The Blue Box Blog

Emma Lou's adventures in Doctor Who fandom

Doctor Who: “The Angels Take Manhattan” Review

Posted by emmahyam on September 29, 2012


Scream, cry, kick the house down in excitement and reach for a box of tissues its time once again (all too soon it seems) for another Doctor Who mid series finale.

And what a finale, Moffat promised us a blockbuster every week and the past four episodes certainly stuck to that promises, going into this show it seemed we were being set up for an Al Capone type noir adventure full of tommy guns and fancy cars but as always The Moff put a swerve on us. This was very much an emotional story about our core four characters of Amy, Rory, River and The Doctor with everyone else pushed out to being somewhat extraneous characters, there to get our heroes to the right place at the right time.

That seems to be my main criticism of Who these days, if you can call it one, that we never seem to have quite enough time, I wish we could have spent some more minutes with Grayle and The Weeping Angels, surely Moffat’s finest monster creation, they were horrifyingly creepy as always with those nasty little cherubs another nice, if skin crawling addition to the monsters pantheon. That being said they felt a little bit off their game here, not quite as scary or horrible as they have previously been in stories like “Flesh and Stone”. I even began to feel a tiny but of sympathy for the one Grayle had been torturing, it reminded me somewhat of the eponymous Dalek from “Dalek”. I think the Angels are something that works best if they’re kept to being an occasional treat rather than a once-a-series regular, here’s hoping we don’t see them again for a little while.

On to the main meat of the episode then, The Ponds, as Moffat promised there were tears a plenty as Amy and Rory went to happily “live to death” courtesy of the Angels, never to see The Doctor or their daughter, River again. Blimey didn’t it seem a dark prospect, not many Saturday evening family telly shows where a couple commit suicide together! It all came good for them in an odd sort of way though, they got to live a long, happy life together and Moffat gave us a wonderful coming of full circle as we finally got an explanation for that odd little moment from “The Eleventh Hour” with the young Amelia. What he takes away with one hand he gives back with the other, it was a remarkably bitter sweet but fitting ending. That’s not to say that the episode had the air of a funeral as some previous departure episodes have had, there was plenty of humour and running around to be done, I particularly liked the sniping between The Doctor and River and their behavior towards each other raised a smile from me, check out The Doctor fixing his hair before he sees River again.

Our core regulars gave marvellous performances across the board, Alex Kingston was smashing selling River’s combination of grief and happiness at the fate of her parents, Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill continued their good work from the previous episodes as did the wonderful Matt Smith, being particularly effective at portraying The Doctor’s rage and loneliness as once again The Doctor is left alone, albeit with River’s warning not to stay that way for long.

So what next for the good Doctor? It’s on to the Christmas Special and once again we’ve got the prospect of an unsettled, dark Doctor left to forge on through the universe alone, The Doctor says he hates endings and while its all said and done for The Ponds The Lonely God must move on and I for one can not wait to see what adventures and scrapes he gets himself mixed up in next. Roll on December.


4 Responses to “Doctor Who: “The Angels Take Manhattan” Review”

  1. Matt Zupka said

    So, please forgive what may be a newbie level question about the end of this episode. The Doctor says that if Amy goes gets sent to Rory via the Angels, it would create a fixed point, and he couldn’t save them. Wouldn’t they (the ponds) just be able to leave a message on their tombstones so the Doctor knows where to find them? Or was the book part of the reason a fixed point was created?

    Thanks! Love the review, took great control not to read it before I watched the episode. I thought it was a good episode and a good farewell to our beloved companions.

    • emmahyam said

      The reason The Doctor can’t go and get Rory and Amy is that the actions of the Angels and the paradox Rory had to create to escape them means that the timelines have become so tangled that the TARDIS can’t physically go back to New York, it only managed to get to where River and Rory were in the first place because the Doctor left himself a marker on that Ming vase.

  2. Andy R said

    I haven’t watched Dr Who since I was a kid Emms, but regardless, I love reading anything you write, witty, concise, and you sell the show so well that it really does tempt me to watch it. I don’t know how many people read your stuff, but it should be heaps, you have a rare talent :))

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