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09 May 2015 @ 07:54 pm
NuWho Rewatch: Time of the Angels/Flesh and Stone  
I observed that our NuWho Rewatch seemed to have ground to something of a halt and made inquiries. It turned out it was the Weeping Angels again. NLSS Child had spotted they were in the next episode and had recognised it as a scary episode she had seen at a friends house. As a result a time had to be found when both parts could be watching in quick succession and when suitable quantities of popcorn could be provided to sooth the nerves.

River calls the Doctor in to help her church militant friends/minders recover an Angel that has been long dormant. The spacecraft they are pursuing crash lands on top of a statue filled "Maze of the Dead" through which they must journey to reach the crash and the Angel. Halfway there they begin to realise that the statues are, in fact, yet more angels.

To be honest the most notable thing about this episode is the things that were to reoccur, such as the church militant, River's imprisonment, and her habit of leaving messages for the Doctor on historical artefacts, and the things that were, apparently, to be quietly abandoned - the various new powers the angels seem to have gained. In fact, beyond the fact that they only move when you are not looking at them, these angels are almost entirely different creatures to those encountered in Blink, behaving in very different ways. NLSS Child immediately (and loudly) picked up on the fact that they could move when looking at each other, but not a single person gets sent back through time by the angels in this episode. It is also a shame, I think, that the director chose to show the angels moving when the camera is upon them but the eyes of the characters are not. I think part of Blink effectiveness can be attributed to the fact that the angels are never seen to move by the audience. There is a hand wave, that these are an evolved form of the angels but it feels pretty thin.

I think it is a disappointing reappearance for the angels, but the first episode of the story nevertheless manages to be pretty scary. The ascent through the maze; the voices of the dead soldiers on the radio; the moving image of the angel on the camera. The second episode is more disjointed. I think the story is trying to switch back into the fairytale motif, with the forest in the spaceship, including Amy (dressed inevitably in red as women always are in these kinds of situations) having to make her way unaided through the trees. The arc plot intrudes in a fairly major way, sucking soldiers into the crack and the attempt to link it to the angels plot doesn't quite work, I don't think.

This isn't quite the sort of "big dumb two parter" I have been inclined to go on about in the Davies years. However it has a lot of the hallmarks of those stories. Its interest in spectacle, or at least providing a driver for specific visual sequences, has caused some rather questionable decisions to be made about the monsters' powers and it is, basically, one extended chase sequence. Moffat's more integrated approach to arc plotting and the fact that its spectacle is mostly about spooky visual devices than running, shouting and explosions gives it more of a sense of substance, but at the end of the day I think it has more in common with Davies' early season two-parters than is immediately apparent.

This entry was originally posted at http://purplecat.dreamwidth.org/155216.html.
daniel_saunders: Leekleydaniel_saunders on May 9th, 2015 09:45 pm (UTC)
It's true that lots of monsters are different in their first appearance, before anyone thought they would return. The Daleks and Cybermen are initially somewhat sympathetic; the Cybermen in particular come across as charmingly naive in their belief that they are doing everyone a favour by offering to cyber-convert them. But it is true that the Weeping Angels changed quite a lot here and the production team may have seen it as a mistake, as Angels Take Manhattan saw them returned to their factory settings in many ways.

I liked it nonetheless, part of my gradual realisation that the Moffat era would be more to my liking than the Davies era. I really liked that cliff-hanger: a lesser author would have ended the episode with the Doctor in trouble, but here the cliff-hanger comes on the Doctor doing something clever, but we have to wait a week to find out what (unless we can guess, which I couldn't).
louisedennis: Doctor Wholouisedennis on May 11th, 2015 11:39 am (UTC)
I'm not keen on the extent to which Moffat, in particular, seems to add powers to monsters. In particular, I think he's at risk of making the Daleks and Cybermen indistinguishable from each other. However, in this case, it does look like he subsequently thought the better of it.
reggietate: river-doctorreggietate on May 16th, 2015 02:32 pm (UTC)
I literally just finished re-watching this :-)

I seem to recall, back when I first saw S5, not being as keen on the Angels as a lot of fans are. Since then, I've really grown to enjoy their appearances, and I love this two-parter. Well-impressed by the fact this is the first things Matt Smith filmed for his Eleven. He hasn't got him perfectly sorted out just yet, but all the groundwork's there, and he and River spark beautifully.

I don't think changing up/adding to the Angels abilities is such a bad thing overall, else they might have remained a bit predictable, but they're probably best used sparingly.

Bit of a shame Octavian got killed, I liked him a lot. River's entrance was terrific - always loved that bit. Amy is very Amy, and splendid with it.

Oh, yeah, forgot to add: don't know if you read any Whofic these days, but if you do, I'd reccommend:


It's a long fic, featuring the Angels, Eleven and Amy, and OCs which is not only very cleverly done, but also very, very funny. Laugh out loud funny, I mean, and keeps in character doing it. First chapter is mostly OCs setup, but then it kicks into gear and never lets up.

Even on FF.net, there is good fic, if you dig deep enough, I am happy to discover :-)

Edited at 2015-05-16 02:38 pm (UTC)
louisedennislouisedennis on May 17th, 2015 09:09 am (UTC)
I thin the interesting thing about the Angel extra powers here is that it's the only time we ever see them. IIRC they're back as they were for the Angels Take Manhattan.

I've saved that link to my ereader!!