The Doctor is recruited by Father Octavian to track the last of the Angels through the terrifying Maze Of The Dead. Meanwhile, the mysterious River Song re-enters the Doctor's life - but can he trust her?
This is the first half of a two-parter which reintroduces the late Professor (currently Doctor) River Song (Alex Kingston in full-on Auntie Mame mode), still wielding a diary with a TARDIS door cover motif (containing images of all the Doctor's regenerations), and she's brought the Weeping Angels with her.
The teaser features River (also channelling Modesty Blaise) making what looks like a suicidal escape via airlock from a tuxedo-wearing Bond villain on a spaceship only to be rescued by the Doctor because she's written a message (in 'Old High Gallifreyan') on the spaceships version of a "blackbox" which she knows will be read by the Doctor 12,000 years later in a museum (the Delirium Archive). Once safely on board, River commands "Follow that ship!" and we're off, roll titles. You can argue at this point (just five minutes in) that this is very silly stuff but it's enjoyable and superbly crafted silly stuff.
The Doctor, River and Amy pursue the spaceship to Alfalfa Metraxis and discover that the ship has crashed into a temple built into a cliff-face. A platoon of soldiers who turn out to be priests (the commanding officer is Father Octavian: "Verger - how are we doing with the explosives?") materialise and it transpires that River is working with them: they are in hot-pursuit of one particular 'crew member' of the now-splattered spaceship... a Weeping Angel. The Angels make no sense as life form concepts but they are disturbing.
The pursuit of the Weeping Angel continues in the catacombs (the Maze of Death) below the wrecked temple and the CGI used to realise the main chamber is just gorgeous. The Maze is full of statuary and so lends itself as a hiding place for a life form that mimics a statue.
Amy has a white-knuckle moment with the spaceship security video footage of the Angel ("That which holds the image of an Angel, becomes itself an Angel":) which results in her becoming psychically linked to the Angel: for the rest of the episode, Amy struggles to cope with the feeling that she is turning to stone (even weeping dust at one point)!
They realise the crash of the spaceship was the first stage of a rescue mission. Feeding on the energy released by the wreck, the statuary is revealed as a horde of Weeping Angels who start to close in on the Doctor and his companions. Trapped, the Doctor wracks his mighty brain: and his solution appears to be to shoot out the light! End of part one.
I loved every breathless minute of this story: the Weeping Angels are relentlessly creepy monsters realised to great effect here. Matt is interesting, strange and funny as the Doctor: he has an edge in the part that raises the credibility of the character several notches. Here, his frustration with the knowing River is intriguing: she can fly the TARDIS without the familiar materialisation sound because he keeps leaving the brake on!
Solitary misstep: shoving a promo bar for the irrelevant Graham Norton at the foot of the screen in the middle of the cliff-hanger set-up.