The Time of Angels / Flesh and Stone – S31 (5) 4 and 5
3 August 2013 at 08:46 #14896Craig @craigEmperor
The return of two Moffat icons – River is back and the Angels are back. The crash of The Byzantium, as mentioned in the Library, is the location (I think I heard them say it was all @phaseshift ‘s fault). There’s a lot to enjoy, especially at the start between Eleven and River, and Amy’s bemusement at the two of them, but the mystique of the Angels seems diluted by Moffat trying to extend them when they were perfect as they were. There are so many changes. The image of an Angel becoming an Angel is empowering (if quite contrived and perhaps even silly), but the Angels assuming you can see them, even when your eyes are shut, just took it one step too far. Grrrrr!
That said, I do like the whole style of these episodes, the action drama, and the horror movie conceit of the Angels speaking through Bob has darker shades of Miss Evangelista (interesting name now, come to think of it) speaking her last after her death. Amy’s countdown is suitably creepy, the Doctor gets to be all stroppy again near the end, and Iain Glen… just brilliant as always. “I think you have known me at my best”.
But I still don’t understand the whole crack in the wall thing. Am I being dim or do you just have to go with the flow and enjoy it despite it not having any logic whatsoever? Even after watching the later episodes it still confuses me – once again a duck pond with no ducks. Have the cracks ever really been explained?3 August 2013 at 13:03 #149753 August 2013 at 13:19 #14978Craig @craigEmperor
Just my usual purile attempt at humour. 😉 I think the lines about the crash are:
The Doctor: The warp engines had a phaseshift
River: Phaseshift would have to be sabotage
Something you’re not telling us?3 August 2013 at 13:42 #14979
Hmmm… I think this particular discussion is going to struggle against the ‘new Doctor’ excitement. But anyway, some comments.
I found myself very conscious that this was the first story filmed for the Eleventh/Moffat era; especially now that we’re nearing the end of that period. Matt seems – not tentative, but less layered than he’ll later become. I remember watching The Name of The Doctor and thinking how he’d grown as an actor throughout his run; you can see that here. Especially in Flesh and Stone, when the Eleventh’s underlying anger is played as straightforward fury.
And there are the funny bits; the flirting between Eleven and River. The obvious irritation that he is (however much River tries to avoid that spoiler) being effectively pushed into an arranged marriage – by Time itself.
The Doctor: Time is not the boss of me.
A lot of the Moffat era develops that theme. And generally – whenever The Doctor says that line, or some variation of that line, the answer comes back -yes, Time IS the boss of you. As it does here. He rather obviously fancies River – but every interaction is coloured by the fact that she clearly knows him well and he barely knows her at all. He doesn’t even know that she isn’t yet a Professor…
The Angels: given that they go back to never seeing them move in The Angels Take Manhattan, I think everyone agreed that seeing them move was a mistake. Oh, well. Some things you don’t find out until you try them. I vaguely get what he was groping towards with ‘walk like you can see’ – if the response is instinctual, a person moving, confidently, will trigger the response; you won’t really be watching for the blink unless you’re in full hunting mode (which they’re not – their attention is, according to the lines, now on the Crack). It’s when you stand still and shut your eyes…
But it didn’t work very well. The fact that they can choose to snap your neck did, for me. It made them nastier, less ‘lunch’ orientated, and made it extremely clear that these are intelligent creatures who can plan (and they do have a plan in Blink). They want you out of the way, but they’re not hungry? Because right now, there’s all the energy they can eat coming from the crashed spaceship? You’re dead – and not through living to death.
Production funnies: Matt Smith’s hair! Where a hairstyle that clearly worked just fine in the studio develops serious problems on a windswept Welsh beach. They tried tons of hair gel, they tried having it completely swept back – but in the end they just had to get the scissors out and give him a quick trim. In the middle of the shoot. 😉
@craig – The cracks get explained a bit in The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang – they’re the first signs of the TARDIS exploding throughout space and time.3 August 2013 at 13:46 #14980
@phaseshift – yeah, this seemed to be the best one to do as two episodes/one week; I think you really need a week between The Pandorica Opens and The Big Bang to try and approximate the original impact. Everything had gone so disastrously wrong by the end of TPO, that week’s wait seemed endless.
But Time of Angels/Flesh and Stone feels much more like one story over 90 minutes. Instead of TPO/TBB’s two-act-play-with-interval.3 August 2013 at 13:58 #14982Anonymous @
@bluesqueakpip – as ever, your analysis is grand. I still have to watch this two-parter this weekend, but it’s fresh enough in my mind from the original airing that I completely understood your comment. And those little insider details about Matt’s hair – fab! I will look for that upon re-viewing.
We all had a bit of a barney about the changes in the Angels in another thread. I’m still firmly of the belief that what Moffat did with them here (well, they are his creations, so he can do what he likes) is disappointing from what they were proposed in Blink (cf what @craig said). And the whole ‘eyes closed’ thing was, to me, just wrong wrong wrong. Although — you do have an interesting take on that point, and one which I’d not considered before – with your eyes closed, you cannot blink.
Off to walk the Airedales and watch this two-parter later —3 August 2013 at 17:45 #14994Anonymous @
I guess one of the problems with Steven Moffat’s clever-clever approach is that, upon re-watch, I mainly looked for that moment when I knew that ‘future Doctor’ told Amy to remember what he told her when she was 7, and that she had to trust him (with his jacket on).
Btw, how did the Doctor get his jacket back?
And that attempted snog from Amy at the end was as cringe-making as when I originally watched these episodes. I remember at the time, arguing that someone who’s been through a near-death experience wants sex (this is a known phenomenon in psychology) but it still rang totally false for me on screen.3 August 2013 at 21:01 #15008
OK I re-arranged things to take in this two parter and watch Ghost Light tomorrow I think.
For me, after Beast Below, this is Moff on confident form and I quite understand @bluesqueakpip here in saying this is perhaps his final “conventional” two parter. Thereafter we are presented with gear changes that subvert the format of the show and expand it a little.
I still find it a little thrilling on rewatch. The intro for River, and the Doctor and Amy phasing into the story is brilliant. The setup for the exploration of the labyrinth is superb and adds layers to the initial encounter in the Library.
The confrontation between Amy and the loop Angel is pretty mindblowing psychological warfare on a young viewer. It says – “you think that screen between you and the monsters is a barrier – think again”. It’s Ringu for kids, as their nightmare comes out of the screen! On primetime TV! Mary Whitehouse would have had a meltdown at this point.
River (reading): “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.”
I think this is actually foreshadowing some of the ideas for the last episode. The possibility of dreams and the abstract (and the Angels are described as creatures of the Abstract) becoming form by imagination. This has been criticised but does have some precedents in Who from “The Mind Robber”. What can be imagined can be a reality in some abstract plane.
This really does crack along a pace. The reveal of the statues of the Apolan being Angels is brilliant.
Next ep – Christ – the firefight in the airlock as the clerics gunfire illuminates the Angels advance is stunning. It does remind you of a good action film like Camerons Aliens. Thereafter, its fun. I love the TreeBorgs and the idea of an O2 factory or forest running through the ship. It’s a big idea, delivered in such a casual way.
Lots of channelling of Doctor 7 here. This exchange, you can almost substitute 7 and Ace (as we’re watching Ghostlight)
The Doctor: “Amy. You need to start trusting me. It’s never been more important.”
Amy: “But you don’t always tell me the truth.”
The Doctor: “If I always told you the truth I wouldn’t need you to trust me.”
As @craig said, Father Octavian is a brilliant character here, at his end. I also particularly like the Doctor not being able to see the cyber wood for the cyber trees with:
River: “I’ve traveled in time. I’m a complicated space-time event too. Throw me in.”
The Doctor: “Oh be serious, compared to me these Angels are more complicated than you and it’d take every single one of them to amount to me, so get a grip.”
She’s basically informing him that they are so alike, a full 12 months before we get the truth, and he dismisses it.
No – objections to a couple of things that didn’t work for some people aside, this is one of the great linear two parters of AG who I feel. It’s a cracking adventure which I think poses some pretty neat questions, ignites the speculation frenzy (the coat!?) and made us suspect at the time that this was going in a direction that was really different from seasons 1-4.
I’ll come back to the question of the Angels later.3 August 2013 at 21:29 #15010
In fact, I enjoyed this even more than the first time. Possibly because a cartoon Graham Norton didn’t wander onto the screen during the gripping final scene of the first part.
Anyone remember that one? I loved his apology on his following show though (@shazzbot – yes, I love Graham too).4 August 2013 at 00:47 #15020
One of the things that has always intrigued me is what makes a successful villain in Who. Most understand that the Daleks are a thinly veiled reference to Nazi philosophies. These observations were made before I was born in 1969, so I’ve always seemed to know this. I knew that the Daleks were Nazis before I even understood the full horror of what Nazis represent. Many people have chosen to lampoon Terry Nation for this, his peculiar fixation. Not only the Daleks, but if you watch his Blakes 7 from the seventies the entire concept of the Federation is a Fascist regime. In 1963 – the second world war was a critical touchstone event. The damage it had caused, but more fundamentally the question – “what made them do that?” when considering the full horror of the “final solution”. It was a question and issue that haunted Nation and I can’t begrudge him – I did not grow up informed by that era.
When looking at the Angels, you wonder if there is a real life equivalent to compare them to. Are they, as the Daleks obviously are, a comment on the horrors that humanity seems to breed? I think the answer if yes. For me they represent a more modern fixation. That of the Serial Killer, and the “romantic ideal” that arises out of this peculiar fixation.
I have no love for the form of fiction that glamorises the serial killer, and this is by no means a modern phenomenon. You can call “Jack” the original if you wish, and he’s the most well known, and occurs most often in popular culture. They are, as people say “Big Business”.
When watching Blink, I was stuck by the description “The Lonely Assassins”. It reminded me of something, and I struggled, but I remembered an account of Denis Neilson who once described himself as “The selfless assassin”. A peculiar psychology of these people is to adopt a persona, a absolute belief that what they do makes sense. They are the hunter, you are their prey for a good reason. If only you could understand it.
If you watch their three main appearances, they display all the hallmarks of the form. In Blink by choosing their target (Sally) and haunting/taunting her. Playing with their food. Taking delight in witnessing the damage. Taking from her a friend and a potential partner as she is manipulated towards a goal.
In this one we see them take voice and taunt the voices of Authority (Octavian and the Doctor) with their intention to kill and display glee that those in authority cannot understand their motivations and goals. Pretty common in real life Police cases.
In this there is a comment that to observe an Angel is to become an Angel. In representation, this is almost like possession. How many references can you name that show those who study and observe the behaviour of serial killers may become affected by them – X-Files, Millennium, Bones, It’s a rich vein isn’t it? For me it probably starts in “Manhunter” where Will Graham is tormented by Hannibal Lector (played by Brian Cox, sorry Sir Anthony, he will always be Hannibal for me and Manhunter pisses on Red Dragon).
For me – asking what the motivation and philosophy for the Angels existence is at this point is a pretty dumb question. They are what they are – Alien. They have their own motivations – their own timeframe and their own goals. To dwell on them may be dangerous. This may be frustrating for some who demand those immediate truths, but then these are creatures of the abstract for abstract times. The uncomfortable truth for some is that you will never know why the fiend took your loved ones away from you. You will never understand the foe or their motivation.
They are so very alien.
But the effect is so very real. I don’t need people to agree with me that the Angels “work”. It’s pretty easy to observe. The live prom a few weeks back – I knew when the Angels appeared. It was the biggest reaction from the audience. I’d heard it before on that film from Sidney. Hear the gasp from the audience as the Angels appear.
It really is the stuff of nightmares. If not for you, then for a lot of other people. I see the visage of the Angel on kids lunchboxes with a bit of meloncholy, to be frank. I think they are on the way to becoming modern icons.4 August 2013 at 00:52 #15022Anonymous @
@phaseshift – this really reads as a blog post. You have some excellent ideas here and they deserve proper replies in a separate entry.4 August 2013 at 01:21 #15024
Many thanks, but I think I’d prefer to develop them through Angels In Manhatten and maybe consider a blogpost after that. I don’t think anyone has suggested this before, so maybe it is just me. I’m just interested in feedback.4 August 2013 at 10:04 #15040Nick @nick
Without any doubt, the Angels are the one of the most creative concepts to come out of AG Who. We can be in no doubt about this. I don’t doubt Steven Moffat can develop his concept further than he has done and remove some of my objections which I consider to limit the overall effectiveness of the Angels as a protagonist (discussed elsewhere on this forum). Whether this can be done without removing some of the current mystique is a different matter. As has been commented above, his first attempt in this story to change the Angels modus operandi doesn’t appear to have been totally successful.
I neither feel strongly for or against your Serial Killer concept other than to say that I suspect that it may relate to popular culture’s understanding of serial killers rather than that of (criminal) psychology’s attempts to explain rather than anything else. You seem to be aware that the popular description and the reality of serial killers is rather different and its my distinct impression that you are partially mixing description of serial killers with that of psychopaths. My limited understanding is that whilst there is some overlap between these groups it is not universal. I look forward to seeing how you develop and explain your concept in light of your own and others thoughts. It is certainly an interesting idea.
The Angels arewithout doubt a fabulous creation, but I’m less sure that they are on the way to becoming a modern Icon than you are. I think to be an icon in the absolute sense, then the very name and image conjurors up a common understanding throughout society that making the classic “John Birt is a Dalek” claim [I forget the exact wording used] conveys the writers conceit without any further explanation being needed. I have no doubt that both the Daleks and the Tardis (and Doctor Who itself) achieved iconic status in British society between the 1960s and the 1990s. Even here, I rather think both are passing out of the modern icon lexicon in the 2010s. This doesn’t mean either are less well known than previously, just (for example) it seems to me much less likely that a younger person would ever describe someone as a “Dalek” to describe another’s actions or personality today.
The Angels have a long way to go before they have penetrated the wider fabric of society to the same extent that either the Daleks or the Tardis did in he past. My suspicion is that it is much harder to create icons on our multi-media environment than in the past and that they have a shorter shelf life than previously [To illustrate my point, Omnishables was very much the 2012 word of the year in Britain, but just how much is it being used just a year later ?].
However, I do think you are right, the Angels have already become an icon of the Who universe up their with the Davros, Cybermen, Master and other BG foes who are in the same pantheon. I expect we will see other writers take up SM’s concept and create something new and interesting for the Angels in the future, although only time will tell on that.
Nick4 August 2013 at 22:27 #15285Miapatrick @miapatrick
I love the interplay between the Doctor and River. He seems (in my opinion as a straight woman) rather ungratefully reluctant at the prospect of what he knows is coming (I think we can fairly say know that ten knew, at her point of death, she would become his wife). Of course he comes to help her when she asked- but then again, has too, because she saves his life. There is also, I think, a particular chemistry between the two of them, which made me think at the time that he was almost certainly ‘her doctor’. (Previously River made comments about Ten’s youth, and being a ‘pretty boy’, but Moffat never intended to cast someone Smiths age, and eleven always did seem older.)
This is where we saw, more closely, what the cracks were about- not so much ‘the nothing’ as ‘the never was’. But the use of the Angels in a plot which required them a) to kill people, not just shunt them back in time and b) be fooled into thinking they were being looked at is a little weak. Amy gets past the Angels by not opening her eyes, rather than not blinking, it’s an interesting inversion, but does it work? The growing malevolence of the Angels is another issue. At first they kill for food, but quite kindly (is there a link between the potential they feed off from their victims and Clara’s mother’s leaf?), now they just kill, not for eating, and play with their victims. Later on they’ve ‘progressed’ to battery farming. But were they more terrifying at first because they lacked this humanesque ‘evil’ and just did what they had evolved to do?4 August 2013 at 22:49 #15294
For those who enjoy the Confidentials: the one for the first episode in this double parter. Sadly, I can’t find the full version of the second part.4 October 2013 at 02:39 #17827voidxsama @voidxsama
I actually have an extremely small theory about the beings behind the weeping angels. I believe they might actually be time lords. If you watch the episodes when “The Master” comes back, and get to where you are seeing them speak, they mention the council men that did not agree with them to go back, were referred to at the “Weeping angels”, and as they came out of the gate you saw 2 of them having their faces covered like the original weeping angels. Now, they mention that the time lords are in a time lock correct? Well that’s true, but as long as something that was there before the time lock came into effect and managed to remain outside of it, then small things could get out. Like if you saw, the doctors mother kept getting out to talk to Donna’s grandfather. But only really as a image. This proves that small bits of them can get out but only as a consciousness. The angels also disappear and reappear into existence, turning into stone as the light comes back on.
I would absolutely love to hear everyone opinions on this. Again it’s only a small theory and it’s not completely put together, but it would be pretty cool to find that the weeping angels really were time lords. Then maybe we feel the doctor wouldn’t be completely alone.5 January 2014 at 10:05 #23954Anonymous @
‘@voldxsama’ – One thing that might support your Angels as TL theory is how they constantly tried to make the Doctor angry by taunting him. Why would anyone do that? They seemed to have a personal connction to him and the time lords are arogant enough to do that.
These two episodes have everything I love about Doctor Who in them. River, Amy, Eleven and the Angels all in one masterpeice of storytelling, and got me hopelessly hooked on the show after watching them.
I agree that if there is a mistake in them, it was Amy with her eyes closed and the Angels not moving. But like has been stated earlier in the thread there are logical explanations (with a little bit of reaching)for why they might not move. @bluesqueakpip gave the reason I beleive, that they were more afraid of the crack then hunting at the time. Also Amy’s sudden attraction to the Doctor was strange, but it did help set up stories like the Vampires of Venice and Amy’s Choice by planting the seed of doubt about who Amy really wanted Rory or the Doctor.
The parts that prove SM is a genius is everything else. Most of which has already been mention in the thread with much better analyses than I can do. But the escape at the end of part one, by shooting the gravity ball and jumping. Then opening the next episode with the hundred and eighty degree camera spin showing the doctor’s party upside down always blows my mind, for first even thinking of that and second it looks really cool. And River Song’s entrance into the Tardis, landing on top of the Doctor is the best ever.2 August 2014 at 14:03 #29508MadAngel37 @madangel37
This was the first episode I was REALLY interested in. First off, I love angels (stone or not), and these angels grabbed my attention. They also were the first thing to scare me in a long while. The concept of the angels was brilliantly thought of and excellently executed. As a story writer, this was very solid and amazingly written.
Secondly, the Doctor and River appear in a weird order. Her past, his future. That is very confusing. Some times you have to go back and watch episodes out of order just to understand what is going on between them. Although, it is quite amazing to think of having that kind of relationship. I’m glad it’s River and the Doctor. I cannot see either of them with someone else.22 August 2014 at 00:56 #29868ironvalcon @ironvalcon
disclaimer- first post on this site
I was watching this episode and I thought to myself, “Why do the weeping angles require time? Aren’t they just plain old dw monsters!” But then I remembered that at the end of both Blink and Angles Take Manhattan that they reveal that almost all statues are angles. Even the statue of liberty! So what I believe is that the connection between the Bad Wolf station and the Dalek ship could have had some effects on the planet the station was orbiting around. So time energy radiates all of the earth and then statues are made from the mutated planet [Earth]. Now they are sperarted from the source of their mutation so they need to refuel… Am I crazy?4 September 2014 at 14:04 #31075Nightmare @nightmare
The Weeping Angels are my favourite enemy they are just awesome9 April 2016 at 03:49 #51602winston @winston
I have been rewatching episodes in little groups, like all of the shows where the Angels appear. Starting with Blink and now this 2 parter. It was good to watch these two without a break , like a movie. What more could you ask for? River and Amy and Angels all in one roller coaster of a story with spaceships and space museums and a very scary baddie. There was also a lot of humour as River and Amy tease the Doctor about his possible future. The idea of the Angels using poor Angel Bob to anger the Doctor was great but creepy. All in all a great story despite some of its weaknesses and one I really enjoyed.
By the way , I have wallpaper om my PC that is the shot of the Angel that is caught on video in this episode. My Hubby, who only glances at Who now and then ,saw the picture and asked “Why do you have that spooky Angel on your computer?” They seem to give everyone the creeps.9 April 2016 at 22:45 #51604
@winston Yes, Time of Angels/Flesh and Stone is a great story. It’s particularly brilliant when you remember that this was Matt Smith’s first real outing as the Doctor – they filmed The Eleventh Hour out of order so that he had a bit of a grip on the character before he had to introduce it.
Blink always has the same problem for me as Kill the Moon. Kill the Moon had the problem that I like spiders, and Blink had the problem that moving statues are just not scary. I blame the lack of fear of moving statues on books like Edith Nesbit’s The Enchanted Castle (I just like spiders). And getting stuck in the past? When this is a series about time travel and companions routinely leave by staying in all sorts of places and times? That also failed the Pip Scarymeter.
But Time of Angels/Flesh and Stone hit the mark. Angel Bob is truly creepy, the Angel getting inside Amy’s head is truly creepier, and the idea that the Angels would do a countdown ‘for fun’ shows their psycho nature as Blink didn’t.
Also there’s spaceships, and cyborg forests, and River and a great speech by the Doctor – really, what more could a fan want? 🙂10 April 2016 at 03:10 #51605winston @winston
@bluesqueakpip I agree with you about Blink except to say that being zapped away from family and friends is pretty nasty and although you do live out you life it must start out being very confusing and scary. That is what scared me the most about the Angels in Blink.I am kind of scared of spiders also.
The Angels in Angels/Stone were cruel and much deadlier and definately creepier.The idea of one coming out of your TV is scary genius.23 February 2018 at 05:12 #63196
Someone please shed some light on why the Weeping Angels biggest weakness has never been exploited ‘….. In The Doctor’s own words ….”When you’re looking at them, they’re just ordinary stone” … so put down the sonic screwdriver & pick up a good old fashioned, reliable hammer and smash the b l e e d i n’ c r a p out of them……cause maybe I missed something.23 February 2018 at 16:26 #6319823 February 2018 at 17:45 #63199toinfinityandbepond @toinfinityandbepond
Didn’t River have to break her wrist because she couldn’t break the Angels fingers?23 February 2018 at 18:06 #63200Mudlark @mudlark
There is also the problem that there you can’t guarantee that there will always be a sledgehammer to hand when you need one, and a sledgehammer is a pretty cumbersome thing to carry around on the off chance that you might encounter a weeping angel. You would also need safety goggles, because a stone chip in the eye would certainly cause you to blink 😉
Of course, the Tardis could no doubt manufacture the necessary if the Doctor were actually expecting to find weeping angels, but so far that hasn’t been the case.23 February 2018 at 18:41 #63201
Thinking more of a small rock hammer…normal looking hammer head on 1 side & steel point on the other…Easy to crack the head off at the neck with 1 of those…or…ya could always just push them over…Bet they’d break…..The thing is that they’re just normal stone when they’re being watched….Get everyone looking at them while 1 by 1 you turn them around to face each other…Problem solved
Incidentally wouldn’t his SONIC screwdriver be able to shatter stone ??23 February 2018 at 18:52 #63202
Try hitting something without blinking….with a hammer ??
Mate….How do you not hit your thumb ??
Eyes on the head of the nail & focus….You too can do it if you try…For further instruction watch The Karate Kid.
Ralf can do it in 1 hit
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