When I heard that the Weeping Angels would be returning to Doctor Who, I was elated. They first appeared in "Blink", an episode from the third series (the new series, that is) which stands as one of the best Doctor Who stories ever and one that scared the living crap out of me. And so I went into this two-parter ("The Time of Angels" & "Flesh and Stone") with high hopes.
For the most part, they were rewarded. If "Blink" were Alien
, then this story is Aliens
with The Doctor and Amy joined by River Song and a squad of priests who are also marines heading into a cavern to hunt down a Weeping Angel.
We last saw Ms. Song in the fourth series' "Forest of the Dead". She is a future companion of The Doctor with a potential uxorial angle as well. As "The Time of Angels" opens she is aboard the Byzantium
. After breaking into the room where the starship's equivalent of a black box is located, she carves a message onto it. Twelve millennia later the box is on display at a museum where The Doctor and Amy are checking out the exhibits. It catches The Doctor's eye as it has Gallifreyan writing on it. After stealing it and watching the footage it contains in the TARDIS, The Doctor sets a course and rescues River as she is blown out an air hatch on the Byzantium
They follow the starship which crashes onto the surface of Alfava Metraxis. There our heroes meet up with Father Octavian who is leading a group of holy soldiers in pursuit of a Weeping Angel which was aboard the Byzantium
. The creepiness begins early when Amy finds herself alone in the command trailer while a 4-second clip of the angel aboard the Byzantium
standing against a wall plays on a loop. But soon the statue inexplicably begins to move towards the camera and eventually a digital, static-ridden angel emerges from the monitor. Good stuff!
After this, everyone enters the cave which is actually an underground crypt for the long-gone native Alfava Metraxians. The place is lined with statues in memorial to the dead and makes it a great hiding spot for the angel. It then occurs to The Doctor that the natives had two heads whereas the statues only have one. They are trapped in a spooky cavern full of angels! The lights begin to dim as the monsters drain all sources of light of their power so that they can regenerate. Things get really hairy from here.
River Song proves even more enigmatic in this story as we find out that she was released from jail where she was serving a sentence for murder in order to enlist the help of The Doctor for this mission. At the end awaiting to be teleported back into custody, River tells The Doctor of her predicament and says that she had killed the best man she'd ever known, hinting that she had killed our Gallifreyan hero himself. Before she is whisked away, she says that she'll see him again when the Pandorica opens, a reference to the enigmatic…um… thing which we first heard about at the beginning of the season. Along these same lines, that recurring crack in time and space is present on Alfava Metraxis and becomes even more important at the end. With the adventure over, Amy wants to go home and the TARDIS arrives just a few minutes after they had originally left. She tells The Doctor that she was to get married the next day but she has changed her mind and makes her move on our Doctor. He resists and figures out that the cracks that they've been encountering have something to do with Amy and, perhaps more importantly, the explosion which created them happens the following day – her wedding day.
While "The Time of Angels" & "Flesh and Stone" made for some intense, scary viewing, I felt that Matt Smith fell back into David Tennant mode with all the talking to himself and his mouth going 100MPH. While I think that most, if not all, of the Doctors have this trait, it seemed that Tennant made it a trademark instead of just one thing among many that The Doctor engages in. Our hero should be known for Jelly Babies or love of cricket or just something else besides a trait that all incarnations have in common.
Still, this was a scary story and the Weeping Angels slowly moving towards the characters was positively terrifying. However, there was one sequence where Amy had her eyes closed yet managed to traverse a landscape filled with angels. If they're all quantumy, then how did they not notice that they weren't being seen? I don't understand how your gait is supposed to fool them. If you can put this aside and instead concentrate on the creeping darkness and claustrophobia, then you're in for a great ride.