#9 The Angels Take Manhattan
written by Steven Moffat
The Collective blog has had a few changes in the past weeks and it has been a while since we touched on the 11 Episodes of Eleven series. Readers, we are almost to the end of the journey. We’ve made the jump into season 7 it has been a season of change. Season 7 brings with it a shift in companions, costumes, intro music and opening sequence. I was underwhelmed by most of season 7, honestly, except for a few key episodes. I loved the addition of Rory’s dad to the storyline, but I missed River Song. The stories seemed so disconnected in the beginning, but they were all leading up to the inevitable shift in cast that audiences had been privy to for some time. I almost didn’t write about this particular episode. I really wanted to skip right over it for a couple of reasons. Namely, the Ponds and Moffatt. I have rec’d a number of Moffat episodes and there are so many other great writers on Doctor Who that deserve a bit of acknowledgment. Also, I realize I’ve gone on and on about River Song to the point where my bias is ridiculously obvious. Still, Whovians cannot deny the impact of this particular episode, and, with only 3 more to go in my series, I have to do it. After this painful experience, we can lose the bowtie, move on to a new adventure and remodel the TARDIS, but for now, we have to talk about The Angels Take Manhattan.
S07xE05 AKA The Episode That Broke My Feels
The episode opens with the Doctor, Amy and Rory in Central Park, New York City. They’re back in America! The Doctor is reading a crime novel by an author named Melody Malone, and spoilers! That is River Song on the cover. Yes, she wrote the book and as he reads, the Doctor finds that the text is about him and his companions, and so the adventure begins. We find that Rory has time traveled to 1938 and River is there. The two of them are taken at gunpoint to the home of an obsessed collector of things, namely, Weeping Angels. This collector has no idea of the power Weeping Angels have, nor that he is messing with the Doctor’s friends. This episode has a number of adorable lines between River and Eleven, who have been married for some time now, as they find out when consulting their diaries. The two of them have such great banter, and this is the first episode is season 7 we see River, even though she was such a huge plot point in season 6. But this episode isn’t about River and Eleven and how much I ship the crap outta them, but about her parents–Amy and Rory and the wibbley-wobbleyness of time.
Since Rory was transported from modern day New York to 1938 by a Weeping Angel, the monsters have him on their radar and will not give up until they have sucked all the time juice from his timeline. When the Doctor, Amy and River travel to the Winter Quay apartment complex, they not only find their Rory but an older Rory who seems to have been there for 60 years and who dies soon after he sees a young Amy at his bedside. This is when Whovians knew things were going to get ugly. We have seen companions go before, Whovians, but never quite like this and never for Eleven. He and Amy and Rory have been together since his regeneration. So far, his seasons have been their seasons, too. A long running theme in Eleven’s storyline has been Amy forced to choose between her husband and her Doctor. The choice has never been truly fatal, and she always has gotten away with not really choosing, but staving off the decision with the help of the Doctor’s ingenuity. This time, Amy is not so lucky. When she is told that Rory has to run from the Angels forever, or continuously be put back in time by them, she decides they will run together. The Doctor and River will run too, but when it comes time for Rory to create a paradox with his death, erasing the Weeping Angels from existing at that point in time and then (hopefully) not dying for the umpteenth time, Amy chooses Rory. It is an emotional scene when the Doctor and River walk onto the roof and find the Ponds on the ledge, ready to jump off. Instead of listening to the Doctor and coming off the building to find another solution, they both jump.
THEEEEN everyone ends up back at the TARDIS, in a graveyard, and so it seems the Angels are beaten, and all is right in the world. Now, the Doctor has been saying throughout the episode that, although time can be rewritten, once it is read, it is written in stone. When Amy reads in the Melody Malone book that the Doctor will break River’s wrist, it must happen. When the Doctor reads the chapter titles and sees the final chapter is titled, ‘Amelia’s Last Farewell,’ it is apparently an event that must take place. Moffat has never mentioned this little tidbit of Whoniverse lore, but as always, if it works for the current story, Moffat is willing to mess with the lore and make it work. Unfortunately, audiences have already seen a strange sight in this graveyard, where the TARDIS landed inexplicably–Rory’s name on a gravestone. This is when it starts to suck. Because Rory sees it too.
What Rory doesn’t see is the Weeping Angel creeping up slowly behind him, who suddenly zaps him back to 1938, we think, and back to Winter Quay, where the Angels have set up an time energy factory. This is not cool, MOFFAT!! We were so close. Almost to the end. River was changing the bulb on the TARDIS and they were getting ready for a family outing. Alas, the time has come for Amy to make a choice. So, she asks the Doctor if the Angels will send her back to the same time as they did Rory. Of course, Eleven doesn’t want her to go and he promises they will figure out a solution, if she will only come back to the TARDIS and leave the Angel alone. But we knew Amy was going to have to make a choice at some point, between the Doctor and Rory. For a time, audiences might not have known who she would choose if it came down to it. When she was kidnapped in “The Impossible Astronaut”, even Rory didn’t know who she would choose. By season 7, the Pond-Williams’ have been through so much, even signing divorce papers at some point between seasons 6 and 7. It was their renewed adventures with the Doctor that brought them together again, and closer than ever. So, when Amy is faced with never seeing the Doctor again or never seeing Rory again, she does the only thing she can. She chooses her husband. Amy asks her daughter to be a good girl and take care of the Doctor, she turns her gaze away from the Angel and lets it touch her, transporting Amy back to 1938, where she lives out the rest of her life with Rory, her name appearing on the tombstone beneath his, and suddenly the future is set in stone. The Doctor will never see Amy again. New York is a no-fly zone for time travel because of the mess the Weeping Angels made of it and only River, with her time vortex manipulator, will ever be able to see her parents again. In fact, it is Amy who publishes River’s Melody Malone book, and when River asks her to write an epilogue for the Doctor, I don’t know about you, but I lost it.
There. I’ve done it. I’ve rec’d the best and worst episode of season 7. Next week, we will meet Clara, the Doctor’s Impossible Girl. Doesn’t mean I don’t desperately miss the Ponds. I’m going to be depressed the rest of the day, aren’t I?
The Collectiva Diva
Rory says goodbye
- DOCTOR WHO Moffat Probably Closing the Book on the Weeping Angels (haveageekasm.com)
- 11 Episodes of the Eleventh Doctor: Let’s Kill Hitler (acollectivemind.wordpress.com)
- 11 Episodes of Eleven: Night and the Doctor Mini Episodes (acollectivemind.wordpress.com)
- 11 Episodes of the Eleventh Doctor: Closing Time (acollectivemind.wordpress.com)