Sunday, August 24, 2014

Doctor Who--"The Time of the Angels"

While I have thoroughly enjoyed Steven Moffat’s short reign on Doctor Who, I have had the complaint of a lingering Russell T. Davies vibe of which I am eager to rid. Thankfully, “The Time of the Angels” finally has. This is classic Moffat--a manic Doctor, competent companions, and gothic horror that is scary as all get out. Not to mention the first cliffhanger I have gotten genuinely excited about since ’The Stolen Earth” way back in 2008.

Consider the episode book ended with pure awesome, The pre-title sequence in which River Song inscribes an SOS on a stone table 12,000 before the Doctor finds it with instructions to rescue her from floating in space was the best I have seen so far. Old school Wholigans may flog me unmercifully over some other from 1970-something if the need strikes.

River has returned and has promised to deliver the Doctor in order to investigate the wreckage of the ship from which she fled. She also demonstrates, much to the Doctor’s irritation and Amy’s delight, a better skill at piloting the TARDIS than the Doctor has. Turns out, he flies it by the seat of his pants for fun. That grinding noise is actually because he leaves the parkig brake on.

The ship miscarrying the weeping angels from the Hugo award winning “Blink.” They changed a bit Instead of sending a victim back in time like then, now they chop heads off. Considering the dark, claustrophobic feel of this episode, I do not mind the change. Having your head chopped off for taking your eyes off an angel is heavy incentive to not blink, no?

Moffat recycles an element from “Silence in the Library/The Forest of the Dead” by having the agels, who have no voice, speak through the dead like the Vashta Marada. It is a frightening trick and every bit still as effective, so I do not mind seeing it again here. I do still hope there is not a whole lot of recycling for the future.

I can only guess at the cliffhanger’s resolution, but I suspect any fans are going to be upset the Doctor used gun. To my knowledge, he has only de so once before when the Fifth doctor pointed a laser rifle at Davros. Some still have their feathers ruffled about that one eighteen years later. The Eleventh Doctor is young, cocky, and has an edge to him. Using a gun in a desperate situation fits his personality. It is not like he shot at someone, either.

I like seeing Alex Kingston return as River Song. She will always be Elizabeth Corday to me, but seeing her play a looser, more adventurous character is fun. Along the same lines, I am really enjoying Karen Gillan as Amy Pond. I did not mention the subplot where she is apparently slowly turning to stone after a videotape encounter with an angel reminiscent of The Ring. I also note the emphasis on her wonderfully shaped legs. They know what boys like, no?

I cannot wait to see part two.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

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