The weeping angels are back! And as creepy as ever!
The fourth episode ‘The Time of Angels’ (part1) saw the return of the terrifying weeping angels who had earlier appeared in season 3 episode ‘Blink’ (which according to most whovians is one of the best Doctor Who episodes) and River Song, a woman from The Doctor’s future who The Doctor seemed to have met for the first time last season. They keep meeting in the wrong chronological order. Hence in order to avoid ‘spoilers’, River carries a diary with her which, according to The Doctor, contains “her past, my future”.
In this episode, 12,000 years in the future, The Doctor and Amy are exploring the Delirium Archive, the final resting place of the headless monk. The Doctor spots a home box from the starship Byzantium from 12,000 years ago and informs Amy how it basically works like an airplane’s black box. He is fascinated by it as a message in Old High Gallifreyan is scrawled on it. The Doctor tells Amy that the message is for him. When Amy asks what the message says, he replies ‘Hello, sweetie’.
The Doctor and Amy steal the box and connect it to the tardis console and play it. The footage shows River in Byzantium. As guards prepare to shoot her, River says some temporal coordinates and requests an air corridor. The Doctor sets the tardis for River’s coordinates. The airlock in the starship opens and River floats out into space just as the tardis materializes. The Doctor opens the tardis door and River comes inside.
River asks The Doctor to follow Byzantium which ends up taking them to the planet Alfava Metraxis. She informs The Doctor that the Byzantium contains a weeping angel, essentially a statue which can move only when it is not being observed by others. She Calls Father Octavian and his clerics, who are orbiting, to help capture the dormant angel before it feeds on the radiation leaked from the spaceship and becomes too powerful.
This episode was a huge improvement from the previous two weaker episodes. It was thrilling and terrifying at the same time. The scene where Amy gets locked in the trailer where she, River and The Doctor had earlier been reviewing a four second loop of the angel in the Byzantium, and the angel starts coming closer and eventually out of the screen in the form of a hologram whenever Amy is not looking, was my one of my favorite scenes in the episode. That scene really brought out the petrifying nature of the weeping angels. I can safely say that they are one of my favorite Doctor Who villains.
The episode was well written and maintained a gripping and suspenseful pace throughout. I loved how The Doctor and River’s relationship was portrayed like that of an old married couple. Their bickering brought out some much needed humorous elements to the mostly tense episode. Matt Smith is turning out to be a great Doctor and Karen Gillan’s performance is improving every episode. I think I judged her too soon. Alex Kingston is also amazing as River Song and is slowly becoming a favorite character.
Another thing I liked about this episode was that they gave the Angels a voice in the form of Bob, a soldier who’s consciousness is being used by them to communicate with The Doctor. However the climax at the end was the true hero of the episode. While traveling in ‘The Maze of the Dead’ to find the weeping angel, which is basically like finding a needle in a haystack as it contains statues built by the two headed natives of the planet, The Doctor and River realize that all this time they failed to look at a vital clue staring at them right in the face.The statues in ‘The Maze of the Dead’ have only one head, whilst the natives of the planet had two which means that all this time they had actually been surrounded by weeping angels. They look back to see all the statues facing them and also realize that they have moved towards them.
To conclude, this episode was an impressive and great first part to a two part episode.
The fifth episode ‘Flesh and Stone’ (part 2) is a continuation of the previous episode. At the end of the previous episode The Doctor, Amy, River, Father Octavian and his clerics were trapped having realized that they were surrounded by weeping angels who were inching towards them. The basic premise of this episode (without spoiling too much since I’ve pretty much spoiled the previous episode) was The Doctor and the others attempt to escape the weeping angels through the wreckage of Byzantium. It also revealed more information about the time cracks shown in the previous episodes and the reason why Amy had no memory of the Dalek invasion in 2009.
Amy was also at the centre of a major plot line in this episode. The Doctor realizes that throughout their escape attempt Amy has been counting backwards from ten. In the previous episode she had also complained about something being stuck in her eye. Amy continues counting down, but denies doing so. After having a talk with angel Bob, The Doctor realizes that an angel is inside Amy from when she had looked at it directly in the eyes, even though she was repeatedly told not to do so, in the previous episode when she was in the trailer. When Amy reached the number two, The Doctor tells her to close her eyes and continue to keep them closed till the angel inside her has starved or else she will die. The Doctor, River and Octavian proceed to the primary flight deck, leaving Amy behind with the remaining clerics to protect her. However while waiting for rescue, the clerics start approaching a crack, like the one from the previous episodes, in order to investigate it and end up disappearing completely. While Amy remembers the missing clerics, the other clerics seem to suddenly have no memory of them. Amy is left alone. The doctor can’t come rescue her because of the weeping angels so he tells Amy to come to him.
That next scene was just riveting. Amy has to walk towards the primary control room with her eyes shut, while dodging the weeping angels and acting like she can see them in order to fool them. I loved how the scene was shot. It was effective in building up the tension and keeping me at the edge of my seat till Amy finally reached safety. Needless to say Karen Gillan’s performance really stood out in this episode.
We also see the angels actually move for the first time which I thought was a great addition. It added to their creepy persona. However their conversation with The Doctor towards the end of the episode made them sound a little stupid.
Although this episode was an exciting, action packed second part and had its iconic moments, it did not entirely live up to the previous episode which I thought was absolutely amazing. But is was a great conclusion to the two part episode.