Episode 4 – THE TIME OF ANGELS

This episode gave us the long awaited return of River Song, two years after her first appearance back in the Library. The start to this episode was penned brilliantly by Steven Moffat as River left the Doctor coordinates in a museum. She then ejected herself from a spaceship and gracefully flew into the TARDIS…terrific stuff. The episode itself was also very good. For the first time since Blink, the Weeping Angels were back, and for this first part they were brilliant. The new concept; “That which holds an image of an Angel becomes itself an Angel” was terrifying and led to the brilliant scene where the Angel emerged from the television screen right in front of Amy. Also when the Doctor turns off his torch and realises he’s made an awful mistake and everything in the cave is a Weeping Angel, it’s such a brilliant moment. The way the Angels teased the Doctor with the murder of Bob and the other two soldiers added a new and darker side to the villains. No longer did they just place you back in time to consume your time energy and “kill you nicely”. Now they were brutally murdering people and mocking the deaths. The Doctor’s speech about how placing him in a trap was a grave mistake was another brilliant moment for Matt Smith. Big dramatic speeches were fast becoming his forte and this was one of his best. The cliffhanger where the Doctor shot the light and told everyone to jump was a bit unusual. Normally at the end of the first part of a two parter, there’s immediate danger or a death. Here we didn’t know what was going on and it was a bit confusing, even though it was resolved in the following episode. Overall though, this was a strong return for the Weeping Angels. They worked very well in the dark catacombs. River Song also made a good comeback and I enjoyed her dynamic with the eleventh Doctor in this story. 8/10

Episode 5 – FLESH AND STONE

“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. Sadly Moffat tried to fix something that wasn’t broken and seeing the Weeping Angels move took away some of what made them so fearsome. Their whole concept that you can’t kill a stone so you can’t kill them and they can only move when unobserved was such a genius idea. Seeing them move for the first time in this episode was disappointing and limited how scary they were afterwards. They still had some good moments though. In the corridor when they turned the lights off and the only light was gunfire, their slight but terrifying progression towards the Doctor and co. was a wonderfully intense scene. As to was the scene where the Angels had a hold of the Doctor’s coat. Amy counting down from 10 to 1 was very mysterious and when the Doctor worked out what it meant, it did add a lot of tension to the episode. One thing I didn’t get was when Amy had to “walk like she could see”. The Doctor said the Angels’ “instincts” will kick in as they’ll think she’s looking at them. So why do they move when you blink. The idea they don’t know your looking, they only subconsciously feel it took away what made Blink such a marvellous episode and concept. The resolution of the Doctor using gravity to make the Angels fall into the crack was excellent and seeing the Angels helplessly fly to their deaths was reminiscent of that great scene in Doomsday where the Daleks and Cybermen met similar ends. There is a lot to like in this episode, but I wish we saw the Angels send at least one person back in time. Seeing them move was a let down as I said, but it was still a decent finish to an enjoyable and spooky two parter. 7/10

Episode 6 – THE VAMPIRES OF VENICE

This episode is near enough the halfway point in my modern series marathon. Sadly it’s also the low point so far. After the Doctor hilariously bounced out of the giant cake at Rory’s stag do, this episode was all downhill. Throughout, the usually likeable Amy was just irritating as she treated Rory appallingly, even though she should’ve been doing her best to apologise to him. The Vampires turning out to be Fishy things rather than Vampires and only trying to seek refuge felt like such a recycled plot. Vampires in Doctor Who was a great opportunity to entertain but this Toby Whithouse script was a let down. There were also a number of frankly boring scenes where nothing happened. The CGI sky at the end of the episode when the rain was going to flood Venice was the worst CGI of the modern era. It looked completely ridiculous and unbelievable and would’ve probably looked bad even in the classic era. Francesco randomly exploded too which didn’t make any sense at all. The Doctor saved the day by flicking a single switch in one of the most anticlimactic endings to an episode ever. Strangely, Peter Capladi said this is one of his favourite Doctor Who episodes, unfortunately I can’t agree and struggle to find any positives. It’s definitely my least favourite so far. 2/10

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