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Doctor Who
The Time of Angels

The first two-part special of the Steven Moffat era sees the highly anticipated return of two of his most popular creations: the terrifying Weeping Angels and the enigmatic River Song. It goes without saying that in “The Time of Angels”, fans are expecting a great deal out of Moffat—and he delivers big time.

Moffat reintroduces viewers to River Song through a very cleverly executed escape sequence. Found trespassing aboard the starship Byzantium, River Song flees her captors by exploding the hatch doors open, gracefully launching herself into space, and flying right into the arms of a very perplexed and somewhat disgruntled Doctor. “I’m nobody’s taxi service and I’m not going to be there to catch you every time you feel like jumping out of a spaceship.”

The fun of the episode’s opening quickly turns into imminent danger when the ship crash lands atop the ruins of ancient civilization on an alien planet, and River Song reveals that a Weeping Angel that had been locked up in the ship is now missing. Never one to let such a dangerous enemy escape, the Doctor and Amy join River Song and her band of combat clerics (the Church has moved on in the far future) in the search of a rogue Weeping Angel hiding among a labyrinth of stone statues -- as the Doctor puts it, a needle in a haystack of needles.

Although they do not evoke the same bone-chilling terror this second time around, these Weeping Angels still have the ability to scare fans with their whole new range of powers. Now instead of “killing you nicely” by transporting you back in time and letting you “live yourself to death”, the new Angels will just simply snap your neck, simple but brutal.

In addition to the Doctor’s “Don’t blink” rule, looking into an Angel’s eyes and recording its image are also very big don’ts—something Amy Pond learns the hard way when the Weeping Angel on the security tape suddenly jumps out of the screen a la The Ring.

Thank goodness Amy has a knack of finding her way out of trouble as well as getting into trouble in the first place. She continues to surprise us as the Doctor’s companion with her ingenuity and spunk. At a later point in the episode, Amy even says “I don’t need you to die for me, Doctor. I’m not that clingy,” still maintaining her feisty character as the Weeping Angels have her seemingly trapped.

It was also quite refreshing to see her react to River Song’s strong familiarity with the Doctor with curiosity rather than a sort of lovesick jealousy. Amy teases the Doctor about his relationship with River (resulting in the very hilarious “Ooh, Doctor, you sonic’d her!”) and also bluntly asks the questions viewers want to know about their time-jumbled relationship. “Her past, my future. Time travel. We keep meeting in the wrong order,” says the Doctor as he tries to explain it to Amy.

Ultimately more questions are being asked than answered. River Song reveals that she knows an unprecedented amount about the Doctor. Not only is she unabashedly cheeky with the Doctor, but she apparently is also well-versed in Ancient Gallifreyan and can drive the TARDIS much more smoothly than the Doctor: “I had lessons from the very best. Shame you were busy that day.”

But she is undoubtedly hiding more than just the secrets of her time-travel diary—what is the story behind her time in prison? And why will the Doctor refuse to help her if he discovers who she really is? Would finding out that River Song may be the future Mrs. Doctor really be that bad?

“The Time of Angels” left viewers at a natural point for a cliff-hanger, though it is arguably not as urgent or hair-raising as previous Doctor Who cliff-hangers. As a two-parter, the plot plays out patiently, and eventually allows the tension to build up to great moments of genuine creepiness and determined heroism.

From the look of next episode’s “Flesh and Stone”, Moffat will be upping the tension as he adds more heart-pumping terror to the Weeping Angels. Tuning in to the story’s conclusion is definitely worth risking a heart attack.

Steph Rodriguez


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