Saturday, May 08, 2010

Forest of the Angels

Having now watched the second part of the latest Doctor Who adventure, 'Flesh and Stone', I'm really not sure what to make of it. Don't get me wrong, as usual I loved the experience of watching it. The episode was exciting and visual and had some great moments, but the plot seemed to be for a different story from that of the first episode. Wheras the first took us on a fine journey of discovery, opening up vistas for us: there is one Angel on a spaceship, which then crashes; River Song wants the Doctor to help her out to destroy the Angel along with a band of Religous-themed soldiers (Bishop and the Clerics sounds like a pop group to me); Amy gets herself into a bit of bother with the Angel which has obviously seen The Ring too often and ends up with something in her eye ('There's something on your back!'); and the whole thing ends up with everyone trapped in a vast maze of the dead, surrounded on all sides by statues which are all angels, all slowly coming to life and heading after our trapped heroes. But then part two ... it's a sort of chase through the spaceship which has a rather neat forest in it. Angels chasing the Soldiers ... Amy starts to count down for no real reason - 'To scare her' says Angel Bob ... well that's useful. The Angels are regenerating by absorbing the power from the ship ... but then there's the crack from Amy's room there again, apparently unmaking everything which gets close ... Amy has to shut her eyes and spend the episode wandering the forest and trying to avoid the Angels which assume she can still see ... lots of nice padding, but no real progression. Then there's a pile of stuff about the crack, about an explosion in Amy's time which ripped reality open, River Song being under arrest by the Soldiers for killing someone - and the implication is that maybe she killed the Doctor in her past; the Doctor's future. Kind of interesting and thought provoking if true - River knows how the Doctor dies, and the Doctor knows how River dies ... and they're each living their lives in a reverse order of meeting each other. I was however disappointed at the Doctor losing his temper with River Song. Not a very Doctorly way to behave I felt. It was all very enjoyable visually. The sets were magnificent, and the forest beautiful in a Red Riding Hood fairy tale way. There were some great performances from all the cast - especially impressive was Father Octavian as the believer-soldier who gives up his life without angst and moralising about it - and the Angels were as creepy as ever, though not nearly as goosebump-inducing as the terrifying part-formed creatures in the earlier episode. I am wondering what the title has to do with the episode. 'Flesh and Stone' is a great title, and I wondered earlier if Amy was perhaps going to turn into an Angel, which would have been cool ... but no. Also, why didn't the Angels kill people the same way as before, by sending them into the past? The one that grabbed the Doctor didn't do that, nor did the one which caught Father Octavian. And while we're talking about the Angels, as there were so many of them, how could they move except in total darkness, as another Angel would always be looking at them? One solution out of the dilemma in the corridor near the start would have been for the soldiers to move all the angels into a circle so they were looking at each other ... but no-one onscreen thought of that. And as they all went into the crack at the end, does this mean that the Angels now no longer exist at all, in past, present and future? What does that mean for poor Sally Sparrow? I wasn't convinced by Amy wanting to get intimate with the Doctor at the very end. It was out of place for the episode, and indeed the series, and smacked too much of trying to be shocking perhaps for the sake of it. I had hoped we'd seen the end of the kitchen sink drama approach of previous years, and this element wasn't welcome by me. But there's obviously something going on ... the reason why Amy - indeed everyone - cannot remember recent Dalek and Cyberman invasions ... and what the significance of Amy's wedding day is. Overall the season is shaping up nicely, and tonight we have some Vampires to contend with ...

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