'Doctor Who' Series 7, Episode 5: 'The Angels Take Manhattan' (2012) // Words: Saam Das
SYNOPSIS: "The Doctor's heart-breaking farewell to Amy and Rory - a race against time through the streets of Manhattan, as New York's statues come to life around them..." (bbc.co.uk)
We bid farewell to Amy (Karen Gillan) and Rory (Arthur Darvill). The writing's been on the wall for some time. Or in this case, on the page. Sadly, it was something of a tepid exit for the couple, who have been very much the driving force of this series - which itself has been lukewarm at best.
The Doctor (Matt Smith) takes Amy and Rory along to Manhattan for a jaunt unaware of the impending doom - the Weeping Angels are already in the background, literally statuesque. Cue quick cuts and other enjoyable editing techniques, giving the Angels their terrifying aura as typified in their previous appearances, 'Blink' and 'The Weeping Angels'.
Some residents are already aware of the presence of the Angels, notably one Mr Grayle (Mike McShane, aka Professor Keenbean from 'Richie Rich' and Friar Tuck from 'Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves') who even keeps one captive in his swanky Manhattan pad. A foolish move, but of course.
The Doctor et al remain rather oblivious to the situation. Until that is, Amy's book begins to chart their exact behaviour. Shortly, River Song (the returning Alex Kingston, last seen in 'The Wedding Of River Song') pops up and we're on our merry way - as the quartet take on the Angels.
The gang also take on the mechanics of time travel as they seek to defeat the Angels, who feed on the energy created by sending their victims back in time. How much of any of this makes sense, I'm not sure. (An argument that probably could be raised after every single episode, I suppose.) Either way, it isn't particularly satisfying. And by the end of Rory and Amy, I feel rather hollow.
Sure, my heart somewhat sinks when I know the couple are gone but this is hardly due to the emotional weight of this episode - instead I reflect on my previous association with the duo. Admittedly, 'The Angels Take Manhattan' also reflects on the past, with a fitting end sequence narrated by Amy looking back at her adventures with the Doctor. It's just a shame her final adventure couldn't rank among the finest.
To go out in such a damp manner is symptomatic of this series as a whole, which really has been quite forgettable. Hopefully, the second half of the series will be a return to form - the prospect of a new companion is exciting and perhaps a more overarching storyline arc will appear. But we'll miss Amy and Rory, two excellent characters, who deserved better in the end.
'The Angels Take Manhattan' is available to watch on BBC iPlayer until 19:59, Fri 12 Oct '12.