Launching into a two-part episode is River Song returning in a fabulous scene befitting the enigma that she is. What a riot.. scribbling Gallifreyan graffiti on a box in a space ship, knowing that sometime in the future the Doctor will read it, then reading out some space time coordinates on the security camera, then blowing the exit hatch, having full trust and confidence that the Doctor will be there to rescue her. Wow.
The story as a whole puts me in the mind of how the modern reimagined Battlestar Galactica kicked ass with a gritty realism. The scenes in these two episodes have a gritty realism to the seriousness of the situation, that makes all previous incarnations of Doctor Who look like a mockup of terror. Think about it - throughout all the past episodes of Doctor Who they've depicted dangerous scenarios one after another. But did you get a real sense of anybody truly depicting tension, fear, etc? Nope. Sure there were people who screamed, and some of the companions were real screamers. But in very few times they did not really do a great job of depicting the fear the participants must have been feeling. The same is true for the old and reimagined Battlestar Galactica, in the old ones the characters on the screen must have been scared but you didn't see it in the actors demeanor, whereas in the reimagined BSG you felt it deeply. Likewise in these episodes the tension is portrayed very realistically.
Anyway, back to the story. What an amazing story that starts out as a typical Doctor Who episode - a crashed space ship, a few familiar characters, and a walk through some caves. But in the second half it takes a veering sharp turn into truly odd territory.
Doctor River Song had discovered a Weeping Angel on a space ship. She called for The Doctor who, as mentioned, came to rescue her in deep space. They follow the ship to a planet where the ship has crashed into a temple, and beneath the temple is the aforementioned caves. The caves are filled with statues which they eventually realize are all Weeping Angels. Yup, a whole army of the Angels. The action proceeds in a very curious manner into the space ship, they're chased through the space ship. They encounter a forest in a bottle in a ship in a maze which might have actually impressed Amy Pond. In the meantime the crack from Amy's bedroom has appeared inexplicably in the ship. The Doctor learns the crack is the End of Time, that at some point every atom and every thing in the universe will crack like this, and that's what the crack is. Somewhere out there beyond the rainbow (maybe where the seven Dorothy's live) there is an explosion happening which will eventually crack the universe. Except that the Doctor has a realization about the possibility of rewriting time or perhaps erasing time. The action eventually comes to a head where the Angels have the Doctor, Amy and River Song trapped in the control room, and the Angels have absorbed all the energy from the ship. At which point the on-board gravity generators fail and the Angels conveniently fall into the crack, giving the crack something to eat such that it will shut. For now.
River Song as an enigma only grows more so. Amy believes River Song is the Doctor's future Wife and recognizes immediately the authority that the Doctor gives over to River. Amazing how in this story the Doctor is letting soldiers call him 'Sir' and salute him, when he never before allowed that. In any case River Song is shown to know Old High Gallifreyan, to know how to fly the TARDIS better than the Doctor can fly it, and more. At several tense moments they were depicted as working together like a very familiar team-mates who've done escapades together for years. She is also revealed to be a murderer and Father Octavian suggests that she is not to be trusted at all. Yet obviously there will come a time when the Doctor trusts her well enough to reveal his real name, and that she develops a deep complete and total trust for him. Oh my, it will be interesting to see this unfold.
Turning to the trail of clues about the entire season ...
"That which holds the image of an angel becomes itself an angel" and "the eyes are not the windows of the soul, they are the doors; beware what may enter there". This pair of sayings was crucial to this story but it's also following the theme so far of looking at the unseen unconscious.
The Angels themselves are an interesting depiction of this idea. So long as you look at them they are harmless but when your attention turns away they become dangerous. This is rather akin to a concept from physics where you can either determine the location of a particle, or its energy state, but you cannot determine both at the same time. In any case the Angels are demonstrating how dangerous the unseen unconscious stuff can be. The seen conscious stuff is known and as Secretary Rumsfeld so wisely said, there are known known's, known unknowns, and unknown unknown's. It's the unknown unknown's which bite you in the ass, or else snap your neck and steal your cerebral cortex.
"What if we had ideas that could think for themselves? What if one day our dreams no longer needed us? When these things occur and are held to be true, the time will be upon us: The Time of Angels."
Ooookay.. what an enigmatic statement. If we unpack it a bit it's talking about dreams or thoughts becoming real of their own accord. Dreams or thoughts that don't require humans to think them in order for the dreams or thoughts to be real. I don't grok what this has to do with the episode, so it probably has something to do with the story arc.
The episode ends on what is sure to be a controversial scene which at the same time opens the door to the rest of the story arc.
Amy seems to have made a choice to seduce the Doctor. Rather blatantly so. Like, very much so. She takes him to her bedroom 5 minutes after they'd left, to show him her wedding dress. Explaining that she was due to be married in the morning (to Rory) she then proceeds to kiss him and start taking his clothes off. Yup, more of the gritty realism in a way we've never seen the Doctor-Companion relationship go.
The Doctor then declares that the most important thing in the universe right then is to get her sorted out once and for all. The leave in the TARDIS just as the clock turns Midnight on June 26, 2010. The date, June 26, 2010, just happened to have come up on a computer device while they were back in the ship in a maze, and the Doctor said that was "Amy's Time" and it had something to do with the Crack.
Given that today is May 3, 2010 that puts these episodes into our future implying to me that the season is due to end on June 26 with a blow-out episode that does something to resolve this crack/explosion/Amy st ory arc. In the meantime we'll be going through a series of adventures that explore the crack/etc. Further they're clearly going to retrieve Rory from his Bachelors party and head off to medieval Venice to have a chat with some Vampire hunters.