The Time of Angels
River Song: You might want to find something to hang on to.
Production Code: 1.4.
Story Number: 206a.
An extraordinary start to the two-parter with scenes of pure joy woven with Moffat’s now traditional metatextual fun and scary-story moments…
From 2006 to 2008 Moffat in all of his DW stories played with the idea of the Doctor appearing through the telly to reassure his female characters of the stories (or at least the pre-20th Century equivalent of the place for stories being told, around the fireplace!)
After the fireplace, the DVD player, and the Library telly, 2010 has also featured a variant of this idea in each story so far: the kitchen, the TARDIS telly and (in Gatiss’s story) the TV monitor in the bunker. However, this episode breaks with tradition, in so far as it’s the Doctor and Amy “watching the telly” (pre-credits), and they view the same wink-to-camera from River Song that we the audience do.
To mention some scenes of pure joy for a moment, the whole pre-credits sequence is joyful from start to finish, from the brilliant way River Song is re-introduced, to the Doctor explaining the Majestic Gallifreyan Symbols – “Hello Sweetie” – to the airlock-escape.
Once the catacombs are entered, the story (literally) becomes darker. The motif of someone or something appearing from the telly recurs again, but this time it’s not the Doctor or friendly River Song, it’s the monster actually coming out of the television – a signal perhaps, that, even though Moffat stories have light and shade, this is a particularly dark “Moffat story.”
The end scenes, before the cliffhanger, confirm this idea, as – this time – not “everybody lives.” The cliffhanger itself is more of puzzle than is traditional, though it looks like the whole of the “story with the return of both River Song and the Weeping Angels to the telly” could be as great as that very “Moffat story” idea sounds…
Rating: 5/5 (for this part of the story.)