Amy, Rory, and River are the only ones who remember what happened, because they were at the "eye of the storm". That sounds somewhat like "Last of the Time Lords". Instead of it being a "rewind", however, it's more like the alternate timeline without stars and any species other than those on Earth was restored to the ordinary universe.
    • The episode's opening strongly echoes the opening of "The Eleventh Hour", right down to repeated dialogue. The only thing that's different is the background music, and even that is a variation on the same tune.
    • The Doctor dances. Badly.
    • Rory saying "She is [important] to me!" as he cold-cocks the Doctor is reminiscent of the Doctor's dialogue with the Atraxi in "The Eleventh Hour" — "Is this world important?" "Important? What's that mean, important? Six billion people live here; isn't that important?"
    • The Doctor is hit by a Dalek blast and turned into the Raggedy Doctor of Amy's youth.
    • Amy was given unusual mental abilities by her exposure to a crack in the Universe — like Mrs. Tyler and Gwyneth.
    • This isn't the first time that the Doctor has worn a fez while holding a mop.
    • In "Voyage of the Damned", the Doctor says that bad things always happen when he wears his tux. In this episode, he arrives at the wedding in a top hat and tails!
    • River tells the Dalek to "look her up" in order to intimidate it, just like the Doctor once said in his first encounter with River.
  • Cryptic Conversation: The Doctor and River's final conversation before he leaves baffles him before River talks in mystery terms to avoid spoilers.
  • Delayed Ripple Effect: The whole "eye of the storm" thing means that some things haven't been wiped out yet. The Earth manages to last another two thousand years, although by that point people are vanishing into thin air and time is happening in jumps.
  • Description Cut: "I only came for the dancing." Cut to the Doctor tearing up the wedding dance floor... really really badly.
  • Determinator:
    • The Dalek, repeatedly recovering after being shot by Rory.
      Dalek: Restore... Restore... Restore!
    • Rory himself, for surviving the 2000 years. The Doctor was certain that he would go insane.
  • Deus ex Machina: The universe is huge and ridiculous, and so, sometimes, miracles happen that don't make any sense.
  • Disney Death:
    • No, Rory didn't die in the fires of the Blitz.
    • The Doctor fakes his death from the Dalek's death ray as a distraction.
  • Due to the Dead: Rory covers the "dead" future Doctor's face with his coat.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Compared to the Downer or Bittersweet Endings of previous revival seasons, the whole of reality, the Doctor and his current companions manage to catch a break for once. Not only does Everybody Lives, but a couple are brought back and Amy and Rory finally get married.
  • Everybody Lives: With Rory and Amy's family brought back by the Doctor's action, Steven Moffat's kill count is firmly in the negative by now.
  • Face Death with Despair: When the stone Dalek confronts River Song and realizes who she is, it immediately starts begging for mercy, understanding that, since she's much more ruthless than any of the Doctor's other allies, it's far beyond screwed.
  • Failed a Spot Check: For everyone except the Doctor. All the stars in the Universe have ceased to exist. "So what," he asks, pointing at the sun, "is that?"
  • Faking the Dead: The Doctor fakes his death in order to jury-rig the Pandorica in peace.
  • Fantastic Religious Weirdness: Richard Dawkins' "star cults".
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus:
    • Exhibits you can blink-and-miss include the Penguins of the Nile. And Dinosaurs in ice.
    • And if you look closely, as Amelia shoves her way through the crowd to see the Pandorica, you can see the Doctor edging out of shot, presumably so he can prepare to steal her drink.
  • Funny Background Event: As Amy climbs over the table at the reception to greet the Doctor, you can hear Rory explaining him to her parents: "I was plastic; he was the stripper at my stag do..."
  • Get A Hold Of Yourself Man: Rory punches the Doctor to remind him Amy matters. Subverted, in that the Doctor is feigning disinterest in Amy to ensure that Rory's personality is stronger than the Nestene part of him.
  • Godzilla Threshold: With no TARDIS and the universe collapsing, the Doctor forgoes all of the rules of time travel in a last-ditch attempt to reset reality. As Rory and River point out in the next episode, the only reason that the universe didn't explode was that it was already blown up.
  • Good Is Not Nice: River may be on the Doctor's side, but she's not interested in being merciful at all... at least around a Dalek.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: River blowing up the stone Dalek, which only makes it more awesome.
  • The Greatest Story Never Told: Close. We're given a few small insights into Rory's time guarding the Pandorica, but nearly 2000 years must have had some good stories we'll never see on screen.
  • "Groundhog Day" Loop: 10-Second Loop. River is trapped in this to prevent her dying in the TARDIS explosion.
  • Henpecked Husband:
    • Rory is one of these both before the wedding:
      Amy: Do you get the feeling that you're forgetting something important, something incredibly big and monumental?
      Rory: ... yep.
      Amy: Are you just saying that because you're afraid of me?
      Rory: ... yep.
      Amy: I love you.
      Rory: ... yep. Wait, no! I love you too!
    • ... and after.
      The Doctor: From now on, I'll leave all the kissing to the brand new Mr. Pond.
      Rory: Wait, what? No, I'm not Mr. Pond, that's not how it works.
      The Doctor: Yeah it is.
      Rory: ... yeeeaah, it is.
  • Heroic Sacrifice:
    • The Doctor pilots the Pandorica into the exploding TARDIS, allowing it to re-extrapolate the entire universe from the atoms preserved within it. This very nearly erases him from history, but the memories of his companions — specifically Amy — restore him.
    • Rory was more than willing to risk life, limb, and sanity to ensure that Amy stays safe, going so far as to pull the Pandorica out of a fire by himself, during the London Blitz. Even the Doctor is astounded to find him alive and virtually undamaged some 2000 years later.
  • He's a Friend: The Doctor assures River that "the plastic centurion" is on their side now.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: When Rory shoots the Dalek, he hits its eyestalk with just two shots. He's had nearly 2000 years to practice his aim.
  • In Medias Res: Played for Laughs when the Doctor zapping back to 102 AD intermittently is "explained".
  • In Spite of a Nail: Earth's history in the new timeline develops identically to the normal timeline, the only difference being that stars are considered a fairy tale only young children and cults believe in.
  • Internal Homage: Someone who was a Roman soldier in Britain living for centuries while time is being ripped apart? The remains of a Dalek being found there? Happened in "Seasons of Fear".
  • It Makes Sense in Context: Time-travel is responsible for the Doctor spontaneously appearing in and out of thin air multiple times with a fez and a mop, stars no longer existing, Amy being in the Pandorica, and the Doctor suddenly appearing in the museum, half dead, but we don't get shown the events that lead to these things happening until later in the episode.
  • It Wasn't Easy: The Doctor advises Rory to stay out of trouble. When he runs into Rory a couple of thousand years later, the Doctor asks Rory how he managed.
  • Just Plane Wrong: The "German bombers" shown in a picture of the Blitz are actually American B-17s. Of course, this may be deliberate to show how wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey Earth's history was — or an archivist screwed up at some point in time.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall:
    • "Goodbye!"
    • "I hate repeats."
    • "Okay, kid. This is where it gets complicated." She's looking directly at the camera.
  • Like an Old Married Couple: River Song and the Doctor:
    The Doctor: Hi, honey, I'm home!
    River: And what sort of time do you call this?
  • Lost in Transmission:
    The Doctor: And for God's sake, however bored you get, stay out of– [zap!] [one scene, and two thousand years, later] [zap!] –trouble!
  • Love Triangle:
    • Amy keeps making statements along this line, though she may just be joking about the time she tried to bang the Doctor.
      Amy: You absolutely definitely may kiss the bride.
    • And later:
      Amy: Oi! Where are you off to? We haven't even had a snog in the shrubbery yet!
      Rory: Amy!
      Amy: Shut up, it's my wedding!
      Rory: Our! Wedding!
  • The Maiden Name Debate: Genderflipped when Rory becomes "Mr. Pond" psychologically because Amy wears the trousers. (Even when she doesn't.)
    The Doctor: I'll leave all the kissing to the new Mr. Pond.
    Rory: Oh, no, that's not how it works!
    The Doctor: Yeah, it is.
    Rory: [enthusiastically] ... yeah, it is!
  • Mathematician's Answer: The conversation River and the Doctor have at the end:
    The Doctor: Hang on. Did you think I was asking you to marry me, or asking if you were married?
    River: Yes.
    The Doctor: No, but was that yes, or yes?
    River: Yes.
  • Menacing Museum: The lion's share takes place in the National Museum, where the Pandorica and numerous other relics from the events of the previous episode have been put on display - most prominently the petrified remains of a Dalek. On the upside, the prisoner of the Pandorica is rescued well after closing time... but on the downside, the Dalek turns out to be still alive and still capable of attacking.
  • Minimalist Cast: As far as one can tell, at one point the entire universe is reduced to the planet Earth, only inhabited by the four principal characters and a half-existent Dalek.
  • Mood Whiplash: The entire episode is full of them:
    • Auton!Rory crying, holding a dead Amy in his arms... only for the Doctor, wearing a fez and carrying a mop, to appear from nowhere.
    • There's the myth of the Lone Centurion; it's a heroic and tragic tale, and it's said that the Centurion was never seen again after the Blitz... Then there's Rory, entering in the most awesome way possible.
    • Amy grabbing the Doctor's fez, throwing it up in the air and River shooting it is awesome, which then becomes terrifying as you hear the Dalek.
    • The scene where the Doctor zips around creating a bunch of Stable Time Loops to position things the way he needs them is pretty funny, until, abruptly and without warning, it isn't: a singed and nearly dead Doctor pops in from the future and, to the gang's horror, apparently dies right in front of them.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: River and Amy move like a single unit to destroy the Doctor's fez.
  • Mythology Gag: The Doctor solves the trap in a similar fashion as in The Curse of Fatal Death. Steven Moffat's Timey-Wimey Ball is Older than You Think.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Played with. The Pandorica, designed to stop the Doctor, winds up becoming his most valuable tool in saving the universe. Then again, the Doctor's enemies built the Pandorica to trap the Doctor so that the universe wouldn't be destroyed, so building the Pandorica still worked out for them in the end.
  • Nigh-Invulnerability: One of the last things the Doctor tells Auton!Rory before leaving him on The Slow Path is that, while he is immortal, he is not indestructible, so he will need to take care of himself, including staying away from high heat, and radio signals as he gets into the 20th century.
  • The Night That Never Ends: Sort of. There's day and night, thanks to the exploding TARDIS standing in for the Sun, but no stars.
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: The teaser at the end: an Egyptian goddess, on the Orient Express, IN SPACE!
  • Noodle Incident:
    • How Rory stayed out of trouble "unsuccessfully".
    • River once dated a Nestene duplicate.
    • Space Florida.
  • Not Quite Dead: Amy and the Doctor both get one because the Pandorica can prevent someone from dying and then Timey Wimey remembering things bring stuff back.
  • Not Using the Zed Word: Autons are referred to only as "Nestene Duplicates", perhaps because the name doesn't make much sense without the context of the original setting.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • The Doctor's Bill & Ted hijinks come to a screeching halt when his future self pops in and promptly collapses.
    • The Dalek upon realising that River Song is not just any old companion:
  • Old, New, Borrowed and Blue: The phrase helps Amy remember the Doctor during her wedding because, among other things, the TARDIS is all four at once.
  • Once More, with Clarity: All over the place. In addition to returning to earlier scenes from the episode with new information, there are also flashbacks to other episodes from Series 5.
  • Only Mostly Dead: Amy, and the trope is name checked too. The Pandorica can keep her from becoming all dead long enough for her younger self to come along and provide a sample of living DNA.
  • Plot-Based Voice Cancellation: When Future!Doctor whispers to Present!Doctor before (apparently) dying. It's revealed later that he told Present!Doctor to create a diversion while he makes his way to the Pandorica to set up Big Bang 2.0.
  • Pre-Asskicking One-Liner: "I'm River Song. Check your records again."
  • Reality Warper: Growing up near a time crack makes you a moderate form of this; you can reverse a Ret-Gone by remembering something, because only you remember it.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: The fez was introduced by Steven Moffat to help viewers mentally follow the Doctor's timeline as he jumps between AD 102, 1996, and 2010. Producers Piers Wenger and Beth Willis worried that Matt Smith would become too attached to the hat and want to keep it, thus making his Doctor costume a bit too quirky, so Moffat had Amy steal the hat, and River blow it up with a laser.invoked
  • Really 700 Years Old: Rory, mentally at least. It's safe to say he retained his memories from when he was an Auton. The Doctor even says that the Nestenes "got more than they bargained for" when they made Auton!Rory, like his heart and his soul. Later, when the TARDIS appears at the wedding, he can be heard saying "I was plastic!" in the background. At the time of the Universe reboot, Rory is more than twice the age of the Doctor himself!
  • Recycled In Space: In-show examples; we learn that the Doctor had previously taken Amy to "Space Florida" (with "automatic sand"). At the very end of the episode, the Doctor is informed of an "Egyptian Goddess on the Orient Express IN SPACE".
  • Reset Button: Turns out throwing the Pandorica into the exploding TARDIS reboots the universe. It Makes Sense in Context, and unlike most reset buttons, can't be considered a Deus ex Machina, thanks to the series-long set-up of the cracks stretching through time and space and all the talk about how remembering things keeps them around.
  • Retcon: The series 1 episode "Father's Day" has it as a major plot point that interacting with, and especially touching, your past self will cause a paradox with dire consequences. That's clearly no longer the case here, as Amy talks with and touches little Amelia multiple times with no repercussions.
    • In fairness to the universe, by the time Amy and Amelia met up, that sort of paradox was WAY down the list of timey-wimey problems that needed handling. It's also easily explained if the Reapers were among the things that had already ceased to exist by this point.
  • Ret-Gone: Due to the cracks, all of existence has been erased from history. The only things to have ever existed in this timeline is the Earth, the Moon and an exploding TARDIS, and they're also fading away.
  • Running Gag:
    • The gag made a transition from bowties being cool to everything the Doctor wears being cool.
      The Doctor: I wear a fez now. Fezzes are cool.
    • The Doctor's fetish-like fondness for fezzes is also introduced.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: Ordinarily the Doctor cannot go backwards in his own timeline. Word of God states that the Doctor's willingness to break his normal rules is due to the very serious nature of the situation. Or for cheap tricks. It's also justified — as the Doctor himself puts it, the laws of the universe aren't worth much a damn when the universe is now just one planet and an eternally exploding police box.invoked
  • Secret Test of Character: The Doctor baiting Auton!Rory in the beginning of the episode is to make sure that the real Rory (his soul and heart and such) are truly there and not just an Auton aping his memories. Also, to jolt him out of his funk.
    The Doctor: Your girlfriend isn't more important than the whole Universe.
    Rory: *WALLOP* SHE IS TO ME!
    The Doctor: ...Welcome back Rory Williams! Ow.
  • Sequel Hook: Whoever is behind the TARDIS exploding is not explained, nor are the Arc Words "Silence will fall."
  • Shout-Out:
  • Shrouded in Myth: The legends of the Last Centurion. He appears throughout history to guard the Pandorica and issue warnings. No one knows where he came from, how he survives, or if he's real or just a legend.
  • "Shut Up" Kiss: Literally; after Rory and Amy are reunited, the Doctor tries to interrupt their reunion, then Amy interrupts it.
  • Skewed Priorities: All of time and space has imploded, the Earth is on the verge of being erased from existence, and River has just been rescued from an exploding TARDIS.
    River: Right then, I have questions, but number one is this. What in the name of sanity have you got on your head?
  • The Slow Path: Auton!Rory, in an episode by the man who named the trope. One thousand, eight hundred and ninety four years, and he was awake for every second of it.
  • Stable Time Loop: A list:
    • The Doctor is rescued from the Pandorica by Rory using the sonic screwdriver, which Rory only had because the Doctor escaped from the Pandorica to give it to him.
    • Amelia is left a note by the Doctor telling her to go to the museum and visit the Pandorica. The Doctor didn't know he had to do that until she showed him the notes he left.
    • Little Amelia is thirsty, so the Doctor goes back in time and takes a drink from her past self, thus providing the cause for her thirst which causes him to go back in time.
    • The Doctor is shot by a Dalek and then goes back in time to tell himself to allow himself to get shot by the Dalek so he could play dead and draw the Dalek's fire. He counts the minutes.
    • In-universe, the TARDIS' attempt to keep everything from never being.
  • The Stars Are Going Out: A variation: the stars in the alternate timeline have not only gone out, they never existed.
  • Stealth Pun: The Doctor, to Rory, after Rory punches him. "Hell of a gun arm you're packing there."
  • Sucks at Dancing: The Doctor showcases his non-existent dance skills at the end of the episode.
  • Temporal Paradox: The Doctor gets out of the Pandorica because Rory lets him out using the sonic screwdriver the Doctor gave to him after he got out of the Pandorica.
  • Time-Travel Tense Trouble: When the time-travelling Doctor is trying to explain to Rory at the beginning, he is rambling and confused because of the different time lines.
    The Doctor: Time travel... you can't keep it straight in your head...
  • Timey-Wimey Ball: It's scaled up to a Timey-Wimey Universe, as literally the only thing that's holding it in place is Amy and her memories. Fortunately, as the Doctor points out, the universe has gotten a lot smaller after last episode.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Rory does it again. The first time was in the last episode, when he came back as a Roman. Now, in addition to his Roman... stuff and his arm cannon, he's also got two millennia of experience guarding the Pandorica. To put it in perspective: In two episodes Rory single-handedly takes out a Cyberman and briefly blinds a Dalek. Compare that to how badly he did in "The Vampires of Venice".
  • Tranquil Fury: River after Eleven's first Disney Death.
    Dalek: MERCY!
    River: Say it again?
  • Un-Paused: Rory must have spent a long time pondering what terrible danger the Doctor was trying to warn him about before vanishing into the future. Turns out the last word was "trouble".
  • The Unreveal: The cause of the TARDIS' explosion is hinted as a Driving Question for the next series.
  • Villains Want Mercy: A Dalek of all things asks for mercy from River Song. It doesn't receive it. Given what River could have done, a quick death may have been merciful.
  • Visual Pun: The Doctor Dancing (Badly). Take that as you will.
  • Weird Sun: The unmade universe's sun is far larger, redder and overall fire-like than the real sun, as it's not actually a star but the exploding TARDIS caught in a timeloop.
  • Wham Episode: So many important and mind-bending things happen in this episode, your head will spin.
    • Amy's family came back into existence.
    • Rory is alive again and not as an Auton.
    • Amy and Rory are married now.
    • The universe rebooted.
    • The Doctor is now aware of someone trying to ensure "silence will fall".
  • Wham Line:
    • "You know there's no such thing as stars."
    • "OK, kid. This is where it gets complicated."
    • "You're my mum!"
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Auton!Rory makes the choice to stay on the slow path and spend 1894 years alone guarding a box because his human values are even more important now that he is not human.
  • What Year Is This?: A different version than the usual when Amy works out the year by looking at the height and hairstyle of her child self.
  • Who Are You?:
    • Amy naturally avoids this question when she realises she's talking to her younger self.
    • And then there's the Doctor asking this of River Song at the end:
      The Doctor: River... Who are you?
      River: You're going to find out very soon, now. And I'm sorry, but that's when everything changes. [zaps out]