Reverse The Polarity: The Big Bang Review
Posted By: Darren Blackburn, U.K. Correspondent
On: July 28, 2010 Updated: 2 years 16 weeks ago
On: July 28, 2010 Updated: 2 years 16 weeks ago
REVERSE THE POLARITY
WITH DARREN BLACKBURN
The Big Bang by Steven Moffat
"I wear a fez now. Fezes are cool."
Guess what? For once, you lot are more ahead of the game than I am! I mean I expect you are. Well, you think you are, unless when I'm typing this I've somehow shunted the entire USA back in time by three weeks so that means you still have the Fourth of July to look forward to as well as the last episode of Matt Smith's first season as the Eleventh Doctor.
Okay. I give up. I'm late! Late as the proverbial white rabbit who got hired in that dreadful re-hash Tim Burton made of Alice in Underland! So, by time you really read this, you've seen “The Big Bang” and you already have your own opinions on what you thought of it. But hey, quantum slipstreaming and that. Let’s just pretend I'm still slightly ahead of your temporal perceptions and that it’s still a spoiler-free zone. Cool with that? No? Oh, well …
Okay, let’s begin again! Though better not make this read like we're caught in a time-loop like poor River Song was! I'd hate to write "I'm sorry, my love" ad infinitum! So after the visual treat and drama of “The Pandorica Opens,” which was bloody brilliant stuff, did everyone think “The Big Bang” would be more of the same?
Well, it was a brilliant, clever story -- anything but from Mr. Moffat's laptop -- but here's the gripe. It wasn't the story I or a great many of us over this side of the Pond (that's the Atlantic, not Amy) was expecting! Perhaps we're still too used to the big action-packed pieces from Russel T (who's bringing back Torchwood!), all action and no plot. Perhaps we were expecting to see the big bad responsible for those cracks in time. See how the alliances of all of the Doctor's major (and minor) adversaries would deal with the end of the Universe (again) while the poor Doctor gets cooped up inside the ultimate prison with the most dangerous being in known existence. See how plastic Rory would cope with loosing Amy, whom he's shot. Yes, big bloody spectacle. After all, a title with "big" and "bang" in it sorta piques our expectations. And yet, what we actually got was something entirely different.
For starters, we got to see the Doctor pop up outta the time stream wearing a fez and holding a mop! When Rory's jaw dropped, mine did the same. Although to be accurate it fell onto the carpet (making a mess) a few minutes earlier when seeing the pre-credit sequence, a virtual re-shot of the opening in “The Eleventh Hour,” young Amy again praying for Santa to repair that crack in her wall yet no Tardis crashing into the garden this time, and no stars either. Then someone very familiar drops a leaflet through the front door and next day, still convinced stars aren't the stuff of fairytales, she goes and sees the Pandorica exhibition. Cryptic note attached saying "stay behind Pond" and then as night falls and dust coated Daleks stare ahead, Bang! Pandoria opens and Older Amy's inside instead. It's gonna get complicated, she says to her younger self. Bloody right it was!
Having put my jaw back (well, some kind soul must've popped into my living room and put some super glue on it), for the next 40-odd minutes we get to see one really complex story unravel before my eyes. Gotta give Moffat credit, using Time as a plot device was a superb idea. We go the lot in this one. Paradoxes which the Doctor has to deal with, or create, sending notes back in time, delivering leaflets to little girls, getting plastic Rory to let him out of the Pandoria, when he's still inside it. Pause.
Oh, wearing a fez, good choice while he pops back to steal a milkshake from young Amy because Young Amy 10 minutes ahead complains she's thirsty. Well, she would be; someone nicked her shake! And that fez, great visual gimmick while it lasted because the Doctor 10 minutes ahead who isn't wearing a fez pops up and gets zapped by a Dalek that's come back to life because of the restoration energy from the Pandorica -- and the Doctor that went back in time to talk to Rory, who gives him the Sonic to let him out, is wearing a Fez, needs him to place it in Amy's pocket so he can have it back in the future so he can commit an act of vandalism to Museum property to get River Song outta a time loop in his exploding Tardis so she can zap that Dalek and beg it for Mercy! And blast the fez into atoms! Poor old fez!
And there's more. Turns out we were all right. The Doctor who spoke to Amy wearing his jacket in “Flesh and Blood” was a Future Doctor, not a continuity error, because previously his jacket was snagged on a Weeping Angel. How cool was that, eh? And then we get all deus ex machinaas everyone realizes that what's needed to stop the collapsing Universe is another Big Bang and the Pandoria contains atoms of the Universe prior to the Tardis exploding. So a quick rewind and a sad scene with sleeping Young Amy (best scene!) and a wedding and everything ends up where it all began! Though done a lot more better than “Last of the Time Lords”! Still with me? Yes? No? God, this story was as complex as looking at the London Underground map in four dimensions! And I don't live in London …
Even so, Who fans lap this kinda temporal puzzle up, even if it gave my parents nightmares. They were glad to switch over to watch the final of Britain's Got Talent! Or is that next week's rollover on the Lottery? No, still broke. I have to say that “The Big Bang” was a very clever finale, highlighted by the Doctor's wacky dance at Amy's wedding. But it wasn't the story I was expecting to see and in some way that's good because we get to have a cliffhanger for next year: we still don't find out who or what caused the Tardis to explode. The cracks are closed but the cause is still unknown. We should also find out who River Song really is; about time. No more spoilers, please!
And so Saturdays are a bit dull now ‘til Christmas Day when Matt, Karen and Arthur come back in Who's take on “A Christmas Carol” with Sir Michael Gambon as Scrooge. Yes, that's potentially correct, although I was really hoping to see an Egyptian Goddess on the Orient Express in space, so it may change. But overall, what did I think of Matt's first season.
In short, best season so far. Tightly plotted. The fairytale aspects were a treat and the leads were excellent throughout and kudos to Matt for carrying the torch. Best Story: Well, it’s a four-way tie between “Pandoria,” “Big Bang,” “Time of Angels” and “Flesh and Blood.” All had great moments and superb plot ideas. Bottom of the pile: “Victory of the Daleks.” Sorry, but the Ikea IPod Daleks have to go and get exterminated by River Song's daughters. I'm sure you have your own opinions on which stories you liked and hated and I'd be interested in reading them.
And so, this will be the last column for a while until Christmas, when it gets all Christmassy and cold and dark nights and not a fez in sight. I hope you've enjoyed my reviews of Who. Good night and keep a tub of superglue under your pillow in case you see any glowing eyeballs peering through cracks.