Despite already airing in the UK almost four weeks ago [a whole month], this episode won't actually premiere on BBC America until next week. Sorry, but if BBCA wants to do it this way, that's not my problem. So for those of you that have sadly stuck with their schedule, MAJOR SPOILERS BELOW, but for those that watched it when it aired, this is old news.
Episode 12 - "The Pandorica Opens"
And we're finally here, sort of, as this is the first part of Steven Moffat's finale for the fifth series of Doctor Who, it's been quite the journey. Right away I found this to be unlike any Doctor Who season finale before it, the first scene brings back a screaming Vincent van Gogh (from "Vincent and the Doctor"), and then we soon see Bracewell and Churchill (from "Victory of the Daleks"), and then we reach River Song (who needs no re-introduction at this point). There is a message waiting for her, from Vincent van Gogh himself, at Elizabeth the Tenth's (from "The Beast Below") Royal Collection... it's a painting, of the TARDIS exploding! Booooweeeeeooooooo
Despite only being the first 8 or so minutes of the episode, I really loved that whole sequence because for the first time ever, the Doctor Who finale actually felt like a season finale by bringing everything that happened together, instead of just being one grand episode without any consequence from the prior episodes of the season. Granted Series 3 and 4 both closed the stories of the companion's rather well, everything up to those points were generally meaningless.
Anyways, River finally gets the message along to the Doctor, who previously grabbed a burned piece of TARDIS from "the crack" in "Cold Blood," but now this was just a confirmation. This encounter suddenly brings them to Roman Britain some time in the 2nd century, and then eventually to Stonehenge to find the mysterious Pandorica, in what really can be summarized as a confusing mess of words and imagery. Honestly, there was a lot of back and forth and mumbo-jumbo talk and at the end I was like ... "what?" But the payoff is great when the Pandorica is finally discovered.
But what is it? Well, why don't you ask "the Alliance," a.k.a. everyone the Doctor has ever messed with! You name it, Daleks, Cybermen, Slitheen, Silurians, Judoon, Sontarans, Sycorax, and other aliens from Doctor Who, Torchwood, and even the Sarah Jane Adventures are either seen or name-dropped, even some creatures from classic DW as well! The whole thing is basically one giant heap of fan service, it's insane. So what is the Pandorica? It's a time-sealed prison for the most sinister person in the universe: ... The Doctor!
To summarize everything else that happens, River uses the TARDIS and is brought to Amy's home on June 26th 2010, a day the Doctor was warned about. She soon realizes that everything that's happened has been part of Amy's imagination... or has it? Also, there's an Auton version of Rory and oh yeah.. he kills Amy. BAM! Told you there were spoilers.
Overall, this episode was pretty fantastic despite being somewhat of a jumbled mess from time to time, and because of that A LOT happens here, which makes it harder for me to summarize because basically every moment is pivotal. As much as I liked this first part, I'll wait for the second half before I make any truly final judgements.
Overall Score: 9/10