Doctor Who Series Blog 7.5: The Angels Take Manhattan (Contains Spoilers):

Written By: Steven Moffat

Directed By: Nick Hurran

The Story: The Doctor, Amy and Rory (along with River Song) find themselves doing battle with the Weeping Angels in 1930s New York.  Oh, and Amy & Rory leave…!

The Verdict: So that’s it then  After nearly three years in the TARDIS (more than that if we’re going by the show’s continuity), this week’s DOCTOR WHO instalment saw the departure of Amy and Rory, the Doctor’s longest serving companions since the show returned way back in 2005. Was it the heart-breaking farewell we were promised, or a weak, tacked on goodbye that would make late 80s DOCTOR WHO companion farewells look like CASABLANCA?

Suffice to say, it was good, though sadly very predictable at the same time. When Steven Moffat revealed months ago that the Ponds would leave in a story featuring the Weeping Angels, did anyone else guess that the Ponds would be on the receiving end of the Angel’s timey-wimey method of murder? I did.  Which doesn’t make me feel smug for guessing. If anything, it just disappoints me. We (or at least I) expected more from Steven Moffat. I was expecting massive twists and turns, but no, instead, it all worked out as previously expected. Not a bad thing, just not as great as it should have been.

That aside, the episode is entertaining enough, and like with previous Weeping Angels outings, creepy as hell. The pre-credits teaser is a doozie, and a real WTF moment that Moffat as always does incredibly well. Elsewhere, the idea of a novel that tells the future and that time can’t be rewritten once you’ve literally read it is an equally barmy yet fantastic idea, and Moffat uses this plot-point to eke out the dramatic tension constructively and creatively throughout proceedings. The idea of a ‘battery farm’ for the Angels is both a chilling and disturbing idea, and is realised on screen with such excellent simplicity. In terms of story it’s a basic run-around, but in no means a bad or boring one.

As an episode of DOCTOR WHO, ‘The Angels Take Manhattan’ is simple, entertaining, sad, and in places, very creepy. As a dramatic exit for two major characters that we’ve come to know and love over the course of two and a half seasons though, it’s not as amazing or as shocking as it should have been.  The final coda was sweet, but again, not enough to get my mind reeling or my eyes watering.

Still, lets not dwell on the past. After all, Christmas isn’t far away. And neither is the Doctor’s new companion…

Best Bit: The big reveal of the Statue of Liberty as a Weeping Angel! Great CGI and as previously mentioned, a real ‘What the hell?’ moment. However…

Nitpick: How can the Angels take control of normal statues and turn them into Weeping Angels? Just asking, in case anyone else was too distracted by the more important plot threads going on this week.

Star Performance: Can’t choose between them, so Matt Smith, Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill share the star performance nod this week, just simply for carrying the episode and each giving some great, heartfelt performances, especially in the rooftop scene atop the Winter Quay building.

Best Line(s):

Amy: ‘Raggedy Man.  Goodbye’. 

 THN’s Doctor Who Series Blog returns at Christmas. 

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From an early age, Matt Dennis dreamt of one day becoming a Power Ranger. Having achieved that dream back in the noughties, he’s now turned his hand to journalism and broadcasting. Matt can often be found in front of a TV screen, watching his current favourite shows such as DOCTOR WHO, GAME OF THRONES, SHERLOCK, MISFITS, and THE WALKING DEAD, though he’s partial to a bit of vintage TV from yesteryear. Matt also co-presents the Geek Cubed podcast, which you can download from iTunes. It’s quite nice.

3 Comments

  1. Dan Bullock

    September 30, 2012 at 10:20 am

    How funny, I honestly thought this was the best ending since Rose on the beach with the 10th.

    That rooftop scene got me, really unexpectedly and then because Gillian wasn’t acting (and actually sad) in that final scene, I was there again. Really impressed by their goodbye and way better than I’d hoped.

    Plus, more interesting things = Broken wrists, person possibly dead and the Doctor doesn’t really care and general disregard. It’s building to something else.

    I guess we’ll find out next year. :p

    **** for me.

  2. Matt Dennis

    September 30, 2012 at 11:07 am

    I don’t think it was a weak goodbye, it was just predictable! Something that a Steven Moffat finale shouldn’t be, in my opinion.

    And I still think the best companion exit was Donna in 2008’s Journeys End! Rose’s a close second.

  3. Dan Bullock

    September 30, 2012 at 12:14 pm

    Ah see, but you called the time thing and a lot of us didn’t. It was more the genuine emotion than anything that worked though. I liked Donna’s ending but it didn’t get me like this one.

    Also, it went all Sherlock on that scene but I was like *fist to the sky* Not again Moffat, you little bugger. :p

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