"A forest in a bottle on a spaceship in a maze. Have I impressed you yet, Amy Pond?"
Poor Amy. She might be impressed by that forest/spaceship/maze combo, but presumably not by having a Weeping Angel lodging in her mind and having to stumble through an army of said Angels with her eyes closed. All in a day's work for a Doctor Who companion.....
The Doctor and co. have escaped from last week's cliffhanger with the aid of the Byzantium's still-functioning artificial gravity ( love that old SF impossibility! ) and find themselves inside the crippled Starliner, with the Angels close behind. The first scenes of the episode bristle with tension as the desperate band of clerics and time-travellers try to penetrate the ship's security systems and escape the rapidly advancing and strengthening Angels.
Bishop: This whole place is a death-trap!
Doctor: No, it's a timebomb. Well, it's a death-trap and a timebomb..... and now it's a dead-end. Nobody panic.
Even when they find their way to the heart of the ship the crisis doesn't let up: the Angel in Amy's mind forces her to count down to her own imminent death..... for fun, that pesky Crack In Time makes an unwelcome reappearance, and the Doctor's crew have to navigate through the ship's Angel-haunted "oxygen factory" to safety.
This episode is a spell-binding exercise in tension and atmosphere, a worthy successor to Steven Moffatt's previous spine-chillers like The Empty Child and Blink. And there are so many great moments: the shoot-out in the corridor, the Angels laughing and ( gulp! ) moving, the Doctor's tender moment with Amy in the forest, "Something I've... missed", Father Octavian's moving and defiant final words, the Angels forgetting the gravity of the situation, the list just goes on.
For me the best scenes are the ones set in the forest. ( Filmed in Puzzle Wood, Coleford, in my home county of Gloucestershire, fact fans! ) Director Adam Smith brings us more of that fairytale quality with which he imbued The Eleventh Hour, and the performances of Matt Smith, Karen Gillan and Iain Glenn are extraordinary. This two-parter has been one of the best Doctor Who stories since Rusty Davies brought the series back 5 years ago. And potentially one of the most controversial scenes in the show's history is saved until the last moments.....
Poor Amy wanted to see an alien planet, which she did, but the price was being terrified, mentally scarred and even bruised from climbing out of a dead starship. So she asks to be taken home where, five minutes after she originally left in the Tardis, on the eve of her wedding, Amy decides she wants something more than adventure and travel from the Doctor. She wants some Time Lord TLC. In a funny, but startlingly frank ( for Doctor Who ) scene, Amy tries to entice the Doctor into her bed. He, of course, is having none of this and decides she needs to get her priorities right. Cue the "Next Time" trailer, showing the Doc whisking Amy and almost-forgotten boyfriend Rory off to sixteenth-century Venice for a romantic date. With added vampires.
This scene has already caused a ( mild ) uproar amongst the Daily-Mail reading set who don't think such a thing as ( whisper it ) s...e...x should even be hinted at in a supposed "children's show". My 14-year old daughter Sophie came over all Mary Whitehouse-prudish and said this scene was WRONG and STUPID. She's not been impressed with this new series and the fact that Amy is now officially a "slut" ( her words ) is just the icing on the cake. To carry on the food-based metaphors I think it's just a storm in a teacup but we'll have to see what happens next.....