the-angels-take-Manhattan

6

Amy Pond: Well then… I just have to blink, right?

The Doctor: No!

Amy Pond: It’ll be fine. I know it will. I’ll be with him. Like I should be. Me and Rory together. Melody…

The Doctor: Stop it! Just, just stop it!

Amy Pond: You be a good girl, and you look after him.

The Doctor: You are creating a fixed time. I will never be able to see you again.

Amy Pond: I’ll be fine. I’ll be with him.

The Doctor: [Desperately] Amy… please! Just come back into the TARDIS. Come along, Pond, please!

Amy Pond: Raggedy Man…goodbye

The scene in Angels Take Manhattan where River and the Doctor get in that fight is such a powerful scene that I feel is under appreciated. Oh, that slap had been brewing for a long time.

The thing with River and the Doctor’s relationship is that, while it may not be quite obvious all the time, they struggle to communicate with each other in a healthy and productive way. One might say that is the major flaw of their particular relationship, and in all honesty I don’t blame them at all. Both of them struggle with their own unique emotional traumas and terrible pasts.

And on top of that, The Doctor has always struggled with the knowledge of River’s fate. I bet you every single time he sees River, he sees her dying in the Library and he hates the fact he loves her so much and can’t stop her death. And he can’t tell her anything, because, well you know, spoilers. And even more on top of that is the guilt of what happened to her as a baby, because, yeah it’s totally his fault. River is River because of him. She was kidnapped as a baby because of him and dies in the Library because of him.

And I think River has always been able to tell that there is something going on with the Doctor that he isn’t telling her. I bet she can see it in his eyes that he knows something, when he thinks she isn’t looking. She knows he is hiding so much pain and guilt, and because she loves him, she doesn’t want to add to it by telling him the deep dark ugly truths of her own feelings.

The way the Doctor behaved towards River when he reads “Amelia’s Final Farewell” is terrible to put it bluntly. He gets so upset at what he read in the book, and yet again won’t talk to her. She knows she is the one who will write it, and she practically begs the Doctor to just talk it out with her so they can work together, as a team, to see what they can do about it. Like reasonable, smart, married, adult Time Lords and Ladies. But noooooo, he yells “NO” and stomps his foot like a 12 year old and instead of helping her get her wrist out, leaves her there on her own and demands she do the impossible (Not break her wrist). Now I don’t know about you, but if my wrist has to be broken, I’d much rather my husband do it than me having to break it myself. It’s just better and easier that way, you know? And yeah, maybe he can fix it with regeneration energy afterwords because he cares so much and hated having to do that. But no.

Yeah, I’d be pretty pissed.

So what’s a Time Lady to do? Well, what she always does.

She hides the damage. And it’s rather easy to do, isn’t it? She’s hid her emotional trauma her whole life. Practically her whole life has been living up to the expectations of other people, especially the Doctor.

He wants her to get out without breaking her wrist? Fine!

I think she probably did try quite hard to do it, and that’s why her hand was so bloodied. Simply breaking your wrist alone isn’t likely to scrape up the skin- she tore up her wrist and hand trying to wriggle it out of the stone Angel’s grasp as hard as she could. She was probably in tears from pain and frustration, and had to compose herself before meeting up with Amy and The Doctor again.

Once the cat’s out of the bag about her wrist, the Doctor asks why she lied. Well, she gives him her answer: when one’s in love with an ageless god who insists on the face of a twelve-year-old, one does one’s best to hide the damage. She hints at her emotional pain, and her hurt at the Doctor’s negligence and immaturity. She doesn’t want sympathy, she wants an apology. She wants acknowledgement of her feelings and admittance of mistakes. It’s not about her broken wrist itself, it’s about why and how it is broken in the first place. But what does the Doctor do instead? He says nothing, and simply heals her broken wrist as if that is the only problem.

LAME. IDIOT.

So yeah. He was a sentimental idiot and that was quite the stupid waste of regeneration energy, and he deserved that slap.

hello, old friend, and here we are. you and me, on the last page.

favourite moffat-era episodes in no particular order 2/?: the angels take manhattan

The Angels Take Manhattan - Doctor Who blog (The Statue Of Liberty is a WHAT?!?!)

(SPOILER WARNING: The following is an in-depth critical analysis. If you haven’t seen this episode yet, you may want to before reading this review)

Remember when the Weeping Angels used to be scary? Good times, right?

Blink was one of the few Moffat stories that I genuinely liked. It was a simple story with a simple gimmick. Statues that could only move when you weren’t looking at them. It was ostensibly a most lethal version of Grandmother’s Footsteps, and it was bloody terrifying. There was however one problem with the Angels. A problem that soon became apparent the more the Weeping Angels reappeared in the show. They’re really just one trick ponies. Once you’ve seen Blink, you’ve literally seen everything they have to offer. From that moment on, the Angels suffered from the law of diminishing returns. They just weren't scary anymore, and I believe even Moffat was semi-aware of this, hence why his timey wimey crap became more ridiculous and why he kept changing the established rules of the Angels in an effort to keep them fresh. Of course it didn’t work. All it did was mangle the Angels beyond repair and now they’re a shadow of their once scarier selves.

Which brings us to The Angels Take Manhattan. The complete polar opposite of Blink. Whereas Blink was simple, clever and scary, The Angels Take Manhattan is convoluted, stupid and about as scary as a basket full of kittens. As far as I’m concerned, The Angels Take Manhattan serves as a very harsh lesson on learning when enough is enough. Some monsters just don’t work as recurring villains, and the Weeping Angels are most definitely one of them. If Moffat had learnt to keep his massive ego under control, he wouldn’t have turned his greatest creations into the limp, nonsensical and utterly pathetic non-threats they are now.

Let’s stick with the Angels for a bit. Aside from their lack of scariness due to us knowing their MO off by heart now, Moffat also can’t help but change the rules again. Remember in Blink it was established they would turn to stone if anyone looked at them, including each other? Well we’re supposed to forget about that clearly as there are loads of moments where Angels are clearly looking at each other, but can still move. There’s also a really odd moment where a Cherub manages to blow Rory’s match out, but… the Cherub is frozen as a statue. How the fuck was it able to do that? Odder still, Amy and Rory get zapped by the Angels at the end, but on those occasions people were still looking at the Angel, so how did it manage to do it?

And then there’s by far the weirdest part:

The Statue Of Liberty is a Weeping Angel?!

Originally posted by elittlejoia

This raises so many puzzling questions. Isn’t the Statue Of Liberty made of copper, not stone? How the fuck did it get from Liberty Island to Winter Quay without anyone noticing? And what is even the fucking point of that?! It’s not as if it actually does anything. It doesn’t even look like an angel. Nor do the statues of the woman and the boy who come chasing the guy who had the Angel chained up (and what was the deal with the guy who had the Angel chained up? We never find out what that was all about).

And we’ve only just scratched the surface here. There are loads of things that don’t make sense here. Take this ‘farm’ the Angels have made. So they send people back to a hotel in 1938 and send them back in time repeatedly to feed off of the time energy. But… why hang onto their victims afterward. Once they’re done feeding, they keep the victim locked in a room until they die of old age. What for? What’s the point? Why not just feed on them and let them go like they usually do?

Rory ends up becoming the latest victim and vows to escape, creating a paradox that will kill the Angels. But for some reason the Doctor doesn’t want to do that and I honestly don’t understand why. He says Rory’s death has been predetermined now, but that’s never stopped the Doctor before. It certainly didn't stop him in the previous series when he himself was destined to die. So why is saving Rory suddenly impossible? And I definitely don’t buy all that bullshit about how once you’ve read something, it’s destined to happen no matter what. That’s just bollocks and the show has contradicted that loads of times in the past. Moffat is once again just making shit up as he goes along and it’s not even consistent. Just look at the whole wrist breaking scene. The Doctor says River needs to break her wrist in order to escape (I don’t even understand that. The Angel has its hand wrapped around her wrist. The only way she could possibly escape is if she were to crush her entire hand down to a circumference smaller than her wrist) because the book says so. Except the book doesn’t say so at all. It just says the Doctor breaks something. Her wrist is never even mentioned and the Doctor doesn’t even break it in the end. (Also why would River lie about her wrist later on? I understand the metaphorical significance of hiding the damage, but it’s just plain daft).

Since I’ve brought up River Song, let’s talk about her. She reappears in this episode wearing a really stupid hat that’s pulled down over her eyes presumably in an attempt to make her look cool and mysterious, but in reality just makes her look like a tit. You’d think considering this is post Wedding Of River Song and we now know everything about her, she might behave a little bit more like an actual human being, but nope. She’s still just as smug and unlikeable as she was before. Actually The Angels Take Manhattan really highlights all the problems with her character, especially her relationship, or lack thereof, with the other characters. They keep insisting she, Amy and Rory are really close now, but I can’t see any evidence for that. It still feels just as strained and awkward as ever to me. As does her relationship with the Doctor. I just don’t buy the supposed ‘romance’ between the two whatsoever as their dialogue only seems to consist of bad sexual innuendo. There’s no genuine emotion or chemistry whatsoever.

Early on it soon becomes apparent how Moffat actually sees her:

Amy: “She’s got ice in her heart and a kiss on her lips and a vulnerable side she keeps well hidden.”

Yeah, turns out Moffat views her as being a noir dame. That’s something that never occurred to me, and that’s because ever since her first appearance in 2008, she had absolutely nothing in common with a noir dame. I mean come on! Ice in her heart? Since when? The Silence In The Library two parter alone contradicts that completely. It’s about as accurate a description as calling her a psychopath, which Moffat does again here by the way. He also describes her in the Melody Malone book as ‘packing cleavage that could fell an ox at 20 feet’. Okay, two things Moffat. One, no woman would EVER write something like that, and two, stop perving over Alex Kingston’s boobs, you colossal fucking creep.

But of course the big thing about The Angels Take Manhattan is that it’s Amy and Rory’s last ever episode. Is it a good farewell?

Originally posted by giffix

Credit where it’s due though, the scene on the roof was extremely good. It’s both tragic and emotional in equal measure, and both Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill really go for it, giving truly incredible performances. It’s hard not to be moved by Amy’s decision to jump off the building with Rory and if Moffat and everyone had just left it at that, it would have been an extremely powerful ending. Instead they seem to go out of their way to ruin it. For one thing, rather than just have Amy and Rory jump off the building and have the performances of the actors be what drives the shock and tragedy of it all, they decide to over-egg the pudding by having Amy and Rory fall in slow motion whilst Murray Gold’s stupid choir performs a slushy melody, which just made the whole thing feel mawkish.

Also it’s hard to be emotionally invested in their sacrifice when it makes no sodding sense. I can understand the paradox killing the Angels, but un-making the hotel? How does that work? What’s Rory got to do with the construction of the hotel? How would his death affect it? And if the hotel never existed, it would mean Rory could never jump off the roof of it to create the paradox in the first place, so wouldn’t we just end up right back to where we started?

Then it just gets worse when we’re suddenly pinged back to the present day and a lone Angel zaps Amy and Rory. Hold on a fucking minute! I thought the paradox killed the Angels! Where the fuck did this one come from?!

The biggest problem with this is that it doesn’t have nearly the same impact the roof scene had because we’ve already done all this a few minutes ago. So why are we doing it again? As far as I’m concerned, it would have worked so much better if Amy and Rory had just plunged to their deaths and that was the end. This just doesn’t make sense. The Doctor says he can’t visit 1938 New York again or it’ll destroy the planet or some such bollocks, but then River says she has to visit Amy in order to write and publish the Melody Malone book. Why not just use her Vortex Manipulator to get them out? Or get them to drive to New Jersey or somewhere and the Doctor can pick them up. It doesn’t make any sense.

And then, as the final turd in the water pipe, we see on the gravestone that Amy has changed her last name to Williams, showing that at last she’s fully committed to her marriage in a way no woman who kept her own name could ever be.

Originally posted by stilln0tginger

The Angels Take Manhattan is fucking awful. The story makes no sense, the Weeping Angels have been completely and utterly defanged by this point and what could have been a really emotional farewell for Amy and Rory is utterly botched thanks to Moffat putting more emphasis on outsmarting the audience rather than writing a satisfying goodbye.

So let’s end with my final thoughts on Amy and Rory. I’m not going to lie. i wasn’t very impressed. Rory faired slightly better I feel. While his character arc is pretty much the same as Mickey Smith’s from the RTD era, at least Rory actually got to grow and evolve during his time in the TARDIS and Arthur Darvill did a good job overall. Amy on the other hand is definitely one of the weakest companions I’ve ever seen, not just in New Who, but in general. I’ve made it no secret over the course of these reviews how much I dislike her. She’s selfish and obnoxious, and she exhibits a lot of the problems present in all of Moffat’s female characters, namely her lack of agency and proper characterisation. Over two and a half series, she hasn’t actually grown or evolved in any meaningful way and we’ve learnt basically nothing about her outside of her relationship with the Doctor. This was most apparent in Series 6 where she gives birth to and loses her child and at no point does Moffat ever address how she feels about that, and the reason for that is because he doesn’t view her as a character. He views her as a plot device in a mini-skirt whose sole contribution to the story is her legs, her sass and her womb. That’s not to say I don’t like Karen Gillan. I think she’s a great actor and episodes like Amy’s Choice and The Girl Who Waited have demonstrated that when you actually give her some good material to work with, she can give a truly amazing performance. It’s just such a shame that Moffat never fully utilised her.

So goodbye Amy and Rory. You could have been so much more, but at the end of the day… you just weren’t.

So in The Angels Take Manhattan, River says it would be impossible to land a Tardis in New York during the 1930s. “This city’s full of time distortions. It’d be impossible to land the Tardis here. Like trying to land a plane in a blizzard. Even I couldn’t do it.” Then, later, after the Ponds create a paradox that destroys (most of) the Weeping Angels, the Doctor says, “I can’t ever take the Tardis back there. The timelines are too scrambled.”

I mean, yes, there’s legitimate criticism of this on strictly logical grounds. Why don’t they just take a bus to New Jersey? But, you know, timey wimey. The time distortions are entangled with the Ponds’ timelines. Their biodata can’t be extricated from it. You can always gobbledegook your way out of time travel stories. The point is emotional: it’s a callback to Amy’s Choice, and Amy made her choice once and for all.

In The Return of Doctor Mysterio, River has just gone to meet her destiny in the Library. The Doctor, lost and grieving after living with her for 24 Earth years, does what we should have expected him to do: he scours the universe for a magic wishing stone that, when mounted in whatever jury-rigged timey-wimey monstrosity he’s cobbled together, will hopefully undo the time distortions created in The Angels Take Manhattan.

“It’s a time distortion equalizer thingy. There’s been a lot of disruption in New York—my fault actually—hopefully this will make it all calm down.”

The Doctor was trying to get the Ponds back. 

10

Hello, old friend, and here we are. You and me, on the last page. By the time you read these words, Rory and I will be long gone. So know that we lived well, and were very happy. And above all else, know that we will love you, always. Sometimes I do worry about you, though. I think once we’re gone, ‘you won’t be coming back here for a while, and you might be alone, which you should never be. Don’t be alone, Doctor. And do one more thing for me. There’s a little girl waiting in a garden. She’s going to wait a long while, so she’s going to need a lot of hope. Go to her. Tell her a story. Tell her that if she’s patient, the days are coming that she’ll never forget. Tell her she’ll go to sea and fight pirates. She’ll fall in love with a man who’ll wait two-thousand years to keep her safe. Tell her she’ll give hope to the greatest painter who ever lived and save a whale in outer space. Tell her this is the story of Amelia Pond. And this is how it ends.

The Darillium Inconsistency

At first I was unhappy that Moffat wrote over First Night/Last Night to say that Eleven didn’t really take River to Darillium…

But then I realized, this fits perfectly with Eleven’s character!

This is the man who used his own regeneration energy to heal his wife’s hand when she broke it escaping from a weeping angel (TATM). OF COURSE he wouldn’t be able to take her to Darillium, knowing that it’s the last place he saw her before the Library. River’s assertion that the Doctor is not sentimental enough to care about her could not be more wrong. Eleven is sentimental enough that he cancelled every time he tried to take River to the towers because he just couldn’t face the fact that his wife was about to go to her death.