This is my timey-whimey detector. It goes ‘ding’ when there’s stuff. — Blink
Well, here we are. The first of two episodes featuring the fear-inspiring Weeping Angels — and River Song. Seriously: how awesome is that woman? Ah, I’m getting ahead of myself. I’ll try to stay coherent and chronological, but I can’t promise anything.
It all starts with River blasting her way into a high-security vault, while the Doctor and Amy saunter through a museum — finding the exact same box River is currently (well: 12,000 years before) engraving. And then steal it. Oh, dear.
“There were days, there were many days, when these words could burn stars, raise up empires, and topple gods.” — “…?” — “Hello, sweetie.”
The Home Box they’d recovered 12,000 years later of course belongs to the ship River has just left via floating through space right into the Doctor’s arms. Ha! Turns out, she knows everything about flying his new TARDIS — upsetting the Doctor something fierce — and, also, which of his buttons to push. Apart from that, Matt Smith is an amazing noise-maker! And, yes, I love that noise, too.
Anyway, he’s afraid of his future, as it seems, and he’s trying to run away — because “time is not the boss of [him].” No, Time Lord, time might not, but she is your missus. There’s no running away from SPOILERS, dear. Still, they “keep meeting in the wrong order” — kind of Benjamin Button, innit? Or, well, the obvious choice, The Time Traveler’s Wife. Also, very tragic. He already knows how she dies, dammit! You can see how he’s struggling with himself to stay clear of her, which, as always, doesn’t go over very well as time progresses. But he tries to maintain his ties to his companion rather than get too into River, trying to bond with Amy over River’s quips in his direction; ultimately telling Amy to keep her nose out of their diary. Assuming that there is greater intimacy to come at some point, we can expect that self-containment to, erm, unravel rather quickly the more often he sees her.
Of course, this being the first of two parts, there are many, many secrets and mysteries hinted at in this one, stuff we can’t make sense of yet. Most importantly, the Weeping Angels themselves: Why are they killing differently this time, how are they using the energy produced by it this time? Just for reactivating all of the other statues? And all that mind power stuff… Reminded me of the last/first time the Doctor met River, in The Library of Silence/The Forest of the Dead, when the communication devices were able to transmit the last conscious thoughts and feelings of the uniforms’ inhabitants who were killed by the Rashda Nevada. (Also, wasn’t there another parallel: in the library, didn’t the Doctor tell the second girl who got taken over that her fear had kept her alive so far? Same thing Eleven now told Sacred/Rather Scared Bob.) Aaannd, apparently, there’s another thing to be afraid of: looking stone statues right dead in the eye — allow me a moment of nerd-y smugness; the moment Amy stayed behind to pick something out of her eye, it was obvious what was going to happen. Amy’s gonna have a stony problem. I told you… [As always: Mind the poll!]
“What if we had ideas that could think for themselves? What if, one day, our dreams no longer needed us? When these things occur and are held to be true, the time will be upon us: the time of angels.”
There are many mysteries surrounding River Song, too.
What did Father Octavian say? “He doesn’t know yet.. what you are?” Well, what is she? And how would that knowledge be so volatile as to make the Doctor extremely unwilling to help them? Alright, UPDATE: I watched the episode again and — finally! — caught what she was saying: “Believe you me, I have no intention of going back to prison!” Prison, so she’s a criminal. But what the hell did she do?! Also, how does she know what all the Doctors look like? Did he show her his Journal of Impossible Things at some point in the future? (Did .. in the future? Does that work? Next time an English teacher tries to teach me something new about tenses — not that there is anything new, really — , I’ll introduce them to Doctor Who and let them think that one out.)
Apart from that: River Song = GREATNESS. Alex Kingston = GREATNESS again. She’s smart and adventurous — she knows Gallifreyan?! Jesus H. Christ — , and also wonderfully flippant and flirty with the Doctor, which almost naturally gives her the most quotable lines I’ve heard in a long time.
You might want to find something to hang on to. *blows a kiss*
Oh, I had lessons from the very best! *Doctor makes a smug noise* It’s a shame you were busy that day! (Boy, talk about trampling on a man’s.. sorry, Time Lord’s ego…)
It’s not supposed to make that noise — you leave the brakes on!
He thinks he’s so hot when he does that.
No pressure, but this is usually when you have a really good idea.
As I said. Greatness.
Additionally, it’s really obvious that Amy and River immediately like each other, whispering and laughing behind the Doctor’s (eavesdropping) back; and it’s nice to see this. It’s not what Mickie once called every man’s worst nightmare, the missus and the ex (when Rose and Sarah Jane first met in School Reunion), ’cause there’s no jealousy. Amy seems genuinely excited and happy for the Doctor that there could be love & marriage somewhere in his future, and I guess she just appreciates River’s hands-on attitude. Whereas Rose and Sarah Jane always reminded me of Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest — Algy: “Women only do that [= call each other ‘sister’] if they’ve called each other a lot of other things first” — , these two connect over being with the Doctor and knowing some or most of his quirks and habits right off the bat, which, of course, makes the man in question nervous to no end. Again, he lets himself get carried away and discloses that, last/first time he met her, she was (going to be — blimey, this is complicated) a professor. What struck me in the middle of some of their banter: Amy Pond and River Song. Hm, either Steven Moffat’s just got a thing for Aquarian names, or this is supposed to mean something. Kindred spirits, maybe? We’ll see. Speaking of spoilers: Isn’t the BBC just wonderful? River’s Song TADRIS-like diary exterior as a free, downloadable dust jacket for DinA5 notebooks. I know I’m gonna make myself one like that!
There was one moment where the Doctor and River really were behaving like an old couple: when they realized their mistake about the other, supposedly harmless, statues, they just shared a long look, the Doctor said something, she knew exactly what’s going on. Now, that’s going ‘ding’ when there’s stuff, my dears. Also, it was funny how ignorant the Doctor was to River’s picking up of his old catch-phrase, “brilliant!” Apparently, he’s more into “magnificent” at the moment.
But the Doctor and Amy also had some funny or interesting moments: Like, when she convinced him to stay for at least five minutes — ’cause he’d promised her a planet. Well, she’s good at guilting him into things, then — and he’s letting her. The more intense moment, though, was when Amy thought her left hand had turned to stone. I’d half expected he’d become more impatient with her and shout at her to just bloody move (since, well, I did!); but instead he stayed very calm and gentle. I mean, am I seeing things, or did he really just nuzzle her hair affectionately? When he’d finally freed her via inflicting pain, his snark went up exactly three notches, though: “Alive, all I’m saying!”
Best Quote of the Episode goes to the Doctor, though:
There’s one thing you never put in a trap, if you’re smart. If you value your continued existence, if you have any plans about seeing tomorrow, there’s one thing you never, ever put in a trap… Me.
I’m having chills. Literally. Mr. Grumpy-Face.
- After the Doctor has practically shut the TARDIS doors on River’s heels, Amy wants him to tell her what’s going on — her “Explain!?” sounds sort of Dalek, doesn’t it? *giggle*
- The Doctor predicts he’ll “never get done saving” the humans? That’s nice, dear!
- And, yes, it was a real gun. But he didn’t shoot anybody, I think. So we can probably stuff the he’s-becoming-more-ruthless conspiracy theories back under our beds again.
And what can we expect for next week’s second part, Flesh and Stone:
- Amy having Weeping Angel’s nasty face reflecting in her eyes, being comforted and simultaneously scared by the Doctor. Possibly dying (though we know she won’t… just yet).
- The crack — and they’re finally really noticing it!
- the odd battle confusion, a bit of pre-marital arguing, desperate yelling for the Doctor by Amy, the Doctor yelling in their general direction, being yanked somewhere by his collar.
- Oh, dear.