Posts Tagged ‘weeping angels’

505: Flesh and Stone

Take note, people: for the first time since Doctor Who came back, we have a ‘part two’ episode that isn’t totally underwhelming.

After finding themselves trapped in a cavern, surrounded by an army of incredibly powerful, reawakened Weeping Angels, the Doctor manages to save himself, Amy, River Song, Father Octavian and the team with a crafty gravity flip. Unfortunately, this puts them on board the crashed ship, which is still leaking its energy source – the one place the Angels are desperate to go…

This is one of those rare episodes that doesn’t have much of a plot. Instead, we’re treated to scene after scene of those menacing Angels closing in on the helpless soldiers as the Doctor panics, realising that there is no way to defeat them.

It’s a testament to Moffat’s writing prowess that he manages to get so much mileage out of an enemy that doesn’t actually do anything on screen. While part one took a single Angel and evolved it to terrifying new heights, this second half is all about the regular Angels and Moffat packs it full of skin-crawling moments.

The first half of the episode is British sci-fi horror at its finest – the Doctor backs further and further into a corner as the Angels grow ever nearer and it’s pulse-pounding stuff. Then, just as the episode wanders dangerously close to becoming repetitive, Moffat pulls a brand new idea out of the bag and flips the Angels on their heads completely.

The only real complaint is that Amy doesn’t get to do that much in the episode and when she is on screen she can act a little bit like Catherine Tate. Indeed, the final scene is so far removed from the Amy we knew and were growing to love that it’s horribly jarring, almost to the point of breaking her character.

All in all, it’s a well-structured, satisfying and thoroughly enjoyable episode that packs a hell of a lot of surprises into it, be it the Angels, some revelations about River Song or the discovery of the crack in time. It’s also good to see the episodes linking on to each other again – although, whether this is just a trick Moffat inserts into his own scripts or something that’s catching on is as yet unknown. For the time being, Doctor Who is back on track. Hooray!



504: The Time of Angels

‘Don’t blink!’ – The Doctor

Wow. Just when you start to despair and bang your head against a wall, Moffat returns in style and pulls one out of the bag.

The Doctor’s future wife, River Song, sends him a cunning message that draws the TARDIS to a crash site on a planet long abandoned. The ship they were chasing contains the last remaining Weeping Angel, a statue that has laid dormant for hundreds of year and is now being supercharged by enormous amounts of radiation…

The plot is fairly simple, like all ‘Part One’ episodes: bucket loads of setup, tension and loss as the Doctor suddenly finds himself miles out of his depth. What makes it so good this time around is simply that the Weeping Angel enemy is so, so brilliant.

Moffat has had the foresight to take what was scary – i.e. not blinking or you die – and up the ante significantly. The Angel now has far more power than any of the others previously encountered. This one can come get you through TVs, switch off lights and, most brilliantly of all, get inside Amy’s head.

The production values are consistently high, the acting top-notch throughout and the ideas flying off the screen. This is Moffat going for the jugular of the children watching and with any luck night lights will remain on across the nation.

There are a few problems, though. The amount of supporting characters means that there aren’t many real characters in the Church Squad. They turn up just moments before you know they’re going to get it in the neck, which is a disappointment. And another point – one that certainly seems to rear its ugly head time and again – what is with the BBC and their casting of ethnic actors? The first two characters that die are… wild guess… black! It’s a surprise that the Angel isn’t black, just to complete the image.

Still, that aside, this is a really thrilling return to form that will keep its viewers glued to their screens for the conclusion next week. Hopefully it won’t go the same way as all the other ‘Part Two’ episodes and be full of exposition.