The Time of Angels
The Time of Angels was the fourth episode of the fifth series of BBC Wales Doctor Who. It was the first part of a two-part story. It saw the return of the enigmatic woman of the Doctor’s future, River Song, and the terrifying Weeping Angels. Throughout the episode, hints are given about River’s relationship with the Doctor in his personal future. It also showed the purpose the Church will serve in the 51st century.
A man spins dazedly in a green field on a sunny day. There is a lipstick smear on his mouth. He is approached by two armed guards and a man in evening clothes. He tells them what a beautiful day it is. The man wipes the hallucinogenic lipstick off, revealing the dazed guard is actually standing in the metallic corridor of a spaceship. He states grimly, “She’s here.”
Elsewhere in the ship, a woman in high heels blasts through a steel door with a firearm; behind it, is a room with a black box suspended in the center. She changes the gun’s settings, and uses it as a torch, burning a message onto the box’s face.
Meanwhile, twelve thousand years later, the Eleventh Doctor and Amy Pond explore the Delirium Archive, the final resting place of the Headless Monks. Amy is bored. The Doctor promised to take her to a planet next, and the museum is on an asteroid. She wonders why they are at a museum while the Doctor announces that most of the displays are “wrong” until coming to one that he says is “one of mine”. Amy deduces that this is how he keeps score.
The Doctor is fascinated by the box seen earlier. He says it’s a home box, which works like an airplane’s black box except it homes. He says the message scrawled on the box is for him. It is written in Old High Gallifreyan. Amy asks what the message says, and the Doctor exasperatedly replies, “Hello, sweetie.” They steal the box and run to the TARDIS, pursued by guards.
The Doctor connects the home box to the TARDIS console, and explains that someone is trying to get his attention. Getting a visual, he sees River Song smiling at the camera. Changing the footage, River is now cornered in front of an airlock by the man in evening clothes and two guards. She explains coolly she needed to see what was in the vault, and warns them that the ship will not reach its destination.
As the guards prepare to shoot her, River rattles off “7775/349×10,012/acorn” — temporal coordinates — and requests an air corridor. The Doctor sets the TARDIS controls for River’s location. Meanwhile, River tells the men they’d better find something to hold on to. They grab for handholds as alarms sound, and the airlock blows open. A calm River floats out into space just as the TARDIS materializes. She flies inside, knocking the Doctor to the floor. Surprised to see her again, the Doctor greets her. But the Byzantium‘s getting away; “Follow that ship!” As the TARDIS chases after the ship, River suggests using the stabilizers. The Doctor notes that the TARDIS doesn’t have stabilizers… until she presses a blue button, and the TARDIS stops shaking. As River takes over the piloting, the Doctor sits down and complains about the “blue boringers”. Amy asks him who River is and how she can fly the TARDIS, prompting the Doctor sneer at River’s style of piloting. River says she had lessons from the very best. The Doctor looks smug until she adds, “A shame you were busy that day.”
River announces that she’s plotted all possible landing locations, and, with a soft thud, that she’s parked the TARDIS next to the Byzantium. However, the Doctor protests to the TARDIS having landed; the de-materialization noise didn’t sound, so he’s skeptical. River replies that it only makes that sound because he leaves the brakes on. The Doctor, grumbling, opens the door — despite River’s warnings that they must do environmental checks — and announces they have landed on Alfava Metraxis, which has an oxygen-rich atmosphere and an eleven-hour day. River sneers, “He thinks he’s so hot when he does that.”
All three exit the TARDIS to see the smouldering wreckage of the Byzantium atop a stony plateau. On Amy’s request, the Doctor introduces her to Professor River Song. Happy to learn that she’ll be a professor one day, Rivers states her trademark, “spoilers”; the Doctor is annoyed he just gave away foreknowledge. River asks the Doctor to boost the signal of her radio with his sonic screwdriver, so that she can use it as a homing beacon for reinforcements in orbit. She produces her diary, and asks the Doctor where she’s landed in his timeline. The Doctor orders Amy to keep away from it, as it is “Her past, my future”.
Before River can read off any past adventures, four men in combat uniform teleport in and approach them. Their leader, Father Octavian, is rather cross; River had promised him an army. However, she corrects him, saying that she promised the equivalent of an army. He takes back his complaint once introduced to the Doctor. They then reveal their enemy. Turning to the Doctor, River asks him what he knows of the Weeping Angels.
By nightfall, the Doctor is fed up with Amy’s persistent questions about his relationship with River and with her disobedience of his order to wait in the TARDIS. River calls them to a drop-ship to show them footage of the Weeping Angel they’re chasing. It is a four-second clip on a loop. The Doctor and River explain the nature of the Weeping Angel to Amy and Father Octavian, including their quantum-lock defense mechanism; the Angel that they’re after had been patient and feigned dormancy since it was discovered. All but Amy depart the drop-ship as River offers the Doctor a book about the Angels; he reads the whole book in seconds. He is perplexed; something is missing, but he doesn’t know what.
While the others make plans, Amy is left with nothing to do. Looking back at the tape, she realizes the Weeping Angel has changed its position slightly. When she asks River if she has more than one clip of the Angel, River says no; it’s just the one. When Amy looks back, the Angel has moved again; it now faces the camera with its arms spread out. The door behind her shuts without her noticing. Amy tries to turn off the television, but it quickly switches back on. She then tries and fails to unplug it. When she looks back up, though, the Angel’s face has filled the screen. She tries to leave, but the door won’t budge. She looks back again to find the Angel is now baring its fangs at her.
Outside, River wonders how early the Doctor is in his time stream. When he replies it is fairly early, she is amused because he doesn’t know who she is yet. The Doctor wonders how she knows who he is as he doesn’t always look the same. River says that she has all his faces in her diary, but he doesn’t show up in order; River thinks she needs a spotter’s guide. The Doctor then realizes what the book of angels is missing; pictures. Why would there be no visual on what to look out for? River says there was a mention about images in the book. The Doctor returns to the sentence and reads it aloud: “Whatever takes the image of an Angel becomes itself an Angel.” He ponders its meaning.
Back in the dropship, Amy looks away again. This time, when she looks back, the Angel has projected itself into the drop-ship as a hologram. Amy shouts for the Doctor. He runs to the door and tries to opening it with the sonic screwdriver, but fails. River tries burning through the hull as the Doctor fails to cut the power; the Angel has added a deadlock seal, though, and neither succeed. The Doctor warns Amy not to blink, then looks back into the book, and adds she is not to look into the Angel’s eyes; however, Amy already has. The Doctor explains to River the book says that the eyes are the “doors” to the soul, not windows.
Realizing there is a blip in the loop where there’s no picture, Amy freezes the recording at that moment, ending the “image” and shutting off the screen. The Doctor and River enter; the Doctor orders River to hug and comfort Amy because he’s busy scanning the plug to the television. He explains that it was a projection of the Angel they’re after; it was scoping out its foes. An explosion sounds outside, and Octavian enters to tell them the Clerics have blasted into the structure. The Doctor departs, convinced things are going to get even worse. Amy rubs her eye. She tells River there’s something in it.
The group climbs down into the temple, finding a gravity well inside. The Doctor says it is the perfect hiding place for the Angel. He kicks a gravity globe high into the air. With the space lit, the interior is revealed: hundreds of disintegrating stone statues. Finding the Angel is going to be like finding a needle in a haystack. The Clerics wonder how they are going to neutralize the Angel. The best strategy the Doctor can think of is to “Find it, and hope.”
The Doctor and Amy rush off to explore, but Father Octavian holds River back, warning her they need the Doctor on their side; the Doctor must never know why she’s imprisoned, or he won’t help them. As she leaves, Octavian sends Clerics Christian and Angelo to investigate the one exit visible from the chamber.
In one of the tunnels, Amy has stopped some distance away from the Doctor to rub her eye. This time, dust runs between her fingers; Amy is shocked by this, but the dust vanishes. River appears behind her and gives her an inoculation to protect her from the radiation from the ship. Amy asks River about her relationship with the Doctor. River is evasive and Amy continues to believe they are married. The Doctor hears them, but denies it. River points out that he’s holding a device upside-down. This reassures Amy that she is right; River doesn’t confirm this, but simply says Amy is “good”.
Elsewhere, Christian and Angelo are complaining about the mission, even preferring to go back to hunting lava snakes. Christian decides to investigate another passage, but soon finds his torchlight flickering. He turns to call for Angelo to come to him, but the Weeping Angel kills him. Oddly, Angelo receives a transmission from the now-deceased Christian to come and see something. When he does, he also finds his torchlight flickering. He turns to see the Angel just as it kills him as well.
The Doctor, Amy and River explore the maze. He remembers the Aplans who built the crypt, saying he had dinner with the chief architect. According to him, the species had two heads. He changes the subject, asking River about the last line in the book — it’s a rather ominous prophecy. They hear gunfire and return to the main chamber. Cleric Bob has fired at a statue, thinking it looked at him. Octavian berates him, but the Doctor insists Bob’s fear will keep him alert and fast; “anyone who isn’t scared is an moron.” Octavian orders Bob to guard the entrance with Christian and Angelo, while he and the four other Clerics join the Doctor’s exploration.
River tells the Doctor that something’s wrong, but doesn’t know what. The Doctor’s feeling the same. Examining a statue while Amy points out that divorce of self-marriage must have been messy, the Doctor and River have a terrifying epiphany. As they explain, the Aplans had two heads… So why don’t the statues?
Gathering everyone behind him, the Doctor has them turn off their torchlights. When they turn back on after a second, all of the statues have turned to face them; every single statue is an Weeping Angel!
Elsewhere, Cleric Bob gets a call from Angelo over his radio, begging him to come and see something. Angelo becomes increasingly annoyed that Bob won’t come, telling him it’s something he has to see. Finally, Bob does so, and he’s killed by the same Angel.
Back to the Doctor’s group, he’s deduced the angels are slowly being restored by the radiation leaking from the wreckage and they must leave now! Octavian radios Bob to warn him. Bob says he’s on his way and that the others are dead. The Doctor is surprised; Angels normally displace their victims in time, unless they need bodies for something. Bob explains that the Angel killed him as well. The Angel reanimated a copy of his consciousness to speak to them; when Bob said that “he” is on his way, he really meant the Angel.
The group flees to the Byzantium while the Doctor chats with Bob, confirming he is speaking to the original Angel, who is no longer in the ship. As he runs to join the others, he finds Amy frozen in the corridor. She tells the Doctor that, because she looked into the Angel’s eyes earlier, her hand has turned to stone. He must leave her. Her hand is not stone, though, and it’s just the Weeping Angels playing with her mind. As the lights in the cavern flicker and the Angels approach, the Doctor bites her hand, and takes her out of the trance. They meet up with the others, who are standing on a rocky ledge some fifty feet beneath the Byzantium wreckage; they’re trapped.
“Sacred Bob” radios the Doctor again. He says there is nowhere for the Doctor to go and the Angels will kill them all. The Angels are also keen to have him know that the real Bob was afraid when he died; the Doctor had assured Bob that his fear would keep him fast, but he died alone and afraid. They are trying to make the Doctor angry, and angering the Doctor is a very bad move.
The Doctor tells Bob that he’s sorry for his death, promising what’s left of him that the Angels will pay. But they’re is trapped with no chance of escape. The Doctor tells Bob that there is something wrong with the trap: a great, big mistake. He asks the group if they trust him. He takes Octavian’s sidearm and orders them to jump on his signal. The Doctor warns the Angels, “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 is one thing you never, ever put in a trap.”
“Me!” The Doctor then shoots the gravity globe with Octavian’s sidearm, plunging them into total darkness…