Monday, 1 October 2012

"The Angels Take Manhattan" Reviewed by @zeiton_7

Ive been dreading this episode, ever since it was announced that this was to be Rory and Amy's last episode. I have had this feeling of impending doom and, as Saturday got nearer and nearer, it grew to an almost intolerable level. Not for the same reasons as, seemingly, most of my Twitter Timeline this week. You see I have a slight issue with certain areas of Doctor Who fandom. Its this... or comments like this. "If Rory and Amy die I don't know how I will live" or "my heart is breaking I don't know who to carry on" The frankly inevitable fan outpouring of hyper, over the top, "grief" annoys me. It annoys me a lot! Don't get me wrong, any companion or in this case companions that leave the program are going to trigger emotion. Its how the program works! We, as fans, attach ourselves strongly to those that are fortunate to travel with The Doctor. We share their excitement, their sadness, they are our passport into the world of The Doctor. Add to this the possibility that they may die and you have a cataclysmic event in Doctor Who. Companions being killed in the program is very very rare and when it does happen it is truly truly shocking. I have always made it clear that I have never really been a fan of Amy or Rory. For me they just annoyed me a lot of the time and the whole married couple travelling in the Tardis never really held much sway. Yes they had their moments but, if I'm honest, I was ready for a change. Perhaps I am not the ideal "target audience" for Pond love, I don't know, but there you have it. I also realise that other people did like them and would be truly saddened to see them go, may even shed a tear. NONE of this do I take issue with. Its the over the top comments that get me! You could put that down to age or to being new to the show but whatever it is I do believe a sense of perspective needs to be grasped.

Next year Doctor Who celebrates 50 years of existence. 50 years of books, tv episodes, stage shows, audio drama and merchandise. 50 years! Its a massive achievement and one that no other sci fi show has managed to reach. Why has it got to this milestone? One word. Change! Doctor Who is the only show that can completely change both its lead actor and supporting cast without causing the show any damage at all. In fact I would argue it strengthens it. With every new relationship, every new regeneration a new direction is taken. To truly appreciate how magnificent this show is, it is something that has to be understood. Add to that the fact that no actor wants to be type cast and must move on to new projects. If they feel they have taken the character as far as they can possibly want to then they leave. So by all means, feel sad if a favourite character leaves but its not the end of the story and its certainly not the end of you. These sort of over the top comments show a level of immaturity and well just silliness. There! rant over but it needed to be said! And no @Badwolfgirl5 and @Skriblerlenz I didn't cry but I'm knocking those that did!

Any way to the episode! The thought of Moffat writing a mid season finale involving The Weeping Angels is something that excites me. They are his baby and he writes for them very well. As our story opens we are stepping back into Gangster Land Manhattan and a clandestine meeting with a Boss and a detective. As his investigation unfolds we are haunted by the Angels. They are everywhere. I still get a chill when the camera pans away only to pan back and the statue has gone. Brilliant! As the detective uncovers his older self, dieing in bed, we wonder whether this is to be the Ponds fate. This is something that Moffat did incredibly well. We know they are leaving he had already hinted that "This time not everyone gets out alive". But he doesn't give too much away too quickly. As the plot unfolds and we learn more of the Angels plot we slowly get to see what The Doctor is up against. No sneaky Sonic waving is going to sort this one out!

As the all to familiar figure of River Song glides into view, played as always brilliantly by Alex Kingston we finally see the danger of skipping to the end of novels. It can mean your death. So with The Doctor, Amy and River back in time to save Rory some inconsistencies develop. Apparently if you read something in your future it becomes a fixed point! That's a new one! Knowing how transient Moffats fixed points are I wouldn't be at all surprised if this is reversed at some point. The biggest gripe I have is The Doctor using regeneration energy to fix Rivers broken wrist. Since when? At no point has The Doctor ever been able to use regeneration energy unless he is regenerating. This is lazy writing and  not even questioned. Again something which we as fans are just supposed to except. If The Doctor could do this why hasn't he done it to heal wounds before?

This aside though "Angels Take Manhattan" is a well written and well paced episode. Moffat does love to play with our emotions doesn't he. Surely feeding the fan girls is dangerous! He kills Rory three times in one episode (twice zapped back in time and once diving off a building) He also adopts a very Russell T Davis ploy of lulling us into a false sense of security. Just as we think Amy and Rory have escaped a surviving Angel zaps Rory back in time. The resulting "goodbye scene" with The Doctor, Amy and River was emotional. She finally chose Rory over The Doctor and spend the rest of her life with him back in time. Matt Smith's emotional final moments with her were brilliantly played and truly shows how good an actor he is. So with The Doctor unable to return to New York and a gravestone showing both Amy and Rory as dead they have truly gone for good. Their tenure with The Doctor completed as it began with Amelia Pond waiting for her "raggedy Doctor". An appropriate and fitting end to companions that have truly earned the title. How this parting will effect The Doctor we don't know but we will have to wait till Christmas Day to find out.

So to conclude, a really good episode to end The Ponds time with The Doctor and to move into the mid series break. The addition of some new Weeping Angels was truly chilling. In particular the smiling Angel. There was enough emotional trauma featured to keep my Twitter timeline buzzing till Doctor Who returns. Well done Moffat!

1 comment:

  1. The Doctor used his life energy I suspect. River called it regeneration energy. If you recall in Rise of the Cybermen the Doctor used some of his 'life energy' to start the TARDIS recharge.
    Therefore I think we have a precedent and the only reason he hadn't used it on another companion before is simply River is part Time Lord so she could accept the energy