Doctor Who Season Five Episode Guide
Episode One: The Eleventh Hour (8.0)
In Matt Smithís first outing as the Eleventh Doctor in Doctor Who, we get to see the Doctor as he gets used to his new body and discovers his likes and dislikes, all while an escaped alien is taking refuge in a small English town. Meanwhile, the alien prison guards are ready to destroy the Earth if they canít find the prisoner.
Best Moment: There were a lot of nice moments, but probably my favourite was seeing him call back the Atraxi. Not only does he call out the Atraxi for wanting to blow up the Earth, but he makes it implicitly clear that many others have tried and he is the reason that they have failed.
Verdict: Lets face it, David Tenant left some pretty large shoes to fill. Itís understandable that a lot of people, myself included, were a little wary of the news that a twenty-something, little-known actor could play the next Doctor Who. The fact is however, that Smith seems to be channeling Tenant, Baker and many other earlier incarnations of the Doctor. Mr. Moffat, Iím sorry, I should never have doubted your ability in picking the next Doctor. As for Karen Gillan who plays the Eleventh Doctorís companion, Amy, only time will tell how well the two actors play off each other, but so far they certainly make for an interesting team. Going back to Mr. Moffat, this was of course, another major change for New Who, with Stephen Moffat taking over from Russell T. Davies. He certainly is making his mark with a new/old school TARDIS design (which I liked) and a new title sequence (which I could have done without). While this first episode certainly isnít up there with Moffatís other great episodes, like Blink, there are certainly elements of previous Moffat episodes in this story, such as Girl in the Fireplace, and of course, Blink. Sure the episode has its faults. The scene where the Doctorís trying food with the young Amelia, while funny, is way too long. And the story of Prisoner Zero is a touch too thin, but there was a lot to pack into this first episode. Overall, the episode felt refreshing after the more somber outings weíve seen towards the end of the Tenth Doctorís run. Itís nice to see an exuberant, less world-weary, Doctor who wants to share his adventures with someone. I think itís fair to say that the new Who is safe in Stephen Moffatís and Matt Smithís very capable hands.
Episode Two: The Beast Below (7.5)
The Doctor and Amyís first outer space adventure takes them to a spaceship where the people of the United Kingdom (except Scotland) live while they search for a new place to settle down.
Best Moment: Without a doubt the best moment has to go to the end of the episode when the Doctor gets a phone call from a former Prime Minister of Britain with a bit of a problem on his hands.
Verdict: An interesting episode that shows Amy and the Doctor starting to get to know each other. Amy begins to learn more about the Doctorís past, namely that he is the last of the Timelords, and that he is not human. Interestingly we, the audience, learn that the Doctor doesnít look human, we look Timelord. This episode still gives us a refreshingly exuberant Doctor, but he is tempered by his past as Moffat deftly melds his ideas of the new Doctor with the baggage that RTDís Doctor has been carrying around for some time. The episode itself is standard Doctor Who fare, except this time, instead of the Doctor being the one to resolve the situation, it is Amy, the companion, who quickly realises what needs to be done. Is Amy my favourite Who companion? Thatís too soon to judge. But from what weíve seen so far, it is clear that if Moffat has anything to say about it, Amy will be the most fleshed out companion that the Doctor has ever had. The episode introduces us to a new foe called the Smilers, who are pretty darn creepy. And yet, they really didnít factor into the story very much. Maybe weíll see them again in later episodes. As with RTDís Who, weíre starting to see a through-storyline. Last episode we had the crack that Prisoner Zero escaped through. And this episode showed us a crack yet again. What does it all mean? Tune in next week to find out.
Episode Three: Victory of the Daleks (6.5)
The Doctor and Amy arrive during the Blitz to discover that Churchill has uncovered a secret weapon to defeating the Third Reich. Too bad the secret weapon is committed to destroying anything non-Dalek.
Best Moment: The Doctor keeping the Dalekís at bay using just his intellect and a Jammy Dodger.
Verdict: The Daleks have been brought on board to kick a little Nazi arse. What could be better? Unfortunately, the episode goes downhill from there leading to the most disappointing episode so far. In truth, the Daleks are difficult to ever get right. There are only a few successful episodes I can think of that dealt with the Daleks. RTD wrote himself into a bit of a corner by making the Doctor the last of the Timelords, and having there be no more Daleks. This worked great in the Eccelston episode where we see a solitary Dalek being kept in a museum. This was a shock to the audience who had thus far been told that the Daleks werenít going to appear in the new series. Trouble is, now every few episodes, we get more Daleks- so much for there being no more Daleks. In a way, Moffat deals with this by bringing these new and improved Daleks into play. And he defies expectations by letting the Daleks actually win, and thus go out into the universe. Presumably, when the Doctor next meets with them, they will no longer be the last of the Daleks, but be part of a large fighting force. For this I think Stephen Moffat deserves some kudos. Unfortunately, the episode was quite problematic in itself. The new Rainbow-Daleks just scream "merchandising opportunity." And while I love the WWII Dalek, do we really need a Dalek in every colour? Then of course there is the Spitfire dog fight with a Dalek ship. Had there been a line in the episode mentioning that this was something they were already testing, I couldíve bought it, but as such it appears to take mere minutes for the Spitfire to be modified for space travel, which requires far more than just a slight suspension of disbelief. Matt Smith also seemed a little off his game this episode. Unlike the previous two episodes, I just wasnít buying into the fact that the Daleks were his mortal enemy, who he let live, in order to save the Earth. The most interesting aspect of the episode lies in the fact that Amy appears to have no previous knowledge of the Dalek. Could this crack in the universe mean that Amy is from a parallel world? Perhaps. I can only hope that weíll see a return to form next week, as we learn more about Amy Pond and the crack in the universe.
Episode Four: The Time of Angels (7.0)
This episode of Doctor Who brings the return of both the Weeping Angels from Blink and River Song from Silence in the Library.
Best Moment: Probably the moment where Amy is alone watching the recorded footage of the angel (supposedly on a loop)... only it isnít a loop, and as it turns out, this angel has a few more tricks up its sleeve than the ones we saw on Blink.
Verdict: When I first heard that the Weeping Angels were making a return to the Who universe, I was pretty excited. Blink has been the best episode of new Who, hands down. Strangely, this felt less like Blink and more like Silence in the Library, not just because of River Songís return, but also in the style of storytelling. Which isnít to say itís a bad thing, but it is a bit of a disappointment. Still, we got to see a lot more backstory with River Song, which continues to tantalize us with hints such as the fact that she was in prison. And I must say that I was impressed with the pacing of this story. Most Who episodes that are two-parters always feel a little too stretched out. This one didnít. Instead Moffat packed so much story into this first episode that Iíll probably have to re-watch it just to make sure I didnít miss anything the first time around!
Episode Five: Flesh and Stone (8.0)
The episode picks up directly from the previous episode as the Doctor, Amy, River Song and a group of Cleric-Soldiers attempt to escape the clutches of the Weeping Angels.
Best Moment: Best scary moment was surely Amy trying to make her way through the forest with her eyes closed and surrounded by Angels. Meanwhile, best comedic moment has to be at the end with Amy throwing herself at the Doctor for one night of passion.
Verdict: This was a very solid conclusion. Normally, I'm not keen on the two-parters, they always seem to be stretched out. That was certainly not the case with either of these two episodes. Moffat managed to get the characters out of one scrape with the Angels, and then immediately led into (and was connected to) the crack in the universe. There had been some fears that this storyline would be dragged on throughout the season. Luckily this is not the case, as the Doctor quickly realises that not only is this crack connected to Amy, but it is directly connected to the date of her wedding. I thought both Amy and the Doctor were again fantastic. Iím not so keen on the whole companion falling for the Doctor thing, but not only did it make sense based on the situation she had just found herself in, but it was handled in such a fun screwball fashion that even I could forgive a retread of this plotline. One major mystery that did not get resolved is River Song. There are hints that she may have killed the Doctor and thatís why she was in prison. I suspect that thereís more to this story, but Moffat seems content to take his own sweet time on this particular plot point.
Episode Six: Vampires of Venice (7.5)
After Amy comes onto him, the Doctor appears at Rory's (Amy's fiance) stag party to take the happy couple on a date. And if you're a Time Lord, where else are you going to go but to sixteenth century Venice.
Best Moment: Without a question the best moment award has to go to the Doctor's entrance inside a giant cake, meant for the stripper at Rory's party. Best silly moment would probably be the Doctor's Batman-like climb up the tower to save the city.
Verdict: Aside from the fact that the creatures were in fact aliens and not vampires, and that leading everybody to believe they were vampires was purely for the audiences benefit, this was a great episode. It's not often we get to see the Doctor with two companions, and I think Rory handled himself quite well. He immediately grasped the whole TARDIS bigger on the inside thing (much to the Doctor's dismay) and was able to fend off alien fish creatures. Amy of course continues to dazzle as the Doctor's companion and really shows that she can handle herself in a situation. The story with the fish creatures was interesting. I like it when we have a sympathetic villain. Rosanna Calvieri isn't interested in power. She merely wants to save her race. Her opinion is simply "what's once city if it means saving an entire race?" Of course, by saving Venice the Doctor condemns her people to death which means yet another race that the Doctor is responsible for seeing go extinct. There's some nice funny moments in the episode, cake bursting aside, like the Doctor's "I knew you were going to say that!" just when they're about to be overrun with bad guys. Or Amy complaining about being tired of running down corridors. We also hear more about the crack in the universe- except now it's not just one crack, but many cracks. What will this mean? I don't know, but something tells me that we shouldn't worry too much because this Doctor is more than capable of saving us.
Episode Seven: Amy's Choice (8.5)
The Doctor, Amy and Rory find themselves stuck between two separate worlds: one in which it is five years in the future and Amy and Rory are married and expecting a baby, and the other in which the TARDIS is out of power. The trouble is, which one is the real world?
Best Moment: I must admit, I did like the bit in Upper Ledworth when Rory is forced to beat away the zombified (alienified?) old people. Very funny. Also loved Toby Jones as the Dream Lord- hope to see more of him in the future!
Verdict: I actually thoroughly enjoyed this episode. Who doesn't love elderly pod people? Certainly, there wasn't quite the same jeopardy since it was obvious that the Upper Ledworth world was a dream world, but what tight storytelling! This was the perfect character piece, and hopefully we'll get to see more of this type of storytelling in upcoming episodes of Dr. Who. How cool was it to see the frozen TARDIS without any power! Not only that, but we got to see a lot more of the TARDIS than we've seen so far. Web Monkey Rob did correctly guess close to the end that they were in fact both dream worlds, but it still made for some excellent storytelling. And how intriguing is it that the Dream Lord is actually the Doctor's psyche. It's been clear since Matt Smith's Doctor arrived that he's a bit different. In a lot of scenes we see a barely contained anger. With the Dream Lord we were able to get more insight into this rage, and also just how the Doctor really sees himself. Truly this was a thoroughly enjoyable episode and one of my favourite so far.
Episode Eight: The Hungry Earth (7.5)
Arriving in the seemingly calm welsh countryside, the Doctor, Rory and Amy discover that a team of scientists are busy drilling down, further into the earth than anyone has drilled before. Except, while they're drilling down, something else is drilling its way up to the surface.
Best Moment: Probably towards the end of the episode when the Doctor realises just how big the Silurian ďsettlementĒ is and that perhaps he might have his work cut out for him.
Verdict: Another thoroughly enjoyable episode, continuing on with the theme of a much darker Who. We have the welcome return of the Silurians. The new Who has brought the Daleks out so many times now, it really doesn't excite anymore. But the Silurians, now this is a ďvillainĒ to bring back. Another theme we see emerging in these episodes is that the villains aren't the same black and white, moustache twirling villains. After all, the Silurians were the original inhabitants of Earth. It only makes sense that they want their home back. As for the rest of the episode, by trapping the inhabitants of the small mining community together and cutting the power, we got a real dark and dangerous episode. Who else felt reminded of Predator while watching this episode? And then of course, we have the dire warning that the captured Silurian would be killed by one of the humans. I think I can already guess who that might be. Still, it's interesting to see the characters with such mixtures of grey. Stephen Moffat does this type of characterization extremely well. With Amy captured by the Silurians, it's up to the Doctor and Nasreen, one of the scientists, to put an end to the hostilities.
Episode Nine: Cold Blood (8.5)
Following on from the Hungry Earth, the Doctor must help put together a peace accord between the Silurian race and the humans.
Best Moment: Gosh, that's a tough one. I loved the scene with Amy and Nasreen in talks with Sildane so that the humans and Silurians could live together peacefully. I loved the warring factions of the Silurians. And of course, who didn't love/gasp at the last five minutes or so of the episode? Between Rory's shocking demise and the Doctor pulling out a piece of the TARDIS from the crack, the writers have given us plenty of food for thought as we anxiously await next week's episode.
Verdict: A thoroughly enjoyable two parter. As I've mentioned before, I've never been a fan of the two-parter Dr Who episodes (yes, even the ones penned by Steven Moffat himself!) but I'm really enjoying the pacing in this new series, even with the two-parters. This episode has a different feel to the previous episode. The previous episode was like your classic 50s monster movie, with the people of a small rural community trapped in the dark while being hunted by alien creatures. Part two was quite a bit different as we got to learn more about Silurian culture. It's no surprise that the Silurians and humans aren't able to come together- although I almost thought they might, given that the humans on Who have already seen aliens, so why not homo reptilians? I did think it was cool that Nasreen got to stay to help negotiate terms in 1000 years. Here's to hoping that we'll get to see more of this interesting race in future episodes. As for Rory's demise. Well I can't say how shocking that was. This would be the first time in the new series that a companion of the Doctor has been killed. And then for him to disappear because of the crack- how heart breaking is that! But still, I can't forget that we did see future Rory and Amy in the previous episode. Between that and the engagement ring which is still somewhere in the TARDIS, I'm certain that we'll eventually see Rory return. Well, I hope so anyway, he was growing on me! As for the Doctor pulling out a piece of the TARDIS, one wonders what this signifies. Did the TARDIS cause the crack in the universe? It's certainly what it implies. Again, I guess we shall have to wait and see.
Episode 10: Vincent and the Doctor (7.5)
In an attempt to cheer Amy up, the Doctor decides to take her to the Musee D'Orsay only to discover a sinister being depicted in one of Van Gogh's paintings causing him to decide that they need to travel back in time to help the troubled artist.
Best Moment: There were a lot of nice moments in this episode, but I did really enjoy the scenes with the identification machine. I also loved how they transformed the night sky into Starry Night which is one of my favourite Van Gogh paintings.
Verdict: I suppose some may feel as though this episode is a bit of a letdown after the shocking ending the previous week. Personally, I thought it was a fun episode. Certainly, I had a few pet peeves- Van Gogh sounds Scottish? Really?? And I know this is a children's television program, but seriously what about the ear? They wouldn't have to have been too graphic with it. It was surprising given the strong effort the writers made to pay homage to Van Gogh. Oh well. I did think it was interesting how they had Van Gogh able to perceive what no one else, not even the Doctor, could see. And yet another villain is actually just misunderstood. This seems to be a recurring theme in Moffat's Who, and I'm very much enjoying these shades of grey. I predicted that the Doctor would try and take Van Gogh to the future to show him how the world perceives his work. I also predicted that it would do him no good. Even the Doctor can't win a fight with someone else's inner demons. This episode was a nice lull after the previous episode, which I'm willing to bet, means that next week's episode will probably be more story-arc related!
Episode Eleven: The Lodger (7.5)
While Amy is stuck in a TARDIS unable to land, the Doctor is forced to rent out a room while he learns more about the mysterious force upstairs that is causing the TARDIS to go haywire.
Best Moment: There were lots of fun moments as the Doctor tries to blend in such as his air kisses and his explanation (or lack) of why his name is the Doctor. And who didnít love to see Matt Smith showing off the skills that almost made him a professional footballer rather than the Doctor? But I did love the bit when Amy inadvertently discovers her engagement ring.
Verdict: Overall, it was a thoroughly light and enjoyable episode. Iím sure there were those that will be disappointed at not getting more story arc this episode. Not to mention those that were disappointed at being subjected to football when theyíre trying to get away from World Cup fever but I thought it was pretty cool. Itís always interesting to see just how the Doctor is perceived by those that arenít in the know. And in this he drives his new roommate just about bonkers. Luckily he makes up for it in the end by getting his roomie, Craig, to admit his feelings to his girl friend, and also save said girlfriend. I wish we couldíve learned more about the mysterious person trying to build a TARDIS. That part of the story was actually more under-developed, which Iím hoping just means that weíll be seeing more of this at a later date. Anyhoo, despite not being the major plot-filled story everyone might have been expecting, it was still yet another enjoyable outing in an already outstanding series of Dr Who.
Episode Twelve: The Pandorica Opens (9.0)
A Van Gogh painting of the TARDIS exploding sets off a series of circumstances which cause River Song, the Doctor and Amy to meet up in Romano Britain in search for the mysterious Pandorica.
Best Moment: So many cool moments to mention! I loved Riverís appearance pretending to be Cleopatra. Also love the Roman general who later points out that Cleopatra is in Egypt... and dead. I loved the appearance of Rory as the mysterious Roman soldier. I also enjoyed the freaky Cyberman attack. Oh, and of course I loved/hated the scene between Amy and Not-Rory as she begins to remember him.
Verdict: Utterly brilliant. Iím not sure how Steven Moffat plans to top this episode! Frankly, Iím not quite sure how Steven Moffat plans to get his heroes out of this situation. We have the Cybermen, the Daleks, the Sontarans, the Auton and many other races joining up in some kind of evil league of evil.... to stop the Doctor, who they believe will destroy the universe. How cool is that! And the Pandorica, the Romano Britains, even Rory, is all simply part of a huge trap taken from a memory imprint of Amy. The Doctor of course understands the true cause of the cracks in the universe but is unable to do anything about it as he is being forced into the Pandorica while River is trapped in a TARDIS thatís about to explode. And poor old Amy? Sheís been shot by Rory (whoís really an Auton) just minutes after remembering who he is! Now of course, we know River will be okay since the events of The Time of Angels is later in her timeline. And surely Amy and Rory arenít gonna end like this. There must of course be some kind of reset switch for these events. I canít for the life of me imagine what Steven Moffat has in store for us next. An utterly brilliant penultimate episode!
Episode Thirteen: The Big Bang (8.5)
Following the dramatic events of the previous week, the series finale picks up some 2000 years later, as a young Amelia Pond is guided to open the Pandorica.
Best Moment: Who didnít think that River Song was bad ass when she had a Dalek pleading for mercy. Loved the story arc with Rory waiting 2000 years to protect the Pandorica. Enjoyed the Masters of the Universe-esque moment when Amy wakes up and her parents are back.
Verdict: A thoroughly head spinning episode that will surely require a re-watch of the entire fifth series to really see the depth of planning that went into this masterpiece of a series. This was definitely the most timey-wimey episode so far, with the Doctor hopping back and forth through time in order to tell Rory what to do so that Amy can survive in the Pandorica. And poor Rory, after having gone through so much for Amy... and yet still Amyís just a tad on the mean side to him. Itís true! But she loves him and marries him in the end, so itís all cool. Getting back to the main story... it was nice to have little Amelia Pond back. It very much brought the series full circle. I loved the Dalek in the British Museum. First of all, I loved seeing the Dalek remains in the museum, but then the sinister Dalek brought to life by the Pandorica was very cool. Iím not a fan of using the Daleks these days, but this one managed to be sufficiently menacing even if he did end up pleading for his life. River Song continues to remain an enigma, but there is now the strong promise of answers which Iím very much looking forward to learning. The re-set button in the story that we all knew would have to be flipped to un-do everything that had happened in previous episodes actually made some sense to the story. And what a great way to go back and see what was really going on in previous episodes like Flesh and Stone. Still, the episode left us with plenty of questions. Most importantly, what caused the TARDIS to explode in the first place? Itís an unusual ending in that so much is left unanswered but judging by the planning that went into this series, you can be sure that Steven Moffat and his team know full well what is supposed to happen in the sixth series.
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