Brilliant! Between the compelling narrative and only moderately annoying catchphrases and self-praise and repetitive conversations, and the redemption of River Song, this episode's got a lot going for it. Plus it does that thing SF movies do, where it takes the original idea and supplies a fun, completely different expanding story on it:
Not five Weeping Angels, but a planet full of them and a whole bunch of new information and rules about them; not a haunted house and carpark but a six-level catacomb of mazes; not just poor old Sally Sparrow but River Song and a helping of warrior-clerics that are like something out of 2000 AD. Just brilliant.
The Doctor and Amy run across a very old artifact in a museum that leads them 12,000 years in the past, where they help Professor Song escape from a doomed starliner and then follow it to its crash site, a necropolis full of statues.
River calls down a whole elite squad of her Church buddies -- these fucking amazing priest-Marines -- and they search the maze, but not before a bunch of to-and-fro about their relationship and spoilers! and how she knows the TARDIS better than he does and la-di-da the usual stuff. Which Amy decides is proof that River is the Doctor's wife, because that's how women and men interact with each other, so it's hilarious. But luckily, River's competence and excellence are undermined at the last second when she starts fucking up and may or may not be evil, so order is restored.
Come to find out that the labyrinth is full of Angels who have been trapped there, starving, for millennia: The crash was actually just a rescue mission to get them up and running again through the energy of the crash. At this point there is much running about with flashlights, as the Angels take out the soldier-priests one by one.
There's a very sad thing, reminiscent of more than one story we've seen, in which the sweetest of the soldier-priests, once dead, is used to taunt the Doctor horribly over the radio. Turns out any image of an Angel is also an Angel, so after Amy has a pretty scary run-in with the original specimen on video, she's maybe now turning into stone or hallucinating that she's turning into stone or something. And Professor Song may or may not be what she seems at all, or maybe she's exactly what she seems, which is still Captain Jack in drag.
We end up stuck in a situation where most of the soldier-priests are dead and the Doctor, scolding the Angels, apparently blows up the wreckage a few yards above their heads... And we'll see you next week! Snap!
It's a beautiful sunny day, birds tweeting calmly under a bright sky, and a soldier wandering a sunny field, lost. He's got a kiss-mark near his lips, and he's whirling around in the beautiful day, but soon enough he's approached by gunmen and an awesome guy in a tuxedo. He's wearing hallucinogenic lipstick on his face, which the tux guy knows means "She's here." Does this meadow really exist? Because there's a forest on the Byzantium, but he could also have created the whole thing. This bears remembering.
I was going to watch "Blink" and the Library episodes, to get ready for this one, but I ran out of time but mostly out of the inclination to do so. And, since from what I do remember this episode doesn't seem to give a damn about "Blink" either, that's probably for the best. Tuxedo man looks nervous, and then there are feet in really high heels, and a lady in a Blair Waldorf dress takes out a tiny revolver that shoots lasers, opens up a vault, and attends the shiny blackbox inside. She sets her gun, not quite a squareness gun, to a new setting, and begins to solder the box.
Twelve thousand years later, the Doctor is dragging Amy through a museum, the Delirium Archive, getting anorak about how wrong they've gotten so much of the history of every single artifact. It's directed strangely, in that he barely seems to be looking at anything in order to say his lines -- "Wrong! Wrong! Bit right, mostly wrong. Wrong! Very wrong! Oooh, one of mine. Also one of mine..." -- and move on to the next blocked area. The Archive -- "final resting place of the Headless Monks, the biggest museum ever" -- is a fairly gorgeous cathedral.
Amy, complaining that they were supposed to visit an alien planet next, realizes that museums are how the Doctor keeps score. It makes sense: Less like video game levels, more like video game accomplishments. There's something to the idea of comparing the Doctor to a museum, because it's where things go to die whereas it's enough for him to know he's touched them. He lights upon the blackbox, twelve thousand years rusted and dusty, and stares down. Amy's none too impressed. It has letters on the surface. Somewhere the woman is blasting away; the Doctor explains it's a Homebox, from "one of the old starliners," but in this case it's interesting because what the woman is right now writing, twelve thousand years ago, is Old Gallifreyan.
"There were days -- there were many days -- these words could burn stars and raise up empires, and topple Gods." This time is no different, considering who and what. And what do these old letters say? Hello, Sweetie!