Yes, well, I'm such a sad Doctor Who fan that the wait for the season finale rendered me pretty much unable to concentrate on anything else for a week! And now that I've watched it...
What a cheap trick! Damn cop out! The Doctor was in the unescapable box for what, ten minutes? (While we had the "previously" recap and Rory's scene). "And then a miracle occurs" indeed. Grrrrr! If you're going to let that kind of time loop (the sort that in the New Adventures they claimed was caused by Time herself) in the show, there's no dramatic tension left. If the Doctor is already out, of course he can easily get himself out. (Like me muttering to myself, "If I had my glasses on, I would be able to see to find my glasses.") Even worse, they didn't really explain anything. River Song, the mysterious voice, why the TARDIS was exploding, why it would cause the universe to end, we didn't find any of that out. I don't really like multi-season plot arcs. One of the things I always liked about Doctor Who was the self-contained nature of the stories.
Ok, that said, I loved the rest of the episode, so I'm willing to forgive the cop out, but I'm rewriting it slightly in my head to something I like better. My personal version of the story:
The Doctor does NOT get out of the Pandorica. He's stuck in it for about 2000 years, until the universe ceases to exist around him. Only the Pandorica is left. Then that goes, too, and the Doctor is finally released. By then, it's too late to save the universe. Half mad, the Doctor thinks "to hell with the Laws of Time, there's no time left to bother with any laws" and crosses his own timeline. He gives the time vortex manipulator one final push and sends himself sideways (to "when" the Earth still existed) and back to 102 AD, and releases himself from the box. However, this destabilizes his personal timeline, so this "2000+ years Future Doctor" vanishes at some point. "Now Doctor" finds Rory and Amy, does the same thing with putting Amy in the box, jumps forward in time and does much of what he does in the televised episode. When "2000+ years Future Doctor" vanishes, he realizes he needs to go back and release himself. Fez-and-mop Doctor version 1 appears to Rory. This is what we see in the opening and where (in my deluded vision) the episode "The Big Bang" picks up from. "2000+ years Future Doctor" never appears now. However, this way, it makes me feel better that the trap really did do something to him and he didn't need a miracle to escape!
Ok, there, I've typed that out so I can stop thinking about it! Time to get back to the story I was supposed to be writing. At least I managed to hack out an outline for the second half, so I should be able to finish it in the next couple of days. *suppresses hysterical laughter*.
[Edited to add: "So what about all the other times we had loops like this? "Blink"? "The Lodger"? Multi-Doctor stories? My theory is that the Time Lords do have the power to insert loops into the universe, but this type of loop is more damaging (because you have to poke holes into the continuum) than the simple repeating timeloops which they use more frequently. They only use it in emergencies (or if some Time Lord goes mad). The Doctor can do the same thing, with the help of his TARDIS (or vice versa), but he tries to keep his interventions minimal. The 7th Doctor probably went too far with it (in the novels), and the 11th is showing signs of falling down the same slippery slope. The intervention in this case was far from minimal, plus there aren't any Time Lords around (unless they turn out to be behind it all next season!) and the TARDIS was exploding, plus the Doctor wouldn't score any drama points for using such a cheap trick to resolve a major cliffhanger, so that's why I insist he got out some other way...]