Review: ‘Doctor Who’ – ‘The Angels Take Manhattan’

Senior Television Writer
09.29.12 97 Comments


“Doctor Who” has just concluded its five episode fall mini-season (next up: the Christmas special), and I have a review coming up just as soon as I specifically remember not noticing the lines on your eyes…

“I always rip out the last page of a book. Then it doesn’t have to end. I hate endings.” -The Doctor

For most of these five episodes, I’ve been much more interested in the Doctor’s relationship with Amy and Rory (and, in the premiere, with Oswin) than with the various monsters they’ve had to fight. That pattern unfortunately held true with “The Angels Take Manhattan,” in which Steven Moffat went to the Weeping Angels well once too often, but which was carried by the interactions between the complicated Pond family unit and the Doctor.

I got a kick out of the Statue of Liberty itself being an Angel (though I’m not sure how it avoids being seen by anyone else, even at the lower tip of Manhattan in the ’30s), and also appreciated the return of the time-displacement powers that didn’t factor into the Angels’ most recent appearance. But there are only so many variations on lights flickering on and off, people foolishly turning their heads for a moment, etc., before the incredible creepiness the Angels had back in “Blink” begins to seem like just a mundane parlor trick.

But the rest of the episode – Amy and Rory’s continued attempts to stay together, the Doctor’s fear of losing them, River inserting herself into all of this, the book becoming a useful guide (but only to a point), etc. – was terrific, providing all the actors some great material in Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill’s swan song. I’m always going to be troubled by the idea that Rory and Amy had decided to retire from companion-hood and randomly changed their minds at the end of last week’s episode, but if we ignore the events of “The Power of Three” and just look at it as the unfortunate but non-tragic (they both lived into their 80s) end of Rory and Amy’s time in the TARDIS, then it worked. (Though how will Brian react if/when the Doctor tells him the news?)

Now we’re going to deal with another “The Doctor can never travel alone” story, which raises the question of why River isn’t willing to at least hang out with her husband until a new companion turns up. But Matt Smith and Alex Kingston were terrific tonight as well.

What did everybody else think? If the Ponds had to go, was this a fitting ending for them? Are you annoyed that Moffat seemingly cut off any possibility of the Doctor seeing them again? Do the Angels still freak you out?

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