Now THAT'S what we expected from so-called "Moffat Who", taught suspense, laugh-out-loud humour and a proper nasty monster. The Weeping Angels are back and they are stronger than ever!
Trapped within a Maze Of The Dead with a small team of Cleric soldiers and the glamorous, annoying and utterly brilliant River Song, the Doctor and Amy Pond are tasked with leading the hunt for one of the Lonely Assassins that was imprisoned in the vaults of the Byzantium.
I loved this episode. Undoubtedly the best episode of the series so far, it has so much to offer and takes all of our favourite Moffat ideas to the next level. I'm thinking of the mysterious past of River Song, the upping-the-threat treatment the Angels got ("that which holds the image of an Angel becomes itself an Angel" - so now even bloody images of the Weeping Angels aren't safe to see. So much for watching next week's episode without worrying about the Angels on-screen hopping out to get me!) and the brilliantly effective re-hashing of the "use of a victim's voice" to up the creepiness factor by about a million! Poor, poor Bob!
And for what it's worth, I believe the Angels are now the most frightening villain in Who history. Notice how there was less "sending back in time to live your life to death" and more "snapping necks" this time around! And the "getting inside your head to slow you down and make you easier prey" that poor Amy had to endure. Kids are never going to sleep again, are they? It's bloody horror movie stuff!
I also want to say a bit about the performances in this one. As many of you know, this was DAY ONE of filming on the new series. The first episodes to be shot and the first time Matt and Karen got to play together.
And what a first performance! Both leads and Alex Kingston (River) were outstanding in this episode. Matt especially, throwing out comedy asides left, right and centre and genuinely OWNING the part.
Matt Smith IS the Doctor. Seeing clips of Tennant in the role in Confidential (BBC3 - after the episode) made me remember just how "hammy" his portrayal was. Not a bad thing. He was brilliant, but Matt just has a more real, subtle delivery which, for me, works better in bringing to life what I think makes the Doctor. It's the same reason I rate Peter Davison head and shoulders above fan favourite Tom Baker in the "Best Doctor" stakes. But that's another post for another day.
AND THAT NEXT TIME TRAILER!? Wow! More Angels, more scared Amy, more manipulative Doctor, more cheeky River, more about that crack (lots about that crack actually!) and possibly the most anticipation I have ever felt for an episode of Doctor Who. Flesh and Stone cannot come fast enough for me. ONLY a week seems like years. Anyone got a spare preview copy out there (preferably without a Kanye West-esque Norton interruption, please, this time)? Talking of rappers, nice cameo at the start by The Streets' Mike Skinner! One line, no point really, but great all the same. Clearly, as a fan (which Mike is), he got in touch with his mate, episode Director, Adam Smith and asked for a part. Nice.
Unquestionable a 10/10 from me for this one... Sorry to those who will hate that because it "leaves me nowhere to go when the show gets better" but, to me, this is as good as it gets (It's been online for less than 24 hours and I've watched it 5 times!)
Now. Go watch the next time trailer (below):