S31 (5) 13 – The Big Bang
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19 January 2013 at 08:58 #1707Craig @craigEmperor
Repeated on BBC3 on 19 January, reality’s last hope is a little girl who still believes in stars.
You can watch it here until 26 January:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00sxfc719 January 2013 at 20:32 #1765Juniperfish @juniperfish
I love this episode. I know a lot of folk were disappointed because the big promise of the Alliance from The Pandorica Opens melted away, but this, the core of Team TARDIS (the Doctor, Rory, Amy and River) running around in and out of time paradoxes – satisfyingly zany and deeply emotional both.
I remain convinced this two-parter consists of pivotal episodes, mysteries from which will be returned to!
Why, when River said that the Doctor’s reboot would result in all of them waking up where they were “supposed to be” and not remembering, does River “wake up” on Earth at her parents’ wedding? Moreover, she clearly does remember, as she gives Amy her own blank TARDIS diary, which sets off Amy’s memory chain, which brings the Doctor back.
Surely the fact that River remembers, means she has somehow crossed from the universe-that-was to the new-universe-that-is, un-rebooted? Amy is rebooted, in that she has parents now and Rory is rebooted in that he becomes human again (rather than Auton-Rory) but River? River arrives in order to engineer her own conception (the second “big bang” of the episode as we find out at Demon’s Run).
Moreover, this River is already married to the Doctor (as their delightful exchange at the door of the TARDIS makes clear to us, now) so for this version of River who appears at Amy and Rory’s wedding, The Wedding of River Song has already happened…
Who really “made” River for the Doctor? Madame Kovarian and the Alliance, or the Doctor himself, up-time-stream?
NB – on my “soul” theme from The Faces of the Doctor thread, Eleven says in this episode that when the Alliance used Amy to clone Rory, they got “more than they bargained for” because they also got his “heart and soul”. More evidence for an ensouled universe in Moffat’s Eleventh Doctor imaginings.
Oooh – live re-watch – it’s the marvellous wedding speech coming up…19 January 2013 at 21:32 #1767PhaseShift @phaseshiftTime Lord
I wasn’t disappointed with “The Big Bang” in the slightest, @juniperfish, because I love to be wrong footed. Who could have anticipated a finale like this?
Amidst all the craziness, the scene which sticks out for me is the Doctor tucking young Amelia into bed, collapsing in the chair next to her, and looking tired and every inch his 900 year old self, telling her the story about the mad old man who ran away with his magic box.
A stunning turn by Matt Smith. Dare I say it, pure magic.
Today I’ve watched Peter Cushing in the Doctor Who and the Daleks movie, The Pandorica Opens, listened to three eighth Doctor audio adventures, and watched The Big Bang.
I can’t think of a better way to spend a snowy weekend. 🙂19 January 2013 at 22:06 #1769Juniperfish @juniperfish
@phaseshift – wow that’s a lot of Saturday Who!
Yes, this episode was magical and the lighting to go with, oh the lighting; the warm light in River’s hair as she flirted with her unknowing husband, by the TARDIS, the blue light of Amelia’s weed-filled garden, the harsh light in the corridor as River and the Dalek had their chilling confrontation; the greenish eerie light on the Doctor’s face as he strapped himself into the Pandorica.
I noticed that not only was the Doctor wearing appropriate wedding attire when he stepped from the TARDIS following Amy’s “something blue” speech, but he was wearing a red rose-bud which exactly matched the red rose-bud theme of the wedding (Amy had a paper garland of them in her hair and Rory had a real one in his button-hole). How could he have known that? Unless River had already told him?
It’s snowy here too and I’ve just watched Skyfall, the latest Bond – it is also the 50th Anniversary of Bond this year – actually another British character who has very successfully “regenerated” over time. Anyway – I’ll go and post about that in the more appropriate “films” thread at some point!17 August 2013 at 16:47 #16320PhaseShift @phaseshiftTime Lord
OK – I’m going to refer people to my previous entry from January (a mere 2 posts above this) to see how I feel about this episode. It’s absolute magic. The more you watch it, the better it gets. Especially the scenes between 11 and Amelia at the end and Amy’s magnificent “Something Old, Something Borrowed, Something Blue” speech.
I think I giggled, laughed and sobbed my way through this one the first time. For all Who’s attempts to pull at my heartstrings in the past, 11 chocking on “I think I’ll skip the rest of the rewind – I hate repeats” is a brilliant display of Smith’s delivery in the series. Sometimes, understated does work. See here for an example.
To answer your question from The Pandorica Opens, the TARDIS was in transit when the critical event occurs. I think ejecting River into the vortex, or into orbit as she replaced the sun would have been a very … well, fatal thing. You have to admire the presence of mind of the TARDIS to isolate her in her own timeloop in the hope that her own personal madman made it back into the Universe.17 August 2013 at 20:31 #16329Anonymous @
As I said last week, this and The Pandorica Opens seem to me to be the high point of Nu Who and a story which Moffat was burning to tell. It’s nigh on perfect Who on almost every level and I remember thinking on the Grauniad blog at the time ‘how can anyone not love this? It has scope and it has heart’. ‘Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue’ was a stroke of genius and possibly SM’s best piece of smart arsery in this tenure as showrunner.
As @phaseshift says, Matt was great here and while earlier in his first series he might have seen a little like Tennant redux, here he was absolutely his own Doctor. This would have been a whole different story if it had been a 10th Doctor story.
My current theory is that the Hurt Doctor engineered the TARDIS explosion as a way to escape back into the universe perhaps. Who else could control the TARDIS but another Doctor?
Basically what I’m really, really hoping for in the anniversary special is another Big Bang. If SM manages that then I’ll be a happy fish…17 August 2013 at 22:42 #16332
OK, kid. This is where it gets complicated.
Amy’s line is probably my favourite line in Doctor Who. Like everyone else so far, I love this episode; it’s probably Steven Moffat’s finest to date. It’s not just got some of the best time paradoxes in Doctor Who, it’s got real heart. Rory, guarding the Pandorica for nearly 2000 years. River, making the Dalek pay for shooting her husband. The Doctor, relying on Amy to bring him home.
Yes, the River who comes to her parent’s wedding reception quite clearly remembers the Doctor – though since she can’t exist until she’s conceived in the TARDIS, I’d agree with @juniperfish that she’s travelling back from a point where the Doctor exists again. If you notice, she’s all in black – we don’t know it then, but she’s dressed as a widow. Until she can make Amy remember, her husband is dead.
Given that the Doctor clearly keeps remembering Rory throughout his non-existence, the suggestion (once we know the truth about River) is that she can also remember people who’ve fallen through the time cracks.
The time cracks themselves: given that the episode starts with exactly the same scene, the suggestion is that when things vanish, their effects don’t. What you end up with is the same history – with whacking great holes. Nothing makes sense; people are trying to work out how things have happened this way when there’s no longer a reason for them to have happened.
That is – why is there a duck pond if there never were any ducks?17 August 2013 at 22:53 #16333
The Confidential for this episode – in three parts.
Part 317 August 2013 at 23:17 #16334wolfweed @wolfweed
This might cease a lot of fan insomnia…
From DWM 442
@Bumble-Toes: In the Big Bang Two reset, were the Leadworth ducks saved? (And if not, why not?)
Steven Moffat: Oh Lordy. From the start I had this single idea:
That the ducks, like Amy’s parents, had been sucked through the crack in time. And to round everything off, in the very last shot of the series, we’d see the TARDIS fade away, leaving us with a shot of the duckpond, and some happy little ducks. Then, at the last minute we had to relocate the scene to Amy’s back garden, and it never happened. So! There you go! Nice thought, never happened. Oops!19 August 2013 at 12:42 #16384Anonymous @
Bluey, thanks for the Confidential. And I’m in utter agreement with you that the line ‘OK kid – this is where it gets complicated’ is one of the best DW lines. It’s not only completely true for the viewer, but it’s gloriously self-referential for the start of the most time-wimey episode ever.
As to who remembers whom and/or what, MadS pointed out in the TPO thread that Amelia clearly remembers her mother, because she knows that her mother put faces on her apples. In this story, the Doctor remembers Rory; River remembers Amy and Rory; Amy remembers Rory and then the Doctor. For people sucked into the crack who supposedly never existed, they get remembered – and remember – a lot. This underlines the warm heart(s) at the centre of this story.
Wolfster, I’ve already linked to your comment on another thread. Great find, and you’re right, no more insomnia for me on that ‘hanging chad’ of a duck-less duck pond. 🙂
Jim, your comment has also been picked up for discussion on another thread:
My current theory is that the Hurt Doctor engineered the TARDIS explosion as a way to escape back into the universe perhaps. Who else could control the TARDIS but another Doctor?
Nice. Let the bonkers theorising about the 50th special move into high gear!
Personally, I love the way Amy says ‘… and you are late for my weddinggggah!’ The ‘I don’t know why I’m crying’ trope has been played since ‘Vincent’ but in these two episodes, we saw both the happy and the sad versions; and the sentimental core inside my mass of outer cynicism really liked the slo-mo ‘plop!’ of Amy’s tear onto River’s diary.
Altogether, this two-parter is to me a high point of Doctor Who. Laughs, tears, blink-and-you’ll-miss-it time inversions, bloody cold revenge killing of a Dalek (crying ‘Mercy’!!), the Doctor waving his arms in the worst Dad-dancing ever at a wedding, a cliff-hanger in the middle with a surprise death, and let’s not forget, a fez which is understandably blown to smithereens.12 December 2013 at 17:17 #22695Anonymous @
Posted by @nick on ‘The Day of The Doctor – a time-structure analysis’
…the idea D9/D11/D12 have changed their collective past is entirely possible. However, I don’t think we can see this as being a consequence free change though.
Agreed. Changing a fixed point, as we’ve seen before, is a really bad thing to do.
In ‘TWoRS’ the consequences were that all of time was happening at once. In ‘Father’s Day’, Rose preventing Pete’s death resulted in ‘Reapers’ appearing in order to ‘sterilise the wounds’ (could that be interpreted as ‘healing the cracks’?).
If we assume that, in the original version of history, Gallifrey ‘burning’ was a fixed point, then wouldn’t altering history in order to prevent it’s destruction cause similar problems – ie, the cracks in time as seen in Series 5?
An alternate theory regarding those pesky cracks – suppose the ‘stasis lock’ on the newly saved Gallifrey is failing and the cracks were/will be caused by Gallifrey returning.
I was going to post this on the ‘Loose Ends’ thread but I can’t find it. Has it fallen through a crack in time?13 December 2013 at 02:23 #22709
Has it ever actually been stated that the destruction of Gallifrey was a fixed point in time? I thought that it was simply because of the time lock that it couldn’t be changed. The whole “fixed point” idea has always been a bit problematic for me. It sometimes seems a little too arbitrary, as in “here the Doctor must not interfere” whereas “here it is okay for the Doctor to butt in”.
This is a cool idea, though:
An alternate theory regarding those pesky cracks – suppose the ‘stasis lock’ on the newly saved Gallifrey is failing and the cracks were/will be caused by Gallifrey returning.13 December 2013 at 03:41 #22710Anonymous @
@arbutus – I don’t think it’s been established that Gallifrey’s loss / destruction is fixed. It’s just me making assumptions in order for the theory to work 😀
Having thought about it some more though, it wouldn’t really be a dilemma for The Doctor to face because he knows that Amy reboots the universe. Oh well, back to the drawing board (and coffee pot) for me I think 🙂13 December 2013 at 08:11 #22716Anonymous @
If you’re confused about that fixed point in time business (and I admit that I agree with your take on it sometimes), try this blog. It’s one of the first things I read when I originally found this forum.13 December 2013 at 16:46 #22744Anonymous @
I posted something to you this morning which got swept up into Spam Club. The Mods are busy so I’ll repost that comment but without the link.
You mentioned being confused by ‘fixed points’ and I agree that I frequently am too. One of the first things I saw when I came to this forum was a blog called ‘Wibbley Wobbly, Timey Wimey’ which does an excellent job describing how fixed points in time work within DW.
To find it, click on Blogs in the title bar, then in the ‘Search Blogs’ box, type in wibbley. You won’t be disappointed. 🙂
PS thank you for your kind words on The Day of the Doctor.
Marty14 December 2013 at 18:32 #22804
Thanks for pointing me to that blog. I vaguely remember reading it, but as it was posted in the summer, I probably didn’t give it the care and attention that it deserved! However, my main issue with the “fixed point in time” concept is this well-stated point:
Some events, often for reasons known only to the writer, are ‘fixed points’.
Pompeii, I can understand. It’s when I can’t see an obvious reason (other than plot convenience) for a point to be fixed, that it irritates me. For instance, why would Pete Tyler’s death be so important to the universe? A whole episode hangs on the conceit that it is, and yet it isn’t clear to me why that should matter. Adelaide Brooks’ death as a fixed point is explained in a way that makes perfect sense.14 December 2013 at 18:44 #22805ScaryB @scaryb
OOOh, love the new avatar 🙂
Fixed points – my theory is that fixed points are relative. ie if they’re tampered with, the history from the perspective of the tamperer could change radically, perhaps causing their erasure from time. eg Rose might have turned out a well balanced teenager who would never have dreamed of getting mixed up with a madman in a box if she hadn’t had father abandonment issues.
But changing fixed points doesn’t necessarily mean the end of the universe in general, just as we know it.14 December 2013 at 19:52 #22810
@arbutus – Pete Tyler’s actually quite easy: as @scaryb says, without his death, Rose would probably never have run off with a madman in a box. The Eccleston Doctor would never have been healed from his time as the War Doctor. The Tennant Doctor is, btw, pretty specific about it being Rose who brought him back to some kind of normality.
Rory’s trickier: but you can guess that without his death being a fixed point, Amy would never have left the Doctor (she’d have gone and got Rory instead). The Doctor would never have met Clara. She’d never have become the Impossible Girl. Since we saw Clara as Oswin Oswald before Amy and Rory left, things would have started to unravel in a rather serious manner. 🙂15 December 2013 at 02:20 #22828
Okay, fair enough. I suppose that anyone who hangs out with the Doctor for any length of time probably becomes important to history, and therefore anyone that affects them will also be important.
But why did the Universe in one instance decide to shove all history into one moment in time, and in another, it sent scary pteranodon creatures to eat everyone? I think I find the history-in-one-compartment response a little more understandable, it seems a little more the way Time might operate: “Okay, if these life forms are going to mess with Fixed Points, then let’s just ensure that there are no Fixed Points, just One Point. Ha!” Or something like that.
@scaryb Thanks for the compliment, it just took me awhile to find the right tree!15 December 2013 at 09:29 #22832
@arbutus – probably the difference between a nasty dose of flu and getting shot by a Dalek.
In one case your body will produce antibodies. In the other, if you’re lucky enough to survive the initial shot, regeneration is the only option.
The flying killer time monkeys were the antibodies: they were sterilising the local area. Result: exactly what happened. Pete Tyler fought off the ‘infection’ and restored the time-line.
In the case of the Doctor not getting shot at Lake Silencio – as I say in the blog post, the effects are to cause an immediate, massive, oscillation in the time-line. The impact is huge – it’s the equivalent of ‘getting shot by a Dalek’.16 December 2013 at 00:54 #22867
Okay, you’ve convinced me. Mess with the time line of the Doctor’s in-laws, and you retire to bed with green tea and vitamin supplements. Mess with the Doctor’s time line, and it’s antibiotic time. 🙂17 December 2013 at 08:31 #22937ScaryB @scaryb
the Doctor not getting shot at Lake Silencio
Fixed points – maybe the fixed point is that the Doctor DOESN’T get shot – he only appears to be.17 December 2013 at 09:42 #22948Whisht @whisht
Y’know, it seems to me that the more and more we see the Doctor interfering with points in time (against ‘the rules’), changing the past and future, the more I think he’s actually ‘breaking’ points in Time.
At least at some point he figures it out, waves his screwdriver and we get these “Fixed” points in Time…
🙂1 June 2014 at 10:51 #27929bijolt @bijolt
I love the show, so please don’t get me wrong on this.. Loved the “Timey-Whimey” feel of this episode and it’s total disregard to causality.. but I would ignore the causality non-sense during the pandorica opening scenes.. I mean how did come out in the first place to give the screwdriver to come out!
SPOILERS for next season though:
What I want to ask is: considering the ending of the episode, it seems the writers actually did think about the coming season completely… So, they knew how Dr. River Song (Melody Pond) came to existance… [Spoilers: Daughter of Amy and Rory, in time because of the doctor and had a time-lord thingy] So, River could not have existed if the doctor did not(well lots of things would have gone wrong, like they once showed when they changed Donna Noble’s History.. but lets ignore that). Now, if River never existed, how did she roam around the wedding and give Dad(Rory, now that requires time-travel even if she did exist some time in the future without the doctor) the blue book, and how did she even have it?3 December 2014 at 08:12 #36025Anonymous @
I noticed that not only was the Doctor wearing appropriate wedding attire when he stepped from the TARDIS following Amy’s “something blue” speech, but he was wearing a red rose-bud which exactly matched the red rose-bud theme of the wedding (Amy had a paper garland of them in her hair and Rory had a real one in his button-hole). How could he have known that?
Amy says ‘… and you are alive for my weddinggggah!’ So I think Amy brought him back wearing clothes that she wanted him to wear at her wedding.
I agree Juniperfish that the River at the end was from after tWoRS happened and that means Bluesqueakpip’s idea that River was dressed for a funeral fits too. But I don’t think River came from the future straight to the wedding… from the funeral, but instead she was dressed to go to the funeral.
The second option fits better because the Doctor returns the vortex manipulator to her at the end, so she couldn’t have arrived at the wedding from the future.
My theory on how River got to the new time line is:
River Song was rebooted from inside the exploding TARDIS. The TARDIS is smart and rerouted River (just like a phone call) to the place on the new time line, where she had to be in order for her to exist.
(JuniperFish is right that River did sort of engineer her own conception on the new time line, but this River is still from the first time line (so no paradox). So I agree with JuniperFish that it is the same River on both the old and new time lines).
River had time to buy some new clothes on the new time line and the TARDIS reboot of River explains why she remembers to give Amy the empty journal.
I like Bluesqueakpip’s theory for explaining what would have happened if Amy didn’t bring the Doctor back and even explains River’s existence before he came back.
What you end up with is the same history – with whacking great holes. Nothing makes sense; people are trying to work out how things have happened this way when there’s no longer a reason for them to have happened. That is – why is there a duck pond if there never were any ducks?
The Big Bang is an example of Bluesqueakpip’s 2 and 1 time lines happening at the same time, imo.
River Song solves the paradox of how the Doctor got out of the Pandorica. We didn’t see it happen, but there are two things that suggest River let the Doctor out before The Big Bang episode started.
- In The Panadorica Opens, when River is in Amy’s room, she says, “Oh Doctor, why do I let you out?”
- The Doctor gets River’s vortex manipulator when Rory lets him out.
(Not only that but River from after tWoRS knows the Doctor’s future, so she would know to let him out, plus she is an acheologist so she could find the Pandorica.)
Because River and Rory both let the Doctor out that creates two time lines. Two time lines explain why there are two screwdrivers, an Amy and little Amelia at the same time, and two Doctors at the same time. That usually causes a paradox (especially when they touch like this episode, but the collapsing rules of the universe could explain why that doesn’t matter this time).
Little Amelia and River’s Doctor (first doctor) are on time line one. The first doctor did everything we saw the 2nd doctor do exactly the same way. I think the first doctor disappears like little Amelia did, just a little bit later.
Time Line Two – has Rory’s Doctor (2 nd Doctor flies Pandorica), Rory, Amy, River on it.
Both Time Lines exist at the same time line for a while until the first Doctor and little Amelia disappear. The second screwdriver should have disappeared too.3 December 2014 at 09:40 #36026Anonymous @
The first doctor didn’t rescue River from the exploding Tardis, like we saw the 2nd doctor do. So there was one River still inside the exploding Tardis and one sitting next to Amy, when the universe rebooted.
The River in the exploding Tardis was in a time loop which stopped her from disappearing like the first doctor and little Amelia did. And the Tardis helped her get placed at the right spot on the new reboot time line.
For this theory, I just need a logical reason for one River to disappear. I’m guessing the River sitting next to Amy disappeared without the help of the Tardis, since she would have been returned to her true spot in time after tWoRS. And she wouldn’t exist there without the Doctor after the reboot or it would be less likely she would exist.
That is not completely true, because I use the ‘missing duck’ theory for the Tardis River too. 😉8 December 2014 at 06:27 #36099AtomicWhovian @atomicwhovian
Has anyone noticed, that at the end of this episode, the doctor picks up the phone and says something like An Egyptian goddess… on the orient express! Does that remind you of anything…
THEORY OVERLOAD20 July 2016 at 21:12 #53362Anonymous @
During a rewatch of this episode today, I heard River mention dating a guy with swappable heads. I think I’m gonna need a bigger flow chart.20 July 2016 at 22:17 #53365Anonymous @
Then there’s the Doctor, who changes his entire body, but I think she is talking about something else here; so, yes, bigger flowchart, definitely. 🙂23 October 2016 at 01:11 #54356Anonymous @
So I assume you’ve seen the episode The Big Bang.
I’m part of the hybrid: Mum and me are together on this Forum as Puro and son.
Thing is, whether the Tardis is in the upper atmosphere or anywhere else a wall can be built. The point is the Tardis was placed in a temporary holding pattern -by that I mean it was protected so no enemies or anything else could get in or get out. River was repeating herself in a repeating pattern if you get my meaning. The Tardis protected itself. River was trying to get out or to ensure the Tardis was able to ‘break away’ but it didn’t. The Doctor eventually brought River down via her time vortex bracelet. Then the Doctor flew into the Tardis using the Pandorica to restore time and to ensure every atom of time and space was restored -hence the Big Bang.
If you’d like, the best thing to do is to read the first few pages of this thread called S5 The Big Bang. It will explain it all far bettr than I do.
PurosandSon23 October 2016 at 01:19 #54357Anonymous @
OK, I didn’t have to go very far to find a better answer than mine! This is from @phaseshift , above, who is our special ops moderator! So yeah, the Tardis isolated River in her own timeloop -destined to repeat the same thing over and over. Hence the brick wall. Anything could have been used to explain the timeloop -black smoke, a diamond, they just happened to choose brick. The fact is the Tardis uses ‘things’ -it has buttons and knobs, boxes and wires and wood. So it would have ‘bricks’ in order to create an isolation point.
To answer your question from The Pandorica Opens, the TARDIS was in transit when the critical event occurs. I think ejecting River into the vortex, or into orbit as she replaced the sun would have been a very … well, fatal thing. You have to admire the presence of mind of the TARDIS to isolate her in her own timeloop in the hope that her own personal madman made it back into the Universe.
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