Sunday, January 06, 2013

These things happen to other people - they don't happen at all, in fact

When you're following an angel, does it mean you have to throw your body off a building?  And so on.  They Might Be Giants, meet Doctor Who.  Many people over the past seven years have described New Who as "emo", and Amy and Rory defeating the Weeping Angels by jumping hand-in-hand off a tower block must surely be the extreme point (zenith? nadir?) of "emo" in DW.  And yet, just get a couple of American loons to play a jolly tune with a guitar and an accordion over it and you're back over the borderline into "whimsical".

There was a bit of a hush in the Toon household after we watched The Angels Take Manhattan (Then They Take Berlin), I don't mind admitting.  Yes, Amy Pond has left the series for the foreseeable future, and I won't give a stuff if she never comes back.  Rory's gone with her, which is more of a shame since he was more of an interesting (or even watchable) character, but still, change is at the heart of DW's success, and the show must move on.  It was quite nicely done, though.

Until you stop to think about it thirty seconds later and realise that, even if 1938 New York is out of bounds for the Doctor, he just has to turn up in 1939 to get the Ponds back.  (Best not tell him though, eh?)  It wouldn't even mean creating another paradox, just cheating a bit - plant a fake gravestone where Rory will conveniently see it in 2012, and you're away.  All the tragedy that's been built up around this departure, and which carries over into the Christmas special, depends on everybody agreeing to overlook some very obvious workarounds.  See also the business with River Song's book - reading ahead in it and feeling obliged to do what it says wouldn't be a problem if the Doctor realised he could do something else and then tell River to type up the false details later.  Timey-wimey is only binding if we all agree that it is.  So there's hope for the series yet.

The Lovely Jo felt that it was a bit unnecessary to have a Weeping Angel pop up at the end just for the purpose of writing the Ponds out, but I dunno.  Given the episode's noir detective tendencies, I think it's in keeping to have one of the villain's hitmen escape and turn up in the epilogue to kill off somebody the hero cares about.  Or in this case, send them back in time to live long and happy lives - eh, noir ain't what it used to be.

All in all, not without its problems, but a pretty good episode and a fitting farewell to the Ponds.  The concept of the Weeping Angels creating a battery farm of looped human lives in an apartment block is a great one, and turning the investigation into a '30s style thriller was a canny choice.  I think I'd rate this a 7 out of 10.

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