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Review of Doctor Who ‘The Angels take Manhattan’

Neela Debnath

Doctor who final 300x225 Review of Doctor Who ‘The Angels take Manhattan’

(BBC)

SPOILERS: Do not read this if you have not seen episode 5, series 7/33 of ‘Doctor Who’

And so the final curtain fell on the Ponds this week…

The fall of the Ponds has been building since December last year when Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill announced that they were leaving the show. There has been much speculation since then as to how the pair would make their departure, with showrunner Steven Moffat dropping some hints along the way.

One thing Moffat said quite explicitly was that not everyone was going to get out alive and this time he ‘meant it’. Although viewers can be forgiven for not believing him, particularly given the number of times we have seen Rory supposedly meet his maker before being miraculously resurrected, this time Moffat was serious.

Saying this, the audience did see Rory expire at least three times during the course of this episode: once as an old man in the Weeping Angels’ battery farm hotel; then plunging off the side of the hotel in what was essentially a suicide pact with Amy; and finally in the graveyard when he was sent back in time. Perhaps it was all part of the long-standing Rory-gets-killed joke except this time there was no punch line.

The viewers’ heartstrings were really tugged at during the scene between the couple on top of the hotel. Their joint decision to sacrifice themselves and stop the Weeping Angels was very emotional to watch; for them it truly is until death do us part. It was impossible not to shed a tear watching the couple fall off the side of the building, it would be apt to say that the unofficial name of the episode should have been ‘The Ballad of Amy and Rory’.

This instalment was somewhat of a teaser. Most of the audience was aware that something was going to happen to Rory and Amy, so when they survived the fall it felt like they would live for another adventure with the Doctor. It was this false sense of security in which the awful moment happened. It was not dramatic, one second Rory was there and the next he was zapped back to another time.

There was of course a cheesy montage of the Ponds’ top moments but a little cheese every now and then is allowed. After all Rory and Amy have been the longest-serving companions since the show was brought back in 2005. It was a fitting send off with a mixture of sadness but also satisfaction. As has been said before, the Weeping Angels are ‘the only psychopaths in the universe to kill you nicely’, therefore the Ponds are living their lives out in the past somewhere rather than no longer existing. Given that it is Doctor Who, there is always the possibility that they can come back in some shape or form and hopefully they will for the 50th anniversary next year – there is always a way.

The Angels take Manhattan was a wonderful swansong to the duo, it drew on the film noir genre and combined it with fantasy and horror. Added to this, the cinematography was superb and everything looked very stylish. The Weeping Angels haven’t been this scary since Blink and there was a real sense of danger. On top of this the introduction of the baby cherubim Angels was a devilish little touch that added to the fear factor, not to mention the Statue of Liberty becoming a gigantic Angel. The only flaw was the rule that time cannot be changed if one knows what is going to happen. After watching the last series though it is probably best not to question the timey wimey side of things and just accept it and enjoy the adventure.

What a momentous end to this half of the series, apart from the Christmas special there is no more Doctor Who in 2012. The cyclical ending to this episode takes viewers right back to the start, back to a young Amelia Pond with a suitcase in her back garden waiting for her raggedy man. This image alone inspires a compelling urge to return to The Eleventh Hour and re-live the Ponds’ adventures from the beginning.

Next time on Doctor Who: Two shots are all that viewers were given to whet their appetite. First, a sinister-looking Richard E. Grant decked out in Victorian garb complete with a top hat. He is very much the villain with a touch of pantomime about him (it is Christmas after all). The only thing missing is the twirly moustache. Secondly, we see the now familiar face of Jenna-Louise Coleman, the Doctor’s soon-to-be companion, who is also dressed in Victorian attire. But the question is whether or not she is Oswin?

Image credit: BBC

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  • fcabanski

    The false drama is becoming tiresome. Look back to Adric’s death. It had 10x less drama and 10x more impact because it felt real. The new who has so many false dramatic deaths and “love saves them” situations that I’ve lost count.

    There is no tugging at heart strings when its done so many times in each episode and in each series.

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    BTW, if River can go back in time to publish Amy’s book, then why can’t she retrieve Amy and Rory?

  • fcabanski

    Bad writing can rewrite time.

  • fcabanski

    How can someone be moved by something that happens so many times each episode? The companions have been killed and/or lost forever so many times (Rory “died” three times in this episode) that it becomes meaningless. When the whole song is a crescendo then dynamics lose meaning.

  • fcabanski

    No Scott. Look back to Adric’s death for a real death moment. The current Who is a frenzy of false drama. There are 20 big dramatic moments every episode. In this one Rory “died” three times and Amy “died” twice. Nobody can go back in time to retrieve them, but River can go back in time to publish Amy’s book and tell her to write a forward for the Doctor.

  • fcabanski

    He goes through 10,000 dramatic emotional shifts every episode. The writing is horrible. The series tries to mask bad writing with false emotion.

  • fcabanski

    What has changed is that there are too many big dramatic moments. When a story has a dozen dramatic shifts and dramatic moments, then they all lose their meaning.


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