‘THE TIME OF ANGELS’/’FLESH AND STONE’
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The Return of the Weeping Angels and River Song
It’s time for some adventures with the Eleventh Doctor and Amy again!
By the time the first three episodes of Series 5 were shown on TV in 2010, I was getting into the newly-established TARDIS duo of Matt Smith as the Doctor and Karen Gillan as Amy Pond. It was still early days and I wasn’t sure whether this new duo would appeal to me after David Tennant’s Doctor.
There were still some episodes to look forward to and that included this two-part story featuring the return of the Weeping Angels as well as River Song and also an episode featuring vampires in it. Would these new ‘Doctor Who’ episodes match the same appeal as the previous era for me though?
‘THE TIME OF ANGELS’ (Part 1)
‘The Time of Angels’/’Flesh and Stone’ is a two-part story by Steven Moffat, featuring the return of two of his classic creations in the new series. These included River Song and the Weeping Angels.
It was nice to see Alex Kingston return as River Song in ‘Doctor Who’, after her first appearance in the TV series in ‘Silence in the Library’/’Forest of the Dead’. I did wonder whether she would return.
Of course, Steven Moffat created the character in that two-part story with David Tennant. Now that he’s the head writer of the series, he can do whatever he wants and include any character he wants.
River Song is a mystery to the Doctor and to us as an audience, and this two-parter still retains that mystery. This is the first time that Matt Smith’s Doctor meets River in the TV series of ‘Doctor Who’.
By this point in River’s timeline, she still knows the Doctor whereas he doesn’t. But she’s not a professor in this story as she was/will be in ‘Silence of the Library’. She has yet to be a professor apparently.
This is where it gets confusing, as the Doctor and River are meeting each other back to front. For what was in River’s past, is yet to happen for the Doctor in his future. Are you with me on this so far?
Matt Smith’s Doctor in uncomfortable about meeting River again, after rescuing her when she falls out into space from a spaceship. He tries to avoid getting involved when she calls him for assistance.
In this story, River calls the Doctor and Amy to help her on the planet Alfava Metraxis. There the spaceship Byzantium has crash-landed and it transpires there is a Weeping Angel on board the ship.
The Weeping Angels made their first TV appearance in ‘Doctor Who’ in ‘Blink’. That is still one of the best and scariest ‘Doctor Who’ episodes made and Steven Moffat brings the Weeping Angels back.
I don’t think having the Angels back in this two-parter was a good idea. They worked well in ‘Blink’ and having to re-create that same scariness of the Angels from that episode isn’t necessarily a good thing.
There were some scary moments with the Angels that freaked me out though. One of them was when Amy saw a recording of Angel come to life and it came out for her from the TV screen. Whoa!
There was also the moment when the Doctor, Amy, River and party realise that the statues in the ‘Maze of the Dead’ are really weeping angels. When the Doctor turned his torch off, it was so scary!
Amy also has a rough time in this episode, when she accidentally looks into the eye of an Angel and gets stone inside her eye. There’s one moment when Amy can’t move her hand as it’s become stone.
Iain Glen guest stars as Father Octavian, the leader of his militarised clerics. I’ve seen Iain before in a BBC production of ‘Wives & Daughters’. I was delighted to see him star in this ‘Doctor Who’ episode.
I’m not sure I agree with the concept of the Church becoming militarised in the future by the 51st century. As a Christian myself, it doesn’t really make sense and this is one of Steven Moffat’s ideas.
I must mention that I visited one of the locations featured in this story when on holiday with my parents in 2009. These are the Clearwell Caves that act as the catacombs in ‘the Maze of the Dead’.
The first episode ends on an unusually heroic cliff-hanger. After he, Amy, Rory, Octavian and the clerics fall into the Angels’ trap, the Doctor defies them as he fires a gun at the gravity globe above…
The DVD special features on this episode are as follows. On Disc 2 of ‘The Complete Series 5’ of ‘Doctor Who’, there’s an in-vision commentary with Karen Gillan and head writer/executive producer Steven Moffat. There’s also a video-diary with Matt Smith and Karen Gillan.
On Disc 6, there’s the ‘Doctor Who Confidential’ episode ‘Eyes Wide Open’.
‘FLESH AND STONE’ (Part 2)
The second episode begins with the Doctor and party standing upside down on the Byzantium spaceship. They manage to get inside the ship, before the army of Weeping Angels comes for them.
This episode focuses a lot on Amy, since she goes through a really hard time in this as a result of her eye contact with a recording of an Angel. It begins as Amy strangely counting down from ten to one.
The Angels play with Amy’s mind in order to torment the Doctor. Amy is counting down as a result of an Angel inside of her and its killing her. It’s pretty scary when Amy loses control and is about to die.
By the way, David Atkins stars as Bob and the voice of ‘Angel Bob’ in this story. When the Doctor demands Angel Bob to tell him why they’re doing this to Amy, he says it’s to scare her and because it’s fun.
The Doctor becomes angry at this, until he finds a way to save Amy’s life. He tells her to close her eyes, which she does. This stops the Angel inside Amy from killing her and she is alright, eyes closed.
Karen Gillan delivers a fine performance as Amy Pond in this ‘Doctor Who’ story. Amy gets to show a range of emotions from being scared to being funny and to be incredibly brave in this TV adventure.
It gets tense when Amy has her eyes shut for most of the episode and she’s given instructions by the Doctor when she’s alone and has to walk to her and River. It’s scary when the Angels are around her.
In this story, we have the return of the crack in time that made its first appearance in ‘The Eleventh Hour’. This happens to be the same crack that was on Amy’s bedroom wall when she was a little girl.
The crack in time happens to be a recurring thing for most of Series 5 of ‘Doctor Who’, as it’s appeared a lot in previous episodes. What this crack in time means though is yet to be seen later on.
The Weeping Angels seem to want to this crack in time at first to harness all the temporal energy from it. But it turns out the crack in time is a killer for them and the Angels begin to run away from it.
The crack in time also seems to be wiping people out of existence, as if they never existed. This occurs when Amy’s with the clerics guarding her and they go one by one when they check the crack.
Matt Smith is very good as the Doctor in this story. I was quite unsure about him when he started in Series 5. But I was intrigued by his performance in this story as he displays a huge range of emotions.
In those scenes when the Doctor is trying to work out how to save Amy’s life, he tells her to ‘shut up’ as he thinks away. You’d think he was being mean and unkind, but he’s under pressure as he thinks.
It was tense when Iain Glen’s character Father Octavian gets caught in the grip of a Weeping Angel from behind. It was a bittersweet scene when the Doctor and Octavian say goodbye to each other.
Alex Kingston as River Song is also pretty good in this. There are hints of things to come in the Doctor’s future with River, especially when it transpires that River killed a very good man in her past.
Another location that I visited when on holiday with my parents was Puzzlewood near Colesford. Puzzlewood acted as the jungle vault on the Byzantium. It was so good to see in real-life and on TV.
This two-part story with the Weeping Angels has been very enjoyable. It’s not as good as ‘Blink’ with the Weeping Angels in it, but it is an interesting attempt to make them as monsters in a two-parter.
At the end of the story, Amy asks the Doctor to take her back home so that she can show her something. It turns out that Amy is to get married. The Doctor is so surprised that she didn’t tell him.
Amy then makes advances on the Doctor, as she kisses him in her bedroom. This was quick a shock, even for the Doctor. The Doctor is determined to sort Amy out, as he takes her back into the TARDIS.
The DVD special features on this episode are as follows. On the ‘Series 5, Volume 2’ DVD, there’s ‘Monster File: The Weeping Angels’ which looks into the creation and development of these monsters.
On Disc 3 of ‘The Complete Series 5’ of ‘Doctor Who’, the ‘Monster File: The Weeping Angels’ can also be found on there. There’s also the ‘Meanwhile in the TARDIS Additional Scene 2’, which you can watch on its own or with the episode ‘Flesh and Stone’ as the scene takes place directly after it.
On Disc 6, there’s the ‘Doctor Who Confidential’ episode ‘Blinded by the Light’.
‘The Time of Angels’/’Flesh and Stone’ rating – 7/10
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