Published on April 30th, 2010 | by Christian Cawley
The Reaction of Angels
Slightly earlier than last week, we’ve got a round up of the critical reaction to the latest episode of Doctor Who. The Time of Angels – starring Matt Smith, Karen Gilland and Alex Kingston – seems to have gone down a treat, with Steven Moffat’s returning Weeping Angels displaying even greater powers than we saw in Blink.
We’ll start with SFX (who are currently giving away life sized cutouts of the Eleventh Doctor and Amy Pond), who concisely relate just how the episode develops from the viewer being in the position of one moment “knowing” the Angels and the next finding out they’re even more fearsome.
The scene with Amy and the Angel reaching out of the video footage is just stunning, and the subsequent trek through the Maze Of The Dead is edgy and hypnotic. Then, when it turns out weâ€™re not dealing with one Angel, but thousands, the story steps up to another level. Itâ€™s just superbly paced, the changes in tone happening gradually and organically.
Superlatives come thick and fast from The Guardian, meanwhile, as their reviewer seems to wet himself (and possibly his MacBook?) trying to convey just how good The Time of Angels is. It’s OK, mate – we saw it!
It’s the “creepy psychological terror one”; an intricate romp jammed with ideas that make a truly cinematic piece of drama. It’s an astonishing achievement, frankly. Given the space of a two-parter, the story feels ponderous compared with Victory Of The Daleks. But it also allows Moffat to wind up the tension.
Airlock Alpha were full of praise for Alex Kingston as River Song. Each of the reviews mentioned the enigmatic character, but this is an interesting observation that might explain why she was a little – shall we say – irritating at times during The Time of Angels.
Alex Kingston again has a fantastic presence on the series, only this time with a more sinister edge than we’ve seen in “Forest Of The Dead.” Back then, she was all knowing and almost altruistic but in “Time Of Angels,” an encounter that obviously precedes her library experience, she holds a darker secret. It is almost as if her time with the Doctor mellows her over time and what we’re seeing is a very early view of the character.
Den of Geek noted that the pacing of The Time of Angels was more ponderous than the previous week’s Victory of the Daleks.
What helps The Time Of Angels, though, is that, with a second episode of this particular adventure to come, it can take its time. As such, we found ourselves as interested in the hints about Riverâ€™s character as the angelâ€™s return, and thereâ€™s space in here to explore both. Itâ€™s perhaps disappointing that it doesnâ€™t come up with a better cliffhanger to glue the two episodes together, but then the story does seem to reach a natural point for a break when the credits roll.
Finally, the Telegraph was also positive, although they weren’t too happy with one element early in the episode:
The only real disappointment? The inference that the Tardis doesn’t really have to make its celebrated “vworp, vworp” noise on landing. How can you do that to us long-time fans, Steven Moffat – that sound is part of the warp and weft of the programme!
Overall – a very well respected episode of Doctor Who. If you’re wondering if Flesh and Stone can conclude the opening episode in similar style, read our spoiler-free preview…