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Operation Platinum Age: The Final Word

The final episode of the season was similar to the second part of the Silurian story in that it didn’t quite pay off in the way expected.  This time it mattered less, though, because what we were given was a timey-wimey space romp of roller coaster proportions.  Last time I wrote, I wished for more Caitlin Blackwood as Young Amy and I was rewarded here.  What a talent, I had thought – and still do – but now I much preferred Grown Up Amy (happy now?).

Doctor Who - The Pandorica OpensThis is not the place to go too deeply into the sheer wall of plot and unplot we had thrust upon us in The Big Bang, but, as much as I thoroughly loved it, it was the reset button all over again, wasn’t it?  Admittedly it was the best such button we’ve had this century, but one year – just one year – the people who run this magnificent show won’t paint themselves into such a corner that they have to pretend they never did or, better still, they’ll have the courage of their convictions and run with a shifted paradigm.

Looking back at the last third of the season, I think we were treated not only to some excellent visual effects/images (Vincent’s starry night, the upstairs TARDIS and the spaceships over Stonehenge, the scariest reading of the Cybermen since 1966 – perhaps ever), but also some of the series’ most golden moments (Vincent, the Doctor and Amy under the stars, ‘It’s a Fez, I wear a Fez now’, the Pandorica cliffhanger, the Stone Dalek begging River for mercy, the alien alliance – oh, and all of The Lodger).  A few months ago my Top Three directors were Adam Smith, Andrew Gunn and Ashley Way.  I still think Adam Smith should take top spot but, following the season finale, Toby Haynes has nudged Andrew Gunn into third place.  I’m no longer sure about Way.

At the end of the last article I speculated on what might be happening ‘arc-wise’ and where we might be led.  The sense I got from the first eight episodes was that they sought to question our perception of ‘reality’, inviting us to doubt the boundary between what was real and what was not; this would prove to be a thematic rather than a literal matter.  I made much of Amy’s missing memories (but didn’t we all?) and memory did in fact prove to be the key to the season.  I was right (to some small extent) that the cracks would prove to be a paradox caused by the Doctor’s attempts to prevent their ever occurring.

However, I was not able to predict quite how, nor had I factored River Song into the final equation.  My obsessive attention to the use of eyes in the narratives proved to be much less accurate.  I also suggested that the finale might not be a Dalek story, predicting that Christmas Day would see their next big outing.  While I do not count the finale as a Dalek story (the production team were careful not to show much of them – cowed by their detractors, perhaps?), it now seems likely that we shan’t be seeing them at Christmas, either.  Gosh, they would have been delicious baubles on a BBC Christmas tree ident, wouldn’t they?  Oh well.  I only hope that when we see them next, it will be for something very epic and Dalek-centric.

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Elton Townend-Jones is a journalist, playwright, actor, theatre producer and philosopher. He does ‘80s zeitgeist at www.25yearstoolate.blogspot.com.

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