'Doctor Who' recap: Death is inevitable in 'The Angels Take Manhattan'
Yes, Amy and Rory died. But not in the sort of unbearably tragic, "How could they?!?!," fashion that may have done severe psychological damage to the many younger fans of "Doctor Who." Instead, the end of the Ponds was actually quite romantic, befitting the only married couple to ever serve as The Doctor's companions.
They were zapped into the past by those nasty time energy-eating Weeping Angels, and due to convolutions and contrivances of plotting their deaths became fixed points in time. Not even The Doctor could save them. But even though the Angels left Amy and Rory trapped outside of their normal timeline, they were able to spend their lives together, grow old and pass away (presumably peacefully) after many, many years.
Last week's episode, "The Power of Three," established that even if they sometimes felt like they wanted to, Amy and Rory could never give up life with The Doctor. And The Doctor would never give up traveling with his Ponds. There needed to be a cataclysmic event that would sever those ties. Executive producer Steven Moffat very wisely chose his own creation -- the Weeping Angels first appeared in "Blink," the fourth "Doctor Who" episode Moffat ever wrote -- to do the nasty deed.
As David Tennant's Tenth Doctor explained in "Blink": "Fascinating race, the Weeping Angels. The only psychopaths in the universe to kill you nicely. No mess, no fuss, they just zap you into the past and let you live to death."
What better way for Amy and Rory to go out than living to death... together.
As an episode of "Doctor Who," "The Angels Take Manhattan" benefited from excellent on-location use of New York City and a clever film noir style that sprang from a book River Song was writing under the nom de plume Melody Malone. But that was just the window dressing. The main event of "The Angels Take Manhattan" was Amy and Rory's goodbye, which was pulled off with suspense, humor and maximum emotional impact.
Death hung over the entire episode -- the TARDIS kept getting pulled to a graveyard, we saw Rory's gravestone before The Doctor and Amy did, the final chapter of River's book was titled "Amelia's Last Farewell" -- and all the little moments built that one very big moment as Rory and Amy jump off the Winter Quay building with their arms around each other, hoping to create a paradox that would wipe out the Weeping Angels for good.
Both Amy and Rory's rooftop conversation and Amy and The Doctor's farewell in the graveyard rank among the finest scenes we've seen in the current run of "Doctor Who." How can you not share the deep emotions all of these characters -- Amy, Rory, The Doctor and River -- are feeling as they face an inevitable end? We wanted to cry. And Moffat gave us what we wanted.
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").
Even if we never see the Ponds again, we can now rest easy that Steven Moffat did them justice. From the cradle to the grave.