The Time of Angels

March 10, 2016

Aired 24 April 2010

Steven Moffat was always going to have a tough task in front of him if he ever wanted to bring back the Weeping Angels, arguably his most successful villainous creation from one of the most beloved Doctor Who tales ever written in ‘Blink.’ Of course he was never going to recapture the unique tension and atmosphere that made ‘Blink’ such a classic, but he manages to offer a very engaging reintroduction in ‘The Time of Angels’ that proves that they have more in them than a one-time appearance.

It’s quite abundantly clear to everyone that they cannot blink in the presence of the Weeping Angels, a device that’s again used to great effect throughout, but the highlight moment is easily Amy’s as she trapped in a vehicle watching a recording of the only Angel known to be around the area. The slowly building unease and tension in fantastic and, even knowing that something is going to happen, it’s still a genuinely creepy moment when the Angel comes out of the screen. Karen Gillan continues to shine as Amy Pond and again continues her rapid progression into becoming a fantastic companion.

However, it’s not just the Weeping Angels that Steven Moffat brings back; River Song also returns after her demise in the Tennant two-parter ‘Silence in the Library’ and ‘Forest of the Dead.’ Of course, time travel allows for non-chronological meetings and some necessary secrets to be kept between the two, but the implication that River may be the Doctor’s wife is as strong as ever. Amy relishes the opportunity to ask the Doctor about River, but the answers aren’t so quickly revealed, leaving that particular mystery’s true resolution for another time. In the meantime, there are also questions lingering regarding why she was in prison, why she handily has a book about the Angels, and why she happens to know Gallifreyan writing.

The big climactic scene in ‘The Time of Angels’ finds the Doctor, Amy, River, and some clerics in a large cavern in which several weathered statues turn out to be Angels. Probably just because of the size and scope of the cavern, this scene just lacks a little bit of the edge that their previous appearance packed. There’s no denying that the dark shadows and sudden movements still emphasize how dangerous they are, but this is perhaps a creature that works better in isolation rather than in large groups. The question to consider is just how the group of heroes manages to keep their eyes on every statue in the dark cavern to not become quickly overwhelmed, but that afterthought never takes away from the intensity of the proceedings.

Still, the Weeping Angels make a welcome and chilling return and even giving them a voice of sorts after the slow revelation that the statues are not how they should be works very effectively. The mystery surrounding River has intensified, and Alex Kingston returns to the role with ease in what will hopefully become a recurring role. While the cliffhanger is much less suspenseful than the usual Doctor Who fare, it still offers an intense ending point that will hopefully have a good payoff in the concluding ‘Flesh and Stone.’

Wrap Up

The Time of Angels

Pros

  • + Weeping Angels make an effective return
  • + Return of Alex Kingston and River Song exemplary
  • + Great pacing and use of lighting

Cons

  • - Angels not quite as effective as in 'Blink,' perhaps due to their numbers and large space
  • - Cliffhanger a little underwhelming compared to other recent ones

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