The Doctor (Matt Smith) and Amy (Karen Gillan) receive a message from River Song (Alex Kingston) and take the TARDIS to Roman Britain in 102 AD. River has a painting by Vincent Van Gogh of the exploding TARDIS called The Pandorica Opens. The Doctor knows that the Pandorica is a prison for the deadliest being in the universe.
They find it beneath Stonehenge. Amy confronts the Doctor about her engagement ring, given to her by Rory (Arthur Darvill) who has been erased from memory by the crack in space-time. River tells the Doctor that every species that ever hated him is coming to the Pandorica. He is helped by a volunteer squad of Roman Legionnaires, commanded by Rory, though the Doctor does not know why.
The Doctor tells River to bring the TARDIS to Stonehenge, where he, Amy, Rory, and the Legionnaires prepare. But the TARDIS is drawn to Amy’s house, where River finds a book about Pandora’s box and a child’s book about Roman Britain. She warns the Doctor that the Pandorica trap was created out of Amy’s memories. The Doctor wants River to leave because the TARDIS will be at the centre of the coming time explosion, but she can’t get out.
At Stonehenge, the Doctor discovers that the Legionnaires, including Rory, are Autons, and he is trapped. Amy suddenly remembers Rory, but his Auton shoots her. The Doctor’s enemies trap him in the Pandorica, knowing that the TARDIS is what causes the destruction of reality, and the Doctor himself is thus the deadliest being in the universe. As he is sealed inside, every star in the sky goes supernova. To be continued.
The episode was filmed at the real Stonehenge and, to avoid damage to the monument, a lightweight model called Foamhenge. The music from Indiana Jones was played to get the actors in the mood. Many of the monsters from Doctor Who history appeared, including the Daleks, Cybermen, Sontarans, Judoon, Autons, Sycorax, Hoix, Silurians, and Roboforms. The episode won the 2011 Hugo Award along with the next episode. The Pandorica story was referenced in many earlier episodes and the Van Gogh painting passed through the hands of many secondary characters from earlier stories. River Song is dressed as a female Han Solo. She was presented with a vortex manipulator taken off a handsome Time Agent, which was no doubt Captain Jack Harkness. The explosion of the stars looks like Van Gogh’s Starry, Starry Night.