Doctor Who Season 7: 5 Questions About “The Angels Take Manhattan”

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Doctor Who Season 7: 5 Questions About “The Angels Take Manhattan”

Okay, I admit it: I got more than a little emotional more than once during last night’s Doctor Who. What can I say? I knew it was going to be rough going into the final episode for Amy and Rory, but even so… That doesn’t stop me from wanting to poke holes in the somewhat flimsy plot, however. Questions and spoilers for “The Angels Take Manhattan” ahoy!

How Can The Statue Of Liberty Even Be A Weeping Angel?
It makes a great visual, I know, but… the Statue of Liberty as a Weeping Angel? How does that even work? Not only in the sense of “Oh, so apparently Weeping Angels can be whatever scale necessary, even though they’ve always been human-sized before,” but also: Isn’t the construction of the Statue of Liberty a matter of historical record, even in the Whoniverse? Wouldn’t 1930s New York be freaking out when the Statue of Liberty is walking across the city repeatedly to harvest on time energy? You’d think that’s the kind of thing that people would remember – Or, for that matter, that you’d hear a reaction to just as loudly as you’d hear the footsteps.

How Did River Know Where To Send The Book To Amy?
If the Doctor doesn’t know where the Angel sent Rory to the second time around – as he told Amy (although he could, of course, have been lying to try to prevent her from doing what she ended up doing) – then why did River so matter-of-factly say that she’d send the manuscript to Amy? How did she know where and when Amy is? And, for that matter, how can she interact with Amy in any way, even through the mail, if Amy and Rory are trapped in the past because interacting with them would destroy 1930s New York because it’s so riddled with time paradoxes? Which brings me to my next question:

Aren’t There Other Ways To Save Amy and Rory And Create Another Time Paradox?
The answer to this one is, of course, yes. Yes, there are. I can think of two right off the top of my head: We know the Tardis can’t go back, but what’s to stop River going back with her personal special wristband time machine device and saving them? She even says in the episode that she can go where the Tardis can’t, after all. Or, if New York in the ’30s is too dangerous, does that mean everywhere else in the world during that time period is equally dangerous? If not – and, somehow I doubt that that is the case – then what’s to stop the Doctor from taking the Tardis back to Connecticut or wherever, driving into New York, picking up Amy and Rory and then driving them back to safety?

Don’t get me wrong; I like the romanticism of Amy and Rory’s farewell, and there being a reason why they’re not just continuing to travel with the Doctor – and I also like, in a sense, that this is the Doctor’s ultimate failure in a season of failures, although I also hope his luck changes starting with the Christmas episode, because this one really did feel just a little too downbeat for Who – but… I just wish that it was something that stood up to logic a little better, is all.

Isn’t River Song’s Very Existence A Time Paradox Now?
If River was pardoned because it turned out that the Doctor has erased proof of his existence, meaning that she killed no-one, how does that actually work? If all proof of the Doctor’s existence is gone, why did authorities think that River killed anyone in the first place? And if she was just being detained while they worked through the details, why was she held in Stormcage for so long? For that matter, without proof that the Doctor existed, would River even exist as River, because the Silence wouldn’t exist and therefore wouldn’t kidnap Melody Williams and and and… Oh, I give up. River’s timeline is a crazy mess if we’re to believe that the Doctor has really succeeded in making himself into an unknown mystery again.

About that timeline, though: River’s a Professor now! Does that mean that this River is closer to her appearance in “Silence in the Library,” from season four, and therefore her own death?

Since When Are Timelines Set In Stone As Soon As You Interact With Your Future?
Again, I get that this all comes from the need to write Amy and Rory out with some finality and that this is an episode that works on an emotional level, if not a logical one. But… I am entirely unconvinced about the fixed point in time thing when it comes to “reading about” your future – that is, having some foreknowledge of what’s to come. Even within Steven Moffat’s own run of episodes, isn’t “The Pandorica Opens” and “The Big Bang” entirely contingent on foreknowledge of what’s going to happen, with that foreknowledge allowing the Doctor to plan enough ahead so that the future is both fulfilled and avoided?

“The Angels Take Manhattan” is a particularly frustrating episode. Watching it, I found myself entirely caught up in the story, and when Amy and Rory made the choice to leap off the building, I was completely verklempt. But the more I think about it afterwards, the more the plot falls apart, and the more I remain convinced that there are several workarounds for what actually happened and broke the Doctor’s hearts. Maybe that’s intentional, of course, and we’ll see Amy and Rory again (After all, if Oswin appeared before she was supposed to, who’s to say that Amy and Rory won’t appear after they’re supposed to? Perhaps in next year’s 50th anniversary celebrations?), but right now…? I feel somewhat disappointed with the episode, and wish that we had another one next week that could wash the bitter taste out of my mouth. Instead, we have to wait until Christmas… and Oswin’s “official” debut. Three months seems too long, doesn’t it?