The Doctor (Matt Smith) and Amy Pond (Karen Gillan) are in a museum. They find on the flight recorder of the 12,000-year-old Starship Byzantium a message for the Doctor in Gallifreyan. They travel back in the TARDIS and rescue River Song (Alex Kingston) before her ship crashes on the planet Alfava Metraxis. On the planet’s surface, the Doctor tells Amy that even though he has only met River Song twice, she has met him many times in her life because her life runs backwards. In the cargo of the Byzantium is a Weeping Angel. Father Octavian (Iain Glen) and his cleric army attempt to capture it to protect the native population of the planet.
As the clerics set up camp, River checks the records of the Weeping Angel on the ship, only to find that the image of a Weeping Angel can become a real Weeping Angel. Amy watches the footage and has to be saved from the Angel, but she blinks, and then she feels something in her eye.
They set out through the maze of the cave system to reach the ship, using a gravity globe to illuminate the cave. The Doctor and River comment on the statues of the natives, and then realize they cannot be natives because they only have one head. They decide they must be weakened Angels and that the ship was purposely crashed to rescue the Angels. Pursued, Amy finds she cannot move with the Angel in her eye, until the Doctor bites her to show that it is only an illusion.
The rear guard of the troops are consumed by Weeping Angels and the party is trapped under the hull of the ship. The Angels declare they will use the party’s life energy to regenerate. The Doctor tells the others to jump and detonates the gravity globe. To be continued.
The episode, an action story, was inspired by Alien and Aliens. It was considered one of the best of the series. River Song’s character was inspired by Audrey Niffeneggar’s novel The Time-Traveller’s Wife. The episode was also, of course, a sequel to the brilliant Doctor Who episode Blink. Matt Smith actually bit Karen Gillan’s hand. The Angels were not props, but women wearing makeup who had to stand still for a long time. A key on the TARDIS console is labelled Panic.
This was actually the first episode filmed with Matt Smith and Karen Gillan. It ran short of filming time and some shots were not used, including the one that Karen Gillan did as an audition. When the Angels speak to the clerics, they say, “Come and see.” This is a line from the Book of Revelations, Chapter 6, which is spoken by an angel. River Song suggests that the grinding sound of the TARDIS comes from the Doctor driving with the brakes on, which would mean that Peter Cushing in the early movies is the only Doctor to set the brake properly.