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‘Doctor Who’ Review 7.5: ‘The Angels Take Manhattan’

Posted on the 30 September 2012 by House Of Geekery @houseofgeekery

Angels Take Manhattan

So, let’s start by giving this episode it’s proper title…

‘Doctor Who’ Review 7.5: ‘The Angels Take Manhattan’

Even if you have a high enough tolerance to the Weeping Angels that you can watch them and not cry this is the widely telegraphed episode in which the 11th Doctor’s long running companions say farewell to the raggedly man. It’s been made clear that whatever happens in the episode the Ponds will not be returning like Rose Tyler had a habit of doing. They may life through the episode, they may not…they may not even stay together at the end. Regardless, we’re closing an important book in the history of The Doctor.

Angels Take Manhattan

The story opens with Amy, Rory and The Doctor enjoying an idyllic afternoon in Central Park having a picnic and reading books. Whilst Rory takes a break from the combined lunacy of his wife and their time-traveling companion the Doctor makes an astounding discovery. The events in the book he is reading – a pulpy crime story – dictates what happens to Rory, who promptly disappears. The Weeping Angels have taken him back in time where he discovers how the story knows what will happen to him (and why The Doctor was enamored with it)…it was written by River Song.

Eventually they all wind up in the same place – N.Y. in 1938 – to discover what the Angels are doing. They’ve taken over almost all the statues in the city ranging in size from small cherubs to the biggest one of all (yes, that happens) and have trapped people in an apartment that they have built. By trapping people in the building and constantly sending them back in time again and again they can generate enough time energy to power themselves for the rest of existence. If that wasn’t bad enough they’ve caught up Rory in their trap and even the Doctor and River can’t see a way out.

Weeping Angel of Liberty


For such an important episode in the series canon it feels as though there is little build up to the major events, and Moffat isn’t milking the situation as much as he normally would. The final conundrum faced by Amelia Pond is indeed one that pulls hard on the heartstrings and the actors play it for all that it’s worth, especially Matt Smith. Since they’ve had five episodes to lead up to this moment it’s unusually rushed, perhaps a response to criticism that things were to bogged down in the over-arching story in the previous season.

Angels Take Manhattan

Go home TARDIS you are drunk.

As a stand alone episode it ranks as possibly the best of the season thus far. The Weeping Angels also make for good television and they’re as creepy as ever (except for that giggling the babies make). Putting the Angels in a stronger position of power ups the stakes in all the right ways with their numbers and designs on the increase. The return of River Song is just as welcome given her complete absence from the season thus far, and the promise of future appearances. The setting is great, the plotting is paced well and it sits high on the entertainment scale.

Being such an important episode it feels as though it should’ve had more impact, and the departure of the Ponds is sad to see, but most people will be satisfied. Most importantly – if the Angels are smiling at you…RUN.

Smiling Angel

Filed under: Doctor Who 

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