Doctor Who – The Time of Angels / Flesh and Stone

Now this was serious fun. I’ll do the plot summary thing, which will miss out all manner of lovely details to avoid making this the Longest Post Ever, and to leave something for you to discover if you haven’t actually seen it yet. After that, I’ll do some of the usual muttering.

The Doctor finds an unexpected message on a very old piece of equipment – the interstellar version of an aircraft’s black box. The message must be for him, because it’s written in Old High Gallifreyan and more to the point translates as “Hello Sweetie” and includes some space time coordinates. This leads to a perfectly timed rescue of our old friend River Song, who once aboard the TARDIS points out that the blue thingies are in fact the stabilisers that the Doctor didn’t know he had, and proceeds to land the TARDIS without the usual noise, which is apparently caused by the Doctor leaving the brakes on. :rofl:

Having followed the ship, which turns out to be the Byzantium, which was mentioned as one of those “have we done that yet” items the first time we saw River. We also find out that it’s crashed into a long-abandoned temple. We also find that River has some friends – a bunch of holy warriors (well, something like that) led by a Bishop in full army gear. Father Octavian reveals that they’re on a mission to recover Something Nasty from the Byzantium – a Weeping Angel.

And so everyone has to move up through a load of lovely catacombs to reach the upper level of the temple and get to the ship. This is complicated by the little detail that the Angel in the ship has managed to affect Amy via its appearance on a video monitor, and that it appears to have got loose into the “Maze of the Dead”, which is conveniently full of statues, making it a little hard to spot. It gets even more complicated when the Doctor puts a few more facts together and realises that while the former natives of the planet were noted for having two heads, all the statues have just one. They are in fact all Weeping Angels, only a bit on the slow side due to a lack of energy. But as they’re absorbing the radiation leaking from the Byzantium, they’re beginning to get a bit more lively. Oh, and they’re using part of the brain of one of the soldiers (or “clerics” as they prefer to be known) to chat to the Doctor over the radio. Nice.

All of which leads to the Doctor, Amy, River and the surviving soldiers being nicely trapped by a growing army of Angels. The Byzantium is hanging far above them, and all exits are surrounded. It’s at this time that the Doctor suggests that they (the Angels, that is) have made a bit of a mistake:

There’s one thing you never put in a trap, if you’re smart, if you value your continued existence, if you have any plans about seeing tomorrow. There’s one thing you never, ever put in a trap…… ME!

And promptly does something quite bonkers which manages to get everyone up to the Byzantium[1], where things start to get even more complicated. Amy’s got something in her eye which may well be an Angel trying to get out. And that crack in time thingy appears again, which as the Doctor points out is not good at all.

Then there’s a nice bit of Angel dodging in the Byzantium’s on-board forest (good way of generating oxygen). And soldiers not so much disappearing as ceasing to have ever existed when they approach the crack.

And the Doctor realises that time can be rewritten, which might explain why nobody remembers the Cyberking making a mess of London, and why Amy has no memory of the Daleks.

And the Bishop reveals that River Song is in his custody – she’s been let out of jail to help with this project. Apparently she killed a good man, and the Doctor really doesn’t want to know who. Or is that Who?

And the Angels are still getting closer, which is quite nasty. The Doctor manages to see them off and get the crack to close “for now”, and once again I’ll omit the details.

And that is pretty much it. River goes back to jail, after telling the Doctor they’ll meet again soon. He says he’ll look forward to it, and she says she remembers it well. All this meeting in the wrong order is going to get even more confusing, I’m sure…

Amy asks the Doctor to take her home, and they arrive in her room five minutes after they left[2], where she reveals that she’s supposed to be getting married, and makes a quite major pass at the Doctor, who resists quite nicely, before taking her away again…

All good fun, with a good bit of development of the Doctor/River thing, a lot more revealed about the Angels, who turn out to be a lot cleverer and nastier, and a perhaps temporary tie-up to that crack in the wall thingy.

Steven Moffat says that he’s now worked out a future plan for the reappearances of River Song, which can only be a good thing – it’s good to see the Doctor challenged by someone who, at least some of time, will have more of a clue about what’s going on than he has, and who clearly has some complicated relationship with him, whose exact nature we may understand one day. Amy is continuing to develop into a first-class companion, and generally the whole thing is working very nicely indeed.

I’ll leave this with one more quote. It’s the Bishop asking River if she really trusts the Doctor:

Octavain: Doctor Song, do you trust this man?
River: I absolutely trust him
Octavian: Are you sure he’s not some kind of madman?
River: I absolutely trust him

I liked that.

[1] Method sufficiently loony for me not to reveal
[2] Funny how that works properly sometimes and not others..