For many months now Doctor Who fans everywhere have been enjoying their last days of happiness in anticipation of the half-series finale that would see the emotional exit of the eleventh Doctor’s first companions – the Ponds.
On the emotional front, The Angels Take Manhattan was not one to disappoint; we are thrown straight into an Amy and Rory emotional rollercoaster that deals with aging, love, loss, and ultimately the importance of their companionship to their raggedy Time Lord.
This episode sees the return of the horribly creepy weeping angels; a foe who are arguably one of the most terrifying of the Doctor’s adversaries. They’ve made it difficult to spot any real life cold-stone statue without a rush of the heebie-jeebies; thankfully, in reality, they don’t have the power to zap you back in time, the narrative basis of this suitably complex, timey-wimey episode.
Piles of paradox’s, overlapping timelines and even a book which tells the future made it impossible for the Doctor to intervene in his companions ultimate fate (and I warn you, have your tissues ready for the final five minutes!).
As recalled by the Doctor earlier this series, Amy was the “first face” his face saw; an integral quote which underlines the magnitude of Amy’s role through-out Matt Smith’s time-travelling.
It is certainly difficult to imagine the Eleventh Doctor without his Amelia Pond, the girl that waited twelve years for her imaginary friend to come back in his police box (and then married a guy who topped it by waiting 2000 years for her … It’s complicated).
For two series, she has provided the feisty Scottish voice of the viewer; there to drag our lovable, yet often childish Doctor back to the realms of real-time. As their Tardis days were, unbeknownst to them, drawing to a close, it would have been unbefitting for the Doctor to pull a Sarah Jane and simply drop Amy and Rory off on Earth with a goodbye wave.
Alternatively, for head-writer Steven Moffat to swing to the other extreme and kill the couple off would have been a sad ending that seemed harsh even for him. Of the finale, it can be said that a happy medium was achieved.
One criticism of the episode does fall with regard to its family viewing slot. Moffat has been behind many of the scariest and most upsetting episodes of the series reboot, from a tortured space whale to the nightmare inducing “Are you my mummy?” scenario all the way back in series one’s The Empty Child.
Without giving too much away there are two particularly hairy moments that come to mind; one involving Amy and Rory wavering over a cliff edge and a sequence with River Song that could have its basis in the Saw movies. So, tissue boxes at the ready, and small siblings safely behind sofa cushions, settle down for an episode that is a true testament to Amy and Rory Pond, a befittingly dramatic exit that will certainly pull at the Whovian heart-strings for a long while yet.