Sunday, September 30, 2012

My Review of Doctor Who's 7x05: "The Angels Take Manhattan"

Written by Steven Moffat
Directed by Nick Hurran

Amy (to Rory): “Together, or not at all.”

Oh boy, I promised I wouldn’t weep when I saw this episode but given how attached I became to Amy and Rory over the last two and a half series, it was a promise I was never going to keep. It’s sadly sunk in that they’ve really gone as companion and in terms of an exit episode this one was an interesting one.

In the past we’ve had the likes of the Dalek, Cybermen, the Master and Davros as the villains that were part of the exits for Rose, Mickey, Jack, Martha and Donna and here, the Ponds found themselves falling victim to the Weeping Angels and it felt just as right for them to have that particular race as their final baddies to contend with.

I know some people have argued that Moffat has overused one of his most popular creations (then again, any creature that has showed up more than once seems to get that accusation) but the use of the Angels really did help to add a sense of occasion and finality to the Ponds and their epic storyline with the Doctor.

You could argue that New York really wasn’t needed as the backdrop for the final episode for Amy and Rory but I’ll give Moffat and director Nick Hurran their dues – they manage to incorporate the city that never sleeps in such a believable way that anywhere else probably wouldn’t have made sense for the story that was told here.

The Angels didn’t just take Manhattan. They focused their energies on the Winter’s Quay apartment block and used it as a battery farm, so they could keep feeding off their victims repeatedly. Garner was the first person that we saw this happening to and sadly for everyone else involved, Rory became the second person also to suffer this fate.

What actually made Rory’s fate all the more poignant was probably how mundane the day had started out for him. He was enjoying a trip in New York with Amy and the Doctor, teasing the latter about fancying a novel character named Melody Malone and when he went to get some coffees, a bunch of creepy Cherubs doomed him to his fate.

The idea of Rory’s fate being a fixed point in that the Angels would keep pursuing him no matter how much or where he ran to did sting for this fan of the character. Even going against the Doctor’s wishes about creating a paradox didn’t seem to help matters. Amy and Rory jumped off a bridge in order to kill the Angels and their battery farm and one of them had to go and survive.

I knew as soon as the gang had landed in the graveyard that they were doomed. We didn’t even need Rory seeing his own tombstone in order to predict that the surviving Angel was going to get him. Compared to the exits of Rose and Donna’s, Rory being sent back in time for the last time felt incredibly quick. Even more quick (but believable) was Amy then saying her goodbyes to the Doctor and River and sacrificing herself to the Angel to be with Rory.

It was around that scene that the floodgates did appear for me. I’ve loved Amy and Rory as companions and both Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill have consistently impressed and surprised throughout their time on the show but as an exit goes, this was both a painful and bittersweet ending for them that’s slightly more akin to the Classic Series exits for the companions than the previous era.

Of course with Amy and Rory now both dead (but in a part of time where they did live together happy until their deaths), it was interesting seeing the Doctor’s grief for them. I liked that with the afterward Amy had written in the book that the Doctor will probably travel with someone again but it was a shame that River didn’t immediately say yes to him either when he offered her the chance to travel with him.

As for River, I thought she was excellent in this episode but a little more subdued than usual. It was neat that she had used the Melody Malone novel as a means of helping the Doctor throughout the episode when it came to dealing with the Angels and even her parents fate but for the first time in a long while, this episode really wasn’t about her. Of course, given her connection to the Ponds, it would’ve been wrong not to have featured her nonetheless and this episode did nicely imply that we will be seeing her again, if not her parents ever again.

Also in “The Angels Take Manhattan”

Garner did the voiceover for this episode as collection gangster; Grayle had damned him into meeting with the Weeping Angels. Oh and the title sequence had hints of green in it this week.

Garner (re Statue Of Liberty): “You’ve got to be kidding me.”

The Statue Of Liberty as a Weeping Angel was something of a naff idea to be honest. The Smiling Angel and the Cherubs with their giggling was far more effective.

The Doctor (re Melody Malone): “You’ve read it?”
Amy: “No, you’ve read it, aloud.”

The Doctor (to Amy): “I hate endings.”

The call back we got to “The Eleventh Hour” was a reference to the scene where Amelia hears the TARDIS in her garden during the morning.

Grayle: “What are you doing?”
River: “Oh, you know, texting a boy.”

The Doctor: “You said I had gotten too big.”
River: “And now, no-one’s ever heard of you. Didn’t you use to be somebody?”

The Doctor and Amy took a short trip to China 221 BC in order to get a lock on where Rory and River were at the time. River also had to break her own wrist to free herself from an Angel and the Doctor used his regenerative abilities to heal her.

Amy: “Okay, why did you lie?”
River (re the Doctor): “Never let him see the damage and never, ever let him see you age. He doesn’t like endings.”

Rory: “Someone please tell me what is going on?”
The Doctor: “I’m sorry Rory but you just died.”

Both Rory and Garner saw older versions of themselves die in this episode. Also the gravestones read as Rory Arthur Williams, age 82 and Amelia Williams age 87.

Amy: “You think you’ll just come back to life?”
Rory: “When don’t I?”

Amy: “Raggedy man, goodbye.”

Standout music: Murray Gold’s music in the last ten minutes of the episode and the use of “Illegal Alien” at the start certainly stood out.

River: “What matters is this, Doctor, don’t travel alone.”
The Doctor: “Travel with me, then.”

Amy (to the Doctor): “Hello, old friend and here we are, you and me on the last page.”

Chronology: Both in 1930s and 2012 New York for the gang and also this episode is set after “Flesh And Stone” for River.

“The Angels Take Manhattan” was certainly an excellent but bittersweet way to end the journey of Amy and Rory as characters. In some ways, Moffat had his cake yet again with killing them off but making sure they died together and happy and that for me, was a satisfying way of ending their story, though I still feel bad for the Doctor, River, Brian, Augustus, Tabetha, Sharon and everyone else who mattered to the Ponds. Still from the brief look of the Christmas trailer we got, it does look like Clara will be able to fill the void in the Doctor’s life now that he’s two companions down.

Rating: 10 out of 10


Damaduende said...

He´s going to have to tell Brian what happened... That´s going to hurt.
At least he get to tell him that they were happy together.
Loved this episode.
Amy and Rory´s is truly an epic love story. Who knew when we first met him, uh?

Anonymous said...

Speaking of August, Tabetha and Sharon, we haven't seen hide or hair of them since the wedding.

Anonymous said...

I meant Augustus.

shawnlunn2002 said...

damaduende - I hope he does tell Brian, even if we don't get to see it.
noybusiness - I do wonder if Amy's family should've been in S7.