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Doctor Who Review "The Angels Take Manhattan"

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Posted by: Darren Blackburn, U.K. Correspondent
created 09/30/2012 - 7:35am, updated 10/01/2012 - 2:14pm

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"This is not any old future Amy, it's ours. Once we know what's coming, it's written in stone--"

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So to all things – and ending.

Five weeks have literally zipped by, but here we are, the last episode of the first half of Series 7 and the last to feature the Ponds — and wasn’t it a right old tear jerker coupled with some genuine chilling moments.

There were so many good things to see here, more so using New York as a setting with “An Englishman in New York” opening the scenes to Central Park, or the typing of the novel and over-narrative in typical Sam Spade mode both in contemporary times and in the scenes set in 1938. I can fully appreciate how fab those thousands of fans must’ve felt watching their heroes film in Central Park; the city that never sleeps provided a visual feast for the drama and climax to follow in both day and night, with glimpses of the metropolis’s statues succumbing to the evil influence of the Weeping Angels.

Out of all modern Who’s menagerie of monsters, the Angels rank as my top pic; I mean the concept of quantum locked assassins who appear as stone as long as you look at them, but move silently the moment you look away is so cool. Here, since their debut back in "Blink," they became even more scary despite not being in every frame. The “battery farm” idea using the Winter Quay hotel was chilling – keeping their victims over and over again to feed of their temporal differential energy – more so when Rory encounters his older self, a second time for Amy since he cropped up back in "The Doctor’s Wife." And as for the giggling cherubs — very neat idea very superbly realized.

It was also fitting that River Song was here, too; now in the guise of Melody Malone private eye, free from the often convoluted origins of her complex life; now a Professor and perhaps just that nearer to her own penultimate appearance before the Doctor gives her his Sonic Screwdriver prior to her mission to the Library. River was a good narration foil — still causing havoc when it suits her and always flirting with her Husband when he comes a calling.

Of course, all of the above ended in the double whammy climax. There’s a “will they/won’t they” moment as Rory and Amy stand on the parapet with a sliver of hope that time may just re-write once more to save the day, and yet in the end, time itself becomes the true enemy — snatching away any hope just as that final lonely assassin takes Rory away for a second time from that New York Graveyard, with Amy realizing that this time The Time Lord can’t save them. The Weeping Angels served their purpose eloquently here, but not everything is doom and gloom as we learn that the Ponds had a happy 87 plus years of life and love without the Doctor — coming full circle as we hear the Tardis finally coming back to land in front of little Amelia Pond, still expectantly sitting on top of her suitcase.

However, fittingly that the story ended up with the Pond’s solution to create a paradox to stop the Angels, the story has a few dangling plot lines to mull over — for answers to come as/when Steven Moffat wants to answer them. There were flicking light bulbs aplenty, but apparently not related to the Weeping Angels. And not an egg in sight. But the sight of the Christmas special with Jenna Louise Coleman steeping smartly out a "Pride and Prejudice" novel and a more morose sombre Matt Smith wets the appetite for the 3 month hiatus.

In summing up, not everyone loves the Ponds as companions; perhaps in some ways they’ve overstayed their welcome a season ago. Even so, it’s rare we’ve effectively seen the life of a companion from beginning to final end. From a little girl worried about a crack in a wall to growing up biting shrinks pining for her imaginary hero, to falling in love with a nurse from the local hospital to giving birth to a weapon that could kill a Time Lord. Whatever you may think of the characters, Matt Smith, Karen Gillan and Arthur Davril made an effective Power of Three and leave a more than great legacy in the constantly evolving phenomena that is Doctor Who

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