Doctor Who – The Time Of Angels (S05E04) – Episode review

Tonight’s Doctor Who kicked off the much-anticipated two-parter that revives two fan-favourite Moffat inventions: the enigmatic Professor River Song, and those creepy Weeping Angels from Blink.

[[The Time Of Angels (Doctor Who episode)|The Time Of Angels]] sees The Doctor and Amy wandering in a museum when they receive a brilliantly conceived message from River Song via a “Home Box” with Gallifreyan writing on it. It says “Hello sweetie…”

And from there, it’s a short leap to one of the most daring space escapes ever, and then our favourite time travellers are wandering the catacombs surrounded by stone statues. The perfect hiding place for the angels? Not quite, there’s an amazing twist to come.

River Song: So I’m going to be a professor in the future?

Alex Kingston owned this episode as the only person in the universe to be ahead of [[The Doctor (Doctor Who)|The Doctor]]. As he says to [[Amy Pond|Amy]], “Her past, my future. Time travel. We keep meeting in the wrong order.”

Yes, she acts as comfortable around The Doctor as an old wife. Hell, she can fly the [[TARDIS (Doctor Who)|TARDIS]] better than The Doctor, as she accuses him of driving with the brakes on. She’s fluent enough in Gallifreyan to write a message for The Doctor, and I can only imagine how difficult it is to find the Gallifreyan word for “sweetie”.

Moffat’s managed to keep the enigma alive. How does Song know all this stuff? She hints that it wasn’t The Doctor who taught her:

I had lessons from the very best. Shame you were busy that day.

On top of that, we discover that Song’s been in prison, and she’s keeping some kind of secret from The Doctor. Something shifty going on here? And she seems to realise something’s up with Amy before she gives her anti-radiation drugs.

Here’s a wacky theory: is River Song a future version of The Doctor? She had her own sonic screwdriver. She has unrivalled knowledge of his world – the TARDIS, Gallifrey, how to contact him. I’ll also hark at her use of the word “sweetie”, and The Doctor’s own “Don’t mess with me sweetheart.” in [[Victory Of The Daleks (Doctor Who episode)|Victory Of The Daleks]]. Just a thought. And we always get speculation about The Doctor regenerating as a woman, don’t we?

Weeping Angels

Never was a fan of the Blink episode. And I wondered how much further Moffat could take the Weeping Angels characters.

The Time Of Angels manages to expand upon the mythology of these creatures. We now know that looking them in the eyes is a bad idea. Even their image can become an angel. All this in addition to being able to displace you in time!

The scene with the angel coming out of the television screen while Amy is trapped in a room with it was fantastically tense. It’s good to know that the

Best space escape ever

Spectacular moment – River Song flies out of a spaceship hatch and is sucked into space, but has provided The Doctor with co-ordinates to catch her. Brilliant moment. Not only has she set the moment up beautifully, but she has the style to blow Alistair a kiss before being sucked into the safety of the TARDIS.

This is the kind of Doctor Who moment that’ll stand out from this series.

Repeating themes?

I think, as with the Moffat quote-fest that occurred in [[The Eleventh Hour (Doctor Who episode)|The Eleventh Hour]], this episode draws on Moff-only themes. The Weeping Angels, River Song. Spoilers.

Did you spot the subtle rip-off of the Silence In The Library episode? Those little devices that captured the last moments of people’s consciousness so that they’d stutter “Hey, who turned out the lights?” The angels breaking Bob’s neck and then using his ‘voice’ was very similar to the Vashta Nerada in those library episodes.

It’s not enough to worry me just yet, but I see quite a few repeating themes in Moffat’s work. Considering his big line this year has been “I’ve been preparing for this role since I was 15”, you’d think there’d be a big notebook of original ideas waiting to be tried out. Just saying.

Quotes from this episode:

  • The Doctor puts his foot down with River Song: “I’m nobody’s taxi service, and I’m not going to be there to catch you every time you jump out of a spaceship.”
  • The Doctor tries to explain his relationship with River Song to Amy: “Her past, my future. Time travel. We keep meeting in the wrong order.”
  • Amy Pond: “She’s Mrs Doctor from the future, isn’t she?”
  • The Doctor to Sacred Bob: “Anyone in this room who isn’t scared is a moron.”
  • Amy: “I thought they were all dead.” Doctor: “So is Virginia Wolf, but I’m on her bowling team.”
  • Amy: “I don’t need you to die for me Doctor, I’m not that clingy.”

The Bottom Line: A vast improvement on Victory Of The Daleks, this has heroic highs as well as some thrillingly scary moments. Special mention to the art department for those wonderful cavern-like backdrops – they were good enough to rival anything we saw in Lord Of The Rings, really.

Good story development for Smith’s Doctor, but again not enough Amy. Since that elaborate origin story in The Eleventh Hour, we haven’t had nearly enough development of Amy’s character.

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