Well, this was it. With what many believe was an overstayed welcome, the Ponds have said their final farewell to the doctor and a faithful audience to conclude the Fall season of Doctor Who Season 7.
Steven Moffat returns to the pen and brings us trudging along with lumps in our throats through slow rising action to the dramatic climax that will, I think, ultimately please fans. What is different about this particular episode is that the Doctor (Matt Smith) is almost a helpless bystander from beginning to end as Rory (Arthur Darville) and Amy (Karen Gillan) take matters about fixing the universe into their own hands.
Of course, what better ingredient for a finale than a classic and well loved “villain”? The weeping angels are back and creepy as ever as they seem to have taken over just about every statue in Manhattan. Most of these statues, I might add, are very real city features adding additional skin crawling uneasiness. Rory, as usual, finds himself lost very quickly in space and time as an intended victim of the angels and off go the Doctor and Amy to his rescue. River Song (Alex Kingston) returns as their guide of sorts and to add another bit of heartache to the fate of her parents; a good watch for River fans.
From then on, it’s the usual race against the clocks (or angels, in this case) to the end of the world where the Doctor saves the day at the last possible moment. But wait.. he actually doesn’t. In order to (once again) solidify their love to the audience, Rory and Amy take the ultimate plunge together and risk it all in hopes of creating a paradox profound enough to stop the weeping angels. And, for a moment, everything seems to work out... until Moffat throws us his famous curve ball and our stomachs sink.
Whether or not you’ve been a fan of Amy Pond, it’s hard to deny the emotional impact of her character as we are reminded, through a heart wrenching montage, of the chubby little girl who waited for the return of her magical Doctor all those years. For me, the episode was enough to take me out of my general annoyance of Karen Gillan and enjoy the end of an era. Now that the Ponds are gone, we have a golden opportunity to become reacquainted with the character of the Time Lord, who has definitely taken a back seat to his traveling companions as of late.
One of the spots where “The Angels Take Manhattan” falters is the development of the supporting characters, Granted, I realize the focus is intended for Rory and Amy, but one almost sees a waste of potential talent in the casting of the likes of Michael McShane (I mean, really... where have we seem him since the 90’s?) and Burnell Tucker, a supporting yet familiar face in such genre favorites as Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back, Superman, Flash Gordon, and The Shining?
As usual, you can pick at the splinters in any Doctor Who episode, but none of them ever seem large enough to prevent enjoyment. Most of us end up sucked into the story whether we intend it or not. Despite the stumbles Doctor Who has made over the last season or two, this finale is certainly enough to keep us watching.
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