Doctor Who – The Angels Take Manhattan

As usual, this won’t be a plot run-through, but will contain material you’d be better off not reading if you haven’t seen the episode yet. Or to put it another way:

Here be spoilers!

And so we come to the end of the story for Amy and Rory. Steven Moffat promised it would be a heartbreaking end, which led to all manner of speculation. Would one or both Ponds be killed off? Would something horrible happen to forever separate them from the Doctor? The presence of the always disturbing Weeping Angels, whose usual trick is to shove you back in time so they can feed off the released temporal energy[1], suggested what might happen, of course…

So when, on a visit to New York, Rory disappears, with the only clue to his whereabouts (is is that whenabouts[2]?) being a pulp detective novel written by someone calling themselves Melody Malone, the Doctor and Amy have a bit of a problem.

Rory has a slightly bigger problem in that he’s been locked in a dark cellar with just a few matches and more little cherub Angels than are strictly necessary. Meanwhile, River, having been in the right place at the right time to meet Rory and be taken to the house of a traditional hollywood gangster, is having a bit of a problem with a slightly larger Angel.

Much of he usual fun and games follow, including a very old and subsequently dead Rory, and a nifty bit of wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey paradox-creating, Angel-defeating work from the Ponds. All of which, in a normal story, would have wrapped it up nicely, but there was one cruel twist to come.

Thanks to the previously mentioned temporal wossnames, it’s established that the Doctor can’t go back into the past of New York again. Weeeeeeeeeell, he sort of could, but this might sort of destroy the whole place, rip it out of the universe and generally make the sort of mess that people get upset about. So when one surviving Angel zaps Rory into the past again, things don’t look too good. Amy does the only thing she can, supported by her daughter, and despite the Doctor’s pleas.

But thanks to some work by River, Amy gets a last message through to the Doctor…

And the most important words from both Amy and River are to tell him to not travel alone. This is sound advice, as we’ve seen that he does tend to lose the plot a bit without companions to ground him.

All of this was, of course, beautifully done. The Angels have never been more menacing, the New York setting worked perfectly, River Song was as much fun as ever, and it’s nice to know she’s no longer in prison, because apparently the man she was supposed to have killed never existed. Seems that someone’s been erasing himself from records all over the place[3] in an effort to have a slightly less conspicuous life.

And there were nice details, bits of fun, lots of running, and you’ll never look at the Statue of Liberty the same way again.

But overall, the atmosphere was of sadness. Of an ending (and the Doctor hates those). Steven Moffat promised tears, and yeah, that was the effect. Once again, the Doctor has lost those closest to him, and has to move on, knowing that he can never see them again. And that’s an ending.

This five-episode run has been powerful stuff. Big, bold episodes, which built up to a proper end for the Ponds. No quietly slipping away, no deciding to stay somewhere for no readily apparent reason, but a proper removal. Nicely done, Mr Moffat.

No new Who until Christmas now, when the Doctor will meet a new friend, and if what I hear is correct, also meet some old friends. I’m expecting the Christmas episode to be a wee bit lighter in tone. We don’t want the audience blubbing into the remains of the turkey, do we?

[1] You’d have thought it might take more energy to shove someone back in time than you’d retrieve from the process, but apparently not, for reasons that are probably too wibbly-wobbly to go into
[2] See, that’s the trouble with time travel. It messes with language
[3] Though not at UNIT, it would seem from recent events

3 thoughts on “Doctor Who – The Angels Take Manhattan

    1. Les Post author

      Indeed. This split series thingy is a bit frustrating, but never mind. Big Things are promised for next year and the 50th anniversary.

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