Doctor Who: The Angels Take Manhattan

Posted on September 30, 2012

Let’s state this up front, so you know what you’re in for and can skip reading if you don’t want to hear it: We didn’t cry. We didn’t even sniffle. Not because we’re heartless, but because, as the final fate of the Pond-Williamses was revealed, we were too busy trying to make sense of it. And, we’re sorry to say, it doesn’t make any sense at all.

Look, Doctor Who is not meant to be examined too closely, we get that. But this falls apart with just a few questions. We understand why Amy and Rory are now stuck in the past and can’t get rescued by the Doctor. What we don’t understand is — You know what? Let’s just make a list. Don’t read on, if this stuff annoys you.

Why can’t the Doctor ever visit Amy and Rory again in the past? River can, because she sent them the book. Why can’t the Doctor borrow a vortex manipulator and pop in for a hello every now and then?

Since when did fixed points in time last over 50 years? Since when did “I read it in a book, now it’s a fixed point” become a rule?

If New York is full of time distortions preventing the Doctor from using the TARDIS, why don’t Amy and Rory leave New York and wait for the Doctor to pick them up anywhere else at any other point in their timeline?

Why did the gravestone have no dates on it?

Why did the fountain cherub send Rory back to 1938, but not send him to Winter Quay, which is the entire reason he was sent back to 1938 in the first place?

Angels can teleport people, giggle, and blow out candles now?

How were they able to create a paradox mere minutes after the Doctor said it was nearly impossible to do so? If Rory could figure out a way to do it, why was the Doctor so clueless about it?

How did those people in the Winter Quay hotel survive for all that time? How did they eat? Who typed the little name cards on the doors?And why?

How were Amy and Rory able to have a tearful conversation about their choice, while staring into each other’s eyes, even though there was a giant weeping angel a few feet away, not being looked at?

Whatever happened to “An image of an angel becomes itself an angel?” Because every Statue of Liberty postcard would be deadly.

Why on earth did Rory wander into Winter Quay in the first place – AND get on that elevator?

How did that final Angel send Amy back when River and The Doctor were looking right at it?

How did all those angels facing each other in the hallway not get frozen to the spot permanently? Why were so many Angels immobile when people weren’t looking at them during the chase scenes?

River Song has spent her life sending messages through history to the Doctor. Why would Amy, after everything they’ve been through, be happy with a one-page note?

If the Doctor went back to little Amy, as the ending implied, wouldn’t that radically alter Amy’s timeline? The whole point to her story (at least the beginning of it) was that she had to wait 12 years to see him again, getting more obsessed with him over time.

And finally…

HOW THE HELL DOES THE STATUE OF LIBERTY WALK THROUGH LOWER MANHATTAN WITHOUT ANYONE SEEING IT? The pounding footsteps alone would have had thousands of people looking in its direction.

It’s just too much. You can’t wave all of this away with “wibbley-wobbley, timey-wimey” as an explanation. Moffat violated his own rules several times and made up brand new rules without ever hashing them out or explaining them. Rory and Amy left the story in pretty much the exact way we assumed they would. Once it was established that the Weeping Angels were going to feature in their sendoff, we figured Rory would get zapped back in time and Amy would choose to follow him, knowing that the Doctor couldn’t rescue her. That works fine as an ending for these characters. It puts the final question of Amy Pond to rest: Who is more important to her; her husband or her Raggedy Doctor? There were ways for Moffat to get to that point and have it make sense, but instead he chose a lot of bombast and hand-waving in place of actual story-telling. Even worse, the emotional beats were glossed over for a lot of running and yelling. And sure, a good nerd could probably devise answers for every single question we posed, but that won’t magically change last night’s script into good, cohesive storytelling. It’s fine to leave some things up to the audience; it’s lazy when you leave everything up to it. Amy and Rory deserved a better sendoff than this.

Okay, we admit it: when Amy told River to be a good girl, that kind of got to us. Everything else was too frustrating for us to work up any sort of emotional response.

Please review our Community Guidelines before posting a comment. Thank you!

  • TropiCarla

    Oh gentlemen, you made me giggle with your versions of the exact same questions I was shrieking at the TV last night. I was too annoyed at them all for doing stupid sh*t to get emotional about the farewells.  
    Plus, I was trying to excitedly explain to hubby that you two totally called it on Oswin wiping all memory of The Doctor from the universe, instead of just from the Daleks!!! My brilliant Blog Daddies never fail. I literally jolted when River Song casually dropped that little tidbit when explaining her pardon.  

    Nevertheless, Doctor Who is rollicking fun. I still love me some RIver Song and she looked smoking hot in that black dress. How will I ever wait until Christmas to see how they manage to get Oswin’s super-cute, feisty, genius self as a companion? A Happy Sunday to you all! 🙂

    • But the pardon business was also a problem – I think.  I get very confused trying to think about this.  

      Aren’t we seeing River Song’s timeline in reverse order? For example, the doctor’s first kiss with her, was her last kiss with the doctor.  And we see her in prison all the time, until finally, moving backwards in her timeline, she kills the doctor.  So shouldn’t subsequent meeting with River be before she killed the doctor?  I could have this all totally confused. I always get muddled up when thinking about this.

      • Eclectic Mayhem

        River & the Doctor’s timeline are not totally in reverse, otherwise Let’s Kill Hitler would be the last we ever saw of Alex Kingston because that’s the first time she met the Doctor.  Their timelines are simply mixed up and mostly in reverse.  It’s quite possible that the goodbye kiss in the prison was the first for him and the last for her but mostly I think she was simply afraid that it was the last for her.  If that makes sense!

      • Corsetmaker

        Think of it like a box set of DVD’s, and you’ve decided (for some reason) to watch the whole run backwards. Each episode will still run forwards, and you might choose to watch a several part story in the right order but the general trend is in reverse. However now and again you might pick out an epsiode from further forward. Not a perfect analogy, but it’ll do 🙂

        River is now a professor so we’re potentially not all that far off the library 🙁

        • Kathy Hastie

          in the library she is under guard and hoping to get a pardon….. I loved the episode but was annoyed that Moffett has disregarded very important info established by Davies when he was at the helm!

          •  No, she was under guard and hoping to get a pardon during the crash of the Byzantium story. In the library, she was pardoned and a professor.

  • wisdomy

    You know, I love me some internet, but I also fondly remember a time when Amy and Rory’s departure would have been a gutpunch surprise, and that simply can’t happen anymore.  We know too much.  Obsessive tracking of contracts and cast changes and now we have shows that announce month in advance that characters are leaving, because the shows can’t fight the internet, so them join them.  Once we read it, it was written in stone.

    Mind you, I’m not excusing that hot mess of an episode.  I just think it was sort of a “fuck you, internet” from Moffat.

    • Reneesance

       Oooh that is a little meta now that you  mention it… But I’m still annoyed at the gaping plot canyons.

    • KathKo

       it’s an interesting idea.
      Now you can’t shoot anywere without obsessive fans attending and excitedly shooting informations in the net.
      In a way, you don’t have a show if it doesn’t have fans but still, when your a secret freak like Moffat, it must be straining.
      Yes, maybe it was “written” so it had to happen.

    • stoprobbers

      Which makes total sense because Moffat was definitely not the person who announced, LAST YEAR, that Amy and Rory would be leaving and that it would be a Weeping Angels episode. Not at all…


      Definitely the internet’s fault. 

    • stoprobbers

      Moffat announced the departure of the Ponds last winter, and the presence of the Angels this spring. The internet posted no information that Moffat didn’t offer himself. 

    • MilaXX

      I don’t think this was a big eff u from Moffs, but I think seeing the reactions the fans were having to the Ponds this season may have played apart in his leaving twitter.

  • Reneesance

    YES! Thank you, almost everything that pissed me the hell off.  Also why was the Doctor suddenly all squeamish about breaking and angel wrist?  I mean he’s been sipping from the dark side all season and suddenly he gets all mushy about another species!? *headdesk*  

    • wisdomy

       I don’t think it was fuzzy feelings for the Angel, it was more of that “fixed point because you read it” nonsense.  Apparently time can be rewritten, but not re-read.  Which, to be fair, makes a certain wibbly sense, or would if not for the fact that they’ve already established that Amy and Rory are perfectly capable of holding contradictory memories of events.

      • Reneesance

         But what’s stopping him?  The possibility of creating a paradox? But wasn’t that what they needed anyway?  This episode, it gave me issues.  I did like the scenes between Amy and Rory though, some of the best stuff we’ve seen from them and I really enjoyed the beginning with just spending a lazy day in Central Park. But not a Sunday, because sundays are boring.

    • KathKo

       For me, he was most pissed at River and when he’s pissed, he acts like a child… And the he gets sorry. River was right to slap him.

    • tardisten

      When I watched I saw it as his version of a “NO NO NO THIS CAN’T HAPPEN” tantrum. He had just read the chapter titles, and the final title indicated that Amy would depart – I think at that point he was desperate to disprove his own “fixed point because you read it” statement. He was hoping that River could extricate herself from the statue without breaking her wrist. If her breaking her wrist wasn’t a fixed point, then maybe Amy leaving wouldn’t be a fixed point either.

      • Reneesance

        Okay, thinking back I see that he just knew he was going to “Break something”  but then why does RIVER breaking something not change things?  He didn’t do it, she did it.  Still not fixed. 

        • Tafadhali

          I don’t know if this was on purpose/supposed to be relevant, but — the TARDIS totally smashed up the priceless Chinese vase on the way in. I spent the whole scene being like, “You already broke something! Something already broke!”

          • Reneesance

            Ha!  I missed that one!

          • Leah Burns

             But Amy reads the line “But why does it have to be mine?” said River.

          • Tafadhali

            Ah, there we go! We had weird weather this weekend, so the sound cut out a few times in the broadcast.

  • Jasmaree

    Why were so many Angels immobile when people weren’t looking at them during the chase scenes?
    I can at least answer this one for you: Generally, with the angels, the camera counts as an observer. Because the cameras allow the audience to view the angels, they turn to stone. So anytime you see a frozen angel that no one in the story is looking at, it’s frozen because you’re looking at it. That’s why it made so many people upset when the angels moved on camera last time we saw them. 

    And, since I’ve taken one away, I’ve got one to ask: How did that angel survive the paradox? It doesn’t have a TARDIS to escape in and all the other angels in Manhattan were wiped from existence, so why not this one? The show made absolutely no attempt to explain how that’s possible.

    Unlike TLo, I feel that A Town Called Mercy, Power of Three, and Angels Take Manhattan were all like this. They were supposed to be heart wrenching stories, but I kept getting distracted by plots with so many holes that they look like swiss cheese.

    • KathKo

       Maybe it was the original Angel ? Maybe they reproduce themselves by infecting statues ? We don’t know and it’s annoying. I hope for more answers.

      • wisdomy

         I dunno, I kind of hope the Angels never show up again if they’re going to take an amazingly cool concept and turn it into a MOTW boogeyman that can do whatever the episode calls for. 

        •  Like River Song, the Weeping Angels got less and less interesting the more Moffat used them.

          • wisdomy

             Agreed, and I’d go so far to say that this use of them was actually less egregiously offensive to me than when they just snapped peoples’ necks in season five.  What the hell?  What’s the POINT of a Weeping Angel that just SNAPS YOUR NECK?!?!?  Anything can do that!

          • Reneesance

             And what happened to the angels being forever quantum locked if they looked at each other?!  Because they were definitely doing that this episode while surrounding Amy and Rory etc.

          • VanessaDK

             I rewatched Blink for the first time in years in preparation for this and was struck again with the fact that the creepiness of the angels is in their ubiquity–that any statue could be a lonely assassin–not that they form evil societies and form plans and strategies, as they have since S5.

          • MilaXX

            True, the first Weeping Angels episode, Blink, is the stuff of nightmares. Now we have cute little cherubs who make us giggle.

          • watchmeboogie

             Yes, and agreed with everyone else that their inconsistency is maddening.

    • stoprobbers

      I totally agree with you. I’ve hankered for a new showrunner since season 6 (the sharp drop in quality after “the impossible astronaut”/”day of the moon” drove me crazy, “the doctor’s wife” was the nail in moffat’s coffin — and the beginning of my one-woman campaign to SOMEHOW get Gaiman to become the next showrunner OH PLEASE POWERS THAT BE PLEEEEEEEEEASE, and then how the season wrapped up… “the wedding of river song” made me ANGRY it was so full of holes), and i’ve had that problem with this who season as well. Dinosaurs on a Spaceship was kinda fun, but I’ve not been able to connect to anything this season. All bombast and hand-waving, to borrow from the review, but no actual storytelling.

      • Le_Sigh

        ME TOO.  Moffat just doesn’t cut it for me – which is disappointing because his Sherlock is surprisingly good.  I just don’t know how many more ::headdesks:: my poor skull can take – HOW CAN YOU DE-CREEPIFY THE WEEPING ANGELS????

      • watchmeboogie

        Yes, thank you. Moffat’s Who has been like Diet Dr. Who (half the story, all the explosions!).

    • sockandaphone

      the last three eps were kinda lame to be honest. The first two were magnificent and probably one of my favorite 11 episodes but idk it all went downhill. Also last week’s ep just felt like a filler.

    • indigospade

       The angels weren’t really visibly moving when they were trying to pounce on the chick with her eyes closed. There was a strobe affect going on that was so fast that the angels were constantly going in and out of stone form. You can hear the stone crumbling which is the sound they always make when reverting back into stone. think of it as a time lapse sort of thing.

  • Whinging is so unattractive. First Rose, then Donna, now Amy. I loved them all. Alas, my heart breaks. The details of episode won’t bring my Amy back…

  • I do feel that while it’s perfectly possible for the Doctor to visit the Ponds via one of the two glaringly obvious methods not addressed, he simply won’t want to. I think that after a period of time where the Ponds were on again, off again companions who couldn’t decide between traveling with the Doctor or settling down, but couldn’t keep going with both at the same time, this is the clean break the three of them needed. With that message in the end of the book ‘Amelia’s Final Goodbye’ I think she was trying to hit home to the Doctor that their time with him is through and they need to part ways.

    All I wanted to know at the end of it though, is what happened to poor old Brian, without a proper goodbye from his son and daughter in law.

    • CT14

      See, this pisses me off.

      Amy writes–as Amelia Williams no less!–that they were happy.  Really?  Because how far back did they end up?

      They were happy with their Pond Life without the doctor b/c they had a nice house in London, good jobs, good friends, and family.  

      They have NONE of that in old New York.  When were they?

      The episode started with Sting’s “Englishman in New York” which came out in the mid 80s.  If the reset sent them back there, then Amy and Rory have to deal with 30s NY and WWII (again for Amy) and no computers and no male nurses and so many other unpleasant things from the past.  Especially for our always feisty, always fighting Amy, going back before the sexual revolution and barely 10 years after women could vote is not going to be an easy life.

      Maybe that’s why there’s no dates.  Maybe they were in a future NY with Sting just on Pandora.  They end up roughly living in the same time period, can see their families, but after they left the Doctor via the angel, decided a hard break was best.  That’s why there’s no dates on the stone: they don’t WANT the Doctor to find them.

      I can’t just leave my Ponds in the 30s.  And I can’t think of them as the “Williamses” and be happy.

      • Leah Burns

        Also, most of their family and friends are going to think something terrible happened to them. There isn’t a good excuse for a couple disappearing off the face of the planet, though the Williamses can probably come up with something that will prevent a police investigation. Still, imagine how heartbroken their parents are going to be. Their children might not really have died young, but they are still gone forever except for the occasional note they might pass on between the decades. And if the family comes up with some sort of thing like writing letters to make it seem like they are still there, that will be even worse. Otherwise, all of their friends are going to think they were killed in an accident or murdered. Also, they were supposed to be in NY 2012 I think. The song was just a song, not an indicator of the date.

  • Jasmaree

    Also, why couldn’t they just get Rory (go in 1939 or go just outside of New York) and plant a fake tombstone? Paradox solved.

  • Vanja

    WITHOUT ANYONE SEEING IT? The pounding footsteps alone would have had
    thousands of people looking in its direction.

    That’s one of my many problems with Doctor Who, you hardly ever see other people besides the main characters. In this episode they are in New York, a heavily populated city, but I only saw people during Rory’s coffee run. The rest of the time New York (and any other place they ever visited) looks empty. Though I do like that same empty look in ‘The Avengers’ (the Emma Peel and John Steed one) where it gives the show a slightly weird vibe.
    I don’t understand why they can’t meet up somewhere in the future. Is it because Amy wrote that they didn’t meet and so if The Doctor would try to meet, it would create a paradox?

    • VanessaDK

       I keep thinking that there was a statue of liberty next to the Empire Hotel sign atop the hotel near Lincoln Center (TLo’s favorite) and that the sign itself (layers of red neon) looked just like that….

  • KathKo

    Aww, I cried like a baby.
    And I’m a NERD.
    Still, I’m pissed because all this time I thought we would finally meet the old couple seen a couple of time in The Eleventh’ Hour. I was so sure they were the old Amy and Rory.
    I was like, what if old Amy and Rory went back to their old hometown and end their lives by watching as bystanders the way the Doctor went into their life in a rush. I was expecting that.
    I a way, I’m glad Moffat didn’t do it because he gave me something unexpected. Not satisfacting either, but at least the Ponds got a better ending than Donna or Astrid. They got to live their life together.

    Still, I have some answers (even if you don’t want them) :
    Apart from the Doctor and Martha, I think no one ever went back in their timeline and their lives once they’re zapped. So I kind of assumed that the Doctor couldn’t get them back. He did say that you can’t escape the angels.
    I also understood, but maybe wrongly, that those angels kind of got over every statue in Manhattan and that part didn’t made a lot of sense. I mean, historically, The statue of Liberty has be manufactured and delivered, it didn’t appear like that on an Island. Maybe that matter’s going to be adressed in another episode ? It would be an interesting way of trying to take over a planet, the statues are everywhere, you don’t ever look at it when you pass by.

    So no answers, more question and a season that has more than half its episodes to show…

  • Yeah, I was a bit underwhelmed myself – though in part it was due to all the pre-episode hype; if I hadn’t known it was supposed to be their last appearance it might have had a teeny bit more impact. I did like the “trapped in a room forever” nightmare-fuel, and was halfway expecting that to be Amy and Rory’s final fate (not that it would phase Rory, who’s proven his ability to withstand long periods of limited activity!), but beyond that I didn’t find it especially suspenseful.

    The image of the Statue of Liberty as an angel was really great, though it did make me think of Ghostbusters II. But as for the statue stomping – the angels just “blink” from one place to another, don’t they? They don’t actually walk… If Liberty was an angel too, presumably it could do the same, hence no Jurassic-Park-style ground-tremors.

    I’m so fond of the whole Amy/Rory/Doctor dynamic that I was willing to forgive a lot in this episode, but it didn’t have as much impact as I’d hoped. Ah, well!


    •  The Angels move conventionally, albeit very quickly.

      •  OK, I hadn’t noticed that; now I’m going to imagine hasty little “tip-tip-tip” noises whenever I see them shift positions – though I don’t know if that’ll make ’em less scary or more so.

        If the Statue managed to stomp its way across town that fast, perhaps the effect would simply blend into the ongoing heavy-truck-traffic/subway noise? Or, you know, magic… Oh, never mind!


        • tardisten

           During the Statue’s initial move in the background of the opening voiceover, I think there were pounding noises/shakycam to indicate something large moving – which goes back to the other point folks were making. Apparently the Statue of Liberty was able to walk across Manhattan without anyone seeing it! 🙂

    • peacockprincess

      Which touches on a point which I find annoying.  If Rory lived 2000 years (since he was a Cyborg) when did he become human and start aging?  Did I miss something about that? 

      • When the Doctor rebooted the universe by blowing up the Pandorica.

  • You have demonstrated the problem with ALL time travel stories. Paradox or at the very least the “Butterfly Effect” would cause havoc with the timeline. Maybe not in big ways, or maybe in HUGE ways. And when you start jumping from time to time in a single episode it’s magnified. Writing this kind of story is enormously complicated and to do that AND have dialog and emotional checkpoints to hit is rarely ever done perfectly. In the entire history of Dr. Who, going back to the early 1960’s, no storyline ever worked perfectly (though one of my favorites had the Tom Baker Doctor writing “THIS IS A FAKE” in magic marker on the canvas that will eventually become the Mona Lisa to defeat an alien art collector) but they are all silly and fun.

    • stoprobbers

      I think *most* of the writers of Doctor Who — and especially the showrunners, and yes I mean Russel T Davies — have managed to balance the inevitable complicated nature of time travel with the fact that this show is not about a machine that runs back and forth through time and space but, in fact, about that box and its pilot, who is a person (if not a human) and who accepts other people on board and travels with them and forms emotional bonds with them. It requires skill as a long-term plotter (as all television shows do, and in which the BBC writers get of light because they’re plotting over 12-14 episodes, not 22-24) and also skill as a character developer; sustaining a meta-arc and the consistency and growth of your characters are the two things required for people to invest their time in serialized television storytelling.

      Curiously enough, Moffat isn’t silled at *either* of those things. He’s great over very short bursts: single episodes, two-part episodes (this is probably why Sherlock has been so successful for him, limited to 3 episodes as it is, and as critics and fans have both noted, the middle episodes of both series have been bloated and sub-par; literally, the man can write two great episodes of something and that is about his limit), both in terms of plot and character, but he’s not great beyond that. And all of that culminated in this episode, which should have been majestic and something truly built to (why do you think all the other companions leave at the END of a season?) which would have given it the right amount of dread and hope for it to be an effective farewell episode.

      I had a feeling this was going to be a disaster when Moffat boasted that the episodes in this season — you know, the season in which two beloved companions leave for good — could be shuffled around and showed in any order. I think I, and the others who reacted to that statement so negatively, have been proved right. 

      • VanessaDK

         I’ve always felt that Moffat was driven by one or two “amazingly cool” images or ideas (here, the angels sending Rory and Amy back in time together and the statue of liberty as a weeping angel) and the rest gets shoehorned in to make those work.

      •  Funnily enough, it was actually Mark Gatiss who wrote the last episode of the first season of Sherlock (which was one of the best episodes) I did know which  other ones Gatiss wrote, but don’t remember anymore. So it would also be telling if it turned out that the weakest Sherlock episodes were also the ones Moffatt wrote.

      • lundibleu

        There’s been three writers for both seasons of Sherlock so far. Steven Moffat wrote one in each, Mark Gatiss wrote one in each, and Steve Thompson got one in each. Moffat took “A Study in Pink” and “A Scandal in Belgravia”, Gatiss took “The Great Game” and “The Hounds of Baskerville”, Thompson took “The Blind Banker” and “The Reichenbach Fall”. But, yes, it’s still a fair point. I like Moffat a lot, and I quite like his visions for Who as a whole, but I think he works better when restrained a bit by others. 

        • Eclectic Mayhem

          I thought A Scandal in Belgravia was the strongest episode of the three from Season 2…

          • lae

             I thought A Scandal in Belgravia was absolutely brilliant up to the part where Irene Adler casually flipped out the window after overpowering Sherlock. And then it was like Moffat couldn’t handle how much awesome he had written into a female character and proceeded to butcher her agency and capabilities for the rest of the episode.

  • stoprobbers

    Yes. Thank you. Correct and agreed and when can we have a new showrunner please.

    The only part that got to me was the part with Rory on the ledge. Not because I didn’t know exactly what was coming — that’s been broadcast since they said the Angels would be in this episode — but because I REALLY HATE HEIGHTS EVEN SECONDHAND HEIGHTS AND OH GOD STOP WOBBLING JESUS CHRIST GET OFF THE LEDGE. Literally, that was it.

  • StelledelMare

    I personally don’t have a problem with the fact that you guys didn’t get too emotional. The most I got was a bit teary eyed but that’s about it. You do however raise alot of good questions. Inevitably with anything involving time travel, I think there will be things that certainly slip through the cracks. Obviously this was a bit more than that but somehow I’m just not too upset or surprised that Moffat wanted us to try to look past all of that with this episode because Amy and Rory’s departure was the big selling point regardless of the exact mechanics of how it happened. Still I enjoyed the episode. Any episode with River Song is typically a good one. Also love that you were right about Oswin wiping out basically all knowledge of the Doctor. Also I sort of squealed in delight (mixed with mild horror) at a Statue of Liberty weeping angel.

    I actually feel like a single page at this point is all Amy probably felt that she had to give him. They have indeed been through so much but I think it was rather fitting that she only give him a page in the end. Sort of a “what else is there left to say?” sort of thing.

  • I knew I could count on you guys to put the incoherent rage in my head into words!  Bless you both for doing so today, too–couldn’t get on with my Sunday without your take!  (I will say, though, that my 10 year old daughter was in tears, so I’m glad it worked for her!)

  • Frank_821

    I think the biggest problem with the plotting is that it felt very rushed and compressed through most of it

    The episode probably needed to be a full hour instead of 50 min. 10 extra minutes to develop the plot and pathos and pacing better. We needed more quiet moments

    Despite the logistical holes, the moment where Rory disappeared to 1938 for good was shocking. I enjoyed the scene on the ledge. It did nicely re-affirm she will choose to “die” with Rory rather than continue on with the Doctor. But that’s been show in a couple episodes already-first harking back to the episode Amy’s Choice

    also liked the shot of the weeping angel smiling. that was more unnerving than them showing their fangs

    the more relevant twist to me was that Amy wrote the book not River. As much as I enjoyed the River character, she’s pretty much a done deal in terms of plot

    The Doctor going off to give little Amelia all the spoilers seems lame though

  • Kyle Crawford

    My only real problem with the story – which yes – had gaping holes in it – was that Rory and Amy had such a nice happy life going on away from Doctor times in London 2012. Yes, they loved the adventure, but they were also seemed pretty happy – and that was all lost to them . I mean to Rory’s Dad, they just never came home…. right? 
    Sure it makes  your brain hurt a little bit to try and navigate all the twists and turns of time travel…. We don’t know how long the grave markers had been there.. so we don’t know how long ago they were sent back… it was back from 1938 – right? 

    • CT14

      Exactly.  Especially as a woman, I don’t see how Amy is happy as a housewife in 30s.  Miniskirts won’t be around again until she’s a senior citizen.

      Someone has to rescue them from a life torn from their happy jobs, happy friends, and happy families.  River can do it.  But then Rory and Amy decide to make a ‘hard break’ from the Doctor, which is why they leave the tombstone with NO DATES so he can’t follow them.  One sheet “afterward” to let him know they’re happy–>but neither when nor where they were happy.

      Amy loved her Raggedy Man, but how many times could she really take Rory dying?  The damn angel at the end was the final straw.

  • Kyle Crawford

    Did the Doctor or River even know when they were sent to ?

    • Suzanne Metlay

      No, neither the Doctor nor River knew when Amy or Rory were sent back but they could work it out from the ages on the tombstone. When this episode starts, Amy is wearing the reading glasses that were mentioned in an answering machine message in “The Power of Three”, so it begins in 2020 or after, perhaps years after since now Amy has line around her eyes. She is likely in her mid-30’s. So she and Rory go back to around 1970. If you recall, the child-River regenerated 6 months after July 1969, so January 1970. Did they have any time together before River had to regenerate again and leave for Leadworth in the 1990’s to be with child-Amy? 

      • How could they work it out from the ages on the tombstone when there were no dates on the tombstone? And The Doctor specifically mentions the year as 2012. It’s possible (of course) that they traveled to 2012 from 2020 to have their picnic, but why?

        • Kyle Crawford

          Rory was 82 , and Amy 87 – right? Their age , subtracted from 1938 ???? – and two Brits from 2012 stuck in the US post Civil War.. NOT that much fun…..

          •  There’s no indication that they were sent to 1938.

          • Kyle Crawford

            This is just going to have to be one of those times when we just have to agree to” let art flow….”

          •  I started doing the math (which is already hard enough for me as it is-I’m not a math person) but stopped when I realized that too. And then it just turned into one more question that confused and frustrated me about this episode.

          • Wait… what?  This comment makes no sense.  How do you correlate 1938 to the American Civil War?  The Civil War ended in 1865.  1938 can hardly be called “post-Civil War”.  It could sort of be called post WWI, but that doesn’t make much sense either since that ended in 1918.  Are you talking about the Great Depression?  Because that WAS still going on during 1938, though it was somewhat winding down as the US geared up for WWII.  Explain yourself.

          • Emily Rice

            You’re assuming that they died in 2012, the previous commenter was assuming they died in 1938, so they would have been sent back to the late 1800s in order to be in their 80s when they died. This is why the lack of dates on the tombstones is a problem.

          • I have less of a problem with that than the assertion that 1938 is “Post Civil War”.  WTF.

          • But that’s not the assertion. The assertion is that 1938 minus roughly 50 years, i.e. 1888 is post-Civil War.

        • alula_auburn

          The lack of dates on the tombstone, among other things, drove me mad.

          • CT14

            They did it on purpose, b/c they were done with the Doctor.

            River even says she has to get the book to Amy to have it published, so River is going to see Amy again.  River can rescue her parents from whatever backwater time they were sent to and then set the stone up for the Doctor.

            I think the Doctor gets it, too.  The chapter “Amelia’s Last Goodbye” was written AFTER the adventure, so Amy is letting the Doctor know that really was goodbye and she doesn’t want to travel with him anymore.  It’s probably why he threw such a temper tantrum–>not because writing it made a fixed point, but because she wrote it at all.  He can follow the time loops.

            No dates on the tombstones b/c they don’t want to see him and get whisked off again.  They know they can’t stand the temptation.  River can keep them apprised, but safely, wherever and whenever they end up.

          • alula_auburn

            Sorry, I agree with TLo on this–it’s way too much fanfic-esque  handwaving.  The show never sufficiently explained why “published in a book” means “fixed point in time,” for one thing.  It reeks of “a wizard did it” which is fair enough for a one off,but not a major series moment.  Previously,  at least in New Who, fixed points were big deals–if any fool willing to pay PublishAmerica can create a fixed point, seriously, what the hell?

            But more seriously, it requires incredibly weak and out of character behavior from everyone, and turns the Doctor into a stalking menace, which is frankly far more more distasteful and harmful to the series as a whole than the overall sloppiness and poor emotional development that has pretty much dogged the series since River was ID’d as Melody, IMO.  It means the Companions are basically either hostages or co-dependent addicts, which I think crushes the heart of the series more than any single bad run.  It leaves them without the agency that made other choices Companions made meaningful.  Rory and Amy were beginning to have real conversations about talking the slow path–to suddenly make it that they almost literally have to erase themselves from time to disengage themselves not only undoes much of their character growth, it makes the Doctor here arguably worse than in Water of Mars.  And I don’t think Moffat has anywhere near the writerly chops to seriously deal with that kind of darkness and ever effectively reel him back–he”d much rather write cheap jokes about “two psychopaths on the TARDIS.”  It makes nonsense of the Doctor’s Big Bang 2 and facing of his death, too–so basically that theory fucks with the entire run of Eleven.

      • Corsetmaker

        Why 2020? Amy says she reckons they’ve grown 10 years older travelling with him and that their friends have noticed them looking older. That’s their bodies ageing 10 years, not life moving on 10 years. Like on the anniversary party – they go off spend seven weeks travelling then come back to the same night. They’re physically seven weeks older, everyone at home is only a day older. Their present day lives however have always been roughly aligned with our present.

  • I couldn’t agree with you more, TLo. What is it with this family? They can’t get a decent ending between the three of them??? To say nothing of the plot holes and nonsensical dramatic points and over used monsters that now almost seem a parody of their original concept.

  • It did bother me that the Statue of Liberty was just standing there while Amy and Rory said their goodbye’s, but I also found it entertaining to imagine a very surprised group of people staring at the 300 foot tall green lady who just showed up at their front door. Although I have absolutely no idea how she could make it to lower Manhattan.

  • sockandaphone

    Im glad you guys feel the same way. I mean there were part I teared up a bit but nothing like full-blown crying like some other season finales from this show have done. The entire episode felt rushed and just kinda thrown together quickly and like you guys, was left wondering what the heck just happened. It was so odd. It was a terrible sendoff. 

  • ScarlettHarlot

    I am so glad we’re not alone. My husband and I spent the whole episode going “what? wait…huh?” to the point that the only time I got emotional was seeing little Amy in the garden again, and that was only because it recalled how very sad I felt for her during that first episode. Maybe it was built up for too long, but to me, it was nowhere near as sad as poor Donna’s ending. 

    Also, we knew they were leaving, and many of us assumed they’d die. Once I saw River I thought “She’s going to go with the Doctor to tell Brian the bad news, and that’s how she’ll meet her grandpa for the first time,” but no, despite his significant presence this season, Brian was all but forgotten. 

    I loved Amy and Rory, but this was kind of lazy, and was definitely banking on our emotions trumping our common sense in trying to make sense of a convoluted story. Bring on the new companion!

  • Am I the only one who thought this episode went out of its way to portray the Doctor as a selfish prick? His refusal to free River from the angel. River’s comment about “Don’t let him see you age.” His plea to Amy at the end, “I’ll never see you again.”

    And the time loop. Rory was an old man when he died in the room in 1938 so he must have been sent back to the 1880s. Do Rory and Amy go back to a time that makes them their age in 1938 or makes them old in 1938? Do they go back to NYC to live out normal lives and publish River’s book? Or are they sent to Winter Quay?

    And wasn’t Rory meeting his dying self a paradox?

  • Sigh.


  • Monkey Toe

    Isn’t the SoL made of metal?

    • LoL! Excellent point!

    • debbie hazeleger

      Yep. A copper alloy I think. Or even pure copper. Also, she’s hollow on the inside. 

      There’s actually a comparison post up on tumblr about the canon of the Angels, as established in Blink, and the extra canon info we get from the other 3 angel-based episodes. It’s basically all in conflict with each other and the canon has now derailed into the canyon where all sense goes to die. Which is hilarious since it’s only 4 episodes of canon to go through, and really people, it’s not like you had 100+ episodes of dalek lore to comb through in order to know if the plot was going to work xD. No excuses.

    • formerlyAnon

      That was the first thing I thought of – but ya know, willing suspension of disbelief, and all that. (ETA: Plus I’m never 100% sure that there hasn’t been some throwaway half sentence somewhere which I’ve forgotten about that explains why something really isn’t a contradiction.)

  • mander85

    What was with River’s comment of only one psychopath per TARDIS? The Doctor is a lot of things but a psychopath? Or is it River’s foreknowledge of the Doctor’s next companion?

  • VanessaDK

    I also want to add that equating suicide pacts with marriage was a bit disturbing.

  • Sabrina Sorich

     One huge thing that bugged me was when Rory put Amy’s hand on his chest and was like “I need a little help.”  WOAH that’s something Rory would never make Amy do, how traumatic would that be?  I thought that was totally out of character for Rory and one reason why I dislike Moffat, his characters are inconsistent. 

  • On the twitters you fine fellows asked me to explain how I thought some of your questions were easily answered.  It’ll be easier to post that here.  First off, not all of them certainly.  I had some of the same problems you did–the Statue of Liberty? Double-you-tee-eff?

    1) Why did River necessarily visit Amy? She said she’d “send” the book—probably
    al la BTTF 2-3. I got the impression even a vortex manipulator wouldn’t get in
    now.  (That might be over-nerding it, but this one popped into my head immediately, so I didn’t over-think it.)

    2) You’re right, fixed points in time probably don’t last 50 years, but based
    on what River said about not letting the Doctor see Amy age, I see why he won’t
    visit later (also guilt).  So I felt that one was answered within the context of the script.

    3) Why Amy & Rory don’t leave NY: Good question. Don’t have a
    great answer for that. Perhaps the time distortion is linked to the people that
    travelled through time, not the place? (That one requires great nerding.)

    4) Why a gravestone w/no dates? That one seems obvious, though I suppose it’d be funny to see
    something like 199?-2012(?) (I don’t know when they were born) w/ages of 80-some years. 🙂

    5) The Doctor probably knew *exactly* how the paradox
    would/could occur.  (He’s the Doctor after all.)  So of course he’d call it nearly impossible—he wouldn’t suggest it. Too risky.  (Again–that conclusion requires some nerdology.)

    6) I had the same thought about how Winter Quay residents would
    survive. Chinese delivery, I suppose. 😉 Still that’s a bit weak.

    7) Amy & Rory didn’t have to look right at the SoL angel to
    see it. My peripheral vision is good enough to see things next to me. I assume
    theirs is too, so that didn’t bother me.  The statue itself DID.  Again, I agree 152% about that concept. Ugh.

    8) Rory wandering into Winter Quay: why not? How many episodes of Doctor Who wouldn’t have happened w/out wandering companions? 😀  That’s a part of the show that doesn’t take me out of it anymore.  He doesn’t know where his friends are.  Why not explore?

    9) The angel in the graveyard sending Amy back: I agree; that’s
    weak too. I guess the Doctor blinked? River would have blinked on purpose.

    10) Doctor going back to young Amelia: I agree. That could change things. BUT
    it did sound like she might’ve already experienced that conversation & was
    prompting it to occur?  (That one falls in the realm of nerddom too though.)

    All in all, good article–I just saw the closures to a few of these gaps instantaneously so they didn’t bother me.  And as you can see, for a few of the others took minimal nerding on my part (a pastime anyway!), so it wasn’t out of my way.  And for a few, I can’t help but agree with you.

    No shame in not being able to gloss over the flaws.  I hope you’re at least able to come to terms with some of them and eventually soak up a bit of the (admittedly orchestrated) pathos and say farewell to the Ponds the way I did.  ‘Cause loving Doctor Who is always more fun than not. 🙂

    • 1) Then how did she send the book back? And citing Back to the Future isn’t going to work.
      2) “I WILL NEVER BE ABLE TO SEE YOU AGAIN!” does not mean “I don’t want to see you age.”
      4) No, that’s not obvious at all. What’s obvious is that they would have had to establish false birthdates for themselves, just like Sally Sparrow’s friend did. But even if they didn’t have false birthdates, that doesn’t explain why the dates of their deaths – or at least the years – weren’t on the tombstone.
      5) Actually, he said it would require an enormous amount of power. And then it didn’t.
      7) They were peering into each other’s eyes, their faces inches apart.
      8) “Why not?” doesn’t work as an explanation. He knew where his companions were. They were inside the collector’s mansion, not in that creepy hotel.
      9) The Doctor forgot not to blink when face to face with a Weeping Angel? Come on.
      10) If she already experienced that conversation, then it ruins the whole “Girl who waited” part of her story, not to mention negating her reaction to seeing him again in “The Eleventh Hour.”

      Why on earth would we feel ashamed for pointing out the flaws in the writing? It’s fine if others want to get swept up in the emotions and not think about it too much, but we tend to ask for more from our fiction.

      • VanessaDK

         One thing to remember is that –just because things are said in this episode doesn’t mean they won’t be contradicted in the future (“I will never see you again!”).

        I have a feeling that the Doctor will see the Ponds/Williamses again, perhaps even as soon as next November. In fact. the number of actors who stated that the ending would be very “final” makes me suspicious that they might even pop up before S7 is over.

      • amandafg

        Rory walking into that building was terribly annoying to me. When the detective first walked inside, I thought “fucking hell, doors that open alone, sentient elevators? I would go running out of the door, and this guy is just chilling. Ignorance is bliss, a companion would immediately know this is the wrong place to be and try to leave”. And then what does Rory do? Ignores the gigantic weeping angel and goes straight inside, EVEN THOUGH AMY AND THE DOCTOR ARE NOT THERE. Ugh.

      •  Re: The missing dates on the tombstone

        I honestly think that the Williams decided to do their best NOT to be found.

        The doctor believed that he could never see them again (although I think his reaction was more of a melodramtic, childlike and shortsighted but 11 gets that way, and so has 10 at times. Part of me thinks his desperate pleas were only to keep Amy from going). In “The Power of Three” the build was of Rory and Amy enjoying their quiet life. They loved the Doctor, they did enjoy traveling, but they wanted and NEEDED to be alone, together, just the two of them. I think what I have enjoyed the most about Amy and Rory’s character arc is how they have grown to really, truly love each other. To use a Kurt Vonnegut reference, they have really become a duprass. They have embraced each other and have decided to have their own adventures, whatever they may be. There were no messages left for the Doctor, no SOS’s sent out, because they didn’t WANT to be found.

        So how do they get the book? They know River must give her the manuscript somehow, but it never has to be in person. I honestly think that the post office worked differently back in the day, and could get something delivered to a person with just a name and a city. There are also messages that RIver could have left for them as well. Or, perhaps (and I’ll need to watch the episode again) but maybe it was Amy who wrote the book the whole time, the idea that River wrote it could have been a red herring.

        As for the tombstone with no dates – we have no idea when and where they were sent back to. It could have been New York, it could have been anywhere else. It could have been a lot further back than they thought. The tombstone in the graveyard looked new-ish, but, in keeping with the Williams’ desire not to be found, that could have been completely orchestrated on their part; Stipulated in the will could have been “put this gravestone in this graveyard with this written on it.” I’m guessing that because they were from the future, they were able to make wise investments based on their future knowledge and make a good living. New York, the city of immigrants, would have welcomed them.

        • I’m sorry, but most of this reads like fanfiction rather than anything that can be found in the script or answers to anything lacking in the script.

          And I don’t believe at all that the Williamses hid out in the past, away from all their families and friends, not to mention the life they’d built for themselves, just because they didn’t want to travel with the Doctor anymore. The previous episode negates that idea completely.

          •  It could totally be fanfic – one of the theories of fanfic is the writer believes that something in the source material is fundamentally wrong and needs to be fixed as the writer beleives it to be fixed. Human minds fill in gaps and this is how mine filled it out.

            I don’t think that the previous episode negates that idea – they were *building* their lives back home, but every time they had something solidified, the doctor would come and they’d go off with him. Yes, Rory got his hours in, AMy got to be a bridesmaid but in that episode it felt to me that they weren’t really SET in that lifetime. Perhaps it’s because I have identified with choices Amy has made in the past, and her character arc along with Rory’s, and my mind has said “this is what you would do, so this is what they would do).

            To me, it’s always felt that Rory and Amy were simply better on their own.

            Somewhat off-topic, but as you mentioned in your last recap, Amy’s story line has some similar parallele’s to Rose’s. Do you think that this is Moffat rewriting Rose as he would want her to be written? Could this simply be Moffat’s AU fanfic?

            Wait, that’s stupidly meta.

          • I think the previous episode negates the idea that the Williamses wanted to get away from the Doctor simply because they faced that question head on and decided they wanted to stay with him. Brian urged them to do so. The very title of the episode hammered the point home.

            I don’t know how Moffat feels about Rose, but he sure wants to undo or pretend the Davies era never happened, for some reason.

          •  If Moffat tries to undo anything with Donna Imma gonna knife someone.

            But there are quite strong similarities between both Rose and Amy – the Doctor “imprinted” on both of them, they were both the root cause of major story arcs, both had romantic feelings for the doctor. Rose, however, ended up with her lifesized sex-copy of 10 and Amy chose Rory over the doctor.

            That last point there, though, is what is the most interesting to me. I *think* that this is the first time a companion loved someone else more than they loved the doctor. Rose was forcibly removed by the rift, Martha rightly dumped the doctor because she knew she deserved to be treated more than a rebound girl, and my poor Donna’s brain would have exploded.

            Moffat is good with ideas but he doesn’t seem to be as solid as implementing them as I would like. The feeling is there but the execution is not.

          • Eclectic Mayhem

            Plenty of other female companions have left various Doctors over the years.

          •  Oh, I’m totally not saying she was the first to leave (as I stated above, Martha left on her own choice, and many companions did in the original run), I’m just commenting on the reason *why* she left.

            I have a theory in NuWho (I’m not as well versed in the original to stretch that far) that the companions that travel with the doctor are reflections of the doctor’s personality that he most needs help with. Harking back to “The Doctor’s Wife”, Idris remarks the she always took him to where he needed to be and perhaps that includes leading him to companions as well.

          • peacockprincess

            Leyla (Savage) left the Doctor for another love.   

  • Eclectic Mayhem

    I do understand your questions and your frustrations TLo.  I have inklings of theories that could answer a couple of issues (that I’m drawing from the episode itself rather than just pulling out my backside!) but I’ve only watched it once so far so give me some time.

    I like Moffat very much, I’ve liked his TV writing from Press Gang right through to Sherlock and I do want him to stay on as show runner.  Personally I do not have, as many others do, an issue with the way he writes women.

    What I have an issue with is that he’s in such a goddamn hurry all the time!  I like some of the ‘cut to the chase’ editing; the junctures that feel like swish-pans even when there wasn’t an actual swish-pan there at all, I think he avoids tons of storytelling ‘guff’ by moving plots along quickly but sometimes its TOO QUICK!

    Last night’s episode could’ve been a two-parter and that would’ve been just fine.  It would have given him time to develop some of the ideas, to explain why that little corner of 1938 Manhattan was folding in on itself and all the other issues you have that we’ve been left to either allow to wash over us or to attempt to explain on our own.

    It’s like he’s been given the best train set in the whole world and he’s trying to play with it all at the same time, he’s in such an all-fire hurry.  I really like the River Song story but why rattle through it at such a rate?!  As long as Alex Kingston is willing she could pop-up all over the shop!

    Effectively it feels like last night’s story was reverse engineered…  Gillan and Darvill want to leave the show so how do we write them out in a way that removes them from the Doctor irrevocably?  Alternate universe?  Done.  Memory Loss?  Done, done and done.  Death of one or the other?  Done, frankly, and – if final – too heartbreaking.  Sent back in time by the Weeping Angels?  Ah-ha!

    I’ve loved the show for so long that I’m willing to take the rough with the smooth; not every episode is perfect – t’was ever thus.  I’ll stick it out and I still have faith in the Moff.  Just slow down fella, what’s your hurry?!

  • alula_auburn

    Yep, this episode was mostly a big old mess, and full of much of the worst of Moffat’s tendencies.  (including his creepy issues with marriage).  It’s one thing to be inconsistent between seasons, or even episodes, but this was wildly inconsistent within scenes (rooftop scene!), which to me comes off as massively disrespectful to the audience.  KG and AD acted the hell out of it, but the story didn’t live up to their acting.

    I was trying to work out in my head if Amy’s final fate could be not only Doctor vs. Rory, but some kind of thematic refusal of being the Girl who Waited again–letting herself be zapped back to take the slow path, as it were and not repeating the arc when Rory got sucked in the cracks.  I’ve never really loved how much of Amy’s character–and how many episodes–riffed on”the girl who waited”;I don’t find it a fabulous basis for a character, and I think it really undercut a lot of avenues for development.  But I don’t think the script supported that, and clearly Moffat loves the theme too much anyway.

    Donna broke my heart, much more than Rose, in part because I have a huge squick about mind wipe stories, but also because it was the most devastating, anti-Doctor thing I could think of–the idea that at his best, the Doctor inspires and brings out the best in people, and then to erase all of that.  This?  Meh.

  • I also didn’t really understand the book thing and even though I liked the episode, I like your questions!

  • Vanessa Lowe

    I’m so glad you guys posted today.  I’m the only one in my household who watches Who and am sorely lacking in post-show analysis.  I agree wholeheartedly with your reaction to the show, although I did cry.  (I’m a sucker that way.)  I also agree with everyone who pointed out that this is a classic Stephen Moffat screw-up.  I’ve felt from the beginning of his time  at Who that he just tries to cram too much into a single show.  Lately, especially, I’ve been feeling wildly confused by the goings on.  He so rarely allows the viewer time to linger over an idea or a character’s reaction before we’re rushed forward into another rushed scene.  I was really upset that Amy’s goodbye to the Doctor was so brief.  When I compare this goodbye to Donna’s goodbye it’s all the more disappointing…

    • watchmeboogie

      Every goodbye in RTD’s era took forever, though – by Donna’s time it had gotten ridiculous. Ten took like six months to finish regenerating.

  • >How were Amy and Rory able to have a tearful conversation about their choice, while staring into each other’s eyes, even though there was a giant weeping angel a few feet away, not being looked at?

    Even while I was weeping and screaming “NO NO NO” at the screen, my Bitter Kitten brain was going, “Maybe it just can’t fit in between all those buildings.  Like, I HAVE A BIG HEAD.  AND LITTLE ARMS.”

    Dammit, Moff.  You keep giving me these characters I love and putting them in situations where I should be all weepy and devastated, and then you cram a season’s worth of events into one episode that’s so full of inconsistencies I can’t enjoy it.  You’d had your shot, but please, can you give someone else a turn at this head writer thing, and just go back to writing single episodes that provide grade-A nightmare fuel?

  • Jangle57

    I thought the whole storyline was needlessing complicated and convoluted – but then that’s been one of my major complaints about the show since Moffat took over.  And I’m sorry, but since Waters of Mars, since when can’t the Doctor change fixed points in time?  If Amy could write an afterward, why couldn’t she have added what year they were sent back to?  What would have prevented the Doctor from going back to that year to visit?  As much as Blink is one of my all time favorite episodes, I have grown quite weary of how they have played the Weeping Angels to death since then and made them so much more complicated and convoluted in the process. 

  • Corsetmaker

    I think the answer to a lot of the questions is the book. He couldn’t see them again as it wasn’t in the book. He knew they were in 1938 because he realised they’d had the book published and to do that they couldn’t be in the hotel. But then he knew that was destroyed anyway. That River had to send the book to them meant she couldn’t visit them either, but getting message too and arranging to put something where Amy could find it is totally River’s way of operating anyway. Also it may be that it’s not just visiting New York in 38 that could rip the paradox apart but visiting Rory.

    That being said, I think Moffat overreaches, doesn’t tie up his ends and rushes things too much. I’ll be honest in that I preferred RTD running things with Moffat on the writing team. I enjoyed the episode but, like most of these things I have to just take it at face value and not think too much.

    • Eclectic Mayhem

      *hugs Corsetmaker*  I think you’re onto something lady!

      • Corsetmaker

        Why, thankyou…. 
        Jellybaby? :DMy more random theory is that ‘Winter Quay’ is a clue that the hotel or the entire paradox could be the ‘key’ to the Christmas episode and Oswin/Clara/whoever. With all the christmas mentions and egg mentions and there we have a battery farm signposted in flickering lightbulbs. And is that not an odd name for a hotel? Not sure where that could go LOL! but it seemed strange to me.

        • Winter Quay = Quiet NY War.

          • Corsetmaker

            Ah, of course.

          • Oh.  I was trying so hard to anagram it in my head, but I was a little distracted.

  • glennethph


  • MoHub

    And this is why my loyalties remain with classic Who and why I found NuWho such a disappointment.

  • harlowish

    This episode underwhelmed me, and TLo, your list of its problems pretty much matches mine.  I’ll admit I did kind of hold my breath when Rory was standing on the ledge, not because I seriously thought it would kill him, but just because it’s horrible to watch someone you like contemplate jumping off a building (and it would probably be horrible if it was someone you didn’t like, for that matter).

    All the changes to the rules of how the Weeping Angels work have completely defanged them.  The giggling was dumb (and they already did that last season with the dolls in the “Night Terrors” episode).  Blowing out the candle was dumb.  And the first shot of the Statue of Liberty angel made me laugh out loud.

    I think this episode should have been a two-parter.  It might not have fixed some of the inconsistencies, but after all the buildup to Amy and Rory’s last episode it ended up feeling rushed and anticlimactic.  I was surprised when I realized it was half over last night because it seemed like there was a lot that still needed to happen.

    I was sick of River Song after last season, and while she was mostly inoffensive this episode (her calling Amy and Rory “Mother” and “Dad” was really stiff), I’m just ready to be through with her character.  Since now she’s gotten her pardon, we must be near the end of her story.  I was hoping the Doctor would give her the screwdriver this episode so she could be off to the Library and out of the series.

    Anyway, thank you for your reviews.  Everyone I know who watches “Doctor Who” is a season behind, so there’s no one I can discuss it with.   And I just have so much NERD ANGST about last night’s episode, so it’s good to have a place to come talk it out and read other people’s views on it.

    • VanessaDK

       I agree that River doesn’t show much evidence of feelings for her parents–even in the Tardis when the Doctor remembers to ask her how she is since her parents just disappeared–she says–“it isn’t important–what is important is that you should never travel alone” maybe she was just hiding the damage….

  • jo

    I agree that the plot holes were huge.  The Statue of Liberty really annoyed me because I would like to know when in a city the size of New York (even in 1938), it would be possible for abosolutely no one to be looking at the huge statue that is a major landmark for the city (and for New Jersey too).
    The pacing of the story was rushed and I don’t know why we had the bit with the millionaire and the private eye.
    But, I did get a bit teary for the Ponds.  Especially Rory.  I will miss him deeply.

  • Y’all have no souls. I almost cried twice, even though part of my brain was registering the plot holes.

  • indigospade

    The viewer (of the show) counts as a set of eyes viewing the angel as well. That’s why Angels never move on camera or characters look away and don’t always get attacked. Granted, it still doesn’t make sense why they would not look at the angel nearby since the characters aside from the angels wouldn’t break the fourth wall like that

    •  The Angels have moved on camera before.

      • indigospade

         I assume you’re talking about when Amy Pond had her eyes closed and then fell down. What’s actually pretty cool and clever is that technically the angels are not moving on screen. What happens is that there is a weird strobe light effect going on that is so subtle. The angels utilize this and basically shift in and out or stone form so amazingly fast that it creates the illusion of a statue moving. You can tell because they “look” to be statues the whole time and you hear the stone sound they make when they shift back and forth. an angel can’t move as a stone, but we do know they can move incredibly fast.

        • I’m talking about the season 5 episode “Time of the Angels” where we actually see the Angels move. No strobe effect; actual movement. There is no “technically” about it. I think you need to re-watch that scene.

        • harlowish

           And in that same episode we see an angel’s hand move to catch hold of the Doctor’s coat.

    • VanessaDK

      This is just too meta for me. 

      I refuse to believe that the audience is intended to be a part of the concept.

  • Swiftlytiltingplanet

     I am probably a bit slow in my geekiness and show-runner and Stephen Moffat…but it all has made a lot less sense (“sense” being a relative term) with the 11th Doctor. 

    The Weeping Angels have been the scariest Dr Who “villain” (they’re not villains, after all, they just are what they are)…until this episode. Now they just make no sense.  At all. Which annoys me no end. 

    • watchmeboogie

      They’ve never made any sense, though, starting from “Blink” and making less sense with every episode.

      See also: The Silence.

      • Since the Question has been asked, like, 500 times now, do you think we’ll be saying goodbye to the Silence soon?  Or will the Silence turn out to not be *that* silence after all?

        • watchmeboogie

          I suppose it will be whatever Moffat needs it to be that particular day.

  • annieanne

    I could never get past how a 50+ year time span could be a “fixed point in time” that the Doctor could never visit; so I never made it to the rest of your questions. I’m pretty sure the Doctor has been in New York during those 50+ years on numerous occasions.
    So I think all your questions have exactly one answer: Alternate dimensions.

  • watchmeboogie

    There are tons of things to discuss and comment on but to get it out of the way: the “The image of an angel becomes itself an angel” was a hugely stupid plot device randomly invented so that they could pull a cool scary The Ring effect and do some good ol’ Deus ex-ing. It’s one of those regrettable things that made no sense and I’m actually glad that Moffat sort of whistled and pretended it never happened.

  • I think my biggest problem with this who first half of season is that someone told Moffat that the show was gaining traction in the US and he somehow mistook that it ment he needed to start writing for an American audience.  Anyone who I have met who regularly watch british TV, its because we dont like the “rubbish” that american TV can sometimes be filled with.  Because Moffat is a brilliant writer the series was watchable and still exciting, not like the travesty that was Torchwood Miracle Day.

    I just hope with the second half that he gets back to big story arcs and old style Doctor.  

    and dare I say it, it might be time for Matt Smith to make his departure if the series doesn’t return back to its wibbly wobbly timey wimey self.

    • watchmeboogie

      I don’t think it’s Matt’s fault; the blame lies squarely with Moffat, who is brilliant at single stories but not so strong at long-range storytelling.

    • alula_auburn

      Did you see the “Doctor Who in the US” special that ran before the episode?  I found it remarkably condescending and pandering.  Um, there’s already plenty of media that tells us the US is the center of the world and the most important place ever and the source of most cultural hegemony–I REALLY don’t think we needed an hour of people saying how super-special the U.S. is to the Doctor and what an amazing source of stories it is.  Give me a break.

      (which is not to say that actually, I think there’s probably by and large more quality American TV right now than there has been in quite a long time, and I personally think the polarizing of it misses the point.  But almost no show ever got to be good by trying to unnaturally pander to a different or new audience instead of being itself.)

    • Every time DW and crew takes on America, it’s hard to tell if they’ve just never met an American or if the whole thing is a calculated insult.  We all like to kill things a lot.  We’re fabulously wealthy and have no scruples.  And we’re too stupid to breathe.  Miracle Day’s pathetic attempt to sell us on socialized medicine had me near to throwing things.

      Stick to what you know, boys: running through quarries.

  • Laura Anderson

    Yes! Exactly yes!

    The only explainable question I see above is how the people were fed and the rooms labeled. The mobsters have an understanding of the angels (ie feeding Rory to the babies).  Perhaps, they even have some sort of accord.

    But the rest of your answers are anybody’s guess. And it really did ruin the emotion of the episode. There was never a moment where I was like well, it’s inevitable, better say goodbye. Instead, I was thinking how totally avoidable these situations were. Did Rory & Amy have to jump off the building? Could they have fought the angels. After all, quite a few should have been frozen from looking at one another. Even if they had to be send to the past, they could have worked out a communication system at minimum with the doctor. Frustrating.

  • Laura Anderson

     I like this version of their ending. Your words to Moffat’s ears!

  • I did enjoy the heck out of the episode and was happy with the Ponds’ resolution, but I completely agree with all the frustration over angels being looked at/not looked at–point especially well taken about the Statue of Liberty!  Although maybe Rory and Amy were safe looking deeply into each other’s eyes because other people were looking at it.

  • Laura Anderson

     Of course, if they were done with the doctor and knew that River could find them, why would Amy give her such an emotional goodbye before she touches the weeping angel?

  • MilaXX

    Yeah, I was not a fan of this week’s episode.  I did snuff a few tears, but that’s because I am a wuss at heart. I think I was more sad that after being killed a zillion times each, never having a child together to raise properly that this would be Amy and Rory’s send off.  I am pretty much tolerate of Moffet’s love of all things timey-wimey, but none of the stuff here made sense. And yeah, going back to visit child Amelia takes away from her being the girl who waited. I felt like we were supposed to be sad, but the reason for the sadness felt too flimsy.

  • watchmeboogie

    Whether angels are being looked at or not has frequently just been bad directing or editing or improper storyboarding or some other “damn, we missed that” byproduct of filmmaking. In last night’s scene, my interpretation: River looked away because she knew Amy needed to be with Rory. When Amy turned around the Doctor couldn’t help but look at her for a split second.

  • Markatha

    I was disappointed with Amy & Rory’s send off. 
    I really liked the characters & their dynamic with the doctor & think they desrved better. 
    I’m a big softly and I didn’t even get a lump in my throat.

  • The angels being able to see each other and yet somehow still move has been bothering me since the last time they used the angels last season. In fact, after the best episode in modern Doctor Who history, Blink, they’ve just been f’ing them up more and more. They should have left them at that. Though they are one of the most brilliantly created villains I can think of, they’re being overused and diminished as a result. Better than the last angels episode, but still lacking compared to Blink. Also, I’m not super sad to see Amy Pond go. As a companion I found her somewhat tiresome. If we could have kept Rory, or his dad, I’d have been happier.

    • watchmeboogie

      Agreed on the angels – not on Amy, though!

  • 14a

    I will say those cherubs freaked me out. 

  • I seem to be the minority on this, but I really believe that Steven Moffat is not all that great a showrunner, at least not for this particular program. He penned one of my very favorite Who episodes – the Doctor Dances – and I know that the show has looked sharper and edgier and sexier since he came aboard, but honestly, aside from production value, I don’t know that the last few series have been any better than the ones before them.

    Karen Gillan has been quoted as saying these last few Ponds episodes were like mini movies they were so epic, but I don’t feel that way at all. I actually bored during A Town Called Mercy. The acting is fine, as it has been (I did think Gillan was a little wet behind the ears at the beginning of series 5, but she’s progressed immensely, and her turn in The Girl Who Waited, I thought, was really something else), but there’s something about these newer seasons that lacks the depth that Davies’ episodes had.

    I have a bunch of examples, but to keep it current – the thing about the Doctor ripping the last page of the book because he didn’t like endings – I don’t think it had to be something held over from 9 and 10, but having that as a throw back to at least the 5th series could have made it something more interesting instead of the kind of cop out I felt it was.

    I’m dithering on now, but I did want to say that I did cry, for a lot of reasons, and very few of them to do with the actual writing. Rory definitely shaped up to be one of my favorite all time companions, and Amy grew on me as well, and I just thought that they both deserved more than what they actually got.

    • watchmeboogie

      Moffat seems to work from an Epic Onscreen Image and then tries to write around that, instead of letting epic things happen organically. It ends up feeling thin and forced.

    • We have been watching S9 on Netflix, and we are just at “The Empty Child,” which is creeping me out so much more than those angels, to be honest (and those angels were CREEPY). I am hoping that by starting from the beginning of NuWho, things will make more sense and have more emotional resonance by the time we reach “The Angels Take Manhattan.”

  • >>If New York is full of time distortions preventing the Doctor from using the TARDIS, why don’t Amy and Rory leave New York and wait for the Doctor to pick them up anywhere else at any other point in their timeline?

    the 1930s were full of time distortions, not just New York.

    >>How were they able to create a paradox mere minutes after the Doctor said it was nearly impossible to do so?

    Well that happens all the time, someone says “that’s impossible!” and then they do it.

    >>Whatever happened to “An image of an angel becomes itself an angel?” Because every Statue of Liberty postcard would be deadly.

    Because once they created the paradox, the statue would no longer be a weeping angel.

    >>If the Doctor went back to little Amy, as the ending implied, wouldn’t that radically alter Amy’s timeline?

    Nope, not if he didn’t take her out of that timeline and only spoke to her as Amy told him to. If he left again, she’d still have to wait 12 years.


    That *was* ludicrous, but whatever, as my friend says it’s a funny fandom shout-out.

    • 1) They specifically said they couldn’t return to New York and that New York itself was full of time distortions. The Doctor in 2012 told Amy that if he tried to rescue Rory he’d tear the city apart because it’s full of time distortions.

      2) Yes, and that’s called “sloppy writing.”

      3) Yes, but prior to when they undid everything, every picture of the Statue of Liberty contained a Weeping Angel. That would have been fairly notable in the timeline they originally landed in.

      4) Even if he spoke to Amy and then left, it radically alters her back story and timeline. She became obsessed with The Doctor precisely because he said he’d be back in 5 minutes and then didn’t come back for 12 years. If he showed up that same night and told her stories about her future, that drastically changes everything.

      • How is that sloppy writing? Saying “thats impossible!” doesn’t mean its literally impossible. He says that all the time, in every single version.

  • Leah Burns

    A lot of those points were very good things I hadn’t thought about but- did the angels ever actually walk before? They just sort of teleport most of the time. I assumed the Statue of Liberty was able to teleport from the island over to the hotel.
    But yeah, when I saw the gravestones without dates I was like “So, just go have the Doctor bring you here to get buried like a week before you visit when you’re really old.” Or just put the gravestone in without burying anyone under there. They never checked that. Also, they were totally blinking a ton when they were looking at the angels.

    • They Angels move conventionally, but very quickly. And you could hear the Statue of Liberty’s footsteps as it was walking toward the hotel.

  • Leah Burns

     Amy might go in there out of stupid curiosity. Rory is more practical though and wouldn’t have gone anywhere that didn’t appear safe unless he thought there was a reason to go there.

  • Zippypie

    Disappointing.  I’m with TLo.  The build up to these companions leaving was immense and then….pfft.  Crazy plot holes and a pace so fast that it was insulting to the characters themselves.  I’m seriously annoyed.  Moffat effed up with this one.  I love his writing on Sherlock but seriously, what the hell happened here?  He is a victim of his own “cleverness”. It’s a classic case of being in the forest so long, you can’t see anything but the trees in front of you.  I feel a bit swindled.

  • Tiffany Wong

    Thank you for so eloquently summing up my thoughts for me! It has been days, and I still haven’t gotten over the shock of how that episode made no sense at all! I sobbed for a full 10 minutes after the episode was over for Rose, and bawled for Donna. But unfortunately, not even pressure built up in my eyes for these to.  My own biggest question was – why couldn’t the Doctor just wait a year and then go back to NYC….or New Jersey. Speaking of which – I found this right after I read your post and thought of you guys! 

    Moffat is a genius when it comes to scaring the pants off of you…but one has to consider – maybe Davies was better at writing goodbyes…

  • I mean I understand why the doctor wouldn’t want to go near New Jersey and take a train.. but c’mon… 

  • Crystal Belisle

    Thank you! 
     How could the Doctor change his FIXED Point in time but NOT Amy and Rorys?  Why didn’t the Doctor go get a couple of Robots with people in them for Rory and Amy?  Why can’t the Ponds move to Seattle and meet the Doc in 1943?  How could the Doctor be hanging out with Neffertiti…..I think I read about her and SHE was dead but then shes hanging out in the Future with the Earth shooting missles?….HMMMM?????….. 

  • Lattis

    TLo said:  “Why did the gravestone have no dates on it?”

    Well, I’ve spent a lot of time at the cemetery lately and I think I can answer that. Lots of gravestones have the death dates only on the front of the stone and the back of the stone can be blank or have an inscription like “Loving parents, So and So” or the name of the deceased with no dates, or a list of family members and their relationship to the deceased (daughter Gertrude Stein, son Ralph Bellamy etc., or a sample of the deceased’s witticism like “Gone Fishin’.”).  I think the shot where Rory is, for the last time, reading the stone we are looking at the back of the stone. 

    I wouldn’t fight anybody to the mat about it, though. It could be another lazy plot hole of which this episode had plenty . . .

    Just have to say something on the nature of escapist tv.  Thank god for it. With Doctor Who I’m like the two goofy, happy dogs in the Far Side cartoon who look at their dog food being dished out and say, “Oh Boy! Dog food again!” That’s me with DW. So even though I dislike lazy writing – and I think this episode was very lazily constructed – I can’t get worked up about it because I am so damn glad for the distraction. My dad died a few weeks ago. 

    And a random thought I had watching this . . . maybe there are good weeping angels and bad weeping angels. Maybe some of the weeping angels use their power for good. You know like, whisking someone back in time when they are lying on their deathbed so that they can live another life. Don’t be too harsh on me Bitter Kitten critics. I am grasping for some kind of ‘double rainbow’ moment.

    • watchmeboogie

      I’m really sorry about your Dad.

    • Anathema_Device

      Sorry about your dad. That’s a rough one. Take care.

      As for Doctor Who, I’m often confused and pausing the dvr to rewind and try to catch all those little lines that try to explain away the plot holes. In all, though, I usually just strap I and go along for the ride and enjoy it w/o thinking too much.

  • That ending was ridiculous. I was thinking that since the Doctor fixed River’s wrist (regeneration energy as first aid) he could somehow fix Amy’s infertility problem: River is part Time Lord and thus medical regeneration works for her, it should also work for Amy since she is River’s mother and gave birth to her and all that medicaly-wedicaly stuff (hey, makes more sense than a stompy Stature of Liberty who didn’t zap Rory even though he and amy specifically turned their backs to it).

    Then Amy and Rory could have the family they wanted (since adoption seems to never have been an option) and the Doctor could have made up something to tell them…. some lie that because of this, he and they can never meet again or it’ll cause their heads to explode or something, and they go on to live their lives without him. It would be a noble sacrifice on his part, something he’s never done with companions before (that I can recall). He wants to be with them, but realizes that they are better off without him. So he doesn’t lose them… he lets them go.

    This way Amy’s parents and Rory’s dad don’t lose their kids either. 

    But nope…. apparently you can’t visit a fixed point in time, ever, until you can. 

    A science fiction show can have its own universe and make up its own rules, but once those rules are there, then by gosh they better be followed. Otherwise… what’s the point?

    • The regeneration energy thing made a kind of sense because River gave him that regeneration energy in the first place.  What bothered me was that the previous regeneration energy healings- Ten growing a new hand, River saving the Doctor- were right after regeneration.  Ten explicitly laid out a time limit on how long that was available.  (What you make of handjob!Ten, well, RTD only knows.)  To call it a “waste” of regeneration energy makes it sound like there ought to be consequences for using it up before you actually need it, but we’re one regeneration too early for it to be a setup for the Valeyard, and since I have lost all confidence that the Moff will ever follow up on the logical consequence of anything he writes, I suspect it’s going to remain one more thing I hated about this episode.

      I would have been more irritated had he used it on Amy, though.  River gets the regeneration stuff because she’s a child of the TARDIS, not because of Amy’s contribution to her genetic makeup.  Besides, if the Doctor could magically heal Amy, then I’d have to hate him for every companion he ever let die.

  • watchmeboogie

    One thing I just thought of that IS really good about this ending: for once, we have a companion(s) leave the Doctor, and not be permanently devastated by it. Of course, the way it was told was clumsy and full of fuckery and weakened its impact, but the concept itself is quite refreshing.

  • Anathema_Device

    Finally watched this episode last night. Agreed on the plot holes and inconsistencies. I don’t watch it all that closely anymore, though, and nowhere near as closely as many of you do. I just roll with it as much as possible. Moffatt really does try to cram far too much into each episode.

    I laughed at loud at the Statue of Liberty. It was so ridiculous I figured it was played for laughs, but I could be wrong.

    I yelled “OH FUCK YOU!!” at the TV when the angel came back for Rory. That annoyed me. Up until this episode, the Weeping Angels were my favorite bogeypeople.

  • You two complain about almost EVERYTHING. This episode was incredible. Riddled with some questions, but that’s Doctor Who for you. You two get very picky when things don’t go EXACTLY how you’d envisioned them. The majority of the fanbase who have liked Doctor Who well before you have disagree with you in regards to “The Angels Take Manhattan”. Sorry. 

    • We couldn’t care less what the majority of the fanbase thinks and you sound like a whiny fanboy who can’t bear an opinion that differs from their own.


  • Joseph Hendren

    As much as I love Doctor Who and I love Moffat, I don’t think he should be show runner. He should definitely stay on as a writer because some of the best episodes of the last few years have been one off Moffat episodes. I don’t think he is right to create a story complex enough for a whole season because he ends up over complicating it and just ruining it.

    TL;DR Moffat as occasional writer, someone else for showrunner.

  • I think the thing I found most confusing was that it seemed to me they were going to be zapped back to that same point/place – that little hotel room where Rory was supposed to live out the rest of his life.  No?  I assumed that’s why they couldn’t be visited/get away/whatever.  Everyone seems to have to picked up on something I missed; they were free to live their lives wherever they wanted in that time, not trapped in the hotel?  I’m a bit confused…where did I misinterpret it?

  • Agreed. I love Doctor Who, but I hate Moffat and his notion that he needs to ‘blow your minds’ all the time. He doesn’t make the show enjoyable.

  • Realize this commentary was from several months ago but I just got around to seeing the episode and this and ughhhh. I agree with everything you said above, TLo, even after I skimmed through all the comments trying to find reasonable excuses. Very disappointed in Moffat. The only thing I didn’t see mentioned in either this article or the comments was WHY would the angel send Amy back to be with Rory? It’s not like it had to, it could choose to send her to a completely different place and make them both live out their lives alone. And since they obviously WANT Rory to suffer, isn’t that what they would do?? Very confusing, very frustrating.

  • Anthony

    I miss Russell T Davies far more than the Ponds. 

  • Calcify

    I love a lot of the points you made, but…I have a couple more to add. Does anyone wonder HOW the last angel survived? Yeah, it made the “reading the book is fixed” work by making it so….but still. How did it manage to live through what every other member of its group didn’t? I know it’s obviously supposed to be one of those individuals that survives a catastrophe, but it doesn’t really seem to make sense seeing as it shouldn’t be any different from the rest of its race. Oh well.

    My second question is….what do you do with it? You now have a single Weeping Angel on the loose in 2012 New York. The seriously huge problem? It’s impossible to be gotten rid of. Angels can only be beaten if they’re looking at one another (or sucked into a crack in space-time, but that’s beside the point). A single angel is quite possibly the most dangerous thing ever. It can only die if starved to death, but I doubt that’s going to happen in NEW YORK. IN A QUIET LONELY CEMETERY. But we all saw how terribly concerned the Doctor was, right? He left. Hmm.

  • Tatiana Luján

    I loved the love you could see between The Doctor and River, that’s what got me with this episode and the only thing I really cared about. it was beautiful.