Doctor Who: The Time of Angels (Series 05, Episode 04) Review

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What’s It About?

Finding a message that could only be meant for him on an exhibit in a museum, the Doctor meets up with future “friend” River Song and a group of militant clerics on a mission to capture a Weeping Angel. The Maze of the Dead awaits (OK A Maze of the Dead, not THE maze) …

Review It

So Moffat scripts again, and returns two of his popular creations. There was potential here for both epic success and epic failure. Many viewed Blink as the perfect standalone episode and felt that the Weeping Angels should be left alone. What Moffat cleverly does here is flip the angle completely – far from a group of scavenging survivors trapped on earth, the Angel here is cunning, patient and has a plan!

River Song also returns – naturally from a point before “The Silence in the Library”. It’s interesting to think that part of the reason that The Doctor instantly comes to her aid in this episode is guilt over her sacrificing herself to save him in his previous encounter with her. The device of filming the past (River’s heist and leaving the message for the Doctor) and the future (The Doctor’s finding of the message) was excellently realised and could only really work with River.

The interaction between The Doctor, Amy and River is superb with mutual respect and teasing played in equal measures. Alex Kingston seems to really revel in her role of possible future Mrs Doctor yet there are hints that she may not be all that we first thought in this episode. The cast is small here, and the episode maintains an Action-Thriller quality throughout. The Team progressing through the Dark while being potentially stalked by a Weeping Angel is reminiscent of Aliens and The Mines of Moria from Lord of the Rings.

Three-quarters of the way through the episode, the stakes are ramped up with a well-played and unforced revelation about The Maze through which our plucky clerics and TARDIS crew are making their way. The Angels use a similar device to Moffat’s other villains, the Vashta Nerada in that they use a dead cast-member as a communication method. That said, the device works again and maintains a humour, despite the chillingness of the revelation.

Our first cliffhanger comes after possibly the best speech ever given by a Doctor. Those who saw the Trailer for the series will doubtless know the one I’m referring to! In some ways it felt odd, as if the close came a couple of seconds too late. Personally, I’d have ended on the moment that the Doctor ended his line and pulled the trigger. That said, I’m more eager than ever to see next week’s offering, so there’s little doubt that the device worked as intended!

And the niggles?

This one came from elsewhere (Thanks Kehaar!) – the costuming of the Clerics was a bit lazy. Also, carrying seperate Torches and taking one hand off one’s rifle? What happened to helmet-torches or ones fixed to the barrel of the gun? Was River possibly slightly too long in space before arriving in The TARDIS? I can suspend disbelief on that one – maybe she had a personal field generator.

Featuring the return of two Moffat favourites, The Time of Angels is suitably scary, with moments of humour that do not feel forced. The strongest episode so far – let’s hope part two is a fitting conclusion. I’ll be first in line to get hold of a movie edit of these two episodes if it does!

Rate It: 4.5 / 5.
Dry Slaps: 0.
Reviewer: WedgeDoc

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  1. Aerliss /

    Didn’t River ask for something like an ‘air corridor’ after she reeled off the coordinates? I thought that was how she managed to float around in space for so long without exhaling. It’s exhaling right? Gotta get that right…

    • That’s true… though the TARDIS only arrives after she’s halfway across. I’ll be honest – my knowledge of how long people can survive in vacuum is lmited, so it was a teeny minor point. Plus I can suspend disbelief at far bigger things 😉