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Dr Who: Time of Angels
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lil_shepherd


I have never, I admit, known a Dr Who episode that seemingly moved so fast. Even the second time round, I was surprised that we were at the ending. That's a sign of good pacing from the writer and director, and is typical of Moffat, anyway.

Second time round, it was also possibly to catch all the pre-figuring and the clues that Moffat was dropping. Like the Doctor, I don't know "who and what" River Song is, but I don't think she's the Rani, actually. My suspicion is that Moffat isn't going to do anything we expect with any of this. River Song herself is interesting in that she is very abrasive - which really bothers some people - but the sense of humour and occasional self-depreciation counters that, for me at least. I like the way she is interacting with the Doctor (who plainly isn't too keen on the idea of having - in his future - got more closely involved with her) and Amy's amused take on the situation between the two was one of the highlights of the dialogue which was witty and loaded with characterisation. Smith's Doctor remains, to me at least, quite distinct, but channelling Troughton - the absent-minded Professor (as Ace use to call him) in an young body with an old mind. He also does a great impression of fallibility which is very endearing - Moffat talks of a cross between Indiana Jones and Stan Laurel, and Jones's vulnerability-mixed-with-extreme-competence-under-fire is exactly what we get from Smith.

I caught the "why don't the statues have two heads?" as soon as the Doctor mentioned that the aliens who built the place did, and, being too used to the nil-points logic of RTD actually dismissed it as a continuity error! I was very glad to find out I was wrong.

It seems to me that Moffat isn't interested in world building per se, at least on all the evidence I have seen so far, and, the 'church military' (rather than - or perhaps in addition to - the 'Church Militant') are just British squaddies with funny ranks, though I'm inclined to think we are going to get some sort of revelation or joke in the second half of this sequence. Likewise, the planet is simply sketched in, with the catacombs or whatever, just great settings for action set-pieces and the joke plus logic of the two headed aliens. I could be wrong, but I doubt it. Moffat rarely does anything that isn't tied somehow into the plot - he strips background to the bones of what he is trying the achieve with the episode.

Changes in the Weeping Angels will, I expect, also be neatly explained before the end. Maybe the Church Military had some earlier involvement, or possibly River Song was involved and that's why she was in jail. We shall see.

Of course, the second half might be disappointing, but somehow I doubt it, and full analysis, if it seems worth it, waits until that episode is gone. Two episodes after that, we get what I think is going to be a key...
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I enjoyed this episode more than the others. The military church rather amused me, and I found the bits with poor Bob genuinely sad.

I'm enjoying this season, without thinking it's the best thing since sliced bread. However, it's much better than earlier NuWho and just about the only thing vaguely SFnal that's worth watching at the moment.

Current widespread theory is that River Song is part of the same mob that Captain Jack was working for (the Time Agents) when the Doctor met him back in The Empty Child - also a Moffat episode. This is based on it being the right century - the one Jack comes from originally - and the hallucinogenic lipstick, which has appeared as a Time Agent doohicky in Torchwood (or so I am informed.)

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