I have problems with this episode.
The angels, established in ‘Blink’ as quantum-locked and having very specific abilities, are given whatever magical powers will serve the scene and make things scary or tense or whatever the writers are going for. They can climb out of a TV, ok. They can live in your brain, ok. They can climb OUT of your brain. They see you looking and they assume you can see – as if the whole quantum lock thing were voluntary. I can see what they’re doing, trying to build tension and make things interesting, but the actual effect is the opposite. Magical creatures that can do anything are not interesting, they’re boring. Things that work one way and then suddenly work another are annoying. I’m not happy with the angels in this episode.
Ditto River Song, as I said before. WHYYYYY does she have to be a criminal? And can she really be punished/shamed for something she was brainwashed to do and had absolutely no voluntary say in? And did ANYONE in the world not get that who she killed was the Doctor? Now Alex Kingston is a genius and she can sell anything; it’s incredibly difficult not to buy every word out of her mouth. But it’s all garbage. River isn’t River, she’s some weird thing made to build dramatic backstory. Ick.
Amy coming on the Doctor is wrong in every way. I’m sure some people think it’s cute. I don’t get it. One, he says no, just as Ten does with Martha, and she ignores him. I guess it’s funny to have a woman come on to a guy so strong he can’t make her back off. No, it’s not funny, it’s appalling. I’m fine with women having sex drives and being kinky; I just think it’s really inappropriate here. Is it because it’s the night before her wedding, or because he’s saying no, or because it’s so out of the blue? I don’t know. I just know I despise it.
On the other hand…
I didn’t get this on the first pass, and it’s kind of brilliant: Moffat’s whole ‘big bang’ thing is an attempt to explain away Davies’ excess. There’s no way people wouldn’t remember Daleks, planets in the sky, the Master race, a giant Cyberman over Victorian London (a giant dinosaur over Victorian London) – and yet people don’t. I appreciate the attempt to explain that. Once again, if I didn’t already know it was lame I’d be looking forward to seeing how it all turned out.
The acting, as I mentioned with River, is stellar. I love watching Matt Smith’s Doctor figure things out. He’s brilliant in every way. Karen Gillan completely sold Amy’s fear in the forest, in spite of the fact the all the reasons and motivations for that fear were crap. Her countdown is terrifying. Props to Karen. I understand that people think the writing in these episodes is great. I don’t get it. The actors do amazing things with a script that makes no sense. I can’t give credit to the writers.
It’s disappointing when a story is bad. But somehow, it’s still Doctor Who. It still has charm, adventure and excitement. I still love it. And though this one disappoints, there are many others that make up for it.
ETA 11/17: Having finished S5 and half of S6, I now realize why I missed the thing about fixing the RTD era. It’s because it’s so glossed over. Other than this one early mention of Amy’s missing memory, there is no suggestion that those events were forgotten or never experienced. The erasing and re-booting of the past doesn’t make sense; it just happens, and you sort of accept it and move on. A disappointing example of Moffat’s failure to deliver.