Okay then! Having survived the return of those silly Daleks, it’s another week, and a brain new episode of Doctor Who, this being “The Time Of Angels,” part one of a two parter…
The new series is officially started and we’re well into the reign of Matt Smith as the Eleventh Doctor and Karen Gillan as the new companion, Amy Pond, and of course, we’re comfortably gripped within the master’s hands that belong to showrunner Steven Moffat.
(Though, it would seem that, fresh off the failure of picking up Torchwood here in the states on FOX, Russell T. Davies isn’t quite done with the world of Doctor Who just yet…)
And what better way to remind us and solidify that this is indeed a new era, a new Golden Age, then to bring back one of the greatest newer villains of the show’s celebrated return, the Weeping Angels, from arguably the show’s greatest single hour, the lovely “Blink.” Tonight’s episode was kind of an Aliens to the Alien that was “Blink,” as Moffat told Doctor Who Magazine, and he couldn’t be more serious.
“Blink,” don’t forget, is also the episode that featured the one off appearance by everyone’s favorite indie darling, Carey Mulligan, as Sally Sparrow. She’s guaranteed to go great places in her career, but prior to her recent success, I think most fans would be liars if they said they weren’t harboring a desire for her to return as the companion this season.
But speaking of celebrated returns, it’s not just the Weeping Angels that are back, but the enigmatic and exciting River Song, played by Alex Kingston, as the woman from the Doctor’s future, who may be his wife someday, theirs being a romance in reverse. He met her at the end of her days in the last series amazing two parter, “Silence In The Library” and “The Forest Of The Dead.” I feel that it’s pretty much universally agreed upon how great “Blink” is as a single episode, but I’d like to see a little consensus of how “Silence In The Library” and “The Forest Of The Dead” are easily the best two parter that the show’s produced ever. Easily.
That’s not to say that this feels like the show resting on it’s laurels, though they are great and many, because it still feels fresh and new. I wouldn’t think that a new fan would be lost in this enthralling wilderness of storytelling, probably quit the opposite. Instead they’re in for a treat, showing exactly what this show is about.
And while I don’t think that tonight’s “The Time Of Angels” and next week’s “Flesh And Stone” will fall into that category, I would be happy to be proven wrong because tonight’s episode was brilliant and fun. A proper romp. A dark, scary first part to a chilling movie, the kind of Doctor Who we’ve all been expecting since Moffat took over, and fulfilling what he described to David Tennant as his idea of a good episode of the show: It should be the kind of idea that, once it’s written, a writer kicks himself for not having turned into a feature film.
But, ah, yes, we had the Weeping Angels, slightly evolved since their time in “Blink,” and more heinously terrifying, and paramilitary priests, and River Song, still just a doctor herself and not yet a professor, with not only a fantastic way to call out to the doctor across 12,000 years but a brilliant way to escape being cornered at gunpoint: She’ll just pop out the airlock and into space where the Doctor’s waiting arms are there to catch her…
Though I think far too many fans will get held up on the explanation for the TARDIS’ iconic “landing sound,” the machine wheeze. Of course it’d be as simple as the Doctor having left the brakes on, or something like that. Yet, I don’t foresee the sound leaving us anytime soon.
And again, Amy Pond, the wonderful and beautiful Amy Pond, with such ingenuity. Her encounter with the Weeping Angel, a moment straight out of The Ring was well executed and terrifying. If you thought about it, it would be far too easy for her to get overshadowed by the return of River Song, a woman so amazing that she’ll someday marry the Doctor, but Amy easily shows that she’s not outfoxed that easily. But it’s interesting how similar she is to River, a smart woman of her own means, fully capable in her own regard, only River’s admiration and loving respect for the Doctor seemingly having grown and intensified after who knows how many unseen adventures…
All in all, I can’t say too much about this episode, except to express admiration for it. My only articulate thoughts are about how excited I am for next week’s second part. As a psuedo-sequel to both “Blink” and “Silence In The Library”/”The Forest Of The Dead,” this felt perfect, both a logical evolution, and chillingly claustrophobic. I mean, at one point the Doctor actually converses with a dead man who apologizes for the gruesome attack to come we’re left with a fascinating twist on the cliffhanger ending: The Doctor and his allies, surrounded and outgunned, moments away from certain doom, and the Doctor takes the time to remind his enemies that the last thing they want to put into a trap is him. And then he does something recklessly stupid and probably breathtakingly smart.
And, aside from the episode itself, this is a weird moment to be in, especially considering, as far as I know as a fan, this was the first time the show went on location to film a sequence in the production of this current series. And how do I know that? Because our first glimpse of the Matt Smith’s Doctor and Karen Gillan’s Amy Pond (and the return of Alex Kingston) was the bevy of images released from the beach shoot that stood in for the crash of the Byzantium. And that was, what, maybe a year ago? From that little tease to us here now, it’s just a weird experience, but a pleasurable one.
Next up: Surrounded by hundreds of Weeping Angels, the Doctor and his allies try to survive, but when you’re down that low, the only way you can go is up…