close menu

Doctor Who Review: “The Angels Take Manhattan” (SPOILERS)

How do you say goodbye to people you’ve spent your whole life with? Furthermore, how do we say goodbye to characters we’ve watched for two and a half years? Doctor Who is all about change, and as much as we might want to hold onto things as they are forever, periodic refreshing of the status quo keeps things from getting stagnant. Amy Williams (nee Pond) has become the longest-serving companion in the new series, and her husband Rory is the third-longest (Rose Tyler is still number two by virtue of all those Series 4 episodes she was in); they’ve been around a long while. It’s time to say goodbye, but how? Steven Moffat deemed to answer that with “The Angels Take Manhattan,” one of his most Moffatty stories in a good long while.

He’s brought back his signature monsters, the Weeping Angels, for a story that takes the timey wimey-ness of “Blink” and adds the menace and numbers of “The Time of Angels/ Flesh and Stone.” They continue to be very frightening in a way not many Who monsters ever have been. The Daleks certainly had a fair number of years where they weren’t scary at all, despite how we’re supposed to fear them. By their very nature, though, the Angels can’t have grand plans very often so Moffat’s choice to use them sparingly is a good one. It’s a pretty ingenious idea, this: the Angels set up a kind of live-in buffet of people who are forced to live out their lives alone in an apartment while the stone bastards feed on their temporal energy. It’s very smart, yet very simple. In the past, the Moff has opted for being too clever and complex for the sake of it, but here, he’s done it about as straightforward as he can, which I think is to the benefit of the episode and the character relationships at hand. The Angels remain the most consistently scary monster in the history of the show. Weeping Cherubs, also? Shit, man.

Didn’t care for Angel Liberty, though; especially because she didn’t do anything. Is there any point during the entire 24 hour cycle of the day in New York frigging City where someone ISN’T looking at the Statue of Liberty? That’s ridiculous. It was staring us right in the face, but come on.

After “The Power of Three,” we’ve learned that the Doctor will never give up the Ponds and they, in turn, will never give him up. (Begin Rick Roll now) What I like about “The Angels Take Manhattan” is that there’s never an instant where either Amy or Rory say, “Oh, we should have stayed home.” They chose their path and they live with it. They don’t blame the Doctor for the predicament they’re in nor do they complain about it, save on their way to coming up with a plan. This series has given them a great deal of excellent character development in only five episodes, and at no point was there some larger arc about copies or daughters or best friends we’ve never seen; it’s just the characters living and existing. It’s sad that it took them until their final hurrah to become fully realized, amazing people.

Before I get to the sad stuff, I’d like to talk about the return of River Song (aka Melody Pond, aka Melody Malone). I know some people who’ll be upset about the way River and the Doctor relate to each other in this episode. The question of the validity of River and Doctor’s marriage, being that it took place in an aborted timeline, is highly controversial. Some people will complain that this makes the Doctor demonstrably a husband and behave accordingly toward River. For all those who say “the Doctor is and should always be asexual,” calm down. I’ve never seen a more chaste exchange between supposed spouses in my life. Their “marriage” has nothing at all to do with physicality. He kisses her on the cheek, he touches her hand; it’s incredibly innocent. We’ve already established that the Eleventh Doctor loves people deeply and it’s never about sex. Casual flirting and playground stuff, sure. River herself essentially said they can’t fully be together so this is the Doctor’s way to be married. I see nothing wrong with it if it stays this way. The only part of this I didn’t like is how he used regeneration energy to fix River’s broken wrist. Really? Is it really that easy for him to harness, and furthermore to transfer? Could he, then, have regrown his hand in “The Christmas Invasion” regardless of if he’d still been in his regeneration cycle or not? Seems fishy. River was right to yell at him about it. How dare he do things that break the established rules?
Now for the big stuff: what every media outlet on the globe was talking about was the final adventure with the Ponds. How would Moffat get rid of them? Would he kill them off or would something else happen? He said it’d be very sad and Karen Gillan mentioned that her ending was pretty final. That could mean anything, though. How well was it handled? I think, very well. He had to make sure it was a life-or-death situation, one that they didn’t choose themselves, and one that the Doctor couldn’t just go pick them up from. This was all spoken about and made sense. It played with the notion of fixed points in time and if you know your own future, then it has to happen that way. Not totally sure if I buy that, but it fit the story.

I adored the scene in which Rory thinks about jumping off the roof to create the paradox. He never questions it. He’s a hero; he does what he must. The conversation between he and Amy is just lovely, especially when she asks if he’s going to just come back to life and he replies, “When have I not?” Just glorious. I also love the implication of their relationship: Amy wants to travel with the Doctor; she can’t live without Rory. Further, when the true departure happens in the graveyard (very fitting… very, very), she would rather never see the Doctor again than never see Rory again. So telling, and harkens back to what we learned all the way back in things like “Amy’s Choice.”

The question of whether or not the Williamses get a “happy” ending is, I think, left purposely ambiguous. Because of the paradox, the Doctor will not and cannot see them again (unless some bullshit Donna-esque re-writing goes on) and, as far as he knows, they lived a long and healthy life together, as per the afterward in the Melody Malone book. Now, I’m drawn to what River said to Amy, about never letting the Doctor see that you’re suffering. This may have darker implications on what happened to them in the Angel-induced past. They very well could have done exactly as Amy said, or the Angel may have sent her to a completely different time and she and Rory never saw each other again. Will we ever know for sure? I hope not. The Doctor believes them to be happy and that’s what matters, for now. I love Amy and Rory and do hope that they live a happy life in the ’30s or whenever, but, like the Doctor, if they didn’t, I don’t want to know.

So, onward and upward. The Doctor, we know, isn’t going to be alone for very long. In fact, this Christmas he’ll be joined by whatever character Jenna Louise Coleman will play, be it Oswin from “Asylum” (I really doubt it) or a new character entirely. It’s a new dawning for this version of the show, and, as always, I can’t wait to see what kind of insanity we’ll get.  As a farewell to the Ponds, though, “The Angels Take Manhattan” was damn fine television.

Did an International LAST JEDI Trailer Foreshadow Snoke’s Plan for Rey?

Did an International LAST JEDI Trailer Foreshadow Snoke’s Plan for Rey?

A Guide to Stephen King's Lovecraftian Gods

A Guide to Stephen King's Lovecraftian Gods

STAR WARS/FAMILY GUY Crossover Subs Chris Griffin in for Anakin Skywalker

STAR WARS/FAMILY GUY Crossover Subs Chris Griffin in for Anakin Skywalker



  1. Michi Ligaya says:

    The plot was inherently weak, particularly for a Moffat plot but I have the feeling that was on purpose. Moffat rarely puts in detail arbitrarily and conversely I think his writing of this episode was meant mostly as scaffolding for the emotional part of the story.

    Rory and River got the shortest end of the stick; I hate that Rory’s exit was so quick and anticlimactic after all that he has done. Winter Quay was his Swan song I guess but I still feel cheated. River feels like she got run over in this episode; she may not let the Doctor see the damage but we certainly did.

  2. stuart fox says:

    What I find strange about the episode is this: there are no dates on the tombstone, so we don’t know when the Williams died.

  3. This won’t be the last we see of the Ponds. They are in the past where they will be able to raise River Song. Thus fulfilling the bit where we see a picture of Amy with a baby. Cause if we learned anything in this episode, once you learn your future you can’t change it.

  4. Murphy1d says:

    I liked it. No need to over analyze the feeling I got from the episode. It just hit a wonderful nerve that took me away from the everyday for about 50 minutes. And I have more respect for Moffat’s ability to write both super-tight episodes of Sherlock while also writing completely free and willfully disbelieving episodes like this one. Well done.

  5. Santi says:

    My take on it is that the Weeping Angels who were “running” that hotel all died, except for that last survivor. We also know that Amy and Rory were buried together, with Amy living a few years longer than Rory, in the same grave, and still married. So wherever Amy and Rory ended up, they would have been able to live a normal life (whatever “normal” is for that era.) Sure, we don’t know if Amy ended up in the same timeline as Rory, but odds are, they did. That last Weeping Angel was weak, so whatever strength it had, it would have put Rory and Amy in the most distant place it could to get the most energy it can, so it’s likely they ended up in the same place/time.

    The Melody Malone book was already a fixed point in time so this would allow River to deliver the book she’s written to Amy without creating and paradoxes. In much the same manner as what would happen if we ended up creating the big bang that made us in the first place. I forgot what the proper name for that was. The Doctor on the hand already observed the death of Amy and Rory without any further knowledge of what happened to them after the angel sent them back, so that’s the fixed time. As per visiting them, that 1930’s timeline was already messed up because of the angels as it is, as the Doctor stated, saying that he can never go back there. And on top of that, he would create a harmful paradox by messing with the fixed time. Basically, he’s locked out in every possible way.

    Sure, the story of their true ending could go either way, but at the very least, we know they got buried at the same place and were still married, so they did find each other even if they didn’t necessarily get zapped into the same timeline by the angel. That to me ensures their happy ending.

  6. Larcen Tyler says:

    One of my biggest questions is why everyone is assuming that River and the Doctor know that Amy was able to get into publishing in the past? With no references, probably in an era where a female would have a harder time getting a professional job, they just assume that she becomes an author or publisher and not a chamber maid.

    The Doctor apologizes to River saying that “They were your parents” as if neither of them would ever see Amy or Rory again. Not, “They were your parents, and still are…say hi for me when you see them and give them the book.”

    Doesn’t it make more sense that River gives Amy the book in the “present”, while Amy is indeed able to get things published? And likely a year or so prior so that it could go through the entire publishing process? And then Amy would have a copy to slip into the Doctor’s pocket?
    It seems so much more likely…but nothing about Amy’s behavior throughout the rest of the episode bears that out…

  7. Jon says:

    I also didn’t really enjoy this episode…which is a shame, because I love the Angels and the Ponds.

    For me, the plot holes and lapses of logic just killed it, so that by the time the ponds said goodbye, I was feeling pretty jaded. Throwing River into the middle of the Pond farewell story was a terrible idea too, since a) she doesn’t really have any emotional connection to the, despite being their daughter and b)she’s incredibly annoying.

    Plus, i thought the Ponds were leving for good back in The God Complex. I got weapy there. Then they started showing up again, and I was confused but went with it. Then, they pretty much left the docto4r last episode, but decided to stick with him. When it was announced they’d leave in this Angels episode, it was pretty obvious they’d be sent back in time and would be unretriveable for TIMEY WIMEY reasons. So there was no suspense or sadness for me.

    Just watched Army of Ghosts/Doomsday last night as well, and THAT was an emotional sendoff, though I don’t much like Rose Tyler.

    Anyway…excited for the rest of the season, because I still think Matt Smith is a fantastic doctor. I’m just slowly becoming less enamored of Moffat.

  8. Boo Radley says:

    I find it interesting that fans of a show about time travel fail to understand it’s many possibilities. Is it not possible, that there was a reason for the Doctor’s gaps in visits to the Ponds and that, based on his earlier behavior in the season that perhaps his visits with them leading up to this event actually took place after it from his point of view? There have been indicators of this all over. They constantly point to issues with their ages, Rory’s badge was issued in 1990? No one knows when any of this took place within anyone’s timeline, and Moffat certainly knows how to plant things in his stories that you don’t realize are a setup until years later when you finally get the punchline.
    While this may be the last episode with the Ponds, I’m certain it’s not the last time we’ll hear of them.
    Also, Rolls Royce FD12 MK11? Holy Shit or throwaway?

  9. Ana says:

    I would like to think that I was saddened by the abrupt departure of the Ponds, but I was more apathetic. While I agree there were some holes in the story that left plenty of questions and outrages, Amy and Rory had been leaving the Doctor’s side more and more abruptly after their recent travels; it was only fitting that they leave for good the same way. It was Rory and Amy AND the Doctor; it was never Amy and the Doctor AND Rory. She chose as I expected, and departed accordingly…with the blink of an eye. So to speak.

  10. John G. says:

    @PJ – I love you.

  11. Aubrey says:

    I’m so happy the world/universe/existence wasn’t in danger this time.

  12. Kate says:

    On a lighter note:

    Suggestion for the nerdist website – whenever you click on “SPOILERS” you hear Alex Kingston saying, “Spoilers.”

    I think I’ve been thinking about Doctor Who too much. Steven Moffat was in one of my dreams last night explaining or being infuriatingly cagey about some plot point or another. I don’t really remember what he said, but I don’t think it was anything useful…

  13. Kate says:

    Thanks for an interesting review, a lot of interesting comments and one all too pertinent Simpson’s quote.

    I enjoyed the episode, but I did have trouble with the ending, not that it does not bear up under scrutiny, but that I did not believe it as I was watching the episode. In the context of someone who managed to avoid his own inevitable death, “You’ll be a fixed point in time,” just didn’t feel like enough of an explanation for why the Doctor can never see Amy again. It’s like the MacGuffin in a Hitchcock movie; what is important is not how many holes appear in an explanation in hindsight, but whether or not we buy it at the time. Judging from the comments here, some people bought it and some didn’t.

    On a different topic, I thought the episode did advance have the Doctor/River relationship. More precisely, the Doctor tried to advance his relationship to her and failed miserably. Up until this episode, we have seen them interact in a flirty combative manner, quite successfully. Here the Doctor made an effort for River. He paused on his way out of the Tardis to arrange his Hugh Grant forelock for River’s benefit. He even gets her to open up on why she lies about breaking her wrist, but then he goes and ruins it by fixing the wrist for her. As well as being a stupid waste of regeneration energy, this is emotionally the wrong thing to do. She has just told him that his godlikeness makes her afraid to show her weaknesses, and instead of revealing his own vunerability, he proceeds to fix the injury to her wrist in a particularly godlike manner, and ignore the more important pain in her heart. No wonder Amy tells him to stick to the science stuff.

  14. PJ says:

    Hi. Question for Ms. Bellamy. In episode 2F09, when Itchy plays Scratchy’s skeleton like a xylophone, he strikes the same rib twice in succession, yet he produces two clearly different tones. I mean, what are we to believe, that this is some sort of a… magic xylophone or something? Boy, I really hope somebody got fired for that blunder.

  15. alienjest says:

    To put everything into a much more interesting context, from the Doctor Who podcast; ideas ripped from DWO Whocast
    In Dinosaurs in Space, Amy says she’s a queen.
    During the power of three, she married Henry the 8th. During town called Mercy, the Ponds have to go back to the party from Power of Three.

    With this type of crazy intellegence in mind, on another note; At the end, River is really all for Amy going after Rory. We don’t know about Rivers whole history on Earth. Amy and Rory are potentially back in time when a child-like River is on Earth. 1969 – 2012 about right Amy has narrated several stories about the doctor, during the episodes. So in an incredibly positive veiw on the events of this story, Maybe Amelia and Rory Williams got to raise thier child after all.
    That idea made my perspective on this episode much happier.

  16. eddie says:

    i think that, since amy was a few years older then rory on the tomb stone, she was sent a few years before rory and met up with him after waiting.

  17. Jeff says:

    I didn’t read all the comments (I’m lazy), so sorry if this has already be said.
    I assume Amy and Rory did live out the rest of their lives together simply because their names were on the headstone together. If they never saw each other again, that wouldn’t have been the case.
    As for the Doctor using regeneration energy to fix River’s wrist… she game him all of her remaining regenerations to save his life! Is it really so bad for him to give a little back to fix her wrist?

  18. Nathan says:

    I enjoyed the episode, and am sad to see the ponds go. This whole truncated series developed the relationship between the Ponds and Matt Smiths’ doctor a couple of relationships that I didn’t think could be developed any more before these episodes started. As for the ‘dissapointment’ with the ending,
    Let’s look at the limitations they were working with, we knew the end of the ponds was coming. There was no way they could have kept it a secret, we’re living in a society that just doesn’t allow casting secrets like that any more. (I guess if they had blown 90% of their budget on filming the episodes in a secret bunker and paying the entire production team to keep thier mouths shut, it might have been possible to keep the change over underwraps.)
    The end had to be definitive, not something which allows Amy and Rory to return the next time the Doctor feels like coming back. (That’s been said many times.)
    And it had to be emotional.
    I think that the episode works.
    Short of Amy and Rory’s jump from the building being a success (from which they couldn’t return, a final death,) How depressing would that have been, especially in a show that’s for all ages? An angel zaping them back in time, with the Doctor prevented from returning for them was about the only end which fits these requirements. I don’t know if poking jenga sized holes in Doctor Who for continuity errors is really a successful way to spend time… Better to enjoy the episodes for the value that they have.
    As for the Doctor using his regeneration entergy to heal River, maybe it could have dire consequences, after all River seemed more than a little unhappy about the process herself.
    All that is just a long winded way of saying I enjoyed it. I will however state that I felt like it could have been about 20 minutes longer without suffering, enough time to flesh out the art dealer and the first detective, and deal with the final Angel. And maybe to see Rory’s father, although, the Doctor, as has been noted before, is built up as a man who never sticks around for the consequences.
    As a human, change is exciting and scary, I hope that the new companion will be awesome.

  19. John G. says:

    I liked it
    I cried.
    Excited for the future, to see Matt Smith interact with someone new.

  20. I think it was also the definitive “Amy’s Choice”–she told the Doctor through her actions that she was done traveling with him if it meant she couldn’t be with Rory. If the Doctor couldn’t keep them both safe, he wouldn’t get either. I don’t think Amy would ever be willing to risk traveling with the Doctor again, or possibly even just hang out with him. Because even simple attempts at “hanging out” have their consequences, right?

  21. Craig says:

    I think that it was pretty clear that the paradox did successfully obliterate the hotel, just not the angels. Thus, Amy & Rory could very well have a “happily ever after”. I agree that the episode was pretty sloppy though, and demolished the scariness of the angels.

  22. Mike P says:

    What Nicole Thorn said is kinda what I was thinking to. To bring it further, why couldn’t The Doctor pick up Amy and Rory at some point AFTER they published the book then drop them back off near that same point in time as he had done in the past?

    Also, (as someone smarter than I posited) why couldn’t the tombstone be fake? Planting a fake tombstone there would keep the timeline where it is (since that would maintain Rory going to the past).

    This episode had a few too many plot holes in it to keep me happy with it overall. And the Angels just weren’t scary to me at all. I suppose some of that came from the commercial breaks BBC America had but still.. I expected to be scared and that kinda ruined the experience of the angels for me.

  23. Marielle says:

    On an emotional level, I liked how the ending was handled– the whole Companions-aging thing is something that they never really delved into. There were things that annoyed me– the fleeting references to River’s parentage, a plot device which I continue to hate and will just retcon out of my version of the Whovian universe– but I didn’t hate this episode like I hated the season 3 finale, at least…

    I dunno. I felt kinda meh about these episodes. They start out strong, but peter out halfway through, it seems. Like they didn’t think it all the way through before writing the final script. The one that probably let me down the most was A Town Called Mercy. I had high expectations for Mercy and so I was disappointed with the result– way too much moralizing and not enough character development. The side characters and outlandish settings are half the charm of Doctor Who, after all.

    And then this episode. It’s set in ’30s New York and the setup got me all excited for a film noir-ish tale of intrigue and horror, which this… really wasn’t… Where was the ATMOSPHERE, the characters? And then the use of the angels was rather sparing, I thought… Flesh and Stone was a much better Angels episode.

    I still adore the cast. I just think that with a bigger budget, they should be thinking bigger. Season 5 was SO GOOD in comparison…

  24. krestalee says:

    I loved this episode. I watched it with my kids while trying fish fingers and custard for the first time 🙂 We loved that Lady Liberty was a weeping angel and cried as the Pond Era came to an end. As one of the previous posts reminds us, Doctor Who is a family show geared towards kids with some adult content thrown in to keep the parents entertained. I have loved all of the new series and have enjoyed watching them with my children, I wish others could just enjoy it for what it is which is science-fiction/ fantasy. If you want order and rules then perhaps the show isn’t for you.

  25. Mark says:

    I had been enjoying this half-season, but I have to say, sadly, there was almost nothing I liked about this episode.

    -It completely invalidates everything we learned about the Ponds in “The Power of Three.” After the pep talk from Rory’s dad, I do understand that they want to continue traveling with the Doctor, but I didn’t expect them to immediately forget that they ever had doubts about it, or make no mention of their “normal life.” Plus, the reason they decided to go with him was to see amazing worlds and have adventures, not to go on a picnic in modern day New York.

    -The theme throughout the season about the Doctor showing up with less frequency (with the Ponds traveling with the Doctor for “the better part of 10 years”) is totally ignored.

    -The stray Angel who sends the Ponds back at the end is just left alone to cause more chaos in 2012 NYC. What?

    -The Angels have become boring. There; I said it. I love “Blink” more than most, but the Angels in this episode were not scary or interesting in the least. Cherubs, Statue of Liberty. Yawn.

    -The director’s staging of the Angels was unforgivably poor, in that there were at least a dozen times where no one was looking at any Angels, but they didn’t move, and other times where someone would logically be looking at an Angel, and yet it moved anyway.

    -Since when does “reading” a thing set it in stone (pun intended)? I know Doctor Who has fluid rules on time travel, but this was just stupid, and served no purpose other than a plot constrictor.

    -What purpose did River Song serve in this episode, either for the plot or the drama? She wrote the book, yes, but it also seems as if past!Amy could have wrote it, too. In fact, that would have been dramatic in a “who wrote this book that tells our future?” kind of way.

    -The other private eye and the rich collector characters were nothing more than plot devices, forgotten as soon as they disappeared (or fainted). They should have been shunted from the story entirely or expanded into actual guest stars.

    -So the Ponds just randomly disappear from the Doctor’s life, just as if they were zapped by a Dalek, or fell off a ladder. Amy makes a choice, yes, but her love of Rory over the Doctor is not a dramatic moment any longer. It’s has been dealt with over and over again. Her choice had as much drama as if a wife jumped in the water after her husband fell overboard.

    But Rory’s disappearance is what I really have a problem with. It works within the plot, sure, but it was basically the same as Captain Kirk getting a bridge dropped on him. What was the narrative *point* of that ending? Where was the build up? It seemed more like something that was written quickly because the actors got fired or wouldn’t be available for next week’s episode.

    -And as others have noticed, why no scene with Rory’s dad? It seemed like his function in “The Power of Three” was designed to be followed up on, not to be his last appearance.

    -All of my nitpicking really feeds into my main complaint: that this episode could have happened last year, and they wouldn’t have had to change hardly anything. Nothing we’ve seen of the Ponds (or their parentage of River) in the last 10-ish episodes mattered to their final episode. I don’t mean to say that those episodes were bad (many were great for the Ponds’ character development), just that this finale didn’t leverage any of it. It could have been an early season 6 episode.

    -Also, sepia? Really?

  26. Nicole Thorn says:

    so the doctor couldnt go back to that specific time but

    why couldnt he go a little in the future and get them

  27. I think the “fixed point in time” was because, if I remember correctly, the Melody Malone book was sent by Amy to the publishers and since the book contained the tale (which ended with “Amelia’s Last Farewell” or something, and the afterward, in which Amy explains that she and Rory lived well). If it weren’t truly Amy’s last farewell, Amy would have changed it, or something… I dunno. I feel like it was a very complete story and once I get to see the full beginning-to-end (rather than middle-to-end that I got to see last night as a result of getting stuck at work late), I’ll have a better idea.

    But as I said, my impression was that the “fixed point in time” was something to do with the book.

  28. Scott S says:

    I started watching Dr Who around 1986, on Iowa Public Television, where they showed the stories as complete shows, instead of broken into episodes like in England. So they all just flowed together, there was no discernable break in seasons or anything, sometimes companions left, or the Doctor regenerated, but you didn’t know it was coming up until it happened in the show. The way they kept pushing the fact that Amy and Rory were going away in this episode, and the way we know when a Doctor’s time on the show is ending, just bother me now. With everyone screaming about “spoilers” all the damn time I don’t understand why no one seems to have a problem with knowing all the “special” things that are coming up that we’re supposed to care about.

    The Doctor using regeneration however and whenever he wants is just dumb. But, didn’t River seem to have more control over her own regeneration power once upon a time? Or was that something that got erased conveniently a season or two ago?

    I think the Weeping Angels are about as scary as the Daleks, that being not at all. Their abilities get to change however the writer wants them to, they swoop right in to take people away instantly, except for the main characters, who get little jumps getting closer before they’re in danger. The Daleks instantly destroy everyone they come across, but they can’t seem to hit the broadside of a Doctor or Companion. Weren’t the Doctor and River still looking at Amy, and the Angel behind her, when Amy turned away from the Angel and got zapped? Wouldn’t that keep the Angel from moving?

    We had another groan inducing instance of the people calling him “Doctor Who.” He’s wiping knowledge of his existence from everything, not just Daleks, apparently, but UNIT did know him still somehow.

  29. Nick says:

    I think people have had a tendency to be a little harsh towards the Moffat era. It has never had the same goals or intentions as the Russell T Davies era. Russell was about trying to create a sense of reality, that that this was very much a real universe. Moffat can’t seem to be bothered with such a trivial thing as reality. He is all about the idea: Doctor Who is the only show in the world that can allow for such ridiculous concepts as the Statue of Liberty turning into a giant monster (or dinosaurs on a spaceship, or shapeshifting robots powered by tiny people), so if he can, by God he’s going to do it. If Russell’s was a sci-fi show, Moffat’s is a fantasy show with sci-fi trappings. If you’re going to watch the Moffat era, you have to be willing to go along with it on its whimsical flights of fancy. Otherwise there’s no way you’ll enjoy it, because I will admit he does leave a lot of little niggling plot holes along the way.

    Now, onto the episode: I don’t see why everyone is so up-in-arms about the Statue of Liberty angel. “Surely someone is always looking at the Statue of Liberty!” you might argue, and logically. But we’ve seen the angels drain power from lights, and it’s not much of a stretch to assume that an angel that size could drain the power out of several city blocks, giving it cover of darkness to move as it pleases. Plus, it was a great visual.

    What bothers me more are the timey-wimey aspects of the episode. The Doctor can’t travel back to New York, sure. But why couldn’t he go meet the Ponds in, say, Boston or Washington D.C.? And why could River go back and deliver the book? She was there with the Doctor, so presumably the same rules about never going back apply to her as well. In my opinion it would have made more sense if Amy had written it. Their explanation for River being there could be the same as the Doctor: She’s part Time Lord. They go mucking about in time. It’s what they do. Flimsy and coincidental? Maybe. But I could buy it.

    In the end, what I think everyone forgets is that Doctor Who is a kids show. It doesn’t aim to be highbrow art or drama. It wants to send us on an adventure and maybe sometimes pull at our heartstrings. I think this episode did that extremely well. Perhaps the writing wasn’t 100% solid, but I will never fault a show for being ambitious, and the Moffat era has been nothing if not that.

  30. jaya says:

    Ok Kyle, you made me feel just a little bit better about things. Maybe I can even rally and watch the episode again tonight.


    Eleven & the Ponds 4eva

  31. Chris says:

    This was the most emotional episode of Doctor Who ever, in my opinion. The roof top scene had tears streaming like a girl stood up by her prom date. As soon as Rory was on the ledge, you knew what he had to do. That’s when I got slightly reared up. When he asks for Amy’s help, the tears started rolling. And when she joins him on the ledge, the tears started streaming. This was such a beautiful well contained moment in this episode. Imagine if the Doctor didn’t witness their jump and they all just woke up in the cemetery clueless how they got there.

    So, Rory totally caused his own exit from the show. If he never saw his name on the headstone, he wouldn’t have known his future and would not have been sent back by the angel. This is based on all the context of the episode. You have to assume that River will eventually bump into them again. Or are they trapped in Manhattan? The truth is that Amy is somewhere in Manhattan while the Doctor and River board the Tardis at the end of the episode[(I’m retracting this. Based on my calculations Rory and Amy die sometime between 1985-1995) I’m retracting the retraction. Read further for more details]. Does Rory call his dad before he dies and say goodbye or does his father assume the worst?

    It is all very hard to grasp. The paradox was created so that Rory never died at the Hotel. However the headstone we see at the beginning of the episode is the same as the one Rory sees before going back. It never changed. The only difference is that in the first case, he died at 82 in 1938. Wait. The angels were intent on sending him back right? The one survivor was probably on that same mission. I’m putting Rory at 30 years old, so for him to die in 1938 at 82, the angels master plan was to send him back to 1886. I’m going to assume that Amy went to the same place and time.

    Ok, that got a little too Timey Wimey.

  32. Marela says:

    John, I believe it is because they saw the gravestone, which was supposed to convey that they again saw when and where Rory died.. It was not as explicit as the first time, but it was the same thing..
    Not showing it explicitly, allows for some freedom should they ever need to bring the characters back.. It is TV after all..

  33. John says:

    Why would it be another paradox to save Rory? What if he flies to New York when he’s 80 and dies there?

  34. John says:

    The angels are supposed to be made of stone. The statue of liberty is made is metal. I hate how they make it seem as if stone is unbreakable, if they ever do another weeping angels episode, some needs to break out a sledgehammer kill these mofos. And yes they are a joke now due to moffet. The first one with Tennant was mind blowing, the few since are full of plot holes and stupidity.

  35. Marela says:

    Hmm.. I have always thought that the Doctor can do anything he wants, but actually chooses to follow these rules of his, so he doesn’t break the Universe for everyone else.. That’s what makes him go crazy from time to time.. All that power and all that temptation..

    But I do agree.. It was always a more emotional type of show..

  36. Graham says:

    Quite liked the episode myself, and I hold out the hope that just because the Doctor can’t visit the Ponds in 1938, doesn’t mean that a future doctor can’t run in to them in a later period, Sarah Jane-style, twenty-five or thirty years from now…

  37. Erasergirl says:

    Long ago the entire Doctor Who series jumped the shark when they started writing logic puzzles to engineer a specific ending. so for the last do we kill off the Ponds without killing off the Ponds has given us what is at best, cheezey tv and at worst bad logic.
    Using the Logic spoonfed to us, the Ponds existed in NYC from the mid 30s to the mid the Dr would not have been able to visit NYC during that entire time period? and if THAT’s not true, then he could have gone back to say 1940 and visited them in NYC – and there was no reason they couldn’t have gotten on a boat and moved back to England. And why didn’t she write more? she could have written letters to him with more detail…
    It’s all rubbish..Dr Who scripts are no longer about thinking they are about feeling. If you want to THINK about your sci fi stories, watch Futurama.

  38. Marela says:

    And it is also pretty clear that the Doctor has a special relationship with Amy, while Rory was just there for the ride along.. It was always about Amy.. I would be surprised if the Doctor did give a crap about Rory, when Amy was about to go as well..

  39. Marela says:

    The Doctor does say they can go back and save Rory.. But doing this will create another paradox and this time surely destroy New York.. I don’t see the inconsistency here..

  40. James says:

    I suppose I assumed that the Angel was re-fulfilling the timeline, making the paradox, unparadoxical.

    Because if the paradox destroyed the Angels, wouldn’t that mean the Doctor could just go visit the Ponds in a different time? He and River bump into each other all over the time stream without creating paradoxes.

    I think one of the pitfalls of the writing in Doctor Who is that despite wibbly wobbly timey wimey stuff, it tends to write and break and rewrite and rebreak all its own rules just because the Doctor says so. And even he is not always right. I’m not asking for a perfectly contained Donnie Darko-esque universe of rules and structure, just some consistency.

  41. Dana X says:

    I really like this episode. I think it was the most consistent of this season. The Pond’s farewell was very emotional and conclusive, even though I agree with James, that the end of Rory was very abrupt, furthermore he couldn’t say goodbye not only to the doctor, neither to his daughter.
    But about James’s comment of Rory and Amy been stuck back to the hotel, that’s no what the end means. Rory would have been in the hotel for the rest of his life if the Angels got him in the 1938’s story, but this possibility was destroyed thanks to the paradox generated when Rory and Amy jumped from the building. By the end, when Rory and Amy were touched by the Angel, they were sent to somewhere in the past.
    Also, in the review is mention that we can’t be sure if Amy and Rory were sent to the same place and time. Well, in my opinion, they were together because we saw the inscription on the tomb with the names of Rory and Amy, and they lived a long life: 82 and 87 years, but we couldn’t see when they die. That was very intriguing…

  42. CXRengel says:

    The only thing I can think of is that Angel Liberty acts as a “watchdog” for that building, so that no one escapes.

  43. Jesper says:

    I doubt they would have gone back to the hotel, at least not in the same way as the others, since the paradox supposedly killed most of the Angels who were running the place. The Doctor clearly says that the one in the graveyard that took Amy and Rory was a ‘survivor’, meaning that most of the others didn’t make it.
    So I’m guessing they were simply sent back in time, not necessarily to the same time and place as they were at before.

  44. They got rid of the bulk of the Angels, it was just a stray one that was left–I imagined that it would no longer be able to use the Death Trap hotel on its own; that it probably literally just did as the Blink Weeping Angels did and sent them back in time straight up. After surviving the Weeping Angelpocalypse of that time paradox, it probably wasn’t up to full power and it seemingly had no more brethren with whom to trap people.

  45. Jack says:

    There were some plot holes in there. If Rory (and I agree with James… what a great character) and Amy were stuck in that hotel for the rest of their lives, then how would Amy have been able to publish River’s book, let alone leave an afterword?

  46. steve says:

    Ditto (of everything James writes)…especially about Rory: Arthur Darvill can act circles around Smith and Gillian….I will miss him most – and his dad.

    Now we just need a new Doctor who really *is* cool replace the alien bogey that is the insufferable Matt Smith and the effing bow-tie and tweed.

  47. James says:

    I hate to be the critical one, but I thought it actually suffered from some pretty shoddy writing, which left it awkward, half developed and ultimately anticlimactic.

    First I think they finally killed the scariness of the Weeping Angels for me.. they felt really silly this time around. The cherubs and Liberty-Angel really didn’t bring much to the table other than novelty.

    But what really bothered me is, I know that television has the right to be heart breaking and cruel when it wants to, but when something heart breaking happens, good television allows us to well in it or acknowledge it.

    The Doctor told them that the Angels keep them there in that hotel to live out the rest of their lives. So if this is true, can’t we expect Rory and Amy to live a terrible life for the next 60 years?

    Also, there was a MASSIVE snub for Rory, who has personally become one of my favorite characters ever in the show. The Doctor never gave a crap about him on the ledge, or when he disappeared. All he cared about was Amy, and while Amy sends a kind little letter, and a visit from the Doctor, Rory gets nothing. Even in the end we get a nice little Sepia farewell for Amy, and we totally forget about one of the best characters in the show, and not to mention what I believe is a missed opportunity: the Doctor’s visit to Rory’s father, to explain that he is never coming home.

    Instead we got, poof, they’re gone! But it’s okay doc, we’re fine. When everything said in the show would assume that they are indeed not fine. Of course, that would be a fine ending, if they actually acknowledged it, but instead it felt as if Moffat had an idea and changed it half way through, then rushed the fond farewell and emotional impact.

    Perhaps the Ponds have been kidnapped and killed far too many times for me to feel anything this time around, even if it was the final run.