Hallucinogenic lipstick, clerics in camouflage and a maze ball. The Weeping Angels must be back!
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In the coolest cold-open since Sean Connery unzipped his wetsuit to reveal pristine evening-wear underneath, River Song sends The Doctor a pick-me-up through time and thus their paths cross again. In the hold of a recently crashed spaceship, there rests a terrifying life form that can never die.
Under the command of Father Octavian (played by Iain Glen of Sir Jorah Mormont in Game of Thrones fame), and ably assisted by militant clerics Christian, Angelo and Bob… The Eleventh Doctor, River Song and Amy Pond must now venture into the dark and scary catacombs of the extinct Aplan civilisation, with statues aplenty, before the marble menace gets too juiced up on warp-drive radiation or something like that.
This review covers The Time of Angels, part one of the double feature that also encompasses Flesh and Stone. We’ll be dropping our review of that second part in two weeks’ time.
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Once again I’d like to start this one by reminding you of River’s history to date, from her point of view. As a newborn she was taken from her parents and trained to kill the Doctor. Instead she fell in love with him. After nearly destroying the universe by her refusal to follow her programming, she and the Doctor were married. Their next adventure saw the universe entirely rebooted, and the adventure following that saw her crossing her own timeline to witness some of her own dark backstory. Now she’s been granted reprieve from her life sentence in Stormcage in order to do some dangerous detective work.
Getting straight to the action, we see the enigmatic River Song leaving the Doctor a message from the past. Last time it was on psychic paper. This time she leaves it on an old box. In old Gallifreyan no less. When did she have the time to learn that? Also may I point out that it’s really good nothing happened to cause the home box to malfunction or she’d really be in trouble.
Oh wow is the Doctor unnerved by River. And Amy is enjoying his discomfort a bit too much. Their scenes together- particularly the ones where River has the Doc at a disadvantage- are among my favorites in all New Who. Alex Kingston absolutely dominates here. In fact all three (Gillan, Smith, Kingston) are working so well together! The character work is so impactful, you hardly have time to notice that these angels eat radiation and kill outright (vs sending you back in time)
And this one is so scary. I am terrified. One might even say petrified. Similar to what we saw in The Eleventh Hour, Amy is personally in danger here, and we feel her fear. This must be especially difficult for River. Being from the future, she already knows Amy well. Losing her would be unthinkable for more than one reason.
This is an outstanding episode which I must rate very highly.
Rating: The first hill of a roller coaster!
Aliens, Terminator 2, Empire Strikes Back, Mad Max 2, Ghoulies 2 and now Blink 2 joins the ranks of sequels that don’t suck! Some 4th Doctor serials were influenced by hammer horror films. Nice to see a New Who episode influenced by freaky Japanese horror. The Angel coming out of the screen is friggin terrifying!
Whilst arguably the scariest villain in Who history, the Doctor’s assessment of the Angel as the “deadliest, most powerful, most malevolent lifeform evolution has ever produced” is a bit far considering all the other bad ass villains the Doctor has encountered; didn’t Davros and then the Time Lords try to end life, the universe and everything? Are the Angels more malevolent than a man made of sweets who kills people for being unhappy? The marvellous 7th Doctor would disagree.
Questions. Are the clerics space crusaders? Why are they woefully underprepared for Angel fighting – how will body armour protect against Angels? Will their machine guns do any damage? What was meant to be their plan to recover / kill the Angel? Why are the grunts so poorly briefed of how dangerous the Angel is (hunting the Angel is “better than fighting Lava snakes”? I’ll take the Lava snake please). Is hallucinogenic lipstick the first A Class drug in New Who?
Original airing notable for a cartoon Graham Norton wandering across the screen in the final tense seconds causing fan outrage and complaints to the BBC.
4/5 scary ass Angels
“That which holds the image of an angel, becomes itself an angel”. So now that we are all successfully suckered into the habit of not blinking when the Weeping Angels are around, they switch it up and hitch a ride in the corners of our eyes! This time we join The Doctor, Amy and the delightful River Song (Alex Kingston) as they rifle through the crashy bits of the Byzantium sometime during the 51st Century.
Joining them on this breakneck chase story through the dark are a platoon of Full Jacket of Metalling Monks led by Bishop Second Class Father Octavian (Iain Glen FTW). As the group works their way up through the Aplan-ish Catacombs to the crashed Star Liner, more and more Weeping Angels un-Beeblebrox their way out the surrounding statues, dialing the creep factor up to 11. And damn that “I am The Doctor” music is catching.
As always, Moffat uses dialogue to make some of the tenser moments just bloom, such as when Father Octavian says in response to The Doctors apology for the loss of the clerics: “I know that, sir. And when you’ve flown away in your little blue box, I’ll explain that to their families”.
A brilliant re-intro for River, and a satisfying pace throughout lends itself to a tantalyzing beginning to a great story. 4/5 for so many great moments between the Doctor, Amy and River; The Angels being even creepier than before and for leaving us on a proper cliffhanger.
If I may have a request, could Churchill read my review, it would be an honor for such a great man to read my review with such dignity and grace that would otherwise not be there.
Im not gonna lie WhoBackWhen crew, the weeping angel episodes aren’t some of my favorites, and that includes Blink. But I didn’t dislike this episode as much as I thought I was going to. I did like the part where the doctor talks about the power of the Gallifreyan language and what immense power it used to have, only to be find out that the message on the box read “Hello Sweetie” as well as the idea of the of the whole “the image of an angle becomes an angel” I thought was a good concept but I thought the hologram angle kind of looked stupid. But what I really liked was the realization that the statues in the catacombs are not of the native species but are actually weeping angels. But as for the things I don’t like in this episode, they are really just minor annoyances. For instance, in the fifty-first century the military are wearing normal uniforms instead of something from Halo or something of that effect, another thing is that at the start of the episode, why the hell does that one guy have a tuxedo on a cargo ship, but the thing that annoys me the most is the whole “Amy is turning into an angel” thing, I’m pretty sure that the people who survived from Blink looked into the Angel’s eyes didn’t become angels.
Overall its kind of hard to rate this episode as its only half of a whole story, but I’ll try, I give this episode 2.8 spoilers out of five.
Also if you were wondering what I would have scored the previous episode I would have given it a 4.2 jammy dodgers out of five