Who Review: The Angels Take Manhattan
The Weeping Angels return to bring their time warping menace to New York. Filmed on location in the Big Apple, the episode also featured the return of River Song, and the departure of Amy and Rory. When the Angels debuted in New Series 3′s “Blink” (written by Steven Moffat), they were a big hit. As with most genius ideas, the concept is simple: statues that move with lighting speed when you aren’t looking, and if they catch you, they throw you back in time and force you to live out the rest of your life in a different era. Moffat brought the Angels back in Series 5, and I was a bit disappointed. They weren’t nearly as menacing. This time, however, a bit of the old “Blink” magic has returned to them. This episode had a lot more of the “Blink” suspense and excitement. The Angels didn’t exhibit any other “abilities”–they kept to just creeping up on people and making them vanish. So all in all, this was a good episode.
The story opens with the Doctor, Amy, and Rory in Central Park, where the Doctor is reading a 1930s pulp fiction novel. Rory goes to get coffee, and while he’s away, the Doctor suddenly realizes Rory is in the story. Angels have transported him back, and he now finds himself locked in a basement with the evil statues. He’s soon joined by River Song, and eventually the Doctor and Amy find a way to catch up to them. It seems the Angels have taken over a hotel in 1930s Manhattan, and are using it as a kind of battery farm where they bring people to live out their lives while they feed on the resultant time energy. And now our heroes are there with, apparently, no way to escape…
SPOILER ALERT!! My comments may (and likely will) contain spoilers for those that haven’t seen the episode. If you want to stay spoiler-free, please watch the story before you continue reading!
My description of the story really doesn’t do it justice. The episode hits the ground running with a prologue that reminds us of the Angels’ power, and zooms forward to the present with the book, Rory’s disappearance, and all that happens thereafter. I thought the inclusion of the book was a clever idea. (The book, THE ANGEL’S KISS: A MELODY MALONE MYSTERY, written by Justin Richards, has been e-published by BBC Books today, btw.) I also liked the various twists, the air of uncertainty, and the way Moffat played on the fact that we knew this was Amy and Rory’s last story, but we didn’t know how they would go. There was a very real chance, when they jumped off the top of the hotel, that not only might they introduce an intolerable paradox, thus breaking the Angels’ power… but they might actually die.
In all, this was a well-written (Moffat showing a return to form–at last!), well-directed episode. The suspense, tension, and frights you expect from the Weeping Angels were all there. The entire cast performed excellently. I’m tempted to quibble that Amy’s departure was too drawn out, but you know I’m not a fan of Amy so it might be a bit unfair to hold that against the episode. And while I notice some reviewers object that Rory didn’t get as much of a send off, I would point out a couple of things. First, Amy was the Doctor’s primary companion from the beginning of Series 5. Rory was important, but Rory only came along because of his relationship with Amy, so it’s really only fitting that Amy’s departure got the most attention. Also, I think this episode honored Rory as a whole, simply because, at long last, we really see where Amy’s devotions lie. She would rather die with Rory than live without him. If he was gone, she wanted to be where he was rather than be with the Doctor. Given the way we’ve seen Amy treat Rory over the past few years, he couldn’t have had a better tribute, IMO.
So another good episode, perhaps the best so far of series 7. Now we have to wait until Christmas Day for our next helping of Who… and a new companion! The next Who Review will be soon after that. In the meantime… what did you think? Did you enjoy this episode? How do you think the series is going so far? Let’s talk in the comments!