“The Pandorica Opens” was the…er, opening salvo in the two-part finale of DOCTOR WHO, marking the culmination of Matt Smith’s first season as the Doctor, and the story served as a brassy, boastful shot-across-the-bow to viewers, warning them that this story was going to pull out all the stops.
After previous show-runner Russell T Davies completed his tenure by successively having Davros threaten to destroy all of reality and a combination of the Master and the Time Lords bring about the end of Time itself, it probably seemed like there was no way to escalate the threat behind a new season. And, in a way, that view was correct; but while the threat could not be ratcheted up any more, new show-runner Steven Moffat chose to, in effect, move sideways and boost the jeopardy. In this story, the suspense comes from the Doctor being threatened in a very personal way while the Universe was cracking and Time itself was being rewritten. The Pandorica was opening, and almost all the alien species ever featured in the series were coming to the party, from Autons to Zygons: “Everything that ever hated you is coming here tonight,” River Song warned him. “You can’t win this; you can’t even fight it.”