Sunday, 25 April 2010

Doctor Who: The Time Of Angels ( review with spoilers )

River's Back! ( You can't beat the old jokes. )

And so are these guys:

It starts with a message, found in the Delirium Archive by the Doctor and Amy; a twelve-thousand-year-old distress signal, written in Old High Gallifreyan, the lost language of the Time Lords:

Doctor: There were days, there were many days, when these words could burn stars, and raise up empires, and topple gods.....
Amy: What does it say?
Doctor: "Hello sweetie....."

Aaaand we're off and running. Before we have time to er, blink, the Doc and Amy have rescued the enigmatic River Song ( who else? ) from explosive decompression, chased down a crashed spaceship, hooked up with some paramilitary priests and joined an expedition into a "Maze Of The Dead", all in a day's work!

But the main thing on Amy's mind seems to be the Doctor's marital status:

Doctor: A Weeping Angel, Amy, is the deadliest, most powerful, most malevolent lifeform evolution has ever produced and right now one of them is trapped inside that wreckage and I'm supposed to climb in after it with a screwdriver and a torch, and assuming I survive the radiation long enough, and assuming the whole ship doesn't explode in my face, do something incredibly clever which I haven't actually thought of yet. That's my day, that's what I'm up to. Any questions?
Amy: Is River Song your wife?

The Doctor/River relationship is the emotional heart of this story, but wrapped around it is one of the scariest, and strangely most old-school, Doctor Who adventures for years. Steven Moffat has said that if Blink was Aliens ( you know, face-huggers, xenomorphs, claustrophobia ) then this story is Aliens ( more action, more aliens, tough guys with guns ) and the comparison is very apt. The whole look of the episode is epic in scale, from the crashed Byzantium to the many-layered Maze Of The Dead, to River's outrageous airlock escape. But there's still time for a very creepy, small-scale scene with Amy trapped in the Clerics' drop-ship with a Ringu-like "haunted" video tape of an Angel. A video tape that starts to come to life.....

Moffatt ratchets up the tension as the Doctor and co. penetrate further into the labyrinth under the wrecked ship, only to find they are surrounded by hundreds of Weeping Angels. And the lights are going out. Brrr!! The cliffhanger is a masterpiece of script, music, and acting by Matt Smith. ( And don't forget, this is actually the first episode the new team filmed last Summer - and Smith nailed the part from day one! )
The only problem comes right at the last minute when another old nemesis of the Doctor's literally pops up to cause trouble: Graham Norton! Or, to be accurate, an animated Graham Norton ident, trailing the following episode of Andrew Lloyd Webber's latest self-promotion-fest. Aaaaarrrggghhh!!! Thanks, BBC! An object lesson in how to sabotage one of your own programmes and lose the audience's good will. Apparently the corporation received over 6000 complaints for this. What's the matter with people - don't they like being treated like idiots? Anyway, I'll leave you with the Doctor's soon-to-be-classic speech from the cliffhanger:

Doctor: Didn't anyone ever tell you - there's one thing you don't put in a trap, if you're smart, if you value your continuing existence, if you have any plans about seeing tomorrow, there's one thing you never, ever, put in a trap.....
Bob: And what would that be sir?
Doctor: .....Me.

Oh, and Mickey? Five out of Five Bow Ties :-)


Momo said...

I love the old Jokes.

So that labyrinth of caves beneath the crashed spaceship - does "A river run through it?"

I loved a lot of the word play in this episode and I'm not sure I like these weeping angels snapping necks to get the cortex for speech (three are dead this way). What happened to pushing them a couple of decades back in time and eating their potential energy?

(This is still a concept I fail to understand although that bug on Donna's back in "Turn Left" was doing the same thing)

Another thing (and I remember how the future changed in Waters of mars when the Doctor actually changed future history) the Doctor should have a fair understanding that he isn't going to get killed anytime soon since he may well marry River in some future regeneration.

As they said on Star trek, "Temporal mechanics confuses the best of us, maybe next time!

cerebus660 said...

I'm pretty sure the Doctor makes the point that snapping necks isn't the usual Angel M.O. and that they must need the bodies for something. Maybe all will be revealed next Saturday.

BTW Momo, your "River runs through it" gag cracked me up! Thanks for brightening up my day!


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