The Ninjabot

About Last Night: Doctor Who in Review – The Angels Take Manhattan

Posted on October 1, 2012 at 8:00 pm by Amanda Andonian

Well, we knew it was coming—Amy and Rory’s last adventure with the Doctor is finally upon us. To tell the truth, I didn’t think that it would end the way it did, and I’m still processing the events of “The Angels Take Manhattan,” but here’s what I think of the episode, as well as the season so far.

Spoilers ahead. You have been warned.

“The Angels Take Manhattan” kind of gets off to a slow start with its noir-ish setting that introduces “The Dying Detective” who only serves to establish the situation of the Weeping Angels taking over Manhattan. We’re quickly introduced to a bevy of new characters who are just as quickly discarded once the Doctor, his companions, and River Song step on to the scene, and it’s soon a “race” to escape from the Angels, who want to feed off the time energy of sending people back in time (or something). I call it a “race” because it doesn’t really seem like they run very fast or very far, and of course they manage to escape the Angels in the nick of time, but not before a few sacrifices have to be made and the Doctor yells at someone for a bit. Pretty standard fare for a Doctor Who episode.

That is probably my biggest issue with this mid-season finale. While the Angels are my favorite bad guys of the Doctor Who universe, I felt like they were almost an afterthought in this episode, despite being the apparent antagonist of it. I didn’t feel any of the chills and fear that I got from “Blink” and “The Time of Angels,” and apparently neither did anyone else. Amy had some of her most traumatic experiences at the hands of the Angels, and yet she takes it mostly in stride until Rory’s life is in danger. As for the Doctor and River, they basically did nothing but run around for a bit until the denouement when they had to witness Amy and Rory’s departures.

I did enjoy the banter between the Doctor, Amy, and Rory, as well as River’s return to the show. There were a lot of great little moments between the characters that I found riveting and strange at the same time, especially between the Doctor and River. It seems like we missed a lot of their interactions together because their relationship in this episode seems so much deeper than it did at the end of last season. For example, River begging the Doctor to tell her what was wrong after he saw the chapter title “Amelia’s Last Farewell,” and also her reaction to the Doctor after he healed her wrist. Moments like that revealed the cracks forming in the Doctor’s charmed existence, eventually leading to Rory and Amy leaving.

Although I was excited to see Steven Moffat in the byline for this episode, I was a little bit disappointed in his send-off for Amy and Rory. I was hoping that they’d leave the Doctor more on their own terms, which was the promise of “The Power of Three,” but instead they’re ripped out of the Doctor’s life by the Angels. Amy’s last message to the Doctor was also so sickeningly sentimental that it didn’t really feel emotional at all, if that makes any sense. She and Rory are sent back in time by the Angels, live out their lives, and everything was honky dory after that. It wasn’t very satisfying to me, and it seemed insincere. I don’t imagine that that’s how it felt to Moffat when he wrote it, but I just expected a lot more from the man who also writes “Sherlock.”

Unfortunately, that’s how I’ve felt about the bulk of this season so far. Except for “A Town Called Mercy,” none of the episodes of this season really stand out to be as great Doctor Who stories; they’ve felt rather generic and half-hearted, retreading the same themes and situations that we’ve already seen with these characters. Seriously, how many times do we have to watch Amy and Rory in conflict with each other because he doesn’t really believe that she loves him enough?

It also seems like Moffat is trying to set up a new batch of issues for the Doctor, as evidenced by River’s warning to Amy that he hates endings. I don’t know about you, but that’s not really something that I’d seen before this episode, so it seemed like it was shoe-horned in as a way to establish a new conflict for the Doctor. Granted, it makes sense, given that he’s an immortal being who must always say goodbye to the ones he loves; but we’re so beaten over the head with that lesson throughout the episode that I just started to grow annoyed with it. We get it, he’s tortured and lonely and that’s why he should never travel alone—give it a rest!

In any case, even though I was sad to hear that Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill were leaving the show, after these past five episodes I can see that it was their time. There’s just nowhere else to go with their characters; they’ve been explored to their fullest in the past two seasons. Now it’s time for a new companion to come forward, and judging by the teaser trailer, that’s going to happen in the Christmas special.

So who else watched “The Angels Take Manhattan”? What did you think?

    • Pass. You're finally coming around. Muhahahahaha

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