Doctor Who Review – “The Angels Take Manhattan”

I have watched a lot of TV in my life. Only one series has ever made me start to tear up, and now it’s done so twice.

Cast and Crew Information

Matt Smith as the Doctor
Karen Gillan as Amelia “Amy” Pond
Arthur Darvill as Rory Williams
Alex Kingston as River Song
Michael McShane as Mr. Gayle
Rob David as Mr. Garner

Written by Steven Moffat
Directed by Nick Hurran

Availability Information

This series is available through iTunes: icon
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Premise

The Angels take Manhattan.

High Point

“When don’t I?”

Low Point

Tearing out the last page was a bit too heavy-handed for foreshadowing in my book.

The Review

This series has a long history, though I am admittedly unfamiliar with most of what happened before 2005. It’s hard to stay original with that much history. That said, there are thematic similarities to previous episodes, none of which were executed in this particular fashion. I give it 5 out of 6.

The effects were well done, and used to excellent effect. I give it 6 out of 6.

The story is generally extremely well done. I loved the Rockford Files references, though I question the, shall we say, reproductive cycle of the Angels, but that may be an unrevealed part of their nature rather than an inconsistent part. I give it 6 out of 6.

The acting worked extremely well for all concerned. You can tell emotions were as high on the set as they were on screen. I give it 6 out of 6.

The production is solid. Some elements of some episodes this season have felt rushed, but nothing feels rushed here. These people knew the importance of the episode and they pulled together to deliver. I give it 6 out of 6.

The emotional response was telegraphed in the preamble. In short, NAILED IT. 6 out of 6.

Overall, this is a worthy episode to take a break on. Our next new episode will be in December. I give it 6 out of 6.

In total, The Angels Take Manhattan receives 41 out of 42.

22 replies on “Doctor Who Review – “The Angels Take Manhattan””

  1. Kiersten says:

    A truly amazing episode!
    Gonna miss the Ponds, but I’m quite excited about the new companion.
    if she continues along the lines of Oswin, she will truly bring a new spark to the show!

  2. JD DeLuzio says:

    What am I missing? The Rockford Files and this ep both riffed on old hardboiled detective/noir stuff, but I didn’t catch a more direct reference to the show. Did I select an inopportune time to salt my popcorn? It wouldn’t be the first.

    I found the story good, but choppy. Still, a strong send-off.

  3. Jethro says:

    Might be just me, but the statue of liberty thing right at the beginning was awesome. I absolutely loved it.

  4. Jethro says:

    …although I have to say, one thing I do NOT like about Doctor Who, in general, is how enemies that have been completely 100% eradicated keep coming back over and over and over again.

    • Vulch says:

      Wibbly-wobbly, timey wimey…

      Unless you can destroy them before they existed (Which is what the Dalek-Timelord time war was attempting) then later in your timeline you can meet them earlier in theirs.

  5. I liked the episode, but it felt way to choppy for it be in the ‘good episode’ category.

    There were a number of things that they brought up and just walked away from, it seemed. First of all, I find it hard to believe that nobody was looking at the Statue of Liberty long enough for it to move. While I think it was a cute idea, I can’t imaging execution like that being believable. (I can fan-fic up my own, but that’s neither here nor there.)

    What happened to the crime boss who has a pet Angel and babies in the basement? He just goes on with that?

    And The Doctor is dead set against Amy letting the Angel send her back, but can’t just keep his eyes on the Angel to keep it stoned? Did petite Amy completely block their view when she turned around? And it was awfully nice of the Angel to send her back to the exact same spot and the last one. Maybe that’s why the Doctor and Melody didn’t mind just leaving it in the graveyard and walking away from it.

    And Amy and Rory were left at an earlier point in time. They saw their tomb-stone so they had to be buried there…why? All they had to do was have a tomb-stone there. They can leave and just pop back there when they’re in their eighties. That’d be easy enough to do for a Lord of Time…
    [/spoilers]

    The whole episode felt like Moffat had written down a short list of ideas, then handed it off to some lowly PA and said ‘here, finish this and make it. I’ll be over on the Sherlock set.’

    (Of course, a mediocre Who episode is still head and shoulders above most other television I’ll see this week.)

    • Jethro says:

      About the statue of liberty: remember, this is… what, nearly a century ago? The SoL seemed to only move around at night, and I can buy NYC not being as well-lit way back then, and that what’s it’s place Quays could be at a not super populated outskirt of town.

      Either way, I’m giving it a Rule of Cool pass.

  6. The Statue of Liberty thing didn’t sit well with me either, but didn’t bother me as much as the low point.

    The crime boss was last seen being attacked by the angels from his front lawn. When the paradox is created, there’s nothing to collect.

    I believe that the Doctor would be too emotional in that moment to take his eyes off of Amy, and River would deliberately look in a direction that protected herself while giving Amy what she wanted. There’s also no indication that they went back to the exact same place, given that they clearly lived long enough to find each other. We don’t know if they were the same age at death or anything along those lines. All we know for sure is that they lived at least fifty more years each and found each other before dying at respectable ages.

    Why not change it? They’ve been warned that another paradox will destroy New York.

    • But you wouldn’t need a paradox to go get Amy and Rory. The only detail that was carved in stone was their names, ages, and locations. Hell, you could even go out, have that stone made, go deliver it to a point just before you got there, then leave and go back into space and time.

      • Can the Doctor guarantee that they reach those ages and can get buried there in any other way? The part of that scene that I think has the biggest problems is the “I can never come to New York again” bit. How long will it be before that gets wiped out…

      • Jethro says:

        Nevermind paradox. The Doctor said he’d never be able to take the TARDIS back to New York. I think.

        • JD DeLuzio says:

          Ever? Could he drop by in 1957 and check up on Rory and Amy? Could he leave the Tardis in Yonkers and bus to NYC? I understand they wanted a final parting, but this seemed really forced, more of the choppy/sloppy writing that undercut so many good things in the ep.

  7. Don says:

    I think one thing playing into this is that Amy and Rory were already considering to stop traveling with the Doctor. With them safely in the past, he let them go. He let them live their lives in relative peace and security. That is relative to jumping around time and finding trouble as opposed to normal everyday life.

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