Maggie A's Meanderings

 
 

 

 

 Feb 17, 2013

Tell Me Again Why the Doctor Can Never See Amy (& Rory)?


Normally if I wanted to review a specific TV episode, I would do it on IMDb, but this goes over the word limit for IMDb. This piece is exclusively for people who watch Doctor Who, if you don't, you're not going to have a clue what I'm talking about, so feel free to skip this............

Recently I had the misfortune to encounter the last Doctor Who episode with Amy & Rory,"The Angels Take Manhattan," again. (I only saw a bit of it as I had no desire to force myself to sit through that tripe another time.) As it did the first time, the episode irritated me with how god-awful it was.

I couldn't help but notice that this episode exemplified everything that's gone wrong with Doctor Who in the era of Steven Moffat as executive producer.

First, there's all the timey-wimey stuff. Rory dies yet again (how many Rory deaths does this make?) and it creates a paradox wiping out what happened.......yet again. Wiping out what he's previously done in the show seems to be a favorite pastime of Moffat.

At the end of the episode the companions Amy & Rory are sent back in time by a Weeping Angel. They go on to live a long, happy and full life together and die of old age decades later. (A fate truly worse than death. What an awful thing to have happened to them.) The Doctor was devastated because he could never see them again. Okay, the Doctor was devastated because he could never see Amy again
, hence, the phrasing "Amy (& Rory)."

Tell me again why the Doctor can never see Amy (& Rory)?

The Doctor doesn't know where the Weeping Angels sent Amy (& Rory). They're lost in time and space.


No, they're not. At the end of "The Angels Take Manhattan" the Doctor is standing in front of the tombstone of Amy (& Rory) in Queens, a
borough of New York City. All he has to do is check the cemetery records and the New York City records and he'd know exactly when they lived and their home address.

So tell me again why the Doctor can never see Amy (& Rory)?

Because it's a paradox, and Amy (& Rory) have to live out their lives in 20th century New York.

Okay. So the Doctor can't take them traveling with him, but he could still visit them (really, Amy) in 20th century New York.

So tell me again why the Doctor can never see Amy (& Rory)?

Because of all the time manipulation done by the Weeping Angels, there's too much time distortion and the TARDIS can't get to them.

One, the TARDIS can no longer get through to 1938 because of the time distortions, but the wrist strap vortex manipulator could. (That's how River Song got there.) And, two, even if the vortex manipulator could no longer get through to 1938, Amy (& Rory) lived for decades dying at ages 87 and 82 respectively. The Doctor could always visit them in another year besides 1938.

So tell me again why the Doctor can never see Amy (& Rory)?

Well, maybe it's because the TARDIS can't go near New York City at all.

Another one-two. One, we know the TARDIS does visit New York City. The Doctor is there when the Empire State Building is being constructed in 1930 (ep. "Daleks in Manhattan" and "Evolution of the Daleks") and visits the Empire State Building after it's finished in 1966 (ep. "The Chase"). Then there's "Day of the Moon" where the Doctor uses the TARDIS to catch River when she jumps out of a NYC skyscraper. And, two, why couldn't the Doctor just land the TARDIS outside of New York City and travel there by regular transportation?

So tell me again why the Doctor can never see Amy (& Rory)?

....................The sound of bees buzzing and birds singing punctuate the awkward silence.................

Because here's the big "oops." The Doctor's not supposed to be able to visit Amy (& Rory). But River Song could and did. She was in contact with Amy to get Amy's afterword for the book River wrote and to give Amy the manuscript of the book. So River could visit Amy & Rory, but the Doctor couldn't?? What? She refused to loan him her vortex manipulator?


So tell me again why the Doctor can never see Amy (& Rory)?


Because the bloody script says so!!!

And that's what it comes down to. We're supposed to accept the Doctor's grief and loss simply because the nonsensical script says so. Maximum emotional manipulation. Minimum sense.

I didn't see the end of "The Angels Take Manhattan" as a loss for the Doctor. He suffered his loss previously..........when Moffat took over the series and the Doctor's IQ dropped dramatically. In episode after episode until the Doctor has his "reverse the polarity of the neutron flow" moment where he does the something technical I couldn't do, I'm smarter than this Doctor. A lot smarter. As I was watching "The Eleventh Hour," the very first episode with Moffat as executive producer, I IMed a friend listing all the ways the Doctor had been stupid in it. And "The Angels Take Manhattan" was a supreme example of the Doctor's stupidity as he couldn't figure out a way to visit Amy (& Rory).

The big problem with Moffat-era Doctor Who is it seems to be going for that famous W.C. Fields quote, "If you can't dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit." It hopes that if the action moves fast enough and the characters talk fast enough that you won't notice that what's happening doesn't make any sense.

Take the way the TARDIS finally makes it into 1938 New York City. Because of the time distortions the Doctor needs "landing lights" for the TARDIS. He knows the house he's aiming for has a piece of Qin pottery. So the Doctor goes back in time and has the word "Yowza!" written on the pottery to mark his landing spot. Except it's not like there was only one piece of pottery made in the entire Qin Dynasty. So how did the Doctor know that that particular vase would end up in that particular house? And if he had "Yowza!" written on every single piece of Qin pottery ever made, then he's got multiple landing signals because New York City has museums plus a lot of rich people who like to collect expensive things, and I'm sure more than one place in New York City, not to mention the rest of the world in 1938, has Qin pottery.
If you ran that marking-the-pottery plan by the Evil Overlord's eight year old advisor, the kid would tell you the plan wouldn't work. But, "Oh, oh," say the producers, "don't think about that. We'll just stick in this piece of bullshit scene of the Doctor going back in time to the potters. And it all magically works out ----- if you don't think about it." 

It's established that the Doctor and River's personal timestreams are traveling in opposite directions. It's supposed to be the great tragedy of their love. The first time the Doctor sees River is the last time River sees the Doctor. Therefore, the only moment when both the Doctor and River would both know that they're married is at the marriage ceremony itself. Any time after that in the Doctor's timeline is before they're married in River's timestream. But in "The Angels Take Manhattan" both River and the Doctor know they're married. Excuse me, but the only way that's even possible is if both of their personal timestreams are moving forward, not one forward and one backward.

Of course this episode doesn't even begin to work without a major retcon of the nature of the Weeping Angels. When we were first introduced to the Weeping Angels species in the episode "Blink," they were quantum-locked humanoids from the early universe. They would freeze into statue form if anyone was looking at them, even another Weeping Angel. Hence, they all had the appearance that they were "weeping" since they all had to keep their eyes covered so they wouldn't accidentally look at another Weeping Angel and cause it to freeze. "Blink," written by Steven Moffat, was an awesome episode. Filled with suspense with visuals scary enough to cause a child to watch from behind a couch, even though the Weeping Angels were the gentlest Doctor Who "villain" ----- they didn't kill you, just sent you back in time where people lived their lives out in full. Not exactly a terrible fate in the scheme of Doctor Who. (In fact, I know people who would jump at the opportunity to live out their lives in the past.)

But every time Moffat brought the Weeping Angels back he changed them. By "The Angels Take Manhattan" Weeping Angels could take over any other statue and turn it into a Weeping Angel. And the statues didn't have to cover their eyes though they still froze when looked at. And instead of just sending people back in time to live out their lives, the Weeping Angels set up a rooming house and (after sending them back in time) kept people locked in apartments till they died of old age. I don't think I was the only one who watched this episode going, "Huh???"

Now I haven't seen the entire episode of "The Angels Take Manhattan" since it originally aired in September (as I said I couldn't force myself to watch it again), so I'm going by memory using the wikia summary as a refresher. But here are some other things about the episode that irritated me.........

Lousy make-up. There are references to how much Amy & Rory have aged in the time since they started traveling with the Doctor, but they still look the same age, not substantially older.

Three Rory deaths in a single episode. I think that's the record. I don't think even South Park killed Kenny that many times in a single episode. (In case you don't recall, Rory died twice of old age and once by jumping off a roof.)

Rory and Amy both fall off the roof to their death. The Doctor only shouts for Amy and never shouts for Rory, yet again giving me the impression that he doesn't give a rat's ass about Rory even though he's known Rory for years. I get the sense that he only cares about Rory as far as Rory is important to Amy's happiness.

The Doctor uses regeneration energy to heal River's broken wrist. The TARDIS was right in the same room with them. Don't tell me that the TARDIS doesn't have medical equipment. Travels through time and space, but doesn't have a bonesetting kit? Instead they both just sat there with River's broken wrist until the Doctor uses regeneration energy to heal it. Personally, if someone I love broke their wrist and I was in the room with an advanced piece of technology that could repair, I'd fix it, not sit around talking about it while leaving it broken. For that matter, why didn't River just make an excuse, slip into the TARDIS and fix it herself if she didn't want the Doctor to know it was broken? Oh, because either of those scenarios would have made sense, so wouldn't have been distracting bullshit.

The Statue of Liberty is taken over by the Weeping Angels and leaves Bedloe's Island (aka Liberty Island) and goes to Winter Quay at least twice. Double facepalm moment in so many ways. You're going to expect me to believe that there's a moment where someone, somewhere, isn't looking at the Statue of Liberty?! Weeping Angels can't move when they're being observed. But this 151 foot landmark lighted statue manages to climb down off it's 154 foot base and cross New York harbor and into the Hudson River to the Battery Park area of Manhattan in a city with the nickname "The City that Never Sleeps." I'm thinking that would have been noticed and there would have been one hell of a crowd staring at it, freezing it into position. Again, this is a perfect example of Moffat piling on the bullshit.

All in all, "The Angels Take Manhattan" exemplifies what Moffat's done to Doctor Who since he's taken over as executive producer. In that sense, it was a completely fitting finale for Amy & Rory.

When New Who first came out back in 2005, I didn't bother to watch it. Doctor Who was something I'd given up back in my teens. It took hearing good things about the new series and accidentally catching back-to-back the episodes "School Reunion" and "The Girl in the Fireplace" before I decided to sit down in late 2011 and watch New Who from the beginning. I found far too much reliance on the sonic screwdriver and a range of episodes, some poor, some okay and some were fantastic. (The first fantastic episode to me was "Dalek." Click for my rankings.) It was the hope of seeing a fantastic episode that kept me watching Doctor Who, but in the two and a half years since Moffat took over there's only been one episode that I'd even recommend and that was "Vincent and the Doctor" (and I'm biased being a lover of van Gogh's art). One show out of two and a half years worth of shows. As one of the writers of Doctor Who, Steven Moffat's work was brilliant. As executive producer of Doctor Who, I think Steven Moffat is an example of someone who was promoted to the level of his incompetence.
               
Addendum for this review, "Doctor Who (2005) Grade Rankings."


The Statue of Liberty as a frozen Weeping Angel caught walking through New York Harbor while a crowd watches


If you enjoyed this, let me recommend "The (Not So) Great Zombie Apocalypse," "Star Wars, Einstein and When Lucas Got It Right" or "The Old Yeller Abyss."

Or take a look through the
Archive.

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