An artifact in a museum catches the Doctor’s eye: a message is written in the Old High Gallifreyan language on its surface, a message in an extinct language meant just for him. The message leads him to a set of coordinates in time and space where he has seconds to rescue River Song after she ejects herself from an airlock aboard the starship Byzantium – a ship she still wants to follow. When the TARDIS next materializes, it’s on an alien planet where the Byzantium has crashed, killing all aboard… all except for a lone Weeping Angel. The Doctor only has moments to bring Amy up to speed on the Angel’s deadly abilities, but it’s already wreaking havoc. And as the Doctor and Amy join River’s expedition to board the Byzantium and destroy the Angel, it soon becomes apparent that it is the expedition that’s outnumbered.
written by Steven Moffat
directed by Adam Smith
music by Murray Gold
Guest Cast: Alex Kingston (River Song), Simon Dutton (Alistair), Mike Skinner (Security Guard), Iain Glen (Octavian), Mark Springer (Christian), Troy Glasgow (Angelo), David Atkins (Bob), Darren Morfitt (Marco)
Notes: River Song returns in this episode; Silence In The Library and Forest Of The Dead are still in her future, but have already happened for the Doctor (in his tenth incarnation). She has, however, seen pictures of all of the Doctor’s faces. The Weeping Angels make their first appearance since season 3’s Hugo-winning Blink; along with Silence / Forest, Blink was written by Steven Moffat as a freelance writer during Russell T. Davies’ tenure as showrunner. The Old High Gallifreyan language was first mentioned in 1983’s The Five Doctors; all of the Doctor’s incarnations have been fluent in it, and presumably he passed that knowledge along to River Song; even upon its first mention in 1983, it’s implied that the language had fallen into infrequent use even among the Time Lords themselves.
LogBook entry & review by Earl Green
Review: Now what could be better than Steven Moffat revisiting the two most intriguing concepts he brought to the latter half of Russell T. Davies’ era of Doctor Who… at the same time? This is really where the season kicks into gear.
To start with, as already implied in Silence In The Library, the timeline of the Doctor’s meetings with River Song is going to be complicated; Library basically sees her death happen within hours of her first meeting with the tenth Doctor. Time Of The Angels is the eleventh Doctor‘s first meeting with her in his time stream, but it may well be her final encounter with him in this form prior to Library. I suspect that it won’t even stay this cut-and-dried for long, with every meeting being diametrically opposed on the other character’s timeline.
The Weeping Angels were the real draw card here, however – let’s not kid ourselves. Blink has been perhaps the most universally-praised episode of Doctor Who to come along since the series was revised, and with good reason; the audience’s affection with the concept was Steven Moffat’s to lose if the rematch didn’t equal their first appearance. It’s clear that Moffat was clever enough to know that, because the Angels upped their game here: anything carrying the image of an Angel can essentially allow it to use that image as a portal. And looking an Angel in the eye too long can be just as bad letting it catch you – in other words, even not blinking is no longer a defense. If that’s not enough, these Angels are just going around either killing their victims outright (rather than sending them to live the rest of their lives in the past, as in Blink) or using them as a conduit to communicate with their next potential victim (poor Bob). The Angels get new layers of bad tacked on to the existing wealth of badness they represent, making them even more fearsome without the new developments eliciting even one “Oh, come on.”
The creep factor of this episode’s atmosphere is right off the scale, the callbacks from only a season or two ago are worthy additions to the mythology, and it all works really, really well. This is what I’ve been waiting for from Moffat’s era – in other words, the creepiest, best-plotted thing to come along since, well, the last time Moffat handed in a script during the RTD era.