Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Who Review: The Time of Angels

Image Courtesy of The Guardian. How ironic.

The fourth episode of Doctor Who's Season 5 promised the return of one of the most iconic villains of the reboot. Click below to read our thoughts.
In sum, this was a very solid episode. The villains and the environment made for great tension that carried all the way through and into the cliffhanger ending. Stephen Moffet's Weeping Angels made for a dangerous but not uber-powerful villain, though guest character River Song was as annoying as she was in her debut episode. 
This episode was the first in this season that opened up the world that this new head writer wants to create. Russell T Davies made sure to create his own stable of characters (Rose, her family, Martha, her family, Donna, her family, Captain Jack Harkness) as well as his own villains (The Ood, Cassandra). The only trouble was that we were often given the impression that Davies liked his characters more than the audience did, and the show as a whole suffered for it. I know a lot of DW's audience really liked Rose, but I didn't really, and she never. Went. Away. Ever. And now I am afraid that Moffet is doing the same thing with River Song. She isn't that likable, Moffet! Mary Sues never are! And the worst part is that since Moffet is just getting going as head writer, it seems likely that River Song will stay around for a long time to come.

The good news is that the rest of the episode came together very well. The Church/soldiers made for an interesting and yet not overbearing part of setting the scene. Matt Smith really came into his own this episode, perhaps because River Song worked as a foil for him. Even what seemed like blatant plot holes (such as the Weeping Angels acting differently) were explained by the end of the episode. Though it still doesn't make sense why they weren't all dead from the moment they entered the cave. I guess the Angels wanted to give them a fighting chance. Also, it was pretty stupid how the first two guys to die were black. That was maybe acceptable around the time of the second Friday the 13th movie.

One last thing: Moffet! You say the TARDIS noise is because the Doctor leaves the brakes on?! Well, how come the Master's TARDIS makes the same noise in "Logopolis?" That's right. I went there.

"The Time of Angels" was a very entertaining episode all the way around, with a decent cliffhanger to make me want to come back and see how it all comes out. We've got our scary villain, we've got our cool scenery, we've got our red-shirts to get killed (and get killed they do), and we've got our super special guest star (more on her later). It's well put together and keeps the plot moving. I didn't even notice that it was getting close to the end of the episode until the "to be continued" line showed up.
In summary, the Doctor and Amy receive a distress call from Dr. River Song and arrive in time to save her from a ship. They all go to the planet and learn that under the planet's surface is a Weeping Angel trapped. The three link up with a group of soldiers who are affiliated with the Church, and they all go after the angel. Turns out, all the statues in the catacombs are Weeping Angels, and they're moving in for the kill when the episode ends, to be resolved in part 2.
The plot is good and the scenes are good. What is not good is Dr. River Song. Do you know how, in comics, when a creator makes a new character and he wants to make the character seem awesome and get everyone to like him, he makes the character able to "beat up" some stronger, more popular character? You can see this with Lobo and new versions of characters like Manhunter and Blue Beetle. Dr. River Song is like that for the Doctor. The Doctor can fly the TARDIS? River Song can fly the TARDIS better! The Doctor has a sonic screwdriver? River Song has a gun that can also open doors! The Doctor helps people? River Song helps people, and she's been in prison! Wow, how bad ass! We all like the Doctor, so we must like you more! River Song is a terrible character and I would be happy if an angel snapped her neck at the beginning of the next episode.
Other than her, I enjoyed this episode and am looking forward to the next one. Not a lot more to say, the review for next episode will look at both together as a complete story arc. 

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