It seems that last week’s episode was so enjoyably straight-forward as all the plot revelations and complications were left over for this one. And I must admit I had a hard time following it all, not least because once again much of the expository dialogue was drowned out by over-bombastic music (please BBC and other channels, try to keep the sound levels at an audible mix for those of us who can’t afford a decent speaker set up for our TVs). So I’m afraid I can’t give much of an explanation for the opening part of the episode – other than the Doctor managing to get everyone out of the sticky situation at the end of the previous episode by damaging the hull of the ship and using the resulting leak of the ship’s anti-gravity to get everyone inside.
I can see this episode having a fairly divisive reception, probably more so than last week’s as with all it’s complication, there wasn’t much time left for it to actually get scary. That being said I rather enjoyed it, the plot may not have entirely hung together (or maybe it did, and I just missed all the important details thanks to the dodgy sound mixing and/or TV speakers), but there were some beautiful scenes and ideas in there. In particular, I found the episode’s fairytale theme quite striking.
As the Doctor, Amy, River and the remaining clerics ventured deeper into the ship, they came across the ship’s oxygen factory, essentially a large, partially mechanised forest, which in addition to being a suitably fairytale-esque backdrop, was also on more practical terms a triumph of budget negotiating – the obviously artificial nature of the set (essentially a bunch of prop trees against a black background) worked really well I thought.
Also tying into the fairytale theme was Amy’s choice of a red hooded outfit, which admittedly seemed completely insignificant in the last episode but harder to miss this week as she was at the heart of the story. Being left alone in the forest, unable to open her eyes thanks to the lingering effects of her stare-off with the angel in the previous episode (the image of which in her mind’s eye was now threatening to work it’s way through and kill her if she left her eyes open too long), definitely tapped into a very childlike fear of being left alone in the dark, particularly during the nerve-racking scene where she had to feel her way through a group of them.
Of course, the big story in this week’s episode was the return of the crack in Amy’s wall for something more than a brief cameo. The crack being a void from the end of time, which greedily sucked up everything in its path and once having done so erased their very existence (although in a neat little plot contrivance, characters who had travelled through time were still able to remember the existence of characters those who had been sucked into the void), including at the end of the episode the army of angels that were advancing on the Doctor, River and Amy – the rest of the clerics having been sucked up into the crack when they were meant to be guarding Amy, or in the case of squad leader Bishop Octavian, sacrificed heroically to the angels in order to save the Doctor. I didn’t actually realise until the end credits that the ruggedly heroic Octavian was played by Iain Glen who I haven’t seen in anything for ages (a quick glance on his imdb profile shows that he’s been busy, I’ve just not bothered to watch anything with him in it seems).
How the crack in time made Amy go completely crazy at the end of the episode is anyone’s guess. I assume it was the crack that caused Amy to launch herself at the doctor while they were in her bedroom at the end of the episode and not some previously unhinted-at lust (the scene where the doctor had to leave Amy alone in the forest and gently kissed her on the forehead was both touching and decidedly non-sexual), with the code that the doctor had picked up from somewhere (I’m not entirely sure where – what with the plot getting more and more convoluted and the soundtrack getting more and more bombastic I got a little bit lost here) revealing itself to be the date of Amy’s wedding. Either way it was an amusing scene, with the doctor protesting that he was over 900 years old so it would just be awkward, I preferred this to David Tennant’s Doctor and Rose mooning over each other.
Aside from that, we also got some more of River’s story – apparently she was arrested for killing a man, and was neatly sent back to prison at the end of the episode. It goes without saying that there was a strong hint that the man she killed was the Doctor – and although it’s probably going to turn out to be someone else when we do find out who it is, her next appearance (in seven episodes time) is bound to be explosive, what with the big tease about them meeting when the Pandorica opens (I have no idea what this might be, although the Doctor’s response to its mention also tied into the episode’s fairytale theme).
And so once again it’s over to you. What did you think of the episode?