Doctor Who: The Pandorica Alliance, Explained

The Pandorica Alliance was the secret villain of Doctor Who season 5, but their motives and even existence were mysteries until the last moment.


Doctor Who’s “The Pandorica Opens” introduced one of the most dangerous and intimidating villains in the entire show: The Pandorica Alliance. Composed of the Doctor’s greatest enemies and the most powerful warrior races in the universe, the Alliance was the universe’s final push to bring the Doctor down for good. Doctor Who often sees the Doctor and his companions traveling across time and space in pursuit of protecting the universe, and while he’s come across plenty of threatening aliens throughout his lives, it’s not often that those monsters use their shared hatred of the Time Lord to band together.

The Pandorica Alliance included some of Doctor Who’s scariest aliens and most formidable fighters, truly posing a threat to the Doctor for the first time in a long while. “The Pandorica Opens” marked the conclusion of the show’s fifth season, bringing together all the loose plot threads that showrunner Steven Moffat had sprinkled throughout the individual episodes. It served to answer the mystery of the cracks through time — a series of deadly breaches in the universe that sucked life into them and erased it from existence. Though it would take another two seasons to answer this mystery completely, “The Pandorica Opens” gave a first glimpse into this long-running subplot.

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Why Was The Alliance Formed?

The cracks through time had been growing more and more dangerous as Doctor Who season 5 progressed, with the episode “Cold Blood” even seeing the cracks kill Rory Williams and erase him from existence. Their impact was felt across the universe, and many species quickly discovered that they were being caused by the explosion of the Doctor’s TARDIS in the future. Falsely believing that the Doctor was the only person capable of flying the TARDIS, these enemies banded together to trap their mutual rival inside an indestructible prison and prevent the explosion from ever taking place.

Did The Alliance Succeed?

The Alliance did manage to trap the Doctor in the Pandorica, but he soon escaped after creating a bootstrap paradox using Rory’s assistance. As the TARDIS had exploded regardless of his entrapment, the Doctor piloted the Pandorica into the explosion and spread its regenerative light across the universe, saving the day. Despite the Alliance coming close to the list of villains who almost outsmarted the Doctor, their plan ultimately wasn’t enough to prevent the disaster they’d been acting against. This just proved how unknowable the cracks were, which allowed them to maintain their mystery for the entirety of Matt Smith’s time as the Eleventh Doctor.

Who Was Behind The Explosion Of The TARDIS?

The Alliance falsely believed that imprisoning the Doctor would prevent any catastrophe that would lead to the TARDIS’s explosion, but they never considered that it might not have been an accident at all. It was later revealed that the masterminds behind the machine’s temporary destruction were the Silence, members of an intergalactic sect that dedicated themselves to destroying the Doctor and preventing him from reaching the planet Trenzalore — where he’s said to eventually meet his demise. Their intentions for hunting the Doctor weren’t made clear until season 7’s “The Time of the Doctor,” where it’s revealed that once on Trenzalore, the Doctor is met with an impossible choice.

The Silence made the TARDIS explode to ensure that he’d never be given the opportunity to make the choice that he meets on Trenzalore. Once there, the Doctor makes contact with the lost Time Lords who request that he speaks his true name to confirm that this universe is safe to enter. The Silence believe that the return of the Time Lords would have deadly consequences throughout the galaxy, and exploding the TARDIS was just one of their several attempts at preventing the Doctor from making that choice. They came extremely close to defeating him on multiple occasions, but the Doctor was always one step ahead.

MORE: Who Are The Silence In Doctor Who, Explained

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