"I always rip out the last page of a book. Then it doesn't have to end. I hate endings."
IN THIS ONE... The Weeping Angels trap Amy and Rory in 1930s New York. Forever.
REVIEW: As I've said previously, I was quite happy with the ending the Ponds got in The God Complex, but if they need another and more epic farewell episode, they could have done worse than The Angels Take Manhattan. It's got one of those clever Steven Moffat ideas, where Rory goes for coffee and shows up in the book the Doctor's reading. It's basically as if the Doctor could rely on River's diary, but dare not look at the spoilers lest it make history impossible to rewrite. How time works in Moffat's Doctor Who couched in a comfortable and easy to understand metaphor. The Doctor ripping out the last page because he hates endings will obviously tie into the Ponds' departure, but it's also a good strategy when it comes to time travel. Always leave things open-ended so you can go back if you need to. So the Ponds needed a definite ending and got it (or did they? see Theories).
While the Weeping Angels are definitely required for this particular plot, the only way to make creepy statues interesting, absent any actual personality, is to keep adding to their canon. Where in Blink they were this perfect "puzzle", with rules you could easily follow and which would "solve" that puzzle, now they're just a big mess. They're back to taking people back in time to eat their potential, though somehow they can keep those people alive (or is their room service in that hotel? why don't the young versions of the people trapped there just get out and live their lives?). They've got creepy cherub "children", but would Angels really have that kind of life cycle? Their "take-over" of statues all over New York would seem to contradict that, but it's essentially used for image-making. The production just couldn't resist having the Statue of Liberty as an Angel, and though memorable, it's all a little silly, isn't it? It got across the harbor while no one, in the whole of New York, was looking? Is that it? At the same time, the requirements of the plot make Moffat miss an obvious addition to the Angel mythos: When Amy and Rory fall to their deaths, one should have swooped in to save them. They have wings after all. (Obviously, the Doctor and River were looking, but they probably shouldn't have because it caused fixed time.)
Anyway, there's never going to be a good Weeping Angel story except for Blink, but they can be kind of rubbish in someone else's good story. So is this a good Amy and Rory farewell? I have to say it is. Not only are we reassured they've had a long life both with and without the Doctor, and that they never break up, AND it partners them one last time with their daughter River Song, but it also ties into the characters' personal themes. Rory has been dying over and over again since Amy's Choice, and has always woken up fine. That had to pay off, and it does in his confidence that he can beat the Angels. He dies no fewer than three times in this episode alone. Speaking of Amy's Choice, it resonates very strongly, because Amy chooses death with her husband as a chance at a second life in this story too. And then does it again. There's the jump off the building, but also the cemetery scene. Amy will always choose Rory over the Doctor in the end, which is a fitting, romantic ending for the TARDIS' only married companions. The coda is a bit precious, but it's sweet to see young Amelia again, and that shot that used to be a dream turning into another strand of Amy's impossible, paradoxical life.
THEORIES: So is it true the Doctor can never meet Amy and Rory again? In story terms, he can't. Within the rules of the show, of course he can. Firstly, he can visit them before these events occur. He goes in and out of their lives so much, how would they know he was a much older Doctor? Secondly, they live another 50-60 years after being Angel-napped. Are they saying New York is a temporal hot zone from 1938 all the way to 2012? The 30s are knotted up, but since the Angels were unmade, the following decades should be pretty clear. Can't the Doctor pick Amy and Rory up from the late 40s or so? Or since he'll likely continue to travel in the 20th century, what if he landed in the UK, then took a plane to the US? Or vice-versa? Wouldn't they be able to find each other so long as they kept the TARDIS out of New York? In fact, all that's "fixed" is the tombstone. He could rescue his companions as soon as it's possible, then plant the stone at the proper place. This Doctor has been able to perform tricks like this for a while now, and that's what happens when you go full "Bill & Ted", isn't it? The rules you set up makes it too easy for your hero to get out of "impossible" situations. So I suppose we have to accept one of two things. Either the Ponds' time stream is so twisted up, their entire lives in NYC are impossible to get to with a TARDIS (and are toxic to the Doctor's), or the Doctor really doesn't like to see you age, so a 40-year-old Amelia is out of bounds for personal reasons.
ADDITIONAL MATERIAL: A scene was planned for the DVD but never shot, called "P.S.", in which Brian Williams is hand-delivered a letter by his 60-year-old grandson. In the letter, Rory explains that he and Amy were stranded in the past, that they had a good life, and eventually adopted.
REWATCHABILITY: Medium-High - The companions' departure is potent and a great tribute to their time aboard the TARDIS, but the Weeping Angels really need to be given a rest.