In season 5 of Doctor Who, the Doctor is sealed in the ultimate prison (the Pandorica). It can only be opened from the outside (one wonders why the Pandorica would be designed to be opened after being sealed at all, but I digress). The Doctor manages to escape by travelling to the past and leaving clues for his companions so that they can let him out so that he can travel to the past and leave clues for his companions so that they can let him out so that he can travel to the past and you can probably get the point I am trying to make now. How did the Doctor manage to get out of the Pandorica to set this infinite loop into motion?

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    Wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey? – Kris Jul 30 '17 at 8:22
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    Because terrible writing. – Valorum Jul 30 '17 at 8:29
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    “I cannot deny that this is incredibly lazy writing” — lazy how? Time travel is fictional, it’s not like we’ve tried this sort of time travel in real life and established that it’s not the sort of time travel that can work. What sort of explanation would you want? – Paul D. Waite Jul 30 '17 at 12:38
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    @MagikarpMaster The point of the ontological paradox is to present a story that is internally consistent but has no beginning nor end. It's similar to a stage magician's tricks; they lose some of their appeal if you know how they're done. – phyrfox Jul 30 '17 at 16:47
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    I love how people call plots they don't understand "terrible writing". This is a brilliant example of a consistent time loop, or an onthological paradox. Moffat abused the concept in his time as showrunner, but this one, and "Blink" are probably the best. – tilley31 Jul 31 '17 at 15:03

This is a case of the writer paradox.

The events can only unfold because the events have already happened.

This type of paradox has been use multiple times throughout the series. But they clearly point it out in the episodes Under The Lake and Before The Flood in season 9.

In these episodes, the Doctor clearly insists on the fact that they experienced a paradox, but leaves it at that. And even though he followed the paradox, he never created it.

On a meta level Events that are shown to us are only the most entertaining timeline/alternate reality. So every timeline where it is interesting to see this paradox happen, we see it.

Digression : That's why we follow the Curtis family in the movie 2012, because they are the one who makes it. Similarly, we only see the reality where the Doctor makes it (most of the time).

The Pandorica is a special case though Indeed, every reality where this paradox didn't happen has been destroyed. So the paradox must happen. So there is no other reality to show us.

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    Great answer. My one quibble would be the fact that saying "the paradox must have happened" carries no explanatory power, and is instead a statement of fact. But this is a small quibble as there may in-fact be no actual explanation. – Magikarp Master Jul 30 '17 at 8:48
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    @MagikarpMaster : True that it is not an explanation, but in this vision of the show where "we see only the interesting timelines" it is a particularity worth noting. – Edelk Jul 30 '17 at 8:54
  • I could not agree more @Edelk – Magikarp Master Jul 30 '17 at 8:57
  • A great example of this paradox are the mini-episodes "Space" and "Time", aired during the 2011 BBC Comic Relief. The Doctor literally sets a looping event in motion by simply expecting it to happen. He doesn't know which control he needs to use, until he realises he can find out from his future self, because his future self has already solved the problem. – DisturbedNeo Aug 2 '17 at 14:34

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