This is the third in a sort-of series of stories in which the 10th Doctor (David Tennant) runs into one of his previous selves and they have an adventure together. In the first Out of Time, he and 4th Doctor (Tom Baker) battled the Daleks in a transtemporal abbey. In the second story, he joined the 5th Doctor (Peter Davison) jumping around different eras in Parisian history to stop a very long-term plot of the Cybermen.
This time, it’s the 6th Doctor (Colin Baker). The threat they face is the Weeping Angels.
The Tardis has been kicking up a fuss and, instead of taking the 10th Doctor where he wants to go, lands on Lucidus Silvara, a planet famed for being constantly in the blinding white light of its “thousand cold suns,” except for one day each year when there’s an eclipse and the beauty of the planet is visible briefly in the dim light. This is not that day. The Doctor cannot see the man who calls out to him from the bright light, but people who’ve watched the original Doctor Who series, or listened to these Big Finish audios, recognize that voice right away.
The 6th Doctor had dropped in to see the planet on its annual eclipse day, and doesn’t understand why it’s suddenly so bright again; the eclipse shouldn’t have ended for a few more hours. He’s lost his own Tardis somewhere around here, but of course can’t see where it is. But he soon realizes that he’s talking to the Doctor and not just a doctor, and who else would be in a position to lend a hand? (although he doesn’t care for the “grubby” look of Dr. 10’s Tardis).
The problem of what happened to Dr. 6 becomes apparent, when a Weeping Angel is discovered in the vicinity, coming toward them at “blink” intervals. The Weeping Angels can’t move when someone, even another Angel, is looking at them, but they can move very fast–in the blink of an eye–when that gaze is interrupted.
Actually, there are two of them, on either side of the Doctors.
Dr. 6: “Angel to the left us. Angel to the right.”
Dr. 10: “Here I am stuck in the middle with you.”
Dr. 6 [groaning]: “You’re not one of those Doctors, are you?”
Dr. 6 knows all about the Angels; he’s quite gruff when Dr. 10 goes into a spiel explaining them and he is the one who suggests the winking strategy to get them safely back inside the Tardis. But he failed to notice the one that snuck up behind him during his visit to the eclipsed planet… 300 years in the future.
The Doctors agree that the obvious thing to do is go to that time and fetch his Tardis, when he can see where he left it parked, and assess the situation with the Weeping Angels there.
Lucidus Silvara, 300 years later in the beautiful, eerie twilight light of an eclipse. There’s Dr. 6’s TARDIS not far from where they first met 300 years previously. Nearby are also two young women, Estra and Padilla, who are about to shift a pair of Angels that stand frozen in place, staring at each other. Estra and Padilla want to take these statues into their walled city for an art exhibit. The city is in fact surrounded by dozens more of these strange Angel statues, all also frozen as if they were massing for an attack.
The interesting thing about Estra and Padilla, and the rest of the inhabitants of Lucidus Silvara: since they live in a light that’s too bright for humanoid people to see by most of the time, they have no concept of sight. Their fifth sense is “intuit,” which they use to sense distances or objects near them.
Dr. 6: “Questionable clothing? But you can’t see what I’m wearing!”
Dr. 10: “They can probably hear it.’
The Silvarans have no idea what kind of creatures the Angels are, nor that it’s the glassy smooth surface of the city wall, which works as a mirror, that keeps the army of Angels frozen, “quantum locked,” with their own reflections.
The two Doctors immediately stop the two women from moving the two Angels.
Estra and Padilla tell the Doctors that there used to be a third statue in this particular little grouping. Their supervisor, Dax, had gone out on this job ahead of them and must have already taken the third Angel into the city. Funny they haven’t seen or heard from him since then.
When the Doctors and the two women enter the city, they find that the gates have been locked and everything is unnaturally quiet.
Dax contacts Estra and Padilla over their comm unit and tells them he’s in the gallery, waiting for them. He wants them to come right away.
Dr. 6: “Is it just me, or does this feel a tiny bit like a trap?”
Dr. 10: “No, no, it’s not just you. Well, it is just you. I am just you.”
Dr. 6: “You could just say ‘Yes’.”
If you’ve seen the episodes The Time of the Angels/Flesh and Stone, you know what’s happened to poor Dax (but that story was with the 11th Doctor, so it’s a new twist for these two). We learn a few other things about the Angels here, like where the baby Cherubs that tormented Rory in a cellar in Angels Take Manhattan came from.
A lot of the dialog that follows is exposition of the “There’s an Angel!” or “It’s coming closer!” sort — but this sequence is surprisingly suspenseful. The group tries to escape the city and make their way back to a TARDIS while keeping an eye on the increasing number of Angels around them. Angel Dax continues to taunt them over the comm.
The eclipse ends and the light grows brighter. Angels can see in the bright light, and Estra and Padilla still have their senses. The Doctors, however, can no longer see their surroundings.
They sacrifice themselves to give the two women time to get to Dr. 10’s Tardis, which he’s unlocked with that key fob he was carrying toward the end of his run, and take it back to the last place he landed.
Estra’s and Padilla’s lack of sight causes a bit of a problem with this task, since the Tardis is not ADA Compliant for the visually impaired. Do not tell someone who can’t distinguish colors to hit the green, big button.
It was implied in Blink and Angels Take Manhattan that an individual Angel sends all its victims back to the same place and time, and that’s established as a fact here. The Doctors were zapped back to where they first met 300 years previously. The city inhabitants are all there too, although their city with the reflecting walls hasn’t been built yet.
But Angel Dax is still laughing at them over the comm. He and the 51 Angel offspring he’s created have hitched a ride on 10’s returning Tardis.
It all gets a bit timey-wimey from this point on as the Doctors solve the problem, but the puzzle pieces from the two different times 300 years apart snap together to make sense in the end.
“A closed temporal loop… a doozy.”
It’s an enjoyable story, well written and fast-paced. It can’t be easy for an audio drama to give us a sense of peril regarding a creature that doesn’t make a sound (apart from Angel Dax’s taunts), but under circumstances where we can’t see the danger approaching either, but this story accomplished it. Without directly referring to the Doctor Who episodes in which the Weeping Angels first featured, the things we already knew or guessed about the Angels were used here, and occasionally taken a step further.
The main reason I listen to audio series like this one is the Doctor-Doctor interaction. With a few exceptions, the personalities of any two regenerations are bound to clash and result some delightfully bitchy repartee. I was not disappointed. Dr. 6 has always been somewhat pompous and curmudgeonly, and Dr. 10 is a motormouth. Of course they won’t get along, even as they work together, and their dialog throughout this story is often very funny. We can add Curly to the list of nicknames the Doctor has for his other selves.
“Your words tumble out of your mouth like overexcited toddlers tumbling downstairs…. What are you afraid will happen if you pause for breath?”