Peter G (sinetimore) wrote,
Peter G
sinetimore

Doctor Who -- The Angels Take Manhattan

Was this whole thing an inside joke?  The Angels Take Manhattan, featuring angels, ran on September 29, the Feast Of The Angels in general (and the Feast Of St. Michael in particular).  I mention this because some churchgoers who attended mass last night said the ceremony didn't even mention the Feast Of The Angels, it was just another service.  Which would mean a sci-fi/fantasy show was more on top of things than the officials who should know this stuff.

When it comes to writing, you try to balance plot with character.  It's harder than it seems, and sometimes one will win out over the other.  Moffat was going for the emotional resonance (be honest, the episode was basically one big sucker punch), and was using the speed of the episode to his advantage.  This is nothing wrong.  Short story writers do it all the time.  Hell, I do this myself with Sound Waves, keeping things moving to keep the audience from noting and/or dwelling on the inconsistencies of my set-up.  But the problem with this is that there are a number of plot problems.  You are aware you are being manipulated (and in fact, this awareness practically telegraphed the ending to me), because you spend too much time noticing things that don't add up.  You don't bother following the plot because the plot doesn't matter, only the endgame.

Consider this -- the Statue Of Liberty is a Weeping Angel?  Really?  How does it get from the island to the building?  (And just how tall is the building anyway?)  And this isn't just because I live in America so I know this stuff.  Rory is taken to a real place and time in Manhattan.  I know New Yorkers are jaded, but even they would notice the Statue Of Liberty lumbering down the street and standing next to a building (assuming it could fit in the relatively narrow streets and alleys).  Ghostbusters 2 did better.

I don't know about you, but I am completely over the daydream of being one of the Doctor's companions.  They do not meet pleasant fates.  Rose?  Nope.  Martha?  Nope.  Donna?  Okay...she wakes up with a winning lottery ticket, but she doesn't know what she's seen and done.  And now, the Ponds (should I be referring to them as the Williamses instead of the Ponds?).  And Amy wasn't done suffering, as she apparently lived five years longer than Rory.  Just like on how any character that fell in love on Buffy The Vampire Slayer met a grusome fate, becoming a companion of the Doctor means you are screwed.  "I'm a time traveler.  Come with me."  No thanks, I'll take the next bus.

For all the talk about fixed history creating a time lock, it throws the overall continuity of Doctor Who out the window.  If the Doctor is erased, how does Riversong, clearly finally syncing up with the Doctor's present, know who he is?  Likewise, I know this is harping, but the Who Is Doctor Who? website the BBC set up is still active.  Would have been funny if the domain linked to a page showing a 404 error or something.  And since this means the Doctor's whole history is no longer "fixed", what next?  And if so, why wasn't he trying something like this sooner?  Does this mean the time lock on the Time War is gone as well, since the one who destroyed all the forces is gone?

Matt Smith gave a great acting performance in this episode, mining genuine pathos and fear out of things.  The Doctor doesn't like endings.  Witness the regenerations, constant companions, never going home even when he was welcome (The Five Doctors).  That said, he didn't really do much.  What, Amy couldn't have had better chapter titles or left other clues?  The Doctor can't visit the Ponds just to see how they are doing, even if he can't pull them out?  It took me a couple of minutes to figure out what happened to the Ponds, and I know about the Weeping Angels displacing people for their time energy.  I can only imagine a new fan wondering what the hell happened?

It just seems like not only wasn't there as much Doctor as there should have been (I'd almost call it a Doctor-lite episode if it weren't for his screentime, see Blink from the Tennant era for a good example), not only did he seem a step behind instead of two steps ahead (everyone else was taking action and exploring ideas while he was telling everyone not to), but everyone treated the Doctor like shit.  Especially Riversong.  Waste of regenerative energy?  Thank God she never met Romana.  And all he did was stop her hand from bleeding.  I can't imagine it used that much, and he was being caring and chivalrous.  There are ways of her making her point without acting like a total bitch.

Although passing regenerative energy has been established as possible (see during the Peter Davidson era), we've only seen it happen without special equipment with another Time Lord.  Just pointing that out as a possible explanantion why he never tried it with, say, Rory.

For all the emotional gut wrenching the episode goes through, it spends a little time clearly setting up what's happening next season and not enough on a consistent plot.  Conveniences and contrivances abound.  And I'm sorry, but anyone who, like me, cut their teeth on B movie horror, knew the False Ending as soon as everyone was happy, painting the TARDIS and talking about going to the pub.  It's the roller coaster going up the first hill, trying to make the drop as dramatic and unsettling as possible.  It felt like the focus was on Going Big instead of telling a story.

And why do I get the feeling we haven't seen the last of Rose?

See you all on Christmas.
Tags: art, fandom wank, things that make you go hmm, this ought to be interesting
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