Much better than last week's episode! I don't have a hell of a lot to say about it, actually - only that it was awesomely creepy, and I loved it. Okay, there were a couple of things I was a bit dubious about (mainly the first two scenes) but once the episode settled down, and took on a more serious tone, those kinds of doubts dissipated. Well mostly. I mean, there were a couple of things...
So, here's a list of my favourite moments from the episode:
- The entire scene of Amy watching a Weeping Angel on a television screen... only for the Doctor to read in a book that anything that bears the image of an angel becomes itself an angel... and for the angel to come out of the TV screen!
- THE ANGELS SNAPPING THE SOLDIERS' NECKS! Especially because it was just angel, darkness, snap.
- The moment when Sacred Bob's voice tells the Doctor that he didn't escape, that he died too. Chilling.
- The scene in which Amy can no longer run because she thinks she's turning to stone, and she begs the Doctor to leave without her and leave her to her fate at the angels' hands. Lovely moment of Amy and the Doctor complimenting each other, followed by the also-lovely-but-in-a-different-way moment of the Doctor biting her hand. This was great because Amy had just thought she'd convinced the Doctor to leave without her, but no - something of a let down after the niceness of the complimenting. I don't know, I don't think I explained it well, but it was a good moment.
- The moment when the Doctor realises that if the "statues" around them were truly statues, they should have two heads. I loved this because it was actually lead-up to because the Doctor had earlier said that the people of this civilisation had two heads. It wasn't some random flash of memory, but something the viewer could see was logical (except that since I am a Captain Slow of sorts I hadn't made the connection myself :P)
- Not exactly a moment, but I love the way the culture of the human soldiers was represented. It's made obvious that they're from a highly religious, perhaps theocratic society, but we're never forced to sit through any kind of explanation of their society. It's just obvious from the fact that they have "sacred names", and take offence when the Doctor undermines their idea of God. Hell yes, this is how world-building is supposed to be.
- Some of the miscellaneous creepy imagery like sand pouring from Amy's eye. This moment was somewhat spoiled because the ABC put it in their ad, but it was still creepy.
- Any time there were flickering lights.
I'll point out though that some of the above events are closely tied to less satisfying elements of the plot. For instance, Bob's voice said "they killed me too" but he then explains that by "we're coming" it was meant that the Angels were coming. OK, is this the Angels animating Bob's vocal cords or not? Is this the Angels' consciousness, or Bob's, or what? Sigh. And also, in retrospect, it was pretty stupid of the Doctor to know the dead civilisation was of beings with two heads, and not to notice that the statues had only one head. I guess he was very distracted by meeting River Song again, but that seems like an obvious thing to miss (given that he, unlike the viewer, knew from the start the thing about the people having two heads).
As for what I didn't like, I didn't particularly like River Song. Note that I'm not one of those people who hates River Song, really, but she seems so smug and not particularly bright. Personally, I would not count on the Doctor materialising his TARDIS in the exact right place as I chucked myself out of an airlock. Also, I would never chuck myself out of an airlock in the first place, because a) COLD b) VACUUM OF SPACE WILL RIP ME TO SHREDS. Sure it looked cool but man, so illogical. OK, I am moving onto why I disliked the first scene. It is 99% that thing about the airlock. I am also very dubious about the line, "Wait until she runs, then make it look like an execution." I mean, if you want it to look like an execution, by far the easiest way to do that is to actually execute her. I like that it is an attempt to sound threatening, but nonsensical threats aren't actually very threatening.
Then River lands on the Doctor in the TARDIS, having sucked herself out of the airlock, and thus ensues some scene in which River proves she is smarter than the Doctor in pretty much every way. Except that, you know, she throws herself out of airlocks. And why is River better at piloting the TARDIS than an actual Time Lord who happens to be the owner of this TARDIS?! I want a good explanation for this!
Oh and there is also the part where Amy happens upon the idea that River and the Doctor become married and they strongly imply that this is so and I cringed. Come on, she is so full of herself and annoying. The Doctor can do better than that. Although, to be fair to River, once they were all off the TARDIS she became much less smug and was a much better character in general. I don't understand why she couldn't just tell Amy what she'd be injected with, but apart from that, and the wife thing, she was all right. I don't remember the exact context but I'm pretty sure there was a moment in which she was reassuring Amy after something or other, which made her seem more caring than the earlier part of the episode had.
I did also like the moment in this episode where it's revealed that River is hiding something from the Doctor because she doesn't want to go to prison, though! See, that is something interesting. What could she have done that would be so terrible that the Doctor would send her to prison? (As we've seen from Christina in Planet of the Dead, unless the Eleventh Doctor is dramatically more harsh, just being a thief is not evil enough to anger him.) I mean, sure she killed the people back on the spaceship by opening the airlock on them (and miraculously not dying herself) but the leader of those people wanted her killed, and his two henchmen, uhhh, don't count. What did she do??
Since this episode was part one of a two-parter, I can't comment on stuff like pacing, plot resolution, etc. yet. I am hopeful that the next episode will be a worthy counterpart to this one, but we will see! ^_^
PS LOOK NEW ICON