Doctor Who Series 5 Episode 4 review: The Time of Angels

Posted: 23 May 2010 in television
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Hello sweetie…

Doctor Who - The Time of Angels

During the RTD era Steven Moffat created not only one of the most memorable characters “Doctor Who” has ever seen but a set of the most memorable monsters ever seen on Doctor Who. River Song and the Weeping Angels demanded encores during the Grand Moff’s era of the series. That they make their sophomore appearances together is icing on the cake of the finest quality, and The Time of Angels develops their respective mythologies in grandly mysterious and scary style.

Moffat plays beautifully with the concept of time being all “wibbly-wobbly” for the Doctor with River Song’s stylish and frankly gorgeous 007-homage re-entry into the Time Lord’s life. Yes he saw her die towards the end of looking like David Tennant but for a time traveller that’s all pretty irrelevant and within moments of her flying through the TARDIS doors the two of them are bickering in the manner of an old married couple. And within the first third of the story Amy voices the question on all fans’ lips “Is she your wife?”

One of the most glorious laugh-out-loud moments in the near 50 year history of the series comes with the revelation that the iconic sound of the TARDIS’s materialisation is all due to the Doctor leaving the handbrake on!. This is made even funnier by the expressions employed by Matt Smith, Karen Gillan and Alex Kingston throughout the scene. Indeed the three work so well together it would create an interesting dynamic to have River aboard the TARDIS full time as a companion. But, on the other hand, it would probably dilute the mystery of the character. She’s a huge spoiler for the Doctor’s future and with luck this will be teased out through the 11th Doctor’s life.

There’s no indication how long before Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead River’s story is taking place but at this point in her life she’s seemingly in the shit and working for gun-toting 51st century clerics. Interestingly many of the Grand Moff’s previous tales have been connected to this period in Earth’s history: Captain Jack worked as a Time Agent in this period, the clockwork androids of  The Girl in the Fireplace originated here, and River Song’s debut/swansong took place in the same century.

River’s “mission” was to track down a deadly creature aboard the Byzantium, the last of its kind: a Weeping Angel. In Blink we met scavengers, here it’s a malevolence at the height of its powers with a whole slew of powers not seen before. Including emerging from the TV and scaring the shit out of Amy and most of the children in the UK. Numerous adults too…

With the descent into the Maze of the Dead and the wealth of statues Doctor Who becomes the creepiest the series has been since the days of the great Philip Hinchcliffe and Robert Holmes. In fact the series has not been this good since that Golden Age.

One of the most spine-tingling moments ever, ever, ever occurs when the Doctor and River both realise that all the statues have a single head when, given the inhabitants of the planet, two heads should be the order of the day. Every statue is a Weeping Angel, and they’re all regenerating thanks the radiation pouring out of the wrecked Byzantium. 

Then comes one of the great cliffhangers…surrounded by Angels…no hope of escape…no possibility of survival…but the one thing you never, ever put in a trap is the Doctor…

Even when a cartoon of Graham Norton appears and attempts to ruin the tension…

Is there truth in the rumour that a Weeping Angel was sent to visit the BBC moron who authorised the trail for the next programme in this moment of cliffhangerness? Let’s bloody hope so…

So all the Doctor has to next week is figure out what the Weeping Angels have done to Amy, stop River Song trying to get him annoyed every 5 minutes, and defeat a legion of regenerating and deadly Weeping Angels…

Could take a little more than a kettle and a piece of string this time around…

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