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Who View : Time of Angels, Flesh and Stone, Vampires of Venice
Reviewed by Alan Riquelmy, © 2010

Format: TV
By:   Steven Moffat
Genre:   Doctor Whovian-ism
Review Date:   May 22, 2010

Before I dig in to the latest Who, let’s recap what’s happened so far: For those of you just joining us, David Tennant has regenerated into Matt Smith. Doctor 11 met his newest companion, Amy Pond, and saved the planet from an alien living in her home since her childhood.

The Doctor whisked Amy off to the future on the day before her wedding. They save a floating Britain in space and then run back to the past for a meeting with Winston Churchill and some godawful Teletubbie-colored Daleks.

There’s your three-episode recap. Now, onto the next three, conveniently packaged in one nifty review.

The show needed a boost after “Victory of the Daleks” and the first part of this two-parter worked well. It had the return of River Song and the Weeping Angels, the latter you’ll remember from the best Who episode so far: “Blink.”

“The Time of Angels” and the following episode “Flesh and Stone,” um, flesh out some needed character development. The series has not failed in this respect; instead, it’s hitting all the right points at the right spots.

Here’s what we got: River Song has secrets, the Doctor doesn’t know her well and he could be in some trouble. We learn more about the angels, and they’re still as terrifying -- even more so -- than the first time we saw them.

These two episodes piecemeal out the info, and plant the first big seed of this season’s story arc. What is up with the cracks in space and time? Why doesn’t Amy have any knowledge of the Daleks? Will the Doctor save the whole of time and space -- again?

Yes, he will, because Smith signed a three-year contract. The question is, what is he going to save us from?

The cracks in time aren’t limited to screwing with the Doctor. We learn they’ve affected the angels, and they’ve affected the baddies from “The Vampires of Venice.” They are doing something horrible to the universe, and the Doctor is starting to realize how bad things have become.

Step back for a moment and look at what the series is setting up. Unlike classic Who, the new series depicts a dark Doctor. The darkest we ever saw the time lord in the old series was when Colin Baker was having one of his conniptions. This series has shown the Doctor as a multi-layered character.

The best example so far from this series is when he makes the decision in “The Beast Below” to kill the star whale.

Smith is quirky, but not as slap-happy as David Tennant, thank God. But he’s also shown a keen intellect, as all the Doctors have. That intellect brings me to my next point: Someone as old and wise as the Doctor must know Amy is running from something.

Sure, maybe he doesn’t know it’s from her wedding, but I imagine he has a good indication that he’s a childhood fantasy made real that’s being used by a 20-something woman who has some serious issues. Come on, she’s running away with a space man on the eve of her wedding.

At the end of “Flesh and Stone” he discovers Amy’s run from her impending wedding. He picks up her fiance and takes both of them to medieval Venice. Maybe you think that’s romantic. I think it’s the setup for an Aaron Spelling drama.

Two men. One woman. Alone on a spaceship as it twirls through the universe. Tensions rise. Someone reaches for a knife. . .

We know there’s a swimming pool in the TARDIS, just like in Melrose Place. The Doctor has a few problems upstairs as well to put himself and two companions into this situation.

Only way to find out is to keep watching.

Next up: One of the best episodes yet for this season: "Amy’s Choice."


Watch episodes on the Doctor Who show site.

Alan Riquelmy would do a Melrose Place View column, if only we would ask him. If only.


 
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