Monday, 8 October 2012

Series 7a Review: The Angels Take Manhattan

It's been over a week since the Ponds disappeared from our screen - quite literally - and I've been mulling over my opinions of it.  And I've really struggled to come up with anything much to say other than: it was great.

On the one hand you think that it shouldn't work.  The whole episode seems to be a collection of Steven Moffat's Greatest Hits.  All of the best bits of his previous episodes seem to crop up somewhere here.  Let's run down the list:

i) River Song.  Hardly a great surprise to see her here in Amy and Rory's final appearance given her relationship with them.

ii) The Weeping Angels.  Easily Moffatt's greatest monster creations.  A very simple idea well executed which is probably why they've proven so popular.

iii) The Doctor reading about his own future.  Obviously there's the whole 'wrist breaking scene' in this episode.  Similarly, the Doctor has a transcript of his entire conversation with Sally Sparrow in the Angel's first episode, 'Blink'.

iv) Rory and Amy die - and then come back to life and then die again.  Or in Rory's case: dies, lives, dies, lives dies.  Yes he finally hits the hat-trick.  Honestly, I've lost count the number of times that they've killed one or other of them off during the past two and a half years.  I would say that we might not see that with the new girl only they appear to have killed her off before she's even made her first official appearance which must be some sort of record surely.
But are Amy and Rory really dead?  Or is it more a case of...

v)...Everybody lives!  See 'The Doctor Dances and particularly River Song's first appearance in 'Silence in the Library'/'Forest of the Dead'.  Moffatt really doesn't like killing off his favourite characters so manages to  both kill them off and give them a happy ending, thereby theoretically keeping the majority of viewers happy.

vi) The Doctor receives one final, written message from the person he has just lost.  Seen here in the Afterword written by Amy and also in the conclusion to 'The Girl in Fireplace' with the letter from Reinette.

So with all of the above crammed into just 45 minutes (and I've not even mentioned the general 'timey-wimey' nature of the story - something so common in a Moffatt story that it's barely worth pointing out) it's a miracle that the whole thing works at all.  And yet it does.  There are flaws in it certainly but I can overlook them for the sake of the drama.  Although the faults that I find with the episode are fairly minor compared with some of the criticisms I've read elsewhere.  For instance, the Angels apparently keep their victims prisoner in their 'farm' at Winter Quay until they die but who look after them until they die?  Who feeds them, tidies their rooms etc?  Is there some Angel that comes around providing room service?


 And so ends an era.  Much as I've liked the Ponds it does feel like it's time for a change.  I'm certainly interested to see how the Eleventh Doctor changes and develops when he has a new friend travelling with him.  And I really want to find out more about the new girl.  We still don't even know her name yet.  I've heard the name 'Clara' bandied about in the forums although Jenna Louise Coleman's character in the Dalek episode was called Oswin.  So might that be the new girl's name?  I honestly don't have a clue and I'm genuinely looking forward to finding out what's going to happen next.  The Pond's journey might be over but the Doctor's carried on.

Next stop: Christmas.  

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