Sunday, 28 September 2014

The Mothership Who Reviews: The Angels Take Manhattan by DJ Forrest

Who Reviews: The Angels Take Manhattan
By DJ Forrest

Doctor Who: Series 7
Writer: Steven Moffat
Director: Nick Hurran
Broadcast: 29 September 2012

The Angels Take Manhattan is the final travelling companion story with Amy and Rory Williams, and what a finale it was.  There were also plenty of red herrings throughout the episode to throw you. 

The opening sequence of the episode began with Sting singing one of my favourite songs, ‘An Englishman in New York’ which set the scene perfectly in my opinion. 
It began in Manhattan, New York; the Doctor, Amy and Rory were having a picnic in the park.  The Doctor was engrossed in a crime novel of the 1930’s and refused to read further ahead to avoid spoilers.  When Amy persisted, he tore out the last few pages from the book. 
When Rory goes off in search of coffee, he is followed by a stone Weeping Angel cherub who sends him back to 1930’s New York where he meets River Song, who in typical 1930’s crime writing style is dressed like many detectives of that era, and if you hadn’t guessed it already, River Song is Melody Malone. 

Back at the picnic in present day, Amy is reading the novel, wearing a round pair of spectacles which I wonder if these were hers or the Doctor’s.  There’s a really great scene of the pair sitting back to back that reminds me of a couple of really great friends rather than a static Doctor and companion.

Amy discovers that Rory is written into the novel and wants to read further ahead to find out why he’s in the 1930’s.  The Doctor insists she doesn’t as this would mean that anything she reads will be destined to happen.  Instead he will take her in the TARDIS to the 1930’s to the exact time the story is set and rescue Rory. 

Rory is captured along with River Song by a collector of fine art, a Mr. Grayle.  Rory is thrown into a cellar where he meets even more Weeping Angel cherubs (who completely creeped me out) who send him to a strange hotel called the Winter Quay apartment building, while River is grabbed by the wrists of a weakened Weeping Angel, who is unable to transport her back in time.  Using her Vortex Manipulator River is able to send a beacon signal in order for the Doctor to find her and Rory.  She breaks her wrist in order to free herself from the clutches of the stone statue. 

When Amy realises who the crime detective is in the story, she uses the table of contents to locate Rory.  The Doctor is saddened when he discovers the last chapter in the novel is entitled “Amelia’s Last Farewell” and doesn’t want to help River escape, feeling that the future would be sealed as far as his companions were concerned.  But when he discovers that River broke her own wrist to free herself, fixes her using his own regeneration energy.  As Amy discovers an empty basement, the Doctor relies on River Song’s VM to detect Rory’s signature at a creepy looking hotel with many windows.  I have to admit at this point, I really did think this was the end for the pair.  There seemed little to no escape from any of the Weeping Angels, who appeared on every level and on every landing and around every other door. 

The Doctor realised that the apartment building was a battery farm, where people right through history had been transported to in order for the Angels to feed off their time energy. 
As the Doctor and crew arrived at the apartment building, Rory found himself drawn to an apartment bearing his name on the door.  Entering he found an elderly version of himself in the bed.  As the Doctor arrived in the room, he knew then that Rory’s fate was sealed.  There was nothing he could do to change that.

Outside of the building in the gloom and the rain, came a thunderous boom, which reminded me of the T-Rex stomping across the complex in Jurassic Park.  Then I realised what it was and have to admit I burst out laughing, but if you are anything like me, the last time I saw the Statue of Liberty stride across the city was in Ghostbusters, and that time she was a true heroine.  This time, she was the worst possible nightmare, Weeping Angel style. 

With Angels everywhere in the apartment building and no chance of any of them reaching the TARDIS for safety, Rory and Amy escape to the roof, where they discover they’re not even safe there.  The booming sound of footsteps across the city has ceased.  Behind them is the Statue of Liberty. 

Rory considers his options, Amy refuses to leave him.  Rory surmises that if he were to throw himself off the roof it would create a paradox and destroy the building, destroying the battery farm.  Amy jumps off the roof with him.  Again I felt that this could have been another ending, if Rory’s plan had failed, but as much as Doctor Who is scary, that idea wouldn’t have left the cutting room floor.

The Doctor, with River, Rory and Amy find themselves near the TARDIS in a graveyard in present day 2012, in New York.  Rory’s crazy plan had worked.  While the Doctor makes plans to take everyone home, Rory is drawn to a grave stone with his name on it, but before he can do anything about it, a rogue Weeping Angel sends him back 50 years into the past. This was one of those ‘Aaargh.’ moments.  Amy is horrified.  She refuses to leave Rory and allows the same Angel to touch her so she can rejoin her husband and live out her days with him.  The Doctor is distraught and so am I.  His two companions are gone and this time their fate is sealed.  He can never get them back. 

River Song ever the warrior reminds the Doctor that there is nothing he can do to bring them back, but that Amy would have been the person to publish the Melody Malone stories in the past.  Realising this, the Doctor races back to the park to recover the torn pages.  He finds a passage written by Amy for the Doctor.  It’s a real tear jerker of a passage so hankies at the ready.  At the end of the letter to the Doctor, Amy asks the Doctor to visit her younger self and take her on amazing journeys in the TARDIS which rounds off the life and loves of Amy Pond.

The Angels Take Manhattan for me had so many red herrings I did wonder when I’d be put out of my misery, from the first instance where Rory disappears in the Park, to losing him again in the basement, to his fate sealed in Winter’s Quay, then the jump from the same said building.  How many times could a man die in one episode???

It was inevitable from that respect that Rory if any, would be the one to leave the show that day.  Odd as it may be, I found I wasn’t ready to let go of Amy Pond.  I liked her quirky humour, her Scottish accent, her red hair.  I wasn’t ready to say goodbye and when she left I felt this hollow feeling inside of me.  Like that moment when Dumbledore died in the Harry Potter novel.  I was NOT expecting that.

It is not often you gel with a good couple of companions, and when they are on the screen you feel an excitement and look forward to the countless journey’s they will take with the mad man in the blue box.  But as with any of the Who companions, all good things must come to an end.  Goodbye Rory and Amy Williams, I shall indeed miss you!

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