THE TIME OF ANGELS/FLESH & STONE
First broadcast 24/4/10-1/5/10 starring Matt Smith
It’s still incredible to think that this two~parter from Steven Moffat was the very first story to be filmed with Matt Smith as the new Doctor Who and Karen Gillan as his new sidekick Amy Pond. So assured, so beautifully presented and so damn well played out – it’s astonishing that this was the production’s team first “go”, as it were. (Also astonishing to think that it’s been over three years since there was a decent two-part story in the series, but let’s stick with the positive.)
In terms of style, The Time of Angels (and by that I mean both installments, including Flesh & Stone) looked and felt like a film; the direction and the locations were impressively and seductively cinematic. From the familiar-looking beach scenes to the action movie-esque underground scenes with the troops to the climactic forest scenes. Each scene an absolute treat on the eye. The forest moments, in particular, danced off the screen rather horrifically as one-by-one another soldier was removed from time.
But the scene involving Amy walking through, the forest area, eyes shut, is undoubtedly my highlight. It’s incredibly eerie. And like a child’s game, uncanny. We can’t help but feel for Pond as she slowly makes her way through a murder of Weeping Angels and if that weren’t creepy and skin-crawling enough, the stone statues begin to move when they realise that their prey is amongst them. Certainly one of Series 5’s great MOMENTS as the stone scratches upon stone and the soulless, killer faces turn to face the red-head. Of course, she got away. Just.
The body horror of Amy as she turns slowly into a Weeping Angel is to be applauded; it’s a subtle change (though never completed, of course) but like so much in the story, eerie and deeply uncomfortable. Just as the Angels themselves, now with the human voice of “Bob”, make the audience shift uneasily.
But there’s fun to be had too, and it’s supplied in great dollops by the always wonderful and always welcome River Song. Alex Kingston is in her element here. From the now oft-used whirlwind opening sequence montage (and the superb device of sending messages through time) featuring the Time Lord’s future wife getting up to all sorts of shenanigans! Her interplay in the TARDIS was a joy to watch, she commandeered and bested the Gallifreyan with ease and good humour. It’s these moments, like sound of the “brakes”, that juxtapose so wonderfully, and with so much vibrancy, with the more serious and dramatic scenes (which there are plenty of).
They say sequels are never as good their original, but this is on a par with Blink – the Weeping Angels, if anything, are more terrifying here than they were in the 2007 SteeMo story. With a production that shone an every level from design to direction to the cast, this two~parter kept our eyes open and attentive for all of its glorious ninety minutes or so.