A leap of faith to change the future

I’m at a disadvantage, as I had to watch the mid-season finale with commercials ruining the flow of the episode.  This is a problem since the new format for stand-alone episodes only restricts how much an episode can develop and cutting it up with ads doesn’t help.  That said, it was probably the best episode this season and a fitting end for the Ponds.

First, there was one major moment where I thought Moffat really jumped the shark: the weeping Angel Statue of Liberty.  Seriously, what in the world was he thinking?  It did absolutely nothing for the story and was plain idiotic.

With that out of the way I can get to the bulk of the review.  The Angels are back for the third time, and it’s time for them to go.  For some reason Moffat cannot stay consistent with the Angels, and that stays true here.  Somehow every statue is now an Angel, which doesn’t make sense since they aren’t Angels.  At least they’re not snapping necks this time around.  Really, I’m bitter because of the Statue of Liberty, it just makes no sense.

The episode itself had a lot of good moments.  The beginning with the Doctor and the Ponds in New York City set a nice atmosphere, as did the 1930s New York.  Having River write the book was a neat idea, but led to another issue.  Are the Doctor and River now traveling in the same direction in time?  Yet another thing Moffat just kind of threw away.  Oh well, at least River was very good in this episode.  Perhaps it is because her and the Doctor are married, as their chemistry wasn’t as flirty as in the past, and that’s a good thing, as it was beginning to grow old.  For the first time it really hit home that she’s Amy’s daughter, which has been long overdue.  Also interesting was when she talked to the Doctor about erasing himself from the universe, which hopefully plays a part in either the series finale or the 50th anniversary.

Now, the Doctor was interesting in this one.  He was angry, but not with other people.  More than ever the Doctor was angry with himself.  After all, he read ahead and knew Amy would be leaving and when River lied to him he began to lose it, as he knew there was nothing he could do to change the future.  He wasn’t in love with Amy, but rather they were best of friends, as Doctor Who should be.  All this after telling Rory’s dad that Amy and Rory would be safe.  He knows how difficult it is to defeat the Angels and thanks to a helpful book, knows there is no way to stop the inevitable from happening.  It’s a moment of desperation and vulnerability the Doctor is rarely in, and I think that is scarier than the Angels can ever be.  Hats off to Matt Smith’s acting, as it was a big departure from his goofy, upbeat self.  Actually, I liked the Doctor a lot in this episode because he showed a different emotion for once.  He doesn’t want to lose anyone, and while I’m not sure how I feel about him using his regeneration energy to heal River, it showed how broken he would be on his own (granted, I don’t know why they were so mad he did it).

Other than being changed for the third time, I did like the apartment building controlled by the Angels.  I know Rory died a lot already, but his death(s) in this one were right up there with the first time he died.  The desperation was heavy, and the episode itself can be summed up as a giant desperate situation the characters found themselves in.  Something about being stuck in a place to die for your entire life is really depressing.  Though, just like the Dalek episode to kick off the series, The Angels Take Manhattan has little to do with the main villain.  Again, this is a problem by having no two-part episodes, but luckily Moffat wrote this one, and while I have my issues with him, he managed to pull off a great ending for the Ponds.

After more than two seasons the Ponds are finally able to live a normal(ish) life together as they deserve.  Their death is that of a fairytale, and after all, Amelia Pond is a name for a fairytale.

The Doctor will never be the same again, and I for one cannot wait to see how Smith will act with a new companion (a new companion I cannot wait to see mind you).  I hope he doesn’t get as emotional as the last Doctor, but he does deserve at least one episode to remember the Ponds.  He was devastated when they left, and in a way I was too.  I don’t want them to come back, but seeing a playful Doctor break like that felt horrible.  I know I wanted him to be more serious, but this, who knows what this will do to him.  All I know is if anyone can help it will be Jenna-Louise Coleman, and I’m glad Moffat gave us a peak of her earlier.

I think I started this review a bit confused on whether or not I liked the episode, but after watching it again while writing the majority of the review, I can honestly say it is a fantastic episode.  I really feel bad for the Doctor after this one, and am hoping Christmas can cheer him up.  At least he was able to relive the good times by telling them to little Amelia, the girl who waited.