In the first cliffhanger of the season, The Doctor and his friends are trapped in a giant cave surrounded by dozens of reviving Weeping Angels.  With nowhere to go but up, The Doctor takes a pistol, fires into that air and...then what?  We're going to be looking at Spoilers lots of them, both on film and in the studio, so sit back, relax, and be careful not to step on any cracks.


by Steven Moffat

Directed by Adam Smith

The Doctor fired into the air at the Gravity Ball which was suspended in the air, lighting the temple cavern.  The sudden burst of gravity gave everyone enough of a boost that when they all jumped into the air, they were pulled up high enough to be drawn into the artificial gravity field of the Byzantium.  As a result, they are now standing on the hull of the ship, seemingly upside down relative to the Angels, now many yards below them.  The Angels are draining the power from the wrecked ship; in an hour or so they'll have succeeded, ad they'll be an unstoppable quantum army.  The team races into the ship, the Angels hot on their tail.  In order to get past a security-locked door, The Doctor must shut down all the power in the area, including the lights.  Timing things perfectly, they keep the oncoming Angels back with a barrage of gunfire and hole up in the secondary bridge.

As doors are sealed against oncoming enemies, the team looks for an alternate escape route.  This class of ship stays in space for years, and brings with it its own oxygen factory; a giant cybernetically enhanced forest, which has another exit on the far side.  All during the activity, Amy begins slowly counting backwards in the midst of conversations, starting at ten.  Angel Bob contacts them, saying the angels plan to take all the power on the ship, and then the stars themselves.  The Doctor challenges them, saying there's not nearly enough power on this ship to get them off the planet.  Angel Bob tells him there's far more energy on the ship than The Doctor realizes.  As the camera tracks around, we realize that behind the a Crack.  This time, however, The Doctor and Amy see it, and Amy recognizes it as being all but identical to the one from her bedroom all those years ago.  He sends the rest into the forest to escape, and he remains behind to get some readings on the weird event, readings that he describes as "extremely very not good".  Distracted and alone in the room, when he turns around, he's surrounded by Angels, almost fully reconstituted ones at that.  Trying to keep an eye on them all, he runs, but one right behind him grabs him by the collar of his jacket.  But the power flowing out of the Crack has them all but intoxicated, allowing him to distract them with a bit of verbiage, warning them that the time energy flowing from the Crack is not safe to use.  He calls it the "Fire from the end of the Universe".  He slips out of his jacket, leaving it in the hand of the still distracted Angel and follows the rest of the team.

Out in the forest, Octavian, Song and Pond are making their way to the exit.  Amy's down to four, and can barely move.  Octavian warns Song that they must keep moving, and she responds that they have to wait for the Doctor, as he's their only hope.  After a long description of how important and amazing he is, she ends with, "...and he's standing right behind me, isn't he?"

A quick scan reveals that Amy's body is shutting down.   The Doctor contacts Angel Bob and asks why Amy is counting.  He calmly explains that she's counting down the time until the image of an Angel on her retina (after looking at one in the eyes last week) becomes strong enough to take her over.  The counting is just for fun. by the time she gets to zero, it will take her over, killing her.  To shut down the visual portion of her mind, The Doctor tells Amy to close her eyes.  She does, and the effect stops.  The problem is as soon as she opens her eyes again, it'll start again; she'd likely only have a few seconds before it killed her.

The famous plan -the cleric soldiers are told to stay and protect Amy, The Doctor, River and Octavian will head for the primary flight deck to stabilize the ship.  The Doctor doesn't want the Bishop to come, but he explains that he goes where River goes, as "engaged", in a sense.  The Doctor sits with Amy and tells her she'll be okay and he'll come back.  She's understandably hesitant.  He walks off, but returns a few seconds later, with a heartfelt speech that it's never more important to start trusting him.  She asks how the Crack on her wall can be here.  He admits he's not sure, and he's working it out.  He tells her to remember what he told her when she was seven.  When she asks what he told her, he restates himself...she has to REMEMBER what he told her.  He kisses her forehead, seemingly quite emotional, and runs off, leaving her alone and confused.

Talking with River about the crack, he theorizes that at some point in the history of the universe, a massive explosion or event will cause time and space to fissure, causing the cracks.  He quickly changes the subject, asking how River can be engaged.  Octavian explains that in fact Song is in his custody.  She was in Stormcage Prison and was remanded to his custody to assist on this expedition in exchange for a pardon.  After that little bombshell, he shows River that he's been able to pinpoint the date that the cracks began - Amy's time.

The Doctor and his partners have made it to the primary flight deck, and while Octavian tries to open an access hatch, The Doctor starts ruminating on an off-hand comment from River about time "running out".  What if, he wonders, time could run out?  He begins to think about Amy and the odd things about her - the duck pond with no ducks, not knowing who the Daleks are.  He starts free associating, ending with the phrase "time can be re-written", which brings him to pause.  With a bit of calculating in the air (complete with sound effects as he traces circles, like the dialing of an old phone), he corrects himself - "time can be UNwritten."

The clerics guarding Amy report that the Angels are taking out the lights in the forest around them, allowing them to advance.  Before they can get too close, a bright light from off in the forest illuminates the forest.  The Angels vanish mysteriously, and two of the clerics set off to examine the light.  As the approach is, they vanish.  More specifically, they are not even remembered - the remaining clerics do not even remember them, only Amy does.  She demands to see the light.  With only a few seconds of time before the Angel can take her over, she risks a look.  It's another Crack, this one HUGE, as big as the forest.  Each soldier goes to look at the Crack, being wiped from time, eventually leaving her alone.

 As they enter the Flight Deck, The Doctor realizes that odd temporal anomalies have been happening around him for quite some time - massive events in Earth's past that are not remembered in the present day.  He tells Octavian that the Angels are almost a secondary threat now...but when the lights flicker and an Angel wraps his hands around Octavian's neck, he can't think of a worse one.  The Angel's grip is tight and he can't get out - Octavian tells the Doctor to get onto the bridge.  He takes the moment to warn The Doctor about Song.  She was in Stormcage for killing someone. "A good man, a hero to many", he says, but will not elaborate. The Doctor apologizes for what he must do, turns his back on Octavian and enters the bridge.  Song has found a teleporter, but The Doctor tells her she's wasting her time.  He grabs her communicator and contacts Amy.  She explains the disappearance of the Clerics and he realizes he's made a mistake leaving her there.  She's going to have to come to them, but she still can't open her eyes.  He alters the communicator signal so it can be used both as a direction finder and an Angel detector.  She needs to start moving, as if the Crack catches up to her, she'll be erased from time utterly.

In the Bridge, The Doctor and River can hear the Angels retreating.  The energy of the Crack is starting to feed back on them, and they're trying to get away.  The Crack in time and space will keep expanding, unless something temporally complicated can be fed to it.  Something like...The Doctor.

In the forest, Amy starts to stagger forward, but eventually finds herself surrounded by Angels.  The Doctor explains that she needs to bluff the Angels, and pretend she can see them.  They're scared and confused by the energy from the crack, and if she can avoid them, they should ignore her.  She makes her way through them, but eventually stumbles and drops the communicator.  They begin to move on her, but River, ignoring the Doctor, got the teleport working, and she pulls Amy onto the bridge in time.  An alarm signals that the last of the ship's power is being drained.  The shield between the bridge and the forest open, revealing dozens of Angels.  But now they're asking for help.  They realize the Crack will destroy them, and they know that if The Doctor leaps into the Crack, it will close.  River offers to throw herself into the Crack, and the Doctor says that the Angels are more connected to time than she is, and even then it'd take all of them to equal him.  He has a brainwave, and tells both River and Amy to hang onto something.  As the last bit of the ship's power is drained, The Doctor realizes that the artificial gravity will fail, and at the angle the ship is sitting, when it cuts off, the Angels plunge backward, directly into the Crack.  All of those quantum-connected beings are enough to close the Crack, and they're all wiped from time, including the one that affected Amy, saving her as well.  The Doctor, Amy and River, all time travelers, remember the events because of their "outside of time" mindset.  The crack is gone, but the explosion that caused it is still happening.

River is waiting to be teleported back to the prison, where she'll find out if the adventure was enough to earn her promised pardon.  She refuses to tell him who she killed, explaining that "it's a story that can't be told; it has to be lived".  She promises he'll see her again quite soon, "When the Pandorica opens".  He scoffs at that, but she seems quite serious.  Again, while he's yet to do it, she already has.  Amy says good bye, River simply says "See you"  The Doctor asks River if he can trust her; she replies with wry, "If you like...but where's the fun in that?"

As she 'ports away, The Doctor is smiling.  When Amy asks why, he proudly replies, "Time can be re-written".  Back on the TARDIS, Amy says she wants to go home.  Not for good, she hastens to add, she just wants to show him something.  Namely, her wedding dress.  We finally get verification - she's marrying Rory in the morning.  She's come to a decision about who she really wants...and dives on The Doctor.  The Doctor is singularly gobsmacked, and tries to calm her down.  He reminds her that she's getting married in the Morning...and realizes the date.  He realizes that somehow, Amy is connected to the massive event that's causing all the Cracks, and needs to sort things out.  The clock on her bed side table clicks over to the day of Amy and Rory's wedding...June 26, 2010...the date his earlier research identified as the date of the event.

While the episode was solid and thrilling from A to Y, I feel it missed a step at Z.  The Doctor doesn't really save the day, he just figures out the flaw in the Angel's plan a moment before they do and gets his friends to a position of safety before it all blows up in their faces.  Also, after creating such a wonderful way to kill people in the first adventure where we meet the Angels, it's not used once here; everyone is bludgeoned to death or have their necks snapped.  Killing Bob to talk through him makes sense, but it seems that as the energy of the ship revitalizes them they could take out a few people by flinging them into the past where they wouldn't be a threat.  Also, the explanation that the Angels won't attack her if they think she is looking at them sounds quite weak. It makes the Angels appear as dim as the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal from Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy ("a mind-boggling stupid creature; it assumes that if you can't see it, it can't see you").  Seems a far more reasonable explanation might have been that the Angel in her mind might have confused them, making them mistake her for one of them.

Doctor Song is a wonderful character, played to perfection, but here even more so than in Library / Forest she puts The Doctor in a position of almost inferiority.  She knows so much more about what's going on (and what they'll be doing afterwards), he starts second guessing himself for a bit.  Like Bugs Bunny in Rabbit Rampage, it almost doesn't work as well when The Doctor gets outshone more than once or twice in a row.  River is younger here than she was in Library / Forest, and is less careful about what she says or does around The Doctor.  She's almost sad that she can't chat with him about their past adventures in the previous one, here she's almost cocky about it, and it's a tad grating.  It's a balancing act that going to need careful watching if she returns again after this season.

Matt Smith is playing the Doctor with a real temper.  He does not keep himself from lashing out at people when he is desperate and worried - he snaps at River as he guides Amy through the forest, just as he lashed out at humans in general at the end of Beast Below. He's still a person who's having glorious fun, but knows exactly when things get serious.  Similarly, Amy is amazingly brave, taking her life in her hands to look at the Crack, staring into the abyss if you will,  and then staggering through the dark to reach The Doctor.


IAIN GLEN (Bishop Octavian) has had a long and varied career both in and out of genre projects.  In addition to a role in Tomb Raider, he played Dr. Isaacs in the second and third Resident Evil films. He'll be playing Jorah Mormont in HBO's Game of Thrones, based on George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire books, also featuring Ian (Winston Churchill, Victory of the Daleks) McNiece.

BACKGROUND BITS AND BOBS - Trivia and production details

The Weeping Angels were played by actors trained as mimes, specifically living statues.  With heavy makeup and heavy costumes, they held their poses through many scenes, only getting to move in a few rare moments on camera.

"Never let me talk" - He may just be trying to distract the Angels, but what he tells them is absolutely true.  The Doctor is notorious for playing perfectly fairly with his enemies, warning them of their mistakes, giving them every chance to get away in one piece.  But when the time for talk is over, he is utterly merciless. 

"The Cyberking, a giant Cyberman walks all over Victorian London and no one ever remembers..." - The Doctor is referring to the events from David Tennant's last Christmas episode The Next Doctor where a giant robot under the control of the Cybermen tramples through the city before being destroyed.  A young boy asked the production team back after Next Doctor ran why the rampaging robot isn't in the history books of The Doctor's world.  Russell T. Davies and Julie Gardner gave a couple off-the cuff answers, including that perhaps a just-founded Torchwood used a rudimentary version of the Retcon drug to wipe everyone's mind.  But Moffat seems to have taken the question seriously, and folded it into the narrative.  Little accidents and errors like that are often picked up and turned into plot points.  Back in the filming of The Claws of Axos, it began snowing on the location site; a problem, since the story was to take place in the summer.  They threw in a line explaining that the crashed Axon ship was causing freak weather conditions.  A similar dodge was used in Planet of the Dead; the factory they filmed the spaceship interiors had holes in the roof, and it was snowing outside, which meant it was snowing inside.  The ship, it was explained, was so well insulated that while it was crashed in a desert, it was near-freezing down by the engines.

"And for those of us who can't read the base code of the universe...?" - This may well be the first time an episode of the show ties itself down to a specific modern date.  Even the Christmas episodes never mention the year, though it's safe to assume that they take place in a time period concurrent to when they were broadcast.  But in past seasons, the time frame of Doctor Who's modern day adventures had always been a point of debate for the fans.  The Pertwee episodes, for example, when The Doctor was exiled on Earth were always assumed to be taking place at least a couple of years ahead from the period the audience was watching them.  The science being shown used by Earthlings was just a shade more advanced than that of the real and present world of the time, suggesting they might be just a few years on.  The show was actually prescient in one case - in one episode The Brigadier is talking to the Prime Minister, and refers to her as "Ma'am"...several years before Margaret Thatcher took the position in the real world.

Singing the Song of the Angels - We’re probably way late at finding this, but Dan Slott just tracked down a fabulous song about the Weeping Angels by a fellow named Charlie McDonnell and his band Chameleon Circuit.  It is the awesome.

Dan’s page –

Charlie’s page, including the entire album -

BIG BAD UPDATE - This was a big one. Aside from the Cracks appearing, finally seen and acknowledged by The Doctor and Amy, there's a scene that had the Internet quivering as soon as it was broadcast.

Go back and check that scene where The Doctor leaves Amy in the forest and pops back a moment later.  When he first runs off, he's got no jacket (lost it in the grip of the Angel) and his shirt sleeves are buttoned.  A moment later, he returns, but if you look carefully, you'll see he's got his jacket back, and his sleeves are rolled up.  He also seems much more emotional than he was a moment before, and a bit sweaty.  In the next scene, no jacket again, sleeves rolled down and buttoned, and no sign that he ran back to talk to Amy at all.

The smart money is saying that the Doctor who comes back to talk to Amy is from some later point, well after the end of this adventure.  Considering how much Moffat loves time travel, I'd not put it past him. Add in a couple of other points from the first episode as well:

  • Though Moffat has waved it off as a simple error, Rory's ID badge in Eleventh Hour says he started at the hospital in 1990, Twenty years before the time (we presume) the events of the episode took place.  Could we be looking at some odd timey-wimey thing?
  • At the end of the same episode, little Amelia Pond is sitting waiting for The Doctor, hears the wheeze of the TARDIS' engines, and looks up expectantly.  We don't see any more of the scene, but more importantly, according to Amy twelve years hence,  he never returned.  Could that be the moment that he "told her what he told her when she was seven"?
We also have to remember that in Victory of the Daleks, Amy tells the Doctor that she's never heard of the Daleks, which seems impossible, as they were seen all over the planet just a short time before when they stole the Earth.  Donna Noble really did just miss all the amazing things that happened to London in the year or two before she met the Doctor. Amy is a clever girl, and wouldn't just forget or miss something like that...would she?

The Doctor's realization that "Time can be rewritten" might be another example of the realization that he came to in The Waters of Mars; as the last Time Lord, he may well have far more flexibility in how to sort out time than he gives himself.  While he was positively callous about it in that adventure, the swaggering glee he affected from that point and into the start of End of Time is carried directly through to the way that Smith is playing the character. 

River's promise that The Doctor will see her again "when the Pandorica opens" is another reference to Prisoner Zero's comments in Eleventh Hour. And if you haven't checked the episode guide yet, episode 12 of the series is indeed (allegedly) titled "The Pandorica Opens", and reportedly stars River Song...and a few other surprising characters.

And two weeks after that, the final episode of the season will run on...June 26, 2010.  This is similar to what was supposed to have happened on ABC's series FlashForward.  On it, the date which everyone was to have seen in their future vision was April 29, 2010.  The final episode was originally planned to be shown on that date, but a scheduling delay meant that the final episode will not be shown until May 27.  And if you feel the need to tie the shows together, FlashForward had a recurring role played by... Alex Kingston.

NEXT TIME ON DOCTOR WHO - The Doctor takes Amy and Rory on a romantic trip to Venice, and absolutely nothing bad or scary happens at all.  For almost one whole entire minute.


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