Doctor Who (Matt Smith) – The Angels Take Manhattan, and The Snowmen

Amy (Karen Gillan) and Rory’s (Arthur Darvill) travels in the TARDIS come to an end this week with The Angels Take Manhattan. Written by Steven Moffat, with an airdate of 29 September, 2012, the episode sees the Doctor (Smith) and his Companions in New York in 2012.

Here they are relaxing as the Time Lord reads a pulp novel set in New York of the 30s, and featuring a detective named Melody Malone. When Rory appears in the book, the Doctor realises that it was written by River Song (Alex Kingston) and that he, Rory and Amy all make appearances in it. He has ripped out the last page of the book, leaving it behind, as he hates endings.

Travelling back to the 30s they find themselves steeped in a mystery and confronted by the terrifying Weeping Angels at every turn.

Our heroes discover strange truths in a hotel, and fate has played its hand, setting into a motion a fixed point that the Doctor may never recover from.

Even knowing going into it that this would be the last adventure the Ponds share with the Doctor, the emotional impact when it actually happens is still enough to wring tears from me. It ties up their story wonderfully, impacts the Doctor, and helps define him going forward.

It also lets us see the Statue of Liberty in a different way.

Shot on location, the episode looks wonderful and sends the pair off in high, melodramatic, and weepy fashion – that last page, the one the Doctor ripped out… wow.

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The Snowmen was the 2012 Christmas Day special, set in England, 1892. It was also written by Moffat, and sees a reclusive Doctor, seemingly unreachable by his friends, Madame Vastra (Neve McIntosh), Jenny Flint (Catrin Stewart), and Strax (Dan Starkey).

Which is unfortunate because a home in England has just taken on a new nanny (who is moonlighting as a bar maid), a familiar face, an impossible girl, Clara Oswin Oswald (Jenna-Louise Coleman).

She’s been hired to look after a pair of children, but it seems some sentient snowmen are causing a problem, and she’s going to investigate it. Even if it means she dies (again) in the process.

The Doctor (who wears a big hat now – well at least for this episode, as well as his glasses, that he got from Amy in the last episode) is drawn into the mystery as well, unable to resist, add in the Impossible Girl, and there will be nothing to stop his investigation. As the two team up, they discover that the Great Intelligence (voiced by Ian McKellen) is behind things, manipulating Dr. Simeon (Richard E. Grant) to carry out his bidding.

It’s fun, light, and slowly begins to bring out of his Pond funk, while planting the seeds for the rest of the seventh series (Run you clever boy, and remember…).

Smith and Coleman have great chemistry together, and that makes her death (again) in this episode so painful… but she’ll find a way back. And create a mystery that will captivate the Doctor when he investigates The Bells of Saint John.

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