Dr.Who Season 7 Episode 5: The Angels Take Manhattan
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Matt Smith, though, was also in tip top form, and the foreboding warning that his Doctor should never travel alone came through loud and clear here. It felt like quite a few things were being established for him to consider in the next run of episodes (River, after all, implies that he’s gone too far erasing himself from history, basically the reversal of the problem he was up against before), and it’ll be interesting to see how those threads develop. For now, not for the first time nor the last, The Doctor was faced with losing dear friends and companions (and just how special Amy was to him was explored in The Power Of Three), and Smith sold the heartbreak and loneliness of this tremendously well.
When Rory was Angel-napped back to 1938, Amy, the Doctor and a returning River/Melody fought past temporal distortions and chilling cherubims to save him – just in time to see his future self die old and alone. Despite the Doctor’s assertions that you can’t change a history you’ve already acknowledged, Amy and Rory stood destiny in the face, flipped the bird, and sacrificed themselves to create a paradox with the power to change everything.
They all wake up alive in a graveyard back in 2012 New York. As they are about to head for a celebratory dinner, Rory sees a grave with his name on. Just as he calls Amy over, he disappears. Where he had been standing is one Angel which has survived. It has sent Rory back to Winter Quay. Amy cries and reasons with the Doctor that she needs to let the Angel get her too so she can be with Rory. The Doctor won’t have it and wants her to get back in the TARDIS but Amy spins round to face him “Raggedy man…goodbye.” and with that she too is gone. Her name appears on the same gravestone as Rory’s.
What a momentous end to this half of the series, apart from the Christmas special there is no more Doctor Who in 2012. The cyclical ending to this episode takes viewers right back to the start, back to a young Amelia Pond with a suitcase in her back garden waiting for her raggedy man. This image alone inspires a compelling urge to return to The Eleventh Hour and re-live the Ponds’ adventures from the beginning.
How would breaking River’s wrist make it any easier to get her hand out of the angel’s grasp? After all, it doesn’t make her hand any smaller or the angel’s grip any looser. Furthermore, half the time no one seems to be looking at the angels and yet they don’t move. The one holding River, for instance, has no one observing her, but remains stationary. The Statue of Liberty doesn’t move when Rory and Amy blink or look away from it on the rooftop. The ones in the corridor downstairs are looking at each other and yet don’t become quantum-locked as a result. Given that it has been well established in previous episodes what the abilities and weaknesses of the angels are, it seems sloppy not to have worked within this framework.
But the end of the Ponds is not the end of The Doctor. There are many questions left to answer, and characters to revisit. (I wonder if one of them will be Rory’s dad Brian? He became a prominent figure this season and doesn’t yet know the fate of his son and daughter-in-law.) Matt Smith will return in a December Christmas special that will also properly introduce new companion Clara (played by Jenna-Louise Coleman, last seen as human-turned-Dalek Oswin in this season’s premiere, “Asylum of the Daleks”).
A bittersweet end to quite the duo. There are some questions left, like how the angel ended up in the graveyard, but for now the feeling of an end is still here. The feeling that only a goodbye could bring. Maybe it was good that the Doctor never had to see them grow old, maybe, most likely, he’ll carry this guilt around with him for his lives to come. But most of most of all he’ll remember the little girl that waited for him, the boy that waited so long for her and the magical sights the three of them saw and the beautiful bond and love they all shared.