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film criticism by maryann johanson | since 1997

‘Doctor Who’ blogging: “The Time of Angels”

(all spoilers! don’t read till you’ve seen the episode! and no comments from party poopers — this is a love fest only / previous: “Victory of the Daleks”)
Holy shit, River Song is cool as fuck, isn’t she? (Alex Kingston, too.)

She speaks Old High Gallifreyan, she knows how to fly the TARDIS, and she’s comfortable enough to take her shoes off in the console room:

She is the Doctor’s wife, isn’t she?

The Moffat. I hateses the Moffat. Hateses him. And loveses him. Because no one — no one — but me is worthy of the Doctor. But I have to admit that River is awesome, and totally worthy of the Doctor, too. How can that be? She is clearly a better woman than I am, because she’s not jealous of Amy. (Oh, they’re so much more sophisticated in the 51st century, aren’t they?) I am, I have no shame in admitting, jealous of River.

And how is Amy not jealous of River? Is it merely that, at first, she doesn’t really realize that River is someone she might need to be jealous of? Because she’s only teasing the Doctor with all that “She’s kinda like, you know, ‘Heel, boy.’ She’s Mrs. Doctor from the future, isn’t she?” She’s not expecting the Doctor to admit that yes, she is his future wife. Yeah, he’s gonna be sonicking her all the damn time some day…

Except… do we even know that she’s the real River Song? Not that we know who the “real” River Song is… But clearly Octavian knows something about her that she doesn’t think the Doctor would like to hear. It can’t just be that she’s been in prison, can it? I mean, he’s a criminal, too. There’s gotta be something else going on that it’s “too early in his timestream” for him to think about, or accept, or even know.

I also wonder about her comment: “I’ve got pictures of all your faces.” All his faces? Or just the ones since David Tennant’s Doctor? Because she tells him in “Silence in the Library” that he’s younger then than she’s ever seen him. So she can’t have met earlier Doctors. Except: timelines can be changed. Wibbly-wobbly, timey-whimey. Argh!

(Naturally, I went back and rewatched “Silence in the Library”/”Forest of the Dead” and “Blink” this weekend. And I cried — I sobbed — at River’s “death,” which I’d never done before. Hateses the Moffat! Hateses him!)

Oh, right: and there’s Weeping Angels in this one, too. I wanted to see new baddies, but at least if they’re gonna reuse old ones — not that the Angels are very old — they’re advancing their story, too. The Angels don’t always throw people back in time and let them live to death? Great. Now I’ve got something else to worry about next time I walk through Woodlawn Cemetery: I might get thrown back in time with no way to escape, or I might get turned into a Weeping Angel myself.

Random thoughts on “The Time of Angels”:

• Hallucinogenic lipstick? That’s almost like what Saffron used to knock out Mal…

• Damn! Another idea that was so mine: the Doctor enjoying walking through museums and pointing out what’s wrong…

• That ship

is a bit Blake’s 7, isn’t it?

(Damn, I need to start rewatching and writing about Blake’s 7…)

• And now, a Scotsman in a uniform:

I love Iain Glen.

• Amy’s a bit presumptuous, isn’t she, thinking she knows so much about the Doctor even though she’s only just met him: “You’re letting people call you sir — you never do that.” She doesn’t know him well enough yet to say that. “The way she talks to you,” about River, “I’ve never seen anyone do that.” But Amy hasn’t seen many people talk to him at all yet! The fact that she says that he promised her a planet and she hasn’t seen one as of the beginning of this episode means there can’t be much of their adventuring that’s happened offscreen. Or is she just being smug and young?

• Commando priests: very Knights Templar. Dan Brown would have a field day.

• “Quantum lock.” That is one most excellent bit of technobabble.

• Someone’s been watching The Ring:

• The Doctor kicks the gravity globe light waaay high up above them. Nice. Is Matt Smith — former wannabe footballer — gonna be a real athletic Doctor like Peter Davison’s was?

• “They stripped my cerebral cortex from my body and reanimated a version of my consciousness to communicate with you,” says Sacred/Scared Bob. Ugh. It’s like the ghosting of “Silence in the Library,” which was sad and creepy and disturbing, too.

• “Read it to me…”

I’ll admit to fantasies about the Doctor demanding that I read him something… though it’s usually more Venusian poetry than the ravings of a lunatic scientist.

• Re the two-headed Aplans and the one-headed statues: of course the Doctor and the rest of them are all suffering from the inevitable unicranialism. They all have only one head each, so they assume the rest of the universe does too. It’s just the default assumption — you know, “normal” people have just the one head.

Makes me think of Zaphod Beeblebrox, and especially of Zaphod’s pickup line to Trillian at that party in Islington: “Hey, babe, why don’t you come and talk to me: I’m from a different planet.” The Doctor pretty much said the same to Amy.

• Oh, and here we were all upset thinking — after getting teased with this image in the series’ coming attractions — that the Doctor was pointing that gun at someone, and not at a crashed, dead spaceship:

Here’s what I think: the Doctor had previously noted that “that whole ship’s gonna be flooded with… gravity storms…” and then he tells Octavian and his troops: “I’m about to do something incredibly stupid and dangerous. When I do: jump!” So they’re all gonna jump waaay up into the wreckage of the ship, right?

• Apparently many fans in the U.K. are upset about having to see Cartoon Graham Norton interrupting their geeking out at this dramatic moment. I saw it and thought, “Ah, so they have to deal with the same shit U.S. viewers have to deal with, eh?” Sometimes those damn TV banner ads take over the bottom third of the screen here.

• Great quotes (I want to quote the entirety of this brilliant episode, but just a few of my most favorite lines):

“But it didn’t make the noise…” –the Doctor, moaning to imitate the sound of the TARDIS materializing/dematerializing
“It’s not supposed to make that noise. You leave the brakes on.” –River
“Yeah, well, it’s a brilliant noise. I love that noise.” –the Doctor

“I can run away from anything I like — time is not the boss of me.” –the Doctor

“I’m not gonna be there every time you feel like jumping out of a spaceship.” –the Doctor
“And you are so wrong.” –River

“It would be good, it would be very good, if we could all remain calm in the presence of decor.” –Octavian

(next: Episode 5: “Flesh and Stone”)

MPAA: not rated

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