This new season of Doctor Who features its second return to a past foe with the appearance of the Weeping Angels, aliens first seen in a story written by Steven Moffat in the new series’ third season story Blink.
Moffat continues the story of these deadly alien with the Doctor being summoned – by a typical and clever Moffat plot device using time – to a spaceship carrying a solitary Weeping Angel. The Doctor has been brought there by River Song (Alex Kingston), the enigmatic character who may, or may not be, the future wife/companion of the Doctor. There could have been a banter between the two characters, but Song is more like a nagging wife and the Doctor the downtrodden husband. But as this has been written by Moffat, all may not be as it seems, one day… The one thing I really, really don’t like is the way the Doctor is almost a god now. Everyone seems to know him, and the Time Lords seem to have a history of unlimited power across the universe, rather than the recluses we were first introduced to. That, sadly, is the approach this revived series had taken.
Annoyingly, Song just takes control of the situation, and the Tardis, brushing the Doctor aside unless needed. It’s all a bit too flippant, particularly Song’s knowledge of the Tardis. We also seem to lose the fact that the Doctor knows song’s ultimate fate. Most annoyingly, though, is companion Amy Pond, who quite happily, even enthusiastically, marches out onto an alien world as if it were quite a natural thing to do. Her ‘jolly hockey sticks’ attitude loses far too much potential excitement for the viewer starting a new adventure – well it might be an alien planet as this was any old beach!
[pullquote]A superbly realized piece, frightening and gripping, and one of the best frightening scenes in the past five years[/pullquote]
This flippancy just might be acceptable if it is to highlight the tension that is to follow, by the bucket-load… First off, Amy becomes trapped in a compartment with a looming Weeping Angel. This is a superbly realized piece, frightening and gripping, and one of the best frightening scenes in the past five years. It’s only let down by the fact that there seems nothing to stop the Doctor materializing the Tardis in the compartment and saving Amy, except that the Doctor doesn’t seem to think of it!
The next part of the story involves a trek through catacombs to get to the now crashed spacehip at the top of a cliff. This will set up even more scary moments, but… once again the whole reason for the trek seems negated by the fact that the Doctor could just take everyone there in the Tardis – or indeed by the ‘beaming’ method we see the soldiers use!
The only other niggle is Moffat’s re-use of his idea of ‘the dead speaking’ from his fourth season two-part story Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead. If the dead people had been able to speak for the same reason that would have been more or less acceptable, but here it becomes a bit of a plot device, particularly with the well-used Moffat trademark repeated phrase.
However, this is a far, far superior episode to last week’s rushed mess (Victory of the Daleks). This is scary teatime televison, with some scenes that replay in the mind long after the episode has finished, and that’s the mark of a good drama production.