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.

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