Mon
Oct 1 2012 2:00pm

Doctor Who: “The Angels Take Manhattan”

I cried. Buckets. Not stoic, noble, dignified tears, either. I’m talking snot-drippage and heaving. I’m talking the kind of crying kids do, because they’re, like, four and they don’t know what else to do with themselves. It was worse because I was alone, watching “The Angels Take Manhattan” at 3am on Amazon.com, because I couldn’t watch the broadcast earlier in the day. So, I was heave-sobbing all alone in my room as I watched the Doctor heave-sob over the departure of Amy and Rory.

Damn you, Moffat.

New York in the 1930s, a P.I. is hired for a strange case. A collector of rarities by the name of Grayle hires him to investigate statues that move... which is ridiculous, of course. Except that those statues are Weeping Angels, and that P.I. ends up getting sucked into their time energy farm in the Winter Quay building. Meanwhile, the Doctor, Amy, and Rory are hanging out in present-day New York enjoying a day in Central Park; a day that gets shot to hell when Rory goes for coffee and gets sucked back into New York’s past, to the Winter Quay, with the Doctor and Amy precariously following in the TARDIS. There, they find River Song, who’s replaced the now-missing P.I. in Grayle’s investigation. Amy finds Rory, and they all find Old Rory, who’s lived out his life without Amy in that building, a prisoner of the Weeping Angels.

They figure out that the Winter Quay building is, and decide that they want to save Rory by attempting to run. When that fails, Rory decides to jump off the building, with the notion that if he dies there, and not as an old man, he’ll cause a paradox that will destroy the Winter Quay and the Angels, and possibly save him. Amy, not able to bear life without him, decides to jump too. They collapse the Winter Quay timeline and end up back in the cemetery where they started. However, as they, the Doctor, and River plan a family outing at the pub, Rory is sucked back in time by a surviving Weeping Angel. Devastated, Amy does the only thing she can do, deciding (like she did in “Amy’s Choice”) that she’d sacrifice the certainty of a life lived without Rory for the slight possibility of being able to live out her life with him. With a tearful farewell, she tells River/Melody to “be a good girl” and take care of the Doctor, bids her Raggedy Man goodbye, and let’s the Angel take her to Rory. We learn in an afterward Amy writes for a book that River/Melody publishes, that (in addition to Amy apparently becoming an editor or publisher) Amy and Rory had a happy life together. Amy tells the Doctor that she and Rory love him very much, and she warns him to never travel alone. Lastly, she asks the Doctor to tell Young Amelia Pond the story of herself; the woman she will become, the man she will love, and the adventures she’ll have.

Steven Moffat has never really solidified the rules of the Weeping Angels properly, and is generally too timey-wimey for his own good (he did introduce that phrase in “Blink,” after all). Granted, humanity isn’t consistent either, and rules always have exceptions, but things that the Angels are capable of physically should always be consistent, or be properly explained when they’re not. Here’s what didn’t work:

  • The Statue of Liberty could never be a Weeping Angel. While that was definitely a cool, fun thing to see, too many people are looking at the Statue of Liberty all the time: planes, boats, people passing in cars on bridges, or looking out their apartment windows. If the Statue of Liberty were a Weeping Angel, it would never move. Certainly not up to a building! And once it’s there? No one notices that the Statue of Liberty is UP AGAINST A BUILDING? That’s not front-page news the next day?
  • For that matter, Weeping Angels in big cities, particularly populous cities in small spaces like New York, don’t make sense. Yes, there are lots of statues amongst which they can hide, but there are also too many eyes. It doesn’t make sense for the Angels to choose to go there at all, let alone set up a farm. Yes, plenty of people from whom they can suck time energy, but they’d never be able to move long enough to do anything about it.

  • Nick Hurran’s direction of this episode not only contradicted a million Weeping Angel rules, but in doing so took me out of otherwise amazing, emotional moments. The scene with Rory and Amy on the roof comes to mind. Rory looks away from the Statue of Liberty to talk to Amy in a touching moment, and while I was able to rationalize that away because of the point above about a statue like that always having eyes on it (and so it really shouldn’t have been able to get there in the first place), the fact is that I had to stop and think about that when I should have been fully engaged in that beautiful moment between husband and wife. It would have been a much more powerful choice to direct scenes like that less carelessly, making sure that Rory didn’t and couldn’t look away from the Angel and forcing him to express his deep, profound feelings without being able to make eye contact.
  • Can’t land the TARDIS in New York, because there’s time distortions? And even when the TARDIS can land, there’s always the possibility of tearing New York apart? Really? Because the Doctor has totally been there before. Several times. In fact, even in this episode, after the Doctor says he can’t go back to New York... he goes back to New York to get Amy’s last page.
  • How exactly did River break her own wrist without blinking (and, while she was at it, cringing in pain)? She was alone with an Angel. She should have been zapped back in time. Also, the Doctor already went against what he heard in the book by telling River to escape the Angel’s grasp without breaking her wrist and without breaking it himself. So, why didn’t they just break the Angel’s wrist again?

So, with all this inconsistency with Weeping Angel rules and time travel rules, why was this episode ultimately satisfying to me? Because the most important thing that needed to be consistent for me were the characters. It was well-publicized that this episode would be the last for Amy and Rory. The story could’ve been about anything. My primary concern was: Will Amy and Rory leave the show in a way that is worthy of them and is true to their characters? “The Angels Take Manhattan” gave them a worthy exit, and gave us deeper insight not just into Amy and Rory, but into all the characters’ relationships with each other.

Amy and Rory have always been an amazing couple, and over their three seasons on the show, we’ve gotten to watch them grow into each other and into what marriage means for them. Remember when Amy was running from marrying Rory, unsure she was able to handle being a Mrs.? Remember when Rory was threatened by how Amy felt about the Doctor? It’s hard to imagine that the strong, assured couple we see in “The Angels Take Manhattan” was ever once just those insecure, jittery people who couldn’t handle their love for each other, but they were, and this episode was a lovely payoff after years of watching them grow up. Their being so selfless with and for each other both in small ways (Rory not wanting to point out the lines around Amy’s eyes) and in huge ways (being willing to die for and with each other so as not to be apart), and their ease with being vulnerable around each other (Rory not hiding his fear of dying, Amy not hiding her fear of losing him) can be summed up in Amy’s line to Rory, “That’s marriage.” At least, it’s what marriage should be - two people who can be at their strongest and their weakest with each other knowing it’s okay, because they are loved. We got Amy and Rory Williams at their best in this episode.

The Doctor and Amy had a close-knit relationship from the start. Unlike other companions where each was merely a stop on the others’ journey, Amy and the Doctor started their relationship when they were each only starting to bloom. Amy was the “first face [the Doctor’s] face saw” when he regenerated for the eleventh time, and the Doctor came into Amy’s life when she was only a child. They’ve helped and watched each other grow up, and it was touching to watch the end of their relationship in the context of the Doctor hating endings. Having Amy need reading glasses and having lines around her eyes was poignant, because of they served as a reminder that Amy is aging and will one day no longer be there for him. It was understandable that, while with other companions he might have been a little better about holding it together upon their departure, allowing them to go (sometimes forcing them to go against their will) nobly for “their own good,” he just couldn’t do it with Amy and he broke down. Having Amy leave him with the words “Raggedy Man, goodbye” was an amazing moment, as it was the perfect culmination of everything she’d ever felt and been through with the Doctor. She was at her most mature and bidding her “imaginary friend” goodbye.

We also got an interesting look at the Doctor and River as a married couple. Granted, their marriage is a lot less conventional than Amy and Rory’s, but there is no doubt that they love each other deeply, and it was an interesting contrast watching their marriage juxtaposed with that of River’s parents. There was a similar show of being selfless with and for each other (River not telling him about breaking her wrist, the Doctor using his regeneration energy to heal her) as well as a mutual showing of vulnerability, but it was appropriate to their characters as they are each less comfortable than Amy and Rory at being in a relationship with anyone. Their marriage is unconventional mostly because they are two people who should never be married, and they can only be in a marriage with someone similarly emotionally handicapped. It’s weird, but it works for them. It’s the only thing that can.

Baby Angels totally play into my fear/hatred of singing children in horror movies. I wasn’t particularly scared of the adult Angels in this, but the laughing and pitter-pattering of the baby ones? *shudders* They gave me new reason to be afraid. Ugh.

The performances of the main cast were brilliant in this episode. Matt Smith, Karen Gillan, and Arthur Darvill were completely unguarded and raw in this, and it was amazing to watch. Their chemistry as a foursome along with Alex Kingston as River was wonderful, too, and it’s a shame that we won’t get to ever watch them have that family outing. Gillan makes a powerful young mother. Kingston makes an intriguing older daughter. Smith and Darvill make an amazing father and son-in-law. They were a great team.

Despite its timey-wimey flaws, “The Angels Take Manhattan” was ultimately successful in getting the important stuff right. It did the characters justice, and allowed each of them to go on in an honorable way. I was concerned when I heard that Moffat planned a tear-jerker, anticipating a cheap death. However, having Amy and Rory essentially “die” in this timeline, but continue to live out a happy life together elsewhere anyway was the perfect way to let them go. They have always struggled with the choice of staying with the Doctor or living their mundane lives. Amy and Rory got to have both, and they got to have it by choice. So often, the Doctor thinks he gets to decide what’s best for his companions. It’s powerful to see companions leading their lives on their own terms, and Amelia Pond got an amazing ending to her story; one that seven-year-old her can be proud.

Well, that’s it for a couple of months! Come back shortly after Christmas where I’ll be right here talking about the Doctor Who Christmas special and the introduction of the Doctor’s new companion!


Teresa Jusino will miss the Pond-Williamses very, very much. Her Feminist Brown Person take on pop culture has been featured on websites like GirlGamer.com, Al Dia, ChinaShopMag.com, PinkRaygun.com, Newsarama, and PopMatters.com. November 2012 will see Teresa’s work in two upcoming Doctor Who anthologies, Chicks Unravel Time (Mad Norwegian Press) and Outside In (ATB Publishing). She is also a writer/producer on Miley Yamamoto’s upcoming sci-fi web series, RETCON, which is set to debut in 2013. For more on her writing, get Twitterpated with Teresa, “like” her on Facebook, or visit her at The Teresa Jusino Experience.

83 comments
Emmet O'Brien
1. EmmetAOBrien
I thought this one was stunningly awful; it's not just the Angel stuff that doesn't make sense.

We know the Doctor can directly sense fixed points in time. (The Fires of Pompeii) We know that if you attempt to interfere with them, they either work out the way they have to anyway (The Fires of Pompeii, The Waters of Mars, the eventual resolution of Wedding of River Song) or if you do manage to thwart them, the universe shatters (set-up of The Wedding of River Song.) What they don't do is change smoothly and fluidly with no consequences. Which the inscription on the headstone does. By all the established logic of Moffat's own run, that's not a fixed point in time.

Also, even if we are to accept that headstone as a fixed point, what in all the universe prevents the Doctor going back in time, arranging to fake it, and bringing the Ponds elsewhere ? Has everything between 1938 and 2012 (or whenever the Ponds would have died in their eighties - round about 1980, I'd guess) become inaccessible to him now ? The time distortion around the Angels in 1938 was specifically cited as going away once the paradox got rid of them, yes ? The goodbyes did not make me weep because I was too furious with the Doctor arbitrarily giving up.

Also, I really really hope that the Doctor's ability to heal other people with his regenerative energy is going to be locked down as a River-specific thing, and a consequence of her previously using energy to heal him (Let's Kill Hitler), or else there's forty-nine years of collateral damage around the Doctor's adventures that now looks like deliberate neglect.

Also, are we supposed to believe the Doctor and River just walking away and leaving that last escaped Angel, after it powered up on the temporal energy of Rory and Amy's lives? Or the Doctor actually trying to persuade Amy to abandon Rory and come away with him ? That's as much of a change to extablished characterisation as any of the changes to time-travel logic.

(I can sympathise with Karen Gillan wanting to leave the show and go out on a definitive no-returns note. I am kind of hoping that in twenty years she'll change her mind and whoever is Doctor then can rescue her playing the alternate older Amy from "The Girl Who Waited".)
Uncle Mikey
2. Uncle Mikey
I've come to the conclusion (not an unsympathetic one, either, although some people would say what I'm about to say with contempt) that Moffat has decided to treat time travel as magic. And not the modern fantasy sort of magic where there are rules of some sort somewhere, but the older, more arbitrary sort of magic where there MIGHT be rules of some sort somewhere but the person reading/viewing the story will never, ever know them and wouldn't understand them if they did. "The Universe works in mysterious ways" sort of magic. There is no logic to it and there isn't supposed to be.

And basically, "timey-wimey" is Moffat code for, "Warning: The Magic you are about to see is not Clarke's Law in action but simply Magic. Don't try to reason it out."

Once you digest that...it all goes down much more smoothly.

Anyway, beyond that, I pretty much agree with you completely, especially about the performances. Everyone was top of their emotional game here, not least of which because the actors were, I think, genuinely emotional about bringing this era to an end!
Beth Meacham
3. bam
But how will the Doctor tell Brian what's happened? I think they're going to have to address that.
David Thomson
4. ZetaStriker
Can’t land the TARDIS in New York, because there’s time distortions? And even when the TARDIS can land, there’s always the possibility of tearing New York apart? Really? Because the Doctor has totally been there before. Several times. In fact, even in this episode, after the Doctor says he can’t go back to New York... he goes back to New York to get Amy’s last page.
He couldn't go back to the Winter Quay in whatever year most of the episode took place in, because of the massive Weeping Angel presence. They seemed to use a specific point in time as their farm, and that's the time he can't return to. So that part made sense. The only thing that didn't was why he couldn't park the TARDIS in Jersey and take the bus or something. I also don't get how Amy could get and edit a book while improsined in the Quay. Why else would all those people live their entire lives there, unless they were being warped back to their room by guard angels every time they stepped outside?
How exactly did River break her own wrist without blinking (and, while she was at it, cringing in pain)? She was alone with an Angel. She should have been zapped back in time. Also, the Doctor already went against what he heard in the book by telling River to escape the Angel’s grasp without breaking her wrist and without breaking it himself. So, why didn’t they just break the Angel’s wrist again?
It was said in-episode that the angel in question was too weak from the torture to manipulate time.
J W
5. Susurrin
The goodbyes did not make me weep because I was too furious with the Doctor arbitrarily giving up.
I had a similar thought, but really isn't that EXACTLY what the Doctor has done with virtually EVERY companion he has ever had? He has ample opportunity to go back and set things right for almost every one of his former companions. He has a box that can travel anywhere in time. He could easily save, protect, rescue virtually all of the ones that parted in unpleasant ways.

If I were Moffatt (which I'm not) I would give the Doctor a story arc that spins out from his loss here and where he goes out to set things right for those he is supposed to care for most. The Doctor learns Lethbridge Stewart waited for him the last 6 months of his life. Why can't the Doctor go and visit him to say goodbye exactly? He has a flipping TIME MACHINE!

For a show that plays around with time as much as this one does, there really is very little reason for a depressing ending, because there is always time for the Doctor to go back and set things right or turn things around. Sure, every once in awhile a companion should leave and it should be final and perhaps sad (I'm looking at you Donna Noble), but by and large there's little reason why there should be so many sucktastic endings for the companions.
J W
6. Susurrin
The only thing that didn't was why he couldn't park the TARDIS in Jersey and take the bus or something. I also don't get how Amy could get and edit a book while improsined in the Quay. Why else would all those people live their entire lives there, unless they were being warped back to their room by guard angels every time they stepped outside?
He shouldhave been able to go elsewhere in space and walk/drive/bicycle to new york.

As for Amy getting the book and editing it...When Rory caused the paradox the Quay was wiped out, so there was no time energy farm for Rory and Amy to get sent back to...i.e. no Quay. They lived out normal lives from whenever they went back to and weren't trapped. Evidentally, River got to visit them and the Doctor acknowledges this by saying that River will write the book and send it to Amy to get published.

At least that's the way I took it.
Thom Dunn
7. ThomDunn
While Rory & Amy's double-suicide had me in tears, I definitely agree with all of the complaints about internal story logic that came into play in the end.

One of my biggest issues so far in this season though? Moffat's insistence on telling things instead of showing them. I liked the idea of Amy having slight crow's feet on her eyes -- but I couldn't see them. In fact, despite it having been 10 years since "The Wedding of River Song," Amy & Rory both still have the same haircuts, and neither one has gained any weight. Nothing to physically indicate that they have aged, even slightly. This being a television show, this kind of oversight strikes me as a little lazy (and certainly nitpicky on my part, but still).

The other example of this: the Doctor "erasing his identity" from history. We saw an example of this in "Asylum of the Daleks," but otherwise, we've just been told a few times that "Oh yeah, people don't know who the Doctor is any more," but I've been having trouble believing / understanding that as well. The fact that they addressed it in this episode in regards to River's time in prison has also bothered me: if the Doctor has been erasing all record of his existence from time, why would River have ever been arrested for murder in the first place, if he never existed as far as anyone knew?
J W
8. Susurrin
The fact that they addressed it in this episode in regards to River's time in prison has also bothered me: if the Doctor has been erasing all record of his existence from time, why would River have ever been arrested for murder in the first place, if he never existed as far as anyone knew?
I was always confused as to what authority locked River up in the first place? I mean she was locked up for "killing" the Doctor in Utah at a remote lake. Why is some high tech prison locking her up for a crime that very likely never got reported?!
Emmet O'Brien
9. EmmetAOBrien
UcleMikey@2: Once you digest that...it all goes down much more smoothly.

Not really, because if handwavey-ineffable magic created the situation, it's impossible to rule the possibility of handwavey-ineffable magic undoing it at the drop of a fez, so the goodbyes lose emotional impact because it's impossible to believe they're final.
Mordicai Knode
10. mordicai
Aw man, I am a new fan so this is the first time companions have left on my watch. Saaaaaaaaaaad.
treebee72 _
11. treebee72
All of the emotional impact of this farewell hinges on the fact that they will never see each other again & when you are spending the whole scene trying to figure out WHY they will never see each other again, there is no impact.
Uncle Mikey
12. Bittersweet Fountain
My friend and I watched this together and during Amy and Rory's entire heartfelt scene on the roof we kept shouting at the TV, "DON'T LOOK AWAY FROM THE STATUE OF LIBERTY! WHERE IS THE STATUE OF LIBERTY?" So yes, I completely agree that the direction of that entire sequence was off and kept us from realizing what an emotional scene we were supposed to be seeing.
Uncle Mikey
13. Alyssa E
I loved this episode. Did it have problems? Yeah, but all Doctor Who episodes have a problem or two. It was the perfect ending for the companions and this part of the Doctor's adventures.

As far as "saving" the Ponds, did they need saving? From the book and their headstones, it seems Rory and Amy lived a long and happy life together. The Doctor trying to save them when they're not showing any distress at their current lives would be selfish. And if the Doctor can just go "save" people, despite references to paradoxes and problems with that, why didn't he do more for his past companions and acquaintances? The Doctor may be SpaceGandalf, but he can't fix everything.

The Weeping Angels... yeah, that was problematic, but I felt the wrap up of the Doctor and the Ponds was perfectly done.
Uncle Mikey
14. mutantalbinocrocodile
A few fine points that I haven't seen mentioned:

Thought it was very interesting, given the suicide scene, that River titled her chapter about Rory 'The Roman in the Cellar". With that buildup, it came through more clearly that Rory's willingness to commit suicide for the greater good was, in some way, a reflection of his remembered life experience as a Roman. Culturally, it would be much easier for a Roman man than an Englishman to countenance that (and asking for help from a loved one wasn't considered to be a failure of courage by Roman standards). Liked seeing that dichotomy wrapped up, if very subtly.

And in terms of subtle notes, found it very emotionally satisfying that Amy chose to be buried under the name "Amelia Williams". Her preference for the name Amy Pond has always been written as slightly juvenile (or a reflection of the juvenile way in which the Doctor sees her), so very nice to get that evidence of maturation and accepting her whole self.
Uncle Mikey
15. Chris Bohn
I thought the Amy-with-lines-around-her-eyes had a nice "Peter Pan and Wendy" flavor to it.
Uncle Mikey
17. Bryan Rasmussen
anyway, the Quay was destroyed by the paradox, but then Rory ended up being sent back anyway by an angel who escaped. Thus he did not go to the Quay but rather to the general area, for example where he first went in New York?

And I guess Amy went to the same place. or nearby.
David Goldfarb
18. David_Goldfarb
Here's another question: why does something being written in the book make it fixed? What's written in the book isn't necessarily what happens, it's just what River wrote down afterwards.

(I actually thought of how River could have used her Vortex manipulator to escape from the Angel's grasp, too...and then it turned out that she did just break her own wrist.)
Uncle Mikey
19. Muneca
I also didn't like this episode but then I haven't liked any of ELEVEN's episodes that writting just seems off and I can't connect with the Doctor. It's like he has no heart, he's a big kid and its all about him, him, him.

The part I didn't get was if he erased himself from History why was TEN able to give that grand speech that made the Vashta Nerada back off he shouldn't have been in those books then. So he either is or he isn't you can't have both. And River Song is a professor now how much longer does she have before that doctor and her have their last dance and she gets sent to her permanent life in the libeary.
Rob Hansen
20. RobHansen
Yeah, I had real problems with the Statue of Liberty as a Weeping Angel, not leasyt of which is that it's hollow and made of copper. A far better way of using Lady Liberty would be something along the lines of a suitably enormous 'queen' Angel attempting to manifest in some fashion (see the image of an Angel becoming an Angel in previous series) and being tricked by the Doctor into doing so over Lady Liberty. The wrinkle being of course that it could never now fully manifest because there's always someone looking at the Statue of Liberty, 24/7. 360 days a year. Basically, it would then be the people of New York who kept it permanently out of phase and so imprisoned .
Jenny Thrash
21. Sihaya
I just couldn't cry about the episode. The rules were so messed up, such an obvious, "He can't go back BECAUSE WE SAY SO," that the emotional impact was lost on me going, "WTF? Seriously? But River can go back on her own with the manuscript. But she can't take personal vortex manipulators for Amy in Rory in her pocket when she does so. And Amy and Rory can't get themselves to the other end of the earth, where they would be far, far from the bundle of angels and their pockets of time-sewer blockages, wait a reasonable amount of time, like a year, and find a way to send a message that says, "Get me out of here!" Because the Doctor doesn't change the history he reads in history books every day. And no way could there have beena few guys with the name Rory A. Williams (because nobody runs into the same three names, over and over again, when they research censuses - I have ancestors who share the same names who married wives with the same names - in different times and places). Rory also couldn't go ahead and purchase an empty plot and a carved tombstone as a total psych-out to history. And even the Doctor can't go strap on a vortex manipulator and drop by just for long enough to say 'hi' every so often! Nope, this is tragic and permanent, because THEY SAY SO. And by the way, somehow the French built a giant Angel." Too much telling, not enough showing/proving.

I'm sorry that this is the last we'll see of Rory and Amy, two perfectly lovely companions whom I've enjoyed alot. I hope it's the last we'll see of the Angels. In the end, I just thought, "Well, at least Rory and Amy will always have each other, until they die of happy old age. And that ain't so bad."
Uncle Mikey
22. Zwirko
I don't really understand why the Doctor can't ever see Amy and Rory again. If he's ever in 1970's Earth somewhere, what's to stop him from taking a visit to New York? Or visiting the Ponds when they went on vacation to Seattle in 1958 (made up scenario)?
Uncle Mikey
23. John R. Ellis
I took it to mean "can't go to New York during the span that the Angels have warped time by stealing all those people's lives", not "can't go to New York period."
Uncle Mikey
24. Cain S. Latrani
The whole episode, all of it, was dreadful. It made no sense by the established rules of the show, the goodbyes were overdone and overly melodramatic. All of it was just so ham fisted.

Of course, I pretty much feel that way about the whole run of Moffett as the man in charge. Plot holes, gaping ones, abound in every season.

I get that a lot of people love the last two and half seasons of Doctor Who, but really, I'm hoping that at some point in time we can get back to Doctor Who and be done with the 'Hey! Magic!' trip the shows been on.
Ashley Fox
25. A Fox
Lol, I cried too. I also watched it with my four year old...who did not cry, but rather assured me that it woud be all right, it's Amy.

And I do rather think that is key when watching Doctor Who, and when offering critism. It is meant to please children and adults. I enjoyed the emotional culmination and departure. The development of characters and their relationships. The complex emotional journey the Dr is going through...his disorded timeline (my suspician that perhaps Dinosaurs on a spaceship may actually take place after this ep).

My son loved the angels, and appreciated the fact they were'nt quite as scary this time round. When the baby angels were being creepy he got really excited becuase he could hear next door's baby making eerily similar noises, he wanted to go out and catch the baby angel! The booming steps that unsneaked to the building-which may have been Optimus Prime, before there was the ancipatory 'oh no...its going to be a massive angel!' He was happy that Amy followed Rory-becuase they love each other and are best friends, and rather worried that the Dr would be alone. And, well rather pissed that River wasnt going to stay with him. He doesnt trust the darlek lady and is christmas in three days?

So yes thre were some stetchers in seeming who lore but these stretches kinda epitomize the very reason Who has been, and is so, popular.

Saying that there were a few little bits that led to to possibilities for some things mentioned above.

Erased from history. People keep saying 'how could he have done x if he was erased'. Becuase he has already done that. We see at which point in his timeline that erasing happens (Asylum of the Darleks). Then we see how that effect ripples out-in this timeline-across space and time. Digitally speaking history has been written, but in literal terms the actions ect still took place. The Darleks failed to recognise him becuase their recognicion is filtered through data, rather that an independant organic process. Such as Amy, River etc still remembering him.

I believe River stated that she handed herself over to the authorities, confessing the murder of the Doctor. We know it's possible to track the docotor becuase of events, power usage in a regen ect. The Doctor fakes his death, River confesses, 'tracking' results are explained.

Oh and I think this may pan out, plot wise, when we start to see the powers behind these nefarious plots he stumbles into, scooby doo like.

Fixed points and Time discrepancies. Rory's death was a fixed point in time...what the Dr was running from all ep (and in someways from his death etc, his and Amy's convo and he running from/to, red/blue bowtie). Amy's death was not fixed, but she choose (lierally) to yoke her fate to Rory's. Amy died before Rory, meaning that old Rory would still be alive to greet Young Amy when they go to NY. As in before Young Amy and Rory destroy the paradox.

They still live in a NY dominated by the Angels and their time discrepancy thingy. (which made enough sense to me. Angels create Time energy to feed on time energy. The more they feed, the more powerful they become, the greater time energy they can produce to get the biggest harvest. Here we see where these levels of time energy are effecting time itself. Do you think, if left unchecked, they could get powerful enough to feed on time itself? Presuming it exists, of couse. Ha )

I dont think River sees them again either-it wouldnt be possible. But then, all she would have to do is travel to the right time, far from NY and mail the book to Amy.

How do they escape from Winter to enable a happy life together? Well, it is Amy and Rory.
Uncle Mikey
26. Syllabus
I have the sense that the Doctor is going to go full-on-vengeful-Timelord-last-days-of-David-Tennant if he doesn't get a new companion soon.
Christopher Hatton
27. Xopher
This episode was bullshit from beginning to end. I was all ready to cry. Instead I was shouting "Bullshit!" at the television and waxing wroth toward Moffat.

He's better than this. He just didn't fucking try. The Ponds deserved better than this too. Pisses me off.

The Ponds could have gone to Philadelphia and set up with a lawyer to deliver a note to the Doctor in the graveyard in 2012 (as happened in "Blink"). He then flies the TARDIS to Philly and picks them up.

But no, everyone has to be plot-stupid, and none of the obvious (and not excluded in the script or by any rules previously established) solutions would work, just by writerly fiat.

Darvill and Gillam were perfect, but I wasn't able to enjoy their great chemistry and wonderful acting because of the writer with his hands over his ears going "I CAN'T HEAR YOU LA LA LA."

Crap script. Crap. Do better, Moffat. Maybe someday we'll forgive you for this, but don't expect it to be soon.
Uncle Mikey
29. Pendard
Teresa is right that what matters in the episode is the characters, not the timey-wimey plot twists. However, I didn't have any problem with the believability of the timey-wimey plot twists -- I thought they made sense within the rules of the series (if not the rules of science).

The rules of time travel on Doctor Who may be a bit like magic, but (A) that isn't Moffat's fault because he didn't make up the show's rules, and (B) what has been established is consistent and Moffat sticks to it. Specifically: Some points in time are fixed and some are fluid. The fixed ones can never, ever be altered, but they can be cheated if you're clever. Only time sensitive species, like Time Lords, can tell the difference between fixed and fluid. Fixed points are rare. Paradoxes are more common and aren't the same as fixed points. Even when you're not at a fixed point, you must avoid creating a paradox within your own timeline. If you create a big enough paradox, it can rip a hole in the universe and monsters from outside the universe will infect the hole and eat everyone (like in "Father's Day"). Crossing your own timeline doesn't necessarily create a paradox but it puts you at great risk of a paradox. If you cross your timeline, you must do everything the same as before to avoid a paradox. Paradoxes can be sustained up to a certain point by beings of great termporal power, such as TARDISes. However, once the sustaining power fails, a timeline based on a paradox will unravel (like the Master's timeline in "The Last of the Time Lords"). Here endeth the rules of time travel.

These rules were bequeathed to Moffat by Russell T. Davies and Moffat follows them, but he has more fun with them than RTD did. Sometimes he arguably has a little too much fun and the ridiculousness of the rules is highlighted. (It is pretty convenient that only the Doctor can tell when something should or shouldn't be changed, so maybe a writer shouldn't point that out.) But it isn't Moffat's fault that the rules are a little ridiculous -- he didn't make them up, after all. The only thing he is guilty of is not stopping to explain why his storytelling makes sense within the already established rules. He doesn't do that because that would be boring. He lets people figure it out on the Internet instead.

In this episode, the Angels have created a very tortured, twisted timeline but since they're beings that transcend time they can maintain the paradox, like the TARDIS maintained the Master's paradoxical timeline at the end of season 3. However, Angels aren't anywhere near as powerful as TARDISes, so Rory's death makes their paradoxical timeline a little too paradoxical and it unravels -- again, like the Master's paradoxical timeline did at the end of season 3. It makes sense that the TARDIS had difficulty landing at the heart of a paradox -- it tried to flee from Captain Jack (a fixed point) and reacted badly to the two Amys in "The Girl Who Waited" (a paradox). The only nitpick left to make is this: The Doctor could visit Amy and Rory in the past any time by landing the TARDIS in Duluth and then traveling to New York by bus.

I admit was a little thrown by how the Statue of Liberty could move through Manhattan without anyone seeing it -- it only does it at the moment of paradox when younger self meets older self, so maybe time is frozen outside of the hotel at this moment? (We see Time Lords can go linear in looping timelines in "City of Death" and "The Lodger." Maybe Angels, who are also time sensitives, can do this too? I know I'm reaching.) Still, the Statue moving doesn't bother me that much. I'm actually more thrown by the fact that the Angels have apparently been able to move while looking at each other ever since "The Time of Angels." I didn't have any problem with Amy and Rory's conversation on the ledge, since the Statue is enormous and in their peripheral vision the whole time -- as long as they don't happen to blink at the same time, it couldn't move. As far as the Statue actually BEING an Angel, my understanding was it really wasn't one -- the Doctor says the Angels have taken over a lot of the statues in the city. Moffat didn't explain how that worked, but I assumed it had something to do with the fact that the image of an Angel is an Angel. Their image is their power, so it makes sense they can control anything that resembles them. That also explains why Angels aren't climbing out of millions of post cards, since those are just the image of an image. It's a new power, but it makes sense.
Alan Brown
30. AlanBrown
I pretty much agree with Teresa and some others above when they say that the episode hit all its marks emotionally, if not logically, and that was enough for me. I have been accepting Star Trek transporters for years that work or don't work based on the needs of the script. So I can buy a time warp that keeps the Doctor away from the vicinity of a particular place in a particular period. And that fixed points in time exist or not based on the needs of the plot of the particular episode. And yes, the Statue of Liberty is hollow and copper, but the idea of it being a monster tramping through the city is pretty darn cool, so I will go along with it. If you think too hard about Doctor Who, and what he could do if he used his time traveling abilities to their fullest, most of the plots could fall apart anyhow.
Best thing about this episode, besides some very good acting and examples of true love and sacrifice, was those baby angels--one of the creepiest monsters ever! And the creepiest moment of all was when the one blew out the match. (I suppose you could argue that a stone statue cannot muster any breath, but again, I am willing to overlook details).
This episode was Moffet at his most tricky, clever and outrageous. Which many of us, myself included, very much enjoy.
I can see the alternate viewpoint, though. The best Doctor Who episodes are when the emotional part is grounded in some sort of firm logic. Take the Vincent Van Gogh episode, where what made his fate a fixed point in time was not a bit of plot trickery, but the power of the illness he struggled with. THAT was an emotionally powerful episode.
Uncle Mikey
31. albeus51
Great review! I totally agree that the most important aspects of this episode were handled extremely well. The timey-wimey aspects or supposed inconsistencies really didn't bother me.
I am just happy Amy decided her own fate and that it wasn't decided for her. I was also delighted to see that she chose "Amelia Williams" in the end. A great ending to their story.

One point - I understand that the angel holding River's wrist was too weak to zap her back in time, but why couldn't they just break the angel's wrist then? My theory is the Doctor really thought River could dig up some clever trick and get herself out of the situation, and he overestimated her abilities. She is so brilliant and competent I can buy that he would leave her, confident that she could handle herself. I love that they chose to have her unable to get out in any way other than break her wrist, becuase it led to the touching and powerful moment of the Doctor realizing that although it takes a very strong woman to be his wife, that doesn't make her invulnerable, physically or emotionally.
Charles Dunkley
32. cedunkley
In watching the 4 episodes leading up to the Ponds Finale I had the impression that we were seeing the Doctor in the future revisiting the Ponds timeline after the events of episode 5 when he lost the future them to the fixed point in time.

In "A Town Called Mercy" for instance the Doctor mentions he's 1200 years old. I think all 4 episodes prior to this one were with the 1200 year old Doctor. There are little moments in each of the 4 prior episodes that hint at him already knowing their fate.

Overall I loved this episode. Yes there were the usual rule breakers but emotionallyI agree it hit every right note.
Uncle Mikey
33. ravenlunatick
Even my 13 yo daughter was screaming, "No one's looking at the statue of liberty!" Emotional impact ruined.
Stephanie Padilla
34. DN10
I really got the sense that Moffat didn't think a lot of this episode through very well. He's explained his time travel rules in Blink, but if you apply them here, the episode doesn't totally make sense. He says that the reason the Doctor can't rescue Billy Shipton in Blink is because he already hasn't. And he can't change what he's already done. That explains why he can't bring the Ponds back to the right point in time in this episode--because he already hadn't. They'd already grown old and died in the past. It doesn't explain why he can't ever visit them in their timeline in the past. The book never explicitly says, "And the Doctor never saw Amy or Rory ever again."

It especially doesn't make sense because he can apparently visit young Amelia. Actually, because he can apparently visit an event that happened in a universe that was destroyed, but cannot possibly have happened in this universe. This universe never had cracks. The Doctor never crashed in Amy's garden. And if he had, her parents would've been there, because they've always existed in this universe. And there's no way they would let a complete stranger into their house, or let their daughter wait all night in the garden so she could fly away with him. She remembers it happening, but it's actually an alternate timeline and in a universe that no longer exists. SO HOW CAN HE GO BACK TO THE NIGHT SHE WAITED IF IT NEVER ACTUALLY HAPPENED?
Uncle Mikey
35. Bryan Rasmussen
'The book never explicitly says, "And the Doctor never saw Amy or Rory ever again."
'
Yes it does, Amy's afterword says they never saw each other again.
Ian Gazzotti
36. Atrus
The afterword only says "a long time".

And what others said. I loved the episode until those last few minutes in which all logic and rules went to hell and Amy and Rory were abandoned for no seemingly good reason. There are dozens of ways the Doctor could save Amy and Rory without breaking the paradox or interfering with the timelines, the easiest of which simply involves the use of a train ticket.
Not only that, but we're explicitly told that River will see them sometime so she can deliver the book. River, with her Vortex manipulator. That same manipulator that could transport three persons from the end of time to 2007, so it could presumably do the same for three persons from 1938 to 2012 even with the temporal disruptions. Well.
(In my head canon, River brought them back to 2012 then didn't tell the Doctor because he's an ass)

"What matters is the characters/the emotions, not the plot" is a rebuttal that never made sense to my as a storyteller. Character growth and emotions flow from the plot; if the plot makes no sense, the characters make no sense as well, and the emotional impact is null.
F Shelley
37. FSS
@ various regarding why the Doctor doesn't buy a bus ticket and get them out of new york then back home on the TARDIS...

before the survivor angel nabs Rory, the Doctor and River are talking about what just happened, and River mentions that life will be boring for Amy and Rory because they'll no longer be able to tavel with the Doctor.

seems to me there's an in-story explanation, but it wasn't told explicitly. For some reason Amy and Rory can't time travel anymore, except apparently by Angel...
alastair chadwin
38. a-j
The problem was the wish to have the Ponds go out on a high emotional note. If it had been a simple case of Amy and Rory, with River's backing, saying we've had enough, we want to settle down it could have been touching and sweet, especially given Doctor 11's distinctly childish nature. For whatever reason though, we had yet another big heavy leaving scene, something which is in danger of becoming a nu-Who cliché. Rose gets stuck in an alternative universe, Donna gets mind-wiped, only Martha got to leave with any real dignity.
Steven Halter
39. stevenhalter
The plot had enough holes to drive two trucks and a wildebeest through. I pretty much have to assume that the Ponds can reappear for all of the myriad reasons already mentioned. The book appearing as it does seems to imply this if nothing else.
As to why the Doctor doesn't realize this, there are always possibilities there, also. Off the cuff, maybe River left some of her hypnotic lipstick on and the Doctor momentarily can't think.
So, the episode didn't have the impact of other companions
leaving but I like the Ponds, so that is fine.
Shelly wb
40. shellywb
This was, for the most part a terrible episode. What I loved: the small moments between the characters at the park and at the house. I detested the rest. Putting aside the fact that Moffat turned his back on his own universe, the story made no sense within the episode itself. And then to use such a heavy hand to make their deaths appear meaningful, it was simply distracting and overly melodramatic. I laughed when they were falling off the building because it was so cheesy and stupid. Moffat forced the ending rather than letting it build to a natural conclusion, and sorry, but that's the sign of a poor storyteller.
treebee72 _
41. treebee72
My annoyance with the episode isn't helped by Moffat wanting the audience to believe that Amy & Rory being buried in New York = them living their whole lives in New York. Which is total BS! With the Winter Quay destroyed by the paradox, there is nothing holding them in New York. They don't even have to have died there - just made arrangements to be buried there (or cheat by having a tombstone over an empty grave). And even if they did stay in New York, the end of the episode proves that the Doctor can go to the city, as long as it's not the 30's. So frelling visit them in some other decade!

And I really hated how 'I read it in a book' made everything into a fixed point in time all of a sudden.
Uncle Mikey
42. ChrisG
It looks like there's an interesting discussion to be had on the intertwined roles of characterization and plot. Frequently, it seems, in the late Moffat era, the plots have been a wreck but many emotional/character moments effective, and there is an understandable divide over how satisfying that is.

But I want to probe the consensus on a simpler question: did the "survivor" weeping angel re-establish the Winter Quay farm trap in sending Rory back?

If so, then some of the largest plot holes are plugged, but it would mean that Amy and Rory met one of the more horrifying ends for the Doctor's companions, especially as it is unlikely that they will stay together through the many time shifts in the trap. This would also make Amy an unreliable narrator in the Afterward. If the trap was not re-established, then the ending is happier, but the restrictions on seeing them -- and thus the poignant tragedy of it all -- make no real sense.

My first impression was yes: the trap was restarted. Then the Afterwards made me doubt it for a bit. But the episode set up Amy to be an unreliable narrator to the Doctor: "never let him see the damage", suggesting yes again. Possibly, Moffat wanted it to be ambiguous (for the children :), but that would be rather a cop out.

So what's the consensus? Judging from the comments, it seems people are split on this.
Uncle Mikey
43. Bryan Rasmussen
"But I want to probe the consensus on a simpler question: did the "survivor" weeping angel re-establish the Winter Quay farm trap in sending Rory back?
"

No, proceeding by the time travel rules that seem to be in play is that time proceeds linearly around the time travelers.

So if you go to time X and buy a hotdog, and then to time A before X and destroy the hotdog stand that you would buy it from its all good because you destroyed it AFTER you got it, of course now if you go to time Y you can't buy another hotdog from that same stand.

So Rory destroyed the Winter Quay with the paradox, then he was sent back again, but luckily since the Winter Quay was already destroyed he did not go there.
Stephanie Padilla
44. DN10
Actually, there's another reason why, even if she had said she never saw him again, it would't necessarily be true. We don't know at what point in Amy's life the Afterword was written. Her hands when she was typing looked pretty young. And there's no way she could know the future. All she knows is that, as of the time she wrote the Afterword, she hadn't seen the Doctor again. At that point in time, she could NOT confirm that she never saw him again. Unless she said so on her deathbed, it wouldn't be for sure.

Also, I think we are meant to assume that Amy and Rory had happy lives outside of Winter Quay. It was completely destroyed, for one thing, and for another, if they had been trapped there, how could Amy have sent the novel and the Afterword out to be published? Pretty sure the Angels wouldn't allow them to get or send mail...
Uncle Mikey
45. ChrisG
Yes, he escaped from the original trap. But, the rules on what is destroyed are far from clear or consistent. The Doctor and River survived, one of the angels survived, and so forth.

Let's assume that Winter Quay as a building was not physically damaged in the post-paradox-resolved world. (And why would it be because the paradox undid the events leading up to that....) If, as we were meant to assume, that Angel sent R & A back to the same location and if there were other Angel survivors who -- like the good guys -- remembered the pre-paradox-resolved world, then they could just trap Rory again. The idea was pretty clever in its way, and if good enough to do before it would be good enough to do again. The value of their trap plus the satisfaction of revenge on Rory would be motivation enough for that.
Uncle Mikey
46. ChrisG
If we look at the logic of the W.Q. trap, then it's clear that something has to be able to go in/out of the building, whether it's mail or pizza or food. A non-Tardis equipped person would likely have a difficult time escaping the angel's reach, so the trap would still operate if people were allowed to leave from time to time. Just a quick spatial displacement if they get too close to the edge of the yard, and back to W.Q.. Moreover the fixed point in time yada yada, and those who saw themselves are stuck one way or the other.

I know the doctor said "trapped in the room for the rest of his life" or some such, but taken a little less literally, the trap could operate in a realistic manner, leaving for short times for necessities and typewriters but not too far. Like a dog in a yard with an electronic fence. Maybe one or two escape, but most become conditioned to the boundaries.

So, I don't think there is any logical problem with the re-established trap scenario, and in fact that scenario does fill many other logical and emotional holes. As has been pointed out, if A&R were free to move around, there is no reason the Doctor could not find them again. None. Wait a year. Go to Poughkeepsie. Whatever. And that detracts from the emotional poignancy of the ending (for me at least). It's not much of a tragedy if you can undo the effects easily.

Also the whole "Don't let him see the damage" conversation, which seemed rather off to me at the time, makes much more sense in setting Amy up as being unreliable in that message to the Doctor.
Uncle Mikey
47. AMT
The way I read the episode was that it wasn't necessarily the Winter Quay events that "sealed off" Amy and Rory forever but how the Doctor comes to tell Amy her own story. When the Doctor goes back to visit Amelia as a child to tell her about all the wonderful adventures that await her, he is essentially closing the ontological paradox of her life. The stories are what fixate Amelia on her Raggedy Man and allow her to become the woman who will eventually accept a ride from a Mad Man in a Box.

In the same way, the Doctor cannot go back in time and rescue Billy from 1969 in "Blink" because old Billy eventually gives the critical information to Sally Sparrow that allows her to survive and to give the transcript of events to the Doctor and Martha (circa 2007), thus closing the ontological paradox of the entire episode. Likewise, if the Doctor *does* rescue the Ponds/Williamses, he wouldn't need to read the afterword and Amy wouldn't need to write it. If he doesn't read the afterword, he doesn't return to young Pond and tell her the story of her life. If he doesn't tell her the story of her life, she never becomes the Girl Who Waited, and so forth.

Of course, I’m still not sure how the Doctor could have known that the Ponds would be lost to him forever at the exact moment they are zapped to the past. If all of time is happening all at once, like a ball of timey-wimeyness or whatever, then I suppose the loop of Amy's story has always already been closed. Maybe as a Time Lord the Doctor can intuit that, even if he doesn't yet know why (like how he can sense fixed points)? Maybe Amelia during her tenure as companion has let slip that she knows some of her life story already (or at least the chapter titles) and the Doctor has already guessed that he is in some way responsible for it?

I definitely think Moffat's writing could be reined in sometimes---Statue of Liberty, I'm looking at you---but I can also imagine how difficult it must be to keep writing endings for the companions that feel satisfactory and final. I did appreciate that the episode dealt directly with the Doctor's aversion to endings and his realization that sometimes a bittersweet ending is better than no ending at all. Can't wait for the Christmas episode!
Thomas Simeroth
48. a smart guy
One thing I don't get about Weeping Angels: mirrors. Why don't you just put a mirror in front of them while their temporal locked, since the image of an angel becomes an angel, and angels can get temporal locked if their staring at each other. Other than that, great episode!
Jenny Thrash
49. Sihaya
a smart guy @#48: I could totally see the third doctor demanding Jo's pocket mirror, or the fourth simply carrying one in his own pocket. Cut to the Angel holding its hands up and the music going, "duh DAAAAAAA duh!" as the lights come back on at the beginning of the next episode. If Jo's the companion, she might toss in a blood curdling scream.

"Doctor, what's happened? Why isn't it attacking us?" says Jo/Sarah Jane.

"Well, the answer is simple. Have you ever seen a vicious dog stop to chase its own tail?"

"Yes."

"Well, it's nothing like that. It's harmless, now. Come now, I need to find a dry cleaner who won't ruin velour, and I simply must compose a new harangue - I'm due to have tea with the Brig. " This is where Liz looks exasperated and might explain the phenomenon, Jo looks confused, or Sarah Jane smiles indulgently. If Romana's the companion, she pulled out her own pocket mirror at the beginning of the scene, and the dialogue unfolds as some sort of one-upmanship.

But the problem with that, as far as writers are concerned, is that they will have to come up with a new alien next week.
Alan Brown
50. AlanBrown
I think when Rory and Amy went back, it was not to Winter Quay, but instead to a long, peaceful and happy life. What is my logic that leads to this conclusion?
None. I just like them and want them to live happily ever after.
Judging from all the fussing and fretting above, logic seems to make it harder to enjoy Doctor Who. So I will save my logic for situations where it matters (like real life), and not impose it on what is, at its heart, a madly improbable fiction.
Christopher Hatton
51. Xopher
I can't believe I'm still angry about this. Looks like it might last a while. Completely unreasonable, but since when are hard-core fans reasonable? I usually try, but...

Well, I believe the Ponds lived happily ever after too. Moffat just didn't make it convincing.
Uncle Mikey
52. Dr. Thanatos
1) Yes, if you sit down and look carefully, there's plot holes. But if you don't, and just try to ENJOY IT AS A TV SHOW it's not so bad. I thought it worked.

2) Why couldn't the Doctor park the Tardis in NJ? Have you ever tried to find a parking space in Paramus?

3) I also look forward to a family reunion at a Christmas special, as I have for years: The Whose (Doctor and River), the kids (The and Jenny Master), little Susan, and of course the in-laws sitting down to carve the Roast Beast Below...
Uncle Mikey
53. tigeraid
I enjoyed it, and the sendoff of Amy and Rory was appropriate because it made sense for THEIR CHARACTERS. I shed a bit of manly tears, I admit.

Here's my take on the timey-wimey stuff and why I think it worked:

1. Rory's death was a fixed point, one of those fixed points the Doctor always talks about, that cannot be changed, that he can sort of sense, or feel in the air. As such, yes, they all "tried" to prevent it from happening, but in the end, the timeline "fixed" itself by having the weeping angel take him back, presumably to the Quay, to die slowly.

2. I think the Doctor knew this, the entire episode, but didn't want to break it to Amy, even AFTER their first attempt at creating the paradox. As he mentioned to Rory, "even if you escape, you'll be running from death the rest of your life" as the timeline attempts to fix itself. So he knew full well what was coming in the grave yard. He also sort of had an inkling that Amy would either die/leave him too because of the last chapter title in the book, but didn't know any specifics.

3. This is also why I think River encouraged her to be taken by the angel, because she knew that Rory's fate was fixed, plain and simple, but Amy would rather go back and continue to fight to escape somehow, rather than lose him. Either the Quay no longer exists (which I don't agree with, otherwise the timestream wouldn't be using a weeping angel to do the dirty work), or they somehow escape it, and get to live their life together, and Rory still dies as the timeline wants him to.

4. ALSO, remember, that as River said, the Doctor likes his companions young and undamaged. The Doctor, no matter what else you say of him, is generaly selfish and just wants the three of them to continue on forever as friends on adventures, and wishes they wouldn't grow old. If he were to go back in time, it would not be to 1938 (time distortions, etc etc), it would be at a later period in their life--when they would be old. Perhaps even too old to travel with him. Perhaps he's too selfish to face that truth, so instead he considers them lost forever and moves on.

I do agree the statue of liberty is absurd though. :p
Uncle Mikey
54. missallen
Did I cry? Not a tear. (Hate me if you wish, I'm entitled to my non-feelings.)

The holes in the plot (big enough to ride a dinosaur through) made me cringe. I've enjoyed the Companionship of Amy and Rory, but it's time for new blood -- and some better writing. The five episodes this season have made me fear for the future of the Doctor.

Someone, somewhere recently said that since Dr. Who has gotten so big in the US that the writers are starting to dumb down the plots. It started here, folks.
Uncle Mikey
55. Digital Osiris
One way the ending can be viewed that, while not plugging the truck-sized plot hole, nicely sidesteps it would be as follows. Amy was the first face that his face saw and there was definitely love between the two characters -- not necessarily romantic love, but definitely best friends type love. Amy and Rory had been discussing ending their travels with the Doctor; Amy even mentions this to him. Add to this the Doctor's dislike of endings, the fact that he can't ever grow old with anyone he cares about, and the simply truth that he's a mad man with a box who loves to show off and the final conversation that he and Amy have in the graveyard can be distilled down to:

"Pond come back with me to the Tardis."
"Doctor I'm choosing Rory."

And unstated, but probably clear in his mind, is that she's choosing Rory over him. And if you love someone you have to set them free. And if Rory has to die because of you (not once or twice but a number that's closer to 7 or 8 times), then maybe it is best that you let Amy live the choice that she made, be with the one she chose. So, certainly, there's no reason why he can't go rescue her. Except, you know, she's chosen Rory this time, truly chosen him, finally taken his last name. And maybe that choice, while not truly a fixed point in time, becomes one in his mind.
Uncle Mikey
56. KatG
The angels had created an alternate timeline by invading Manhattan, distorting actual reality, setting up a time energy farm in the building, and coopting various statues like the Statue of Liberty (which I agree is dumb, although either Rory or Amy was looking at the statue the whole time they discuss their suicide pact.) The time distortions from the angels setting up this timeline make it difficult to get the TARDIS to lock on to the correct timeline. If they try to land in 1930's New Jersey a
Uncle Mikey
57. KatG
The angels had created an alternate timeline by invading Manhattan, distorting actual reality, setting up a time energy farm in the building, and coopting various statues like the Statue of Liberty (which I agree is dumb, although either Rory or Amy was looking at the statue the whole time they discuss their suicide pact.) The time distortions from the angels setting up this timeline make it difficult to get the TARDIS to lock on to the correct timeline. If they try to land in 1930's New Jersey and get into Manhattan that way, they may not be able to get into the
angels' timeline where Rory is and they may lose their ability to find
him. So they have to go in. (Plus River and the Doctor like the
challenge.)

Just like the Doctor and River send each other messages about things
that have happened by jumping around in time and leaving them in things,
which then become fact of that timeline (whereas before, in the
previous timeline, the messages did not exist,) so too is the book a
message, but the book is a message of what had already happened in that
timeline that they would be going to. It's not fixed, it's the record
of one timeline, but if they read ahead in the book, then the events in
that angel timeline become fixed because they know about them, creating
the loop of that timeline. The Doctor can't alter it. This is what he
argues with River about. Her wrist has to be broken to get free from the
weak angel because they read that this was what happened (and was
recorded by River.) River claims the Doctor should be able to change it.
The Doctor argues back that if River thinks that's true, then get free
without breaking her wrist -- create a paradox that will change, alter
the whole timeline even though they've created a fixed loop. The angel
is not human and you can't really break her wrist, plus he's angry
because his options are becoming limited as things get fixed on the
timeline, even from just reading the chapter headings. At first, he
thinks that she's somehow done it, then realizes that she hasn't and
that their path is rapidly becoming fixed in that timeline, which will
likely include Rory's death.

When Rory and Amy jump to their death, it creates a paradox that
destroys the angels' ability to distort time in Manhattan and have the
farm. It kills off most of the angels who were in that timeline and
their hold on other statues. It ends the angels' original timeline, the
one in which Rory was trapped in the farm building, in which the Doctor,
River and Amy never found him, in which he may have tried to escape,
but didn't commit suicide because he was trying to get free to Amy. It
did not, however, end the non-angel timeline, recorded in the book,
where Amy et co. did land in the time distorted Manhattan and find Rory.
That timeline creates the path of Rory being sent back in time by an
angel not caught in the paradox that ended the time distortion, and the
headstone, which is why they end up in the cemetary at first -- their
landing creates that timeline, which is recorded in the book. When Rory
reads the tombstone, it becomes the record, the fixed point in time of
the timeline. It has happened that Rory went back in time and lived a
long life and died, alone, without Amy, and because it happened, the
Doctor did not fix it, therefore like with Billy, he can't fix it. Amy
then decides that she will hope that the angel sends her to the same
point or near as Rory and lets the angel take her, creating a new
timeline that doesn't change the fixed points. Which, since the angel is
weak from the loss of time energy, works out. Amy creates a new
timeline in which she and Rory were together and the headstone changes
to another fixed point. This creation of yet another timeline is also
recorded in the book, and because it happens, it is seen to happen and
is recorded in a loop in the book, and because thusly the Doctor did not
fix it, he can't fix it. He can't go see them, because if he does, it
might create a paradox that leaves Rory dead in a different timeline or
some other outcome which would not be the two of them together. (Of
course, it leaves plenty of fiddle room for the show.) To complete the
timeline so that Amy and Rory are safely together, River takes the
record in the book back to how the 1930's are now going to go, with Rory
and Amy there, and sends it to Amy who writes the Afterwards and has it
published, whereupon River probably made sure it was in the Doctor's
pocket. The timeline completed, the Doctor can safely read the Afterward
in the book because that's what he did already.

So it did actually have a line of sense to it with multiple timelines
that had to be recorded because it was the best option that Rory and Amy
had versus Rory being trapped alone in the angels' time farm. What was
more funky and confusing was that at the end of last season, we know
that they were trying to kill the Doctor through River because he's
supposed to do something really terrible. And we learn from River that
the Doctor is altering database records to make himself invisible in
some time periods, records, mostly in the future, (not altering time.)
He's presumably doing this regarding the potential future horrible thing
he's supposed to have done. This, River says, earned her an acquittal,
as the records of her killing him and him being someone to kill are gone
in the future. But, if that's the case, then there's no reason for
River to be at the library, where she was cooperating to get a pardon,
and where she sort of dies/ends up in a database. That's a fixed point
in the timeline, but if the Doctor creates a new timeline in which River
is acquitted, what happens? So I don't know if they will explain that
very well later, but it has something to do with the bigger seasonal
story arc.
Uncle Mikey
58. VanV
missallen wrote: Did I cry? Not a tear. (Hate me if you wish, I'm entitled to my non-feelings.) The holes in the plot (big enough to ride a dinosaur through) made me cringe. I've enjoyed the Companionship of Amy and Rory, but it's time for new blood -- and some better writing. The five episodes this season have made me fear for the future of the Doctor. Someone, somewhere recently said that since Dr. Who has gotten so big in the US that the writers are starting to dumb down the plots. It started here, folks.
I agree whole heartedly. I was growing very, very tired of the Ponds and their story line. I, personally, am elated they were finally written out of the series.
on another note, the Statue of Liberty “twist” was terrible. Along with not being made of stone, I would put money on the table saying that there is never a time when no one is looking at it. Awful writing in general this episode.
Uncle Mikey
59. KenT2
The episode was certainly sloppy.

For instance, in the current timeline, Amy never waited for the Doctor. She was raised happily by her parents with the Doctor as a fiction. Right up until the day of her wedding when she remembered he was real.

I think by the logic of past episodes, the Doctor can no longer access the timeline where Amy waited, even though he, Amy, Rory and River remember that it happened in their past.

So that was odd.

Looking away from the Statue of Liberty angel was a directorial error, I suspect. And it was annoying.

The Winter Quay trap seems... odd. The essential proposition is that the angels keep pushing the people back in time every time they age forward. But angels push people back a normal human lifespan. At least, they typically have in the shows. So, by the time folks had aged forward enough to be a meal, they would be dying.

The detective meets himself dying of old age in his present time. So that matches what we saw in Blink. And does not imply that he received any subsequent pushes.

The angels fling Rory back in time, then the Doctor, Amy, and River follow him there, then the angels fling him - sideways? - to Winter Quay, and, finally, they fling him, again, this time back in time. And the crew meets him dying of old age.

So, in both cases, the angels only feed on the inhabitants of Winter Quay once (well, okay, they fed on Rory twice but only once at Winer Quay). So... why Winter Quay? Not much of a farm if the crop yield is the same as gathering in the wild.

So the angels must have been extending the inhabitants lives and flinging them back time after time as they aged forward but did not die. So did Rory live ANOTHER 2000 years before we see him die? The resulting overlappng of timelines might also explain why that period of time near Winter Quay would be hard to visit - probably 1890 to 1938 New York were pretty gronked up.

And all of it was erased by the paradox.

I agree with the poster who cited that River said that Amy and Rory could never travel with the Doctor, again. Something to do with the paradox? The angel induced trip may have made them even more volatile.

I also agree that the previous episodes may have been the Doctor visiting them in their past, his future.

The previous episodes certainly established that the Doctor had little interest in visiting the Ponds to just hang around on Earth in real time. So, if they can no longer travel, he would have lost them as companions. Hence the tragedy and the sadness. It may also be why he never goes to see them but River still does. She seems to have much more tolerance for hanging around in a real life. She at least hangs around enough to hold a professorship.
Uncle Mikey
60. mike74
Rest assured there were quite a few of us who were popping champagne corks to the demise of Amy Pond. although personally I think Rory was unfortunate collateral damage. I was quite shocked at how poor the episode was even by recent standards... i won't even say anything about Miss Liberty...
Uncle Mikey
61. slmlibraryone
Hated it! Stupid distracting plot holes ruined the emotional bits for me. Not that I cared too much about Amy leaving anyway. I liked Rory much better than Amy.

The episodes this season have generally had awful gaping WTF plot holes that eventually drive me out of the episode and make me angry. I'm not enjoying Who this season and really haven't enjoyed it much since Moffat took over. Moffat needs someone to sit on him and make him take plot and consistancy seriously. He's a failure as a show runner because he just doesn't care about the rules established by the show for the characters, the creatures, or the time travel. He writes the Doctor as Harry Potter with a sonic screwdriver for a wand.
Christopher Hatton
62. Xopher
I can't believe I'm still hearing people say "it's a TV SHOW" and "all the science is bad, what are you complaining about." No, this isn't hard science. It's not even SOFT science. It's gonzo space (and time) opera.

That does not mean we shouldn't expect it to be reasonably consistent. Moffat doesn't seem to think that's important.
Uncle Mikey
63. Bhrymm
I think people are missing something.
New York wasn't a parodox so big the tardis couldn't travel to it again.
Rory was.
The Doctor new they couldn't travel with him anymore before the angel showed up.
How many timelines(and deaths!) does Rory have now?

Rory who died in a cavern before being "erased" from time.

Rory who lived 2000 years as a plastic centurion.

Rory who was trapped in the winter quay till old age.

Rory who commited suicide from the top of the winter quay.

Rory who lived after the winter quay but got sent back to live to old age.

All of that centered in new york now.
Mary Buchner
64. HeyMaryHey
So my friend and I were just thinking about this, and we realized that if indeed the whole "image of an angel becomes an angel" thing is true, then everything with the Statue of Liberty on it would be an angel, yes? Stamps! Personal pictures! Souvenirs!!! Ahhhhhh!!!
Uncle Mikey
65. Louisa
I'd like to point out that when the Doctor says that he can't go back to NY, and then when he gets the afterword? afterward? from the basket, well, I think it means that he can't go back in the TARDIS, but he was just near NY, so he was on foot, so he was able to. I think...
Christopher Hatton
66. Xopher
Louisa, forewords and afterwords are words (in an old-fashioned sense) that come before and after the main text.

Also, that was in Central Park, which is called that because it's in the dead center of Manhattan. If he could go there he was in NY already. I suppose he could have run all the way from the graveyard, but that seems unlikely.
Uncle Mikey
67. AppleByter
I agree that I haven't really enjoyed DW this season and that this last episode was awful. (Spare me the "it did the characters justice". A bad, inconsistent plot destroys most viewers ability to engage with the characters.) At the end of this episode I seriously considered setting up a web site called "Moffat has to Go". His tenure started out rocky and gone downhill from there. For those who can remember classic DW we've had this before and new blood (not new companions but new producers) has been the best solution.
So, who wants to support a "Moffat has to Go" campaign?
Uncle Mikey
68. slmlibraryone
AppleByter wrote:
So, who wants to support a "Moffat has to Go" campaign?

Me, me! IMO, he's not doing either the characters or the plots justice. Put us all out of our misery and go be "clever" somewhere elese, Moffat.

In some ways, the most WTF moment for me was when the Doctor used regeneration energy to heal River. Since when has the Doctor been able to heal with a mere touch? That's not even vaguely sciency. That took us right out of the realm of science fiction to magic.
Emmet O'Brien
69. EmmetAOBrien
DrThanatos@52: for some of us "enjoy it as a tv show" and "look at it carefully and notice plot holes" are not actually separable.

slmlibraryone@68: I can kind of buy that as some sort of consequence of River sharing her regenerative energy with the Doctor back in Lat's Kill Hitler, limited to the two of them.
Ashley Fox
70. A Fox
Mmm I rather thought it was one of the aspects of Timelord marriage...
Uncle Mikey
71. cat fat
other than the fez moments matt smith sucks the dr has been made abuffoon who isnt ever serious or grounded in reality like tennant or ce.
Uncle Mikey
72. Oldersox
Doctor who has never been the same since it went to colour, the sets stopped wobbling and the monsters arn't made out of foam rubber and all the alien scenes seem now to happen outside of abandoned quarries and the doctor can now regulalrly solve the problem and save the day in under four episodes.

Get a grip everyone, things change, the doctor changes, the rules change (like the doctor only being able to regenerate 7 times), the writers change, some story lines are good, some not so good, some versions of the doctor we like some we don't and the same goes with his companions.

Just sit back and enjoy the ride and don't take it all so seriously, after all, it is meant to be fantasy.
alastair chadwin
73. a-j
Oldersox@72
Agreed.

This too will pass. The strength of Dr Who as a TV series is its changeability. In the 40 odd years that I've been watching it, it's been a high action adventure series, a gothic tinged horror show, a SF comedy and so on. Sometimes I've liked it immensely, sometimes not so much, as now, but another showrunner will come along and there are plenty who do enjoy what Steve Moffat is doing with the series.

PS
Revealed at FantasyCon last week, Mark Gattiss doesn't like the new look daleks either.
Edward Phippen
74. Grimwanderer
One of my challenges with the current season is I was bored with the Pond's (or, if you prefer, the Williams's) storyline a long time ago. I would rather have seen them written off after their wedding at the end of Matt Smith's first season. I like the actors... they have done a great job... but their character arc just didn't work for me. In regards to this season, was there any real need to bring them back after the doctor had left them behind last year?

How many times have Amy, Rory, or both been killed or otherwise said their goodbyes over the last 2 1/2 seasons.... only to come back again and again and again. You can't repeatedly kill off and resurrect characters and expect their eventual final exit have as much impact on viewers.

Rory was even killed off then erased from history... he never existed. Yet somehow the consortium of enemies (in the Pandorica Opens) were not only able to remember him but were able to create a Auton version so good that the real Rory's personality eventually took over. (Yes, I know, this whole thing was erased when the doctor reset the universe, but - as viewers - it is still part of our Doctor Who timeline.)

Which brings me to my second challenge with the series in recent seasons: the big gaping holes in plot / logic / consistency. The whole statue of liberty angel is just one example of what has been a bad trend. Yes, it was a cool visual that they could throw in the commercials ... but it didn't make sense in the rules the show has set up and there was no real payoff to it being there.

And don't even get me started on the doctor being able to reboot the universe, River being the Pond's baby, or some of the other silly twists and duex ex machina moments.

Yes, this is just a TV show. But that is not an excuse for sloppy writing.

Don't misunderstand... There are parts of the episode (and recent seasons) that I like very much. I just strongly believe it could be better than it is.
Uncle Mikey
75. shermy
So glad I came here to see some proper critical thought going on about a show people clearly love, away from the sea of overly apologetic and positive comments elsewhere - because after this last episode, I'm genuinely concerned for the direction of the series.

I loved the episode - but nowhere near as much as I believe I could or should have. I'm clinging to the hope that Moffat has proven he can write brilliantly, and that therefore all will be repaired in the end. But that itself is the problem with putting such focus on long-term payoffs at the cost of the short term: expectations build, the potential for disappointment only grows...

EmmetAOBrien made a comment here about 49 years of doctorial neglect if we accept that the Doctor can just 'insta-heal' anyone, unless it's a river only thing. And River herself healed the doctor. This is an ugly truth, and one I was trying to ignore. But it's there isn't it: it's like there's a wrecking ball that is swinging now, back and forth in the vicinity of all things Who because of a couple of careless gimmicks.

ThomDunn complained about "Moffat's insistence on telling things instead of showing them". And never a truer word was written. Maybe the subtle approach of showing would soften the rough edges of the time rules. But even this excellent cast - and they are brilliant - struggle with the weight of vital info-dumps. I've read how much better than other TV even bad Doctor who is, and would mostly agree - but I believe in people doing their best, and these writers are capable of so much more! Still, I hold out hope that I will be proven to be just prematurely shooting my mouth off here, and that everything will turn out brilliantly in the series end. I worry though, because the questions are snowballing, predictability of major points is increasing, plot-tricks are becoming more prevalent. I felt like I've been under a spell and now I've snapped out of it, I can see that I've been working hard for ages to suspend disbelief, when the best of episodes never required it.
Uncle Mikey
76. Luder
Hi,
have worked my way through all the comments, and agree with elements of many of them, - emotional tone but in someways an unsatisfying episode etc.

There was one point made in the episode I think needs to be emphasised - emphasising the point Bhrymm made in No. 63 above.

The Dr says something along the lines of "Stop reading, once you read it it becomes fixed and can't be changed." when he's offered the book.

Now while I have a number of issues with this statement, the logic of this and previous events, Rivers spoilers book etc. for me it was the key to the whole episode.

Round about the time the comment was made about the book, Rory says while looking at his grave "Weird, there's a guy here with the same name as me". The inhabitant of the grave having died at 82.

Now I am prepared to accept that his seeing his own gravestone made it a fixed event in time due to the general Angel mucking about, and the various things that Rory does subsequently (committing suicide etc.) accepting this, then as we have seen in the past the Dr will not attempt to change it as he knows he cannot.

Given that, then Amy's decision to go to Rory not the Tardis and him means he has a choice, say goodbye, or potentially pull Amy away from Rory whose death is confirmed and for which she would never forgive him.

Presenting it more clearly that way would have been better for me, as it would avoid the I can't go back to NY of that era (and it never occurred to me to go somewhere else and get a train/bus.

As to bonkers episodes with plot, lore and logic holes all over the place, I have to remind you all of my favourite episode ever of Dr Who - "The Dr's Wife".

The sheer number of pot holes, dodgy explanations and so on are huge, but its a wonderful episode, this one while having fewer such holes to my mind does need a bit more editing to be as good as it.

Overall while I think the last 5 episodes as plot have been weaker, but the episodic nature of them (we all knew the Ponds were leaving and so on) sort of guaranteed that to my mind, Steven Moffat and Matt Smith are my favourite producer and Dr of all time (well since Jon Pertwee as he's the first I remember), and I have hopes that post their departure it will return to as good as it has been las couple of series.
Ashley Fox
77. A Fox
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XWU6XL9xI4k&feature=share

P.S

If you cried in this ep, have a tissue to hand before you watch this.
Uncle Mikey
82. ChristyLRogers
Okay I understand being confused about the timey-wimey crap of "what exactly does fixed point mean and why can't the Doctor just walk from a bus station and etc"

But to the people who keep saying that Amy and Rory were trapped in Winter's Quay/trapped in 1938 by the angels: OMG WE WERE EVEN WATCHING THE SAME EPISODE. The entire point of Rory and Amy jumping off the building together was to create a paradox and destroy the whole Winter Quay thing. And when they come BACK from that, they landed in New York, which was where they began. So him going back to get the Afterword page makes perfect sense. Where did you think they landed, London?

Also: http://www.sliceofscifi.com/2013/03/11/moffat-explains-why-the-doctor-cant-meet-amy-and-rory-again/

Good enough for me.
Uncle Mikey
83. Alessandro Marcon
Se per questo Rory non è più umano ma un automa che è stato capace di aspettare 2000 anni per reincontrarsi con Amy e alla fine invece scopriamo che un angelo può farlo tornare indietro, farlo invecchiare e morire. Questo è più di un paradosso.

If Rory is no longer human but a robot that was able to wait 2000 years to meet again with Amy, how is possible that an angel can turn it back, let him grow old and die. This is more of a paradox.
Uncle Mikey
84. kaboom
u people are stipid the ponds got what they wanted. To be with eachother don't u watch reveiws pff

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