‘Doctor Who: The Angels Take Manhattan’ – Recap

Posted Monday, October 1st, 2012 12:00 pm GMT -4 by

Doctor Who The Angeles Take Manhattan Poster

“I always rip out the last page of a book. Then it doesn’t have to end. I hate endings.” -The Doctor

The time has come… it is the final episode featuring Amy and Rory and I must say that tissues were on hand for this one.

The demise of the Ponds has been building up since December of last year when showrunner/executive producer, Steven Moffat, announced that they would be leaving the show and that the Weeping Angels would be involved. He also teased that not everyone would get out alive and that their departure would be heartbreaking.

Did he accomplish this feat? Read on for the recap…

(Just a warning, this recap does contain spoilers!)

The opening sequence sets the tone of the episode as it takes on a film noir storytelling style. A mysterious Mr. Grayle hires private investigator Garner to investigate “statues that move.” But, hey, anyone has a price, right? Mr. Garner heads to an apartment block where the statues are said to live and walks into the Winter Quay where the front door mysteriously opens and the elevator comes down. Garner walks into the elevator where it stops at a floor. As he walks down the hall, he sees a door with the label S. Garner. He goes into the room and he sees a wallet that looks just like his but much older. Inside the wallet is his PI license that looks aged. But how can that be? His PI license is in his wallet! An old man groans in the room ahead. As Garner goes the man in the bed tells him that they are coming for him to send him back in time. With his dying breath, the man in the bed points and says, “I’m you… I’m YOU!”

Doctor Who The Angeles Take Manhattan 3Garner runs out of the room only to be have a Weeping Angel appear in front of him. He tries to take the stairway down but more angels block his path. The only way is up to towards the roof. When he thinks he’s gotten away, he turns only to be confronted with the biggest Angel of all!

Flash to present day New York and the Doctor is reading a detective mystery novel out loud much to the annoyance of Amy. Rory and Amy tease the Doctor about how he could crush on Melody Malone, a character in the book. Taking the subject off himself, the Doctor points out that there is something different about Amy. She tells him that she wears reading glasses now (and no, she did not say reading glasses are cool) but the Doctor tells her they make her eyes “look linery”… well, maybe not the glasses. Rory takes this opportunity to get coffee (yes, the 2000 year old centurion knows enough about women to leave a no win conversation.) They kiss and as Rory leaves, Amy tells the Doctor to read to her but before he does, he rips out the last page of his book saying that he does this so that the story doesn’t have to end. He hates endings.

As Rory heads back to where the Doctor and Amy are, Rory hears children’s laughter but there are none around.

The Doctor continues to read to Amy and stops in midway in shock as the next sentence in the book has the skinny man saying he went to get coffee for the Doctor and Amy.

It’s the year 1938 and River greets Rory with a “Hi Dad.’ She tells him he might want to put his hands up as Grayle’s men have guns pointed at them. It’s then that Rory realizes that River is Melody Malone.

The Doctor is shocked! How did Rory get into the book? Amy asked where he got the book and the Doctor tells her it just appeared in his jacket pocket. As Amy continues to read aloud, the events unfold on the screen. River tells Rory that he couldn’t have arrived in the TARDIS as 1938 New York has too many time distortions and trying to land the TARDIS there is like landing a plane in a blizzard.

The Doctor is determined to prove Melody… er, River wrong but as the TARDIS tries to land, they bounce off the year 1938 and land back to 2012 in a graveyard. Amy wonders why the TARDIS landed them there and the Doctor is not quite sure. The location may be causally linked somehow to the date they were trying to get to.

Amy tells the Doctor they will get to 1938 as it says so in the book. She reads aloud the passage where the Doctor he is supposed to break something because “Amy read it in a book” and he has no choice. The Doctor immediately stops Amy from continuing to read the book telling her that once they know what is in the future then it becomes a fixed point in time and they cannot change it. In this instance, time cannot be rewritten.

Grayle’s men take River and Rory to their boss who has been holding prisoner a Weeping Angel and torturing it to find what makes them tick. He wants to know more about the statues. After all, he’s a collector and couldn’t resist. He tells River that he kidnapped Melody as she is the foremost investigator of these matters. He wants her to tell him all about the Angels. To get her to cooperate, Grayle turns off and on the lights and the Angel grabs River’s wrist.

As River tells Grayle what she knows, the lights flicker and the TARDIS appears (thanks to some quick thinking from the Doctor and River texting him coordinates).

Amy tries to find Rory as the Doctor goes to see his wife. A nice little repartee occurs between them allowing us to find out that River is now a professor and that she was released from prison as there is no record of the person she supposedly killed. Apparently, “someone” has been deleting himself from every data base in the universe. Now this “someone” no longer exists.

The Doctor tells River that the Angel has a tight grip on her wrist. Undaunted, River asks him if he will be breaking it’s wrist or hers to get her out of the grip. She groans as she realizes the Doctor is thinking of hers and asks why her. The Doctor tells her because he read it from a book (well, Amy did) and now he has no choice.

River wonders about the book and the Doctor tells her it’s the book she hasn’t written yet so they can’t read ahead. Amy, who hasn’t found Rory, tells them that if River wrote it she would put something in there that would be useful to them. Amy suggests reading the chapter titles which clues the Doctor that Rory is in the cellar.

Thinking that they have a hand on the situation, the Doctor looks at the chapter titles again and sees that the last chapter is titled ‘Amelia’s Last Farewell.’ He becomes angry and tells River to break herself free without breaking her wrist and try to change the future as he goes after Amy.

Meanwhile, Grayle’s men had brought Rory to the cellar and threw him a box of matches. When they leave, Rory is in pitch blackness but hears children’s laughter once again. He lights a match and sees stone cherub statues. The match burns down and he’s in darkness once again. Rory lights another match and the cherubs are now upright and coming towards him. One last match and the light illuminates a cherub next to Rory and then the match goes out.

Amy and the Doctor head to the cellar but Rory is not there. They see the cherubs and surmise they took Rory.

Back upstairs, the Doctor and Amy try to figure out how to find Rory. River comes in and tells them that Rory was displaced in space and not time and is located not too far from where they are. The Doctor is ecstatic as he sees River has gotten free and it looks like without breaking her wrist so she has changed the future.  She tells him they can steal a car to get to where Rory is but when the Doctor grabs her hand to lead her, she yelps out in pain. She didn’t change the future after all.

Doctor Who The Angeles Take Manhattan 11The Doctor asks why she tried to hide the truth and she tells him that she loves him and didn’t want him to see her injured. He takes her hand and uses a bit of his regenerative energy to heal her. River is angry and slaps him telling him that it was a waste of his energy and that he embarrasses her by using it on her. With a bit of mother-in-law advice, Amy tells the Doctor to stick to science.

Outside Amy asks River why she lied. River tells her to never let him see the damage and never let him see you age because he doesn’t like endings.

Inside the locater has found Rory.

Rory has been zapped in front of the Winter Quay building, the same one P.I. Garner went into in the beginning of the episode. As Rory approaches the building the front door opens. While in the lobby, the elevator comes down and opens. Rory goes in and it takes him up to a floor and stops. Rory head down the hallway and comes to a door that opens on its own. An Angel is watching him down the hallway.

The Doctor, Amy and River rush to where Rory is and Amy finds him in the room. River and the Doctor follow behind but see the Angel that was watching Rory is smiling. The Doctor looks at the door that Amy ran into and sees Rory’s name. He rushes in and tells them not to look inside, but too late. Amy sees an old man in a bed and the man sees her.

Doctor Who The Angeles Take Manhattan 12The man calls to her by name and Amy approaches. He reaches out and she takes his hand then realizes it’s Rory several decades older. How can that be as he’s standing at the bedroom doorway? Older Rory says her name with his last dying breath before he passes away.

The Doctor explains that the building is a battery farm for the Angels. They bring their victims here and displace them in time which causes time energy that the Angels feed on. Normally it’s a one off but if the Angels can keep the victim here and zap them back over and over again, they have a source of unlimited energy. There is an abundance of Angels in Manhattan because this place creates a food source that isn’t found anywhere else. The Doctor tells Rory that the Angels are after him and if they touch him, they’ll transport him back 30-40 years back where he’ll live the rest of his life in this room again.

Rory suggests they just run but the Doctor says they can’t as they’ve already seen him die. River thinks Rory has a good idea. If they can create a paradox it may be enough to kill all the Angels. The Doctor is skeptical as it would almost be impossible and take unimaginable power. And even if they escape, the Angels would chase them for the rest of their lives. Amy takes Rory’s hand and tells them she won’t let that happen.

Amy opens the door and the two make a run for it. The way down the stairs is blocked so they head up to the roof. River and the Doctor try to follow but there are Angels in the way. The light flickers and the Angels approach the two trapping them in the room.

Doctor Who The Angeles Take Manhattan 14Amy and Rory get to the rooftop but the Statue of Liberty is waiting for them. Rory tells Amy to keep her eyes on Lady Liberty. When he sees there’s no way down from the roof, he goes to plan B. He stands on the ledge and faces the huge Angel. Amy turns back and sees that Rory is preparing to fall. She begs him not to do this. He tells her it is the only way. If he dies, it will create another paradox and the result will be the same. He tells Amy he needs her to push him because it is the only way. She tells him she can’t and asks if he could if the roles were reversed. Rory tells her to save her, he would do anything. With a tear stained face and love in her eyes she stands beside him on the ledge. She has faith that if they both jump, as Rory theorizes, that they will come back to life destroying this time lime.

The Doctor and River get away from the Angels and reach the two just before they jump. The Doctor yells and asks what are they doing?!? Amy responds saying changing the future… that’s marriage.

As they fall, the building sparks around them. The paradox is working and the world they are in is fading away.

Doctor Who The Angeles Take Manhattan 16Amy and Rory wake up in a graveyard. It worked! They all came back where they belong. Although it seems that things worked out okay. The Doctor hugs them both and is relieved of the outcome.

As they head toward the TARDIS, a tombstone with Rory’s name catches his attention. He calls Amy over to see it and as she approaches, he vanishes and an Angel is standing just where he was.

Amy screams for the Doctor and he tells her that this Angel must be a survivor. Amy keeps her eyes on the Angel and asks where Rory is. She tells him they can go back in time and get him, right? But the Doctor tells her that they can’t. One more paradox and New York City would be ripped apart.

Amy heads toward the Angel. She asks if it will send her back to the same time as Rory. The Doctor says he doesn’t know but River tells her yes it will. The Doctor begs her not to do what she is thinking. All I have to do is blink and I’ll be with Rory where I should be, she says.

She reaches out behind her to her daughter and tells her to be a good girl and look after the Doctor. The Doctor begs her to stay. He tells her she will be creating a fixed point in time and he will not be able to see her ever again but she tells him she’ll be fine as she’ll be with Rory. As she cries, she knows what she must do. ‘Raggedy man,” she says as she turns around, “goodbye” and vanishes.

Doctor Who The Angeles Take Manhattan 18Back in the TARDIS, the Doctor offers River his condolences as she just lost her parents. She tells him it doesn’t matter. What does matter is that he doesn’t travel alone. He offers her to travel with him and she tells him she will but not all the time. “Only one psychopath per TARDIS,” she explains.

She heads off to write the Melody Malone book to send to Amy to get it published. She tells the Doctor she will tell her to write an Afterward just for him. He realizes that he ripped off the last page of the book while in the park and heads to where there to retrieve it.

Doctor Who The Angeles Take Manhattan 19In the Afterward, Amy writes that Rory and her lived a good life and that they love him always. She worries, however, that he will begin to travel alone and asks him not to do this. She also asks for him to do one more thing: To go to a little girl in Ledford who will be waiting for him for a very long time. Go to her and tell her a story that if she’s patient, there’ll come days that she’ll never forget. Days where she’ll see and fight pirates, fall in love with a man who will wait 2000 years to keep her safe, she will give hope to the greatest painter that ever lived, and will save a whale in outer space. Tell her this is the story of Amelia Pond, and this is how it ends.

Episode Observations:

* How cool was it that they used Sting’s ‘An Englishman in New York’ with the lyrics “I’m an alien. I’m a legal alien. I’m an Englishman…”

* I wonder how many years have passed since the last episode as Amy now wears reading glasses.

* When Rory lights that last match, he turns his head and sees the cherub whose lips are pursed as to blow out the match and the match goes out. I though the Angels can’t move if you looks at them so how did the cherub blow out the candle while Rory was looking at it? Do cherubs follow different rules?

* Thought it was awfully cute how the Doctor primps himself before seeing River.

* So the Doctor has erased all reference about him. Is that enough to keep the Silence and all his other enemies at bay or does will history repeat itself and they will still learn of his existence?

* Now that River is a professor, is she nearing the time when she heads to to the Library and meets the 10th Doctor? (For those not caught up with the Nu-Who episodes, the first time the Doctor meets River is in the episode ‘The Silence in the Library.’)

* Liked that Rory’s middle name was Arthur and the nod Moffat made with him continuing to die and come back throught the last 3 years.

* Did anyone else think of the 10th Doctor when the 11th says, ‘Amelia, I’m so so sorry.”

* Murray Gold is brilliant! His music throughout the episode brought tied in the story and evoked as much emotion as the words and acting did.

* I’m wonder if the last 4 episodes aired were in order that they occurred or do you think ‘The Angels Take Manhattan’ occurred first then the Doctor when back to live out some extra adventures with the Ponds? Some have noticed that there was a trend among the episodes of flickering lights and it would explain the forlorn looks the Doctor would have when they weren’t looking.

* Yes, I did tear up, but not as much as Donna’s and Rose’s departure. Probably because of all the hype around this episode and their departure. It didn’t have as much shock value as the others did, however, Rory’s departure did shock.

So, Whovians, what did you think? Stay tuned as a review of all 5 episodes will be coming soon! If you missed the time when the Doctor stayed with Ponds, and not the other way around, make sure you read ‘The Power of Three’ episode recap. In the meantime, let me know what you thought of ‘The Angels Take Manhattan’.

  • dusk

    When the Doctor was “primping” himself in the TARDIS before meeting River, he was looking at the piece of metal plaque, which was strangely missing all the manufacturing info of the TARDIS (serial number, weight etc). Anyone think that’s significant, or is it just me?

    Also, we have already seen an older River in the mini episodes bundled with Season Six’s Bluray boxset. Specifically, we saw the River from when the Doctor took her out on a last date to see the Singing Towers.

    Btw, does anyone know what year they were in when the episode started? Because I thought Amy said she had been traveling with him for 10 years off and on, but in this episode, it was somehow set in 2012? Why would they travel to 2012 New York to have a picnic?

    The book that River wrote will be released as an ebook on the 4th of October (not sure on pricing), so maybe we’ll find out exactly what happened to Amy and Rory after they got zapped back in time. After all, how else would you end the book?

    • Janice Kay

      I believe the significance of the manufacturing info missing is to emphasize that the Doctor is erasing anything that is associated with his existance.
      Even though Moffat has already filmed a mini episosode of River and the Doctor on the night before she left to the Library, I’m wondering how many more adventures she will have with him for us to see in the future or has Moffat already have an idea of her last adventure before their last date already too? ;)
      I thought the year there were having the picnic was 2012. As for why they would picnic in that year, maybe that’s where Sexy (er…the TARDIS) thought they needed to be there. ;) If they weren’t there, they Rory wouldn’t have been zapped back in time by the cherubs.
      Heard about the book and am very excited about that! It would be wonderful if Amy added to what River started before sending it to her to get it published.
      Thanks for commenting!