Saturday, 29 September 2012

Review: Doctor Who 7.5: The Angels Take Manhatten

The Book provides an interesting plot device.
"She must die!" - my friend Josh on Amy Pond.

Season 33a, or what I will now call "The September Season", has been a bit bumpy for me. The Moff's first episode was fun but had some deeper issues with character. Both of Chibnall's episodes were forgettable messes of the sort that he dabbles in whenever he sees fit to vomit over our screens. A Town Called Mercy provided some fun as well as a comprehensive and wonderful moral dilemma the likes of which Moffatt's seasons have never seen. I had no idea what to expect when it came to the swansong of Amy Pond and Rory Williams, but I certainly didn't expect something this restrained. It tread the line between being admirabley respectful and being disappointingly underwhelming, but at the end of the day there was a subtlety to the whole affair that helped the pathos actually work.
     Reading a book about a mysterious figure in New York (while actually in New York), The Doctor and Amy discover that Rory has been zapped back in time by a Weeping Angel to meet River Song, who's been investigating them. After River helps them to land in 1938, they're forced to run from the Angels into their own hiding spot; an apartment complex constructed for the sole reason of trapping people and feeding off of their time energy for decades on end. After an Old!Rory is seen to die before their eyes, Rory and Amy throw themselves from the roof of the building in order to create a paradox that'll destroy the Angels and set everything right again. They do so, but one Angel survives and Rory is sent back to his death - which, despite the Doctor's pleas, causes Amy to follow him. River calms The Doctor and points him to the afterword of the book, in which an older Amy tells The Doctor that they're ok, and that he should never travel alone.
     The episode doesn't do as much as it could have with the Angels, but they're still as scary as they've ever been and it was great to see Moffat going back to using their timey-wimey nature to create a fun plot. There was very little mentioning of blinking, for the sole reason that the plot hinged on both Amy and Rory's relationship and on the Doctor's fear that the events described in the book will come true. It never felt, in that typically RTD-esque way, that this was most definitely the end, and the sudden nature of both Amy and Rory's departure did rob some of that scene's impact for me, but I thought that their end was incredibly appropriate and fit perfectly with their characterisations. Their time on the show has been characterised by the themes of deep love, marriage and of waiting - embodied by their continued, happy life together. It was all so subdued, it made such a wonderful change. There was no rolling silent credits, no big sweeping music. Just two people, preparing to live out the rest of their lives together. And it was beautiful. 
Amy and Rory prepare to make their sacrifice.
     It wasn't perfect by any means - there were a few problems with pacing and there were several aspects of the plot that didn't keep up to their potential. But it did keep up a wonderful tension and the time-focused plot really pushed my buttons. From a dramatic perspective, it wasn't the biggest exit the show's ever had, but instead it was the adult conclusion for these characters that they've been waiting for all these years. Long live Amy and Rory and bring on Clara!


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