Doctor Who/Recap/S31/E12 The Pandorica Opens

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< Doctor Who‎ | Recap‎ | S31

First part of the season finale, penned by Steven Moffat.

The episode opens in France, 1890. Vincent van Gogh is ill and screaming his head off, and the entire town can hear him. His doctor explains to Vincent's landlord that he's ill, but she's more concerned about his new painting. It's weirder than usual.

Cabinet War Rooms, 1941. The Allies have found a painting in Arles, and it's confirmed as a genuine Van Gogh. After seeing the painting, Winston Churchill gets on the phone to the Doctor. River Song, in a 51st Century prison, gets the call instead (relayed by the TARDIS) and breaks out after talking to Churchill. She makes her way to the Royal Gallery, and gets caught nicking the painting by Liz Ten, who lets her go after she sees the painting. River then is able to procure a vortex manipulator fresh off the wrist of a Time Agent (well, not exactly...) after a bit of haggling, and, well, travels in time.

We join the Doctor, who's taking Amy to the oldest planet in the universe. There's a message on the cliff side that no-one's ever translated, but that changes today. "Why today?", Amy asks. Because of the TARDIS' Translator Microbes, answers the Doctor. They open the doors, and see in fifty foot letters, you guessed it, "Hello Sweetie!". River's also left the Doctor some co-ordinates, which take the TARDIS to Roman Britain (102AD), where River's playing Cleopatra. As soon as the Doctor gets there, we finally get a peek at the painting; it's the TARDIS. And it's exploding. ...Ah.

Luckily, Vincent has left date and map references on the painting. The painting's name? "The Pandorica Opens". The Doctor insists that it's a fairytale, while River argues that if it is real, it's here, it's opening and it's related to the TARDIS going kaboom.

Cut to the trio on horseback, riding to Stonehenge. River and Amy have a Timey-Wimey conversation about their goodbye last time; "I'll see you again when the Pandorica opens," River had said. Maybe she did say that. But she hasn't yet. Maybe she will have. They move aside a stone and go under Stonehenge. Inside, they find a box carved with complicated patterns and symbols: the Pandorica. More than just a fairytale, then. Something's trapped inside there, a goblin or a trickster or a warrior soaked in the blood of a thousand galaxies. "The most feared being of all the cosmos", the Doctor says. Indestructible, can't be caught or reasoned with; it would just drop out of the sky and tear down their world. How did it get caught? Like all fairytales, a good wizard came and tricked him. Amy takes a moment to mention that it's a bit like Pandora's Box, her favourite book when she was a kid; all the bad things trapped inside it that came into the world when the box opened. Hell, even the name's similar. This arouses the Doctor's suspicion: Amy's favourite subject at school, the Romans, and now her favourite childhood book. Never overlook a coincidence. Unless you're busy, then always overlook a coincidence.

And it's opening from the inside, breaking all kinds of locks and safe-holders; what could get past all that? What could inspire that level of fear? And moreover, how did Vincent van Gogh know about it, since he won't even be alive for another few centuries? Well, Stonehenge is broadcasting a warning to everyone, everywhere and everywhen; the Pandorica is opening.

Wait a minute: a message to everyone, everywhere? So, who else is coming?


At least 10,000 starships—but it could be 100,000, a million, a hundred million; the scanners are going into overload. A voice comes through; Daleks. Dalek battleships, at least 12,000 armed to the teeth. But they can surprise them; three of them against 12,000 battleships and they'll be killed... you know what, never mind. And then Cybermen, too; but we can turn them against each other, the Daleks are so angry they'll fight anyone! But there's more coming through: Sontarans, the Slitheen family, Judoon, Roboform, Chelonians, Nestene, Drahvi, Sycorax, Zygons, Atraxi, Draconians. And they're all here for the Pandorica. What could it possibly be? Everything that's ever hated the Doctor is coming for him tonight. River tells him to run, just this once, just run; he can't win, he can't even fight.

But they have the greatest fighting force in the history of the earth with them: the Romans. River rides back to get help, but it's not easy; the general has seen through her Cleopatra gig. It mainly has to do with the real Cleo being in Egypt and, well, dead (for 130 years, actually). But don't worry, a faceless, voiceless Roman soldier appears in the doorway to help. Who could it possibly be?

Back to Underhenge. The Doctor keeps scanning the Box, when Amy pulls out the ring. "Are you proposing to someone?" she asks. Well, no. It was a friend of his, the Doctor says, someone he lost. He tries to coax Amy into remembering Rory: sometimes, people fall out of the world, but they leave things behind; faces in photographs, half-eaten meals, luggage, rings. Nothing is ever completely forgotten; if they can be remembered they can come back. And the night he picked Amy up—her house was too big, too many empty rooms. Doesn't it bother her that her life doesn't make any sense?

Suddenly, something is shooting at them and the Doctor needs to get a closer look. He has a brilliant plan --


Amy runs out in front while the Doctor gets behind it, tackling it to the ground and disabling it. He warns Amy to stay where she is, while a disembodied Cyberhead approaches behind her. It's crawling and scrabbling around on its wires, and tangling around her wrists (at which point the dessicated human head is ejected) while the arm electrocutes the Doctor. She slams it against a stone wall, but before she can escape, a sleeping dart is shot into her neck. "YOU WILL BE ASSIMILATED." The Cyberman proper walks in and picks up its head.

Amy manages to stumble behind a big door and shut it. It rattles a bit and falls open, revealing the Cyberman with a sword stabbed through it and pinned to the wood. Amy passes out, but Rory, in full Roman gear, catches her and carries her out. The Doctor scans her and starts babbling, looking at two huge Cyberguns; Cybermen, Cyberweapons, why is one of them in there, was it locked in by one of its own? But there's something right in his face that he's missing, something right in front of him, something big. He'll get it in a minute. He walks away from Rory and—Wait.

He pokes Rory quite apprehensively. Not to be rude, but Rory died and was erased from time. Turns out, Rory doesn't really have an answer either. He just died and became a Roman centurion. It's sort of distracting. He walks over to the sleeping Amy. "Did she miss me?" Oh, Rory.

There's commotion above them before the Doctor can answer, and the sky above Stonehenge is filled with all kinds of alien spaceships. They're surrounded. The Doctor tells River to get the TARDIS to him, while he grabs the scanner and shouts into it. He addresses each and every single one of the starships: could they all stop whizzing about please, because "I! AM! TALKING!". Who's got the Pandorica? He does, next question. Who's coming to take it? Look at him:

"No plans, no backup, no weapons worth a damn. Oh, and something else I don't have: anything to lose. So, if you're sitting up there with your silly little spaceships and your silly little guns and you've any plans on taking the Pandorica tonight; just remember who's standing in your way. Remember every black day I ever stopped you and then, AND THEN, do the smart thing. [[[Beat]]] Let somebody else try first."

And the aliens must have dropped the Villain Ball, because they all get the hell out. Well, for half an hour, anyway. To decide who gets to take the first shot.

On the TARDIS, River is having some problems. It's not dematerialising right, and it can't be controlled.

Back to Stonehenge where Amy's waking up. She bumps into Rory and recognises him as the guy who... did the... swordy thing. The Doctor sends her up to get some fresh air. Rory is rather traumatized and angsts for a bit before the Doctor shuts him up and tosses Rory the ring. There's no explanation to this; Rory was eaten up by a crack in time and space and now he's here with a head full of Roman memories. It's unexplainable, and to be honest, rather distracting, but the Universe is big and sometimes impossible things just happen and people call them miracles. The Doctor's never seen one, but this is close enough. Rory goes after Amy.

The TARDIS and River have landed, but the screen is showing a mess of nothing. River goes out the door when the screen cracks, and suddenly a creepy voice from nowhere announces "silence will fall". They've landed outside Amy's house on June 26, 2010. The door's been broken wide open and there are burn marks on the grass. In Amy's room, River finds a picture book of Romans and Pandora's Box. They're exactly the same Roman soldiers from Stonehenge; maybe they're illusions, maybe they're cover-ups, but they were created from Amy's memories. Then she notices a photo of Amy and Rory together, the latter dressed as a centurion, and we realize that Rory is also a construct.

Rory tries to get Amy to remember him. She's crying, but she doesn't know why. She's happy, but why is she happy?

The TARDIS is still uncontrollable, the doors won't open, and again that creepy voice from nowhere that says "silence will fall". The Pandorica gives off a high-pitched whine and suddenly all the Romans stop. Including Rory. A light comes from the Pandorica, and when the Romans start up again, the ones underground are frogmarching the Doctor towards it. In reality, the Romans are perfected Autons, part of the Nestene consciousness, made to forget what they really were—until it was time. Rory's struggling to keep hold of his humanity, while trying to get Amy away. "I'm Rory! I'm Rory! I'm Rory --"

"-- Williams. From Leadworth. My boyfriend. How could I ever forget you?" Oh, Amy.

Underground, Daleks have appeared, along with Cybermen, Judoon, Sontarans, etc. The Pandorica opens. It is ready. For the Doctor. Above ground, Rory's lost his hold and shoots Amy while clinging to her.

The aliens watch while the Doctor is dragged into the Pandorica. River re-wires the TARDIS. Amy dies.

Daleks, Cybermen, Sontarans; they've all formed an alliance against the Doctor. They have deduced that the cracks in time are threatening reality and erasing all other universes, and that they have spawned from the explosion of the TARDIS. They're here to save reality from the Doctor under the (false) logic that only he can pilot the TARDIS, shutting him in the Pandorica (while he shouts desperately) in hopes that the TARDIS won't explode without him around. Elsewhere in time and space, River opens the TARDIS doors to... a slab of concrete, as behind her the ship starts to explode. "I'm sorry, my love." The alliance has failed. We zoom out from Rory holding Amy's body, a shot of the Earth against stars and galaxies exploding until all fades out in a black void of nothingness --

And then the background music stops, mid-note.

Silence has fallen.[1]


  • All There in the Manual: Steven Moffat said that the Cybermen seen in this episode, despite the fact that they have the Cybus logo on their chest, are in fact the Mondas Cybermen. The only reason they look that way is a low budget.
  • Arc Words: "The Pandorica Opens" are wrapped up here, since it does open.
  • Apocalypse How: Class Z. It'll be as if the universe never existed.
  • Apologetic Attacker: Rory is forced to kill Amy, apologising all the time.
  • Back from the Dead: Subverted. Rory has returned as an Auton doppelgänger with his memories.
  • Badass Abnormal: Rory, since he is actually an Auton.
  • Badass Boast: Eleven delivers his best speech here, telling everyone fighting over the Pandorica to remember just how many times he's beaten each of them, and to do the smart thing..."Let someone else try first."
  • Badass Normal: At first, Rory-as-Legionary seems like this. And then it turns out that he's actually an Auton...
  • Batman Gambit: The villains spread rumours of the Pandorica across space and time to trick the Doctor into going there.
  • Beethoven Was an Alien Spy: "I hate good wizards in fairy tales. They always turn out to be him." Also a possible Shout-Out to the Seventh Doctor story Battlefield, where the Doctor was revealed to be Merlin.
    • It may be worth noting at this point that the Doctor's fate at the end of the episode is quite similar to Merlin's (sealed in an impenetrable cave / castle of air / whatever for the whole of eternity) and may lead to thematically similar results (without Merlin, Arthur's Britain falls; without the Doctor, the universe will cease to exist).
  • Big Damn Heroes: Rory-as-Legionary manages to kill the Cyberman in the crypt in the nick of time.
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: River, the Doctor/Rory and Amy.
  • Body Horror: The Cyberman helmet tries to assimilate Amy. Does it remind you of anything?
  • Buffy-Speak: "Hey you! You did the swordy thing!" "Thanks for the swordy."
    • Rory also gets one, too: "... and then I was here, a Roman, a proper Roman, head full of Roman... stuff."
  • Call Back:
  • Catch Phrase: No River Song episode is complete without "Hello, Sweetie" (always in a place you would never expect to find it) and "Spoilers!"
  • Chekhov's Gun: The ring that's been mounted on the fireplace is finally fired.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: That black-market salesman with micro-explosives in his drink? The blue, fat one? He's only a one-off character, right? Wrong. Meet Dorium Maldovar, a blue, fat black-market salesman who is rather important in the next season.
  • Combat Tentacles: A Cyberman head located outside the Pandorica has a bunch of wires which function similarly.
  • Consummate Liar: As we learn much, much later, River is lying when she tells the Doctor that he taught her to fly the TARDIS.
  • Continuity Nod Porn: The Doctor's Academy Nickname, ΘΣ or Theta Sigma, first mentioned as far back as the Fourth Doctor serial "The Armageddon Factor", is part of River's message.
    • The Doctor's "No plans, no backup, no weapons worth a damn!" calls back to "The Parting of the Ways", way back in Series 1.
    • The episode is a "direct sequel", according to Moffat, to every episode except "Amy's Choice":
      • The episode, from the Doctor's perspective, takes place very shortly after "The Lodger".
      • The episode also takes place at around the same wibbly-wobbly time as "Vampires of Venice".
      • Part of the episode takes place shortly after the end of "The Eleventh Hour" and "Flesh and Stone".
      • The episode takes place before "The Time of Angels" and "Flesh and Stone" from River's perspective.
      • The Atraxi ("The Eleventh Hour"), Daleks ("Victory of the Daleks") and Silurians ("The Hungry Earth"/"Cold Blood") are part of the Alliance.
      • Van Gogh ("Vincent and the Doctor"), Winston Churchill ("Victory of the Daleks"), and Liz 10 ("The Beast Below") play the part of message couriers.
    • A possible one to "The Idiot's Lantern", of all things, with the big I. AM. TALKING! bellow to every ship in the sky.
      • Alternately, it could be to "Rose" when the Doctor said pretty much the same thing. Plus the Autons were involved then too.
    • River gets a Vortex Manipulator fresh off the wrist of a handsome Time Agent (the people Captain Jack used to work for). Except it's on the wrist, so not Jack himself unless he got a new wrist.
    • The Doctor sonics a severed but animate arm to deactivate it, only to have it come back to life and attack him. At least this time he realizes the possibility of it playing possum.
    • The Doctor's fate resembles Merlin's (trapped forever in an impenetrable prison by someone who uses his own power against him). In the Seventh Doctor episode Battlefield, the Doctor turns out to be Merlin. He probably should have paid attention to the end of that particular story...
    • The Under-henge's background music also contains a lot of cues from the Cyberman stories of the Tenth Doctor.
    • The Doctor's speech to scare off the alien fleet is possibly what River will/was referring to when she tells the Tenth Doctor "Armies will flee in your wake" in Forest of the Dead.
    • In "The Eleventh Hour", Rory told us that Amy had him dress up as the Doctor. We learn in this episode that he also dressed up as a Roman (in the photo).
    • So basically he's spent his life catering to her fantasies? That's gonna be one interesting marriage....
  • Conviction by Counterfactual Clue: In-universe example: "Only the Doctor can pilot the TARDIS."
  • Darkest Hour: To catalog: Amy is dead, Rory's the undead auton who killed her, the Doctor's locked in the perfect prison, River's exploding, the crack in Amy's wall is about to devour all of time and space, and that's because these things are all true. It could only be worse if there were snakes in here.
  • Deadly Hug: Auton-Rory does this to Amy, who refuses to flee despite his increasingly desperate warnings.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Yeah, I think you probably are.
  • Dissimile: The Doctor uses one to explain what the Cybermen do: "It's just like being an organ donor, except you're alive and sort of...screaming."
  • Downer Ending
  • Eldritch Abomination: The Pandorica was built to hold "a nameless, terrible thing, soaked in the blood of a billion galaxies:" the Doctor.
  • The End Of Everything As We Know It: The end of the episode - the whole universe is Ret-Gone.
  • Failed a Spot Check: Lampshaded. "I'm not exactly one to miss the obvious..." and, a few seconds later, "Missing something obvious, Rory, something big, something right slap in front of me, I can feel it!" "Yeah, I think you probably are..." "I'll get it in a minute!" He does. And "it" is that the guy he's talking to died and was erased from time quite a while ago. The look on his face is priceless.
  • Foregone Conclusion: River has favourable memories of the events pertaining to the Pandorica, as established in each of the two stories we've seen connected to her. Then again, this is Who; Timey-Wimey and all that...
  • Fridge Logic: "Does it ever bother you, Amy, that your life doesn't make any sense?", for an In-Universe example.
  • Funny Background Event: During the Doctor's phonecall with River, while she's at Amy's house, you can see a Roman briefly wielding the Cyberman's weapon, trying to look Badass.
  • Good-Looking Privates: Fans love Rory's Roman military uniform. Gives him character, finally.
    • In-universe, so does Amy. He came back as a Roman because she loves Rory and she loves Romans. He's her perfect man incarnate as Roman-Rory.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Rory wants to know which Roman gave Amy her blanket.
  • Heroic Willpower: What Rory uses to stop himself killing Amy. And then, he falters for a moment. Possibly he faltered because he was distracted because he was so happy that Amy recognized him?
  • Hidden Villain: Even though we know how they caused the cracks (by destroying the TARDIS), we still don't know who the real Big Bad is.
  • Hope Spot: The Aliens are scared of the Doctor's Badass Boast! Rory's been brought back! Haha, no.
  • Humanity Ensues: Auton-Rory is the only one to fight his programming.
  • Ironic Echo: Variation - the message relayed by the one-off heroes at the beginning turns out to have been sent by the Legion of Doom pretending to respond to it.
    • According to River, the Doctor usually turns out to be "the good wizard". Turns out, this time he's the "goblin, or a trickster, soaked in the blood of a billion galaxies."
      • Oh, and like the story, he's tricked. Big time.
  • Instant Sedation: Averted, Amy takes a long time to go down after being hit with a tranquilizer, and feels significant affects before she goes down.
  • Kansas City Shuffle: The entire legend of the Pandorica is just a cover story for the villain alliance's plan to lure the Doctor to the Pandorica and trap him inside. By doing this, they aim to stop the cracks destroying the universe.
  • Landmarking the Hidden Base: Stonehenge
  • Large Ham: The Doctor's Badass Boast speech. And it is awesome.

The Doctor: Could you lot just stay still for a minute cause IIIII! AAAAAAAMM! TAAALKIIIIING!

  • Legion of Doom: The Daleks, Cybermen, the Sontarans, the Judoon, the Hoix, the Weevils and the Blowfish, the Uvodni, the Sycorax, the Silurians, the Autons and Nestenes, the Atraxi, the Terileptils, the Draconians, the Roboform, Slitheen, the Drahvins and the Chelonians (from the Doctor Who Expanded Universe) have all joined forces to attempt to prevent the explosion of the TARDIS and thus The End of the World as We Know It by imprisoning the Doctor in the Pandorica. "Attempt" being the keyword here. Also counts as an Enemy Mine for the Daleks and Cybermen in regards to "Doomsday".
    • Of note is that the Atraxi, Weevils, Uvodni and the Blowfish are merely easily-missed extras in crowd shots whereas the Terileptil, Draconians, Drahvins, Chelonians and Slitheen only "appear" as name-checks by River.
      • River also mentions the Haemogoth, an obscure race that were only mentioned in a recent novel.
    • Well Intentioned Extremists
    • Big Damn Villains: The intergalactic coalition think they're pulling this off, while they just might be dooming the universe.
      • Or maybe not, since without the Pandorica, the Doctor may have never have been able to fix the universe in the next episode.
  • Look a Distraction: The Doctor and Amy both do this in turn to the cyber-arm.
  • Losing Your Head: The decapitated Cyberman actually spends most of the episode trying to regain its head.
  • Manchurian Agent: The Romans are actually Autons programmed to think they're human. Including Rory.
    • So well programmed that they even respond to River's lipstick.
  • Oblivious to His Own Description: The Doctor tells us of the legend of the being trapped inside the Pandorica: "A goblin. Or a trickster, or a warrior. A nameless, terrible thing, soaked in the blood of a billion galaxies. The most feared being in all the cosmos. Nothing could stop it, or hold it, or reason with it - one day it would just drop out of the sky and tear down your world." The Doctor doesn't seem to realize that sounds exactly what his enemies would describe him as...
  • Oh Crap: River as she watches the TARDIS exploding.
    • She wrenches the TARDIS doors open, as the BBC orchestra play a triumphant high note. Only to find a concrete wall in her way. Biggest Oh Crap moment ever.
    • The Doctor has one as well when the Alliance reveal that they truly did make the Pandorica to trap what they consider the most dangerous being in creation: HIMSELF.
    • The black market salesman in the beginning, when River Song reveals that she drugged his drink with micro-explosives.
  • One-Scene Wonder: The disassembled, lone Cyberman's fight against the Doctor and Amy.
  • Opening Shout-Out: The scene of River flying the TARDIS while dodging lighting strikes.
  • Painting the Fourth Wall: A favourite of Moffat's: in the last few seconds of the episode even the BGM stops.
    • Silence... will fall.
  • Playing the Heart Strings: As the Legion of Doom march the Doctor into the Pandorica, only the swelling strings can be heard.
  • Poison and Cure Gambit: River uses it to buy her black-market vortex manipulator.
  • Real After All: The Pandorica. Or not, since the intergalactic coalition uses the myth of the Pandorica to trick the Doctor into finding it, so they can trap them. And then they place the Doctor inside, effectively making the myth true.
  • Robotic Reveal: Rory and the other Romans.
  • Revenge Before Reason: The Alliance. The Doctor tries telling them why locking him in the Pandorica is a very bad idea. They don't listen.
  • Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies: It certainly looks that way at the end...
  • The Roman Empire
  • Running Gag: Hello, sweetie.
  • Schmuck Bait: The Pandorica certainly borders on this.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: "What are you? What could you possibly be?" As it turns out, nothing - the myth was just a ruse so the Doctor's enemies could shove him in the Pandorica, making him...
  • Sealed Good in a Can: Although from the point of view of the people sealing the can, they're sealing an evil.
  • Shipper on Deck: The Doctor tosses the engagement ring to Rory and tells him to go get the girl.
  • Shout-Out: The Cyberman head saying "You will be assimilated" to Amy is a nod to the arguments about whether the Borg was copied from the classic Cybermen and whether the new series Cybermen were overly influenced by the Borg.
    • The "oldest text in the universe" that River uses to communicate with the Doctor near the beginning sounds very similar in the Doctor's description to God's Final Message to His Creation from So Long And Thanks For All The Fish.[2] Especially since, thanks to Douglas Adams being a Doctor Who writer and script editor, there's already been a fair amount of crossover and cross-pollination.
      • It could also be a shout-out to the spin-off novel Set Piece, where one of the Doctor's companions uses basically the same trick to arrange a rescue after being stranded in Ancient Egypt.
    • The Cyberman head crawling along on tentacles is straight out of The Thing.
      • Or the facehuggers in Alien
    • The Cyberman reattaching its head is very similar to a scene in The Faculty.
      • Or a certain death-scene from the game Dead Space.
    • The idea of agents/replicants who do not know their true nature and, on a signal, activate their attack goes back to The Manchurian Candidate (hence the Manchurian Agent trope) and, more recently, Battlestar Galactica (Rory's shock as he activates and tries to march off is similar to the Tomato in the Mirror Cylons).
  • Skyward Scream: The Doctor calling out to every monster in the sky: "I. AM. TALKING!"
  • Subverted Trope: Count 'em.
  • Scenery Gorn: The final shot of the Earth hanging in space, with the holes in space exploding open like a Vincent van Gogh painting, as the universe is slowly enroached.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Commander Stark for General Staal. Completely justified, as the Sontarans are a clone race, but it's still only the third time in the entire series, old or new, that the same actor has been brought back to play a different Sontaran.
    • Since the Sontarans only appeared in four classic-series stories, it is even more justified.
  • Sympathetic POV: When all of the alien species conspire together to put the Doctor in the Pandorica, it shows us that from their POV, the Doctor is the bad guy, whereas we've always seen him as the good guy who always defeats the evil aliens.
  • Tailor-Made Prison: The Pandorica for the Doctor.
  • Tears of Joy: Amy, once Rory names himself to her. And she has no idea why.
  • This Is My Boomstick: River awes the Romans this way.

River: When you fight Barbarians, what must they think of you?
Roman Commander: Riddles now?
River: Where do they think you come from?
Roman Commander: (draws sword) A place more deadly and more powerful and more impatient than their tiny minds can imagine.
River: (pulls out a blaster and disintegrates a table) Where do I come from?

Amy: Okay, this Pandorica thing. Last time we saw you, you warned us about it, after we climbed out of the Byzantium.
River: Spoilers!
Amy: No, but you told the Doctor you'd see him again when the Pandorica opens.
River: Maybe I did. But I haven't yet. But I will have.

  • Title Drop: The Pandorica Opens is the title of Vincent's painting.
  • Tomato in the Mirror: Rory
  • Took a Level in Badass: Rory, though taking them at A-level happens in the next episode.
    • How many fans felt about the Cybermen in this episode.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Vincent, Churchill, and River Song for the villain alliance's Kansas City Shuffle, along with the Doctor himself. River again, and potentially the villains themselves, for the as yet unrevealed real Big Bad.
  • Victoria's Secret Compartment: In the jail scene, look carefully where River takes her knock-out lipstick out from.
  • Villain Team-Up: Daleks, Cybermen, Sontarans, Autons, and several other evil and aggressive aliens want to prevent the Doctor from destroying the universe. Hence the Alliance.
  • Wangst: Subverted: Upon learning that Amy doesn't remember him, Rory's about to enter a spiral of vocal despair when the Doctor bluntly tells him to shut up, chucks the engagement ring Rory left behind to him and tells her to 'go get her'; he's here now and still has another chance.
  • Wham! Episode: So very, very much.
  • Who Will Bell the Cat?: The Doctor points this out in his speech.
  • Iron Woobie: Poor, sword-wielding, Roman Rory.
  • Preemptive Declaration:

Salesman: What kind of microexplosives?
River: The kind I just put in your wine.

  1. Oh, and no "Next Time" trailer, either. Steven Moffat feeds on fear and anguish.
  2. although in the book they're only 30 feet high