Doctor Who at its best? A fitting final episode for Amy Pond and Rory? The reaction to The Angels Take Manhattan has been overwhelmingly positive, something that rarely occurs unless the subject matter is one of those really memorable episodes.
So, is Series 7 Episode 5 in the same class as Blink, Human Nature, The Girl in the Fireplace, Midnight, Turn Left, The Doctor’s Wife and The Girl Who Waited? The reaction of the various reviews that have been published would suggest that it is!
Before we with the roundup, however, the overnight viewing figures for The Angels Take Manhattan reveal an average audience of 5.9 million, peaking at 6.4 million as the episode progressed. The average figure represented 26.9% of the available audience, and Doctor Who was BBC One’s highest rated show of the day. We reckon this figure will change considerably once people start catching up with the episode after discussing it at work on Monday morning…
So what about the reviews?
We’ll kick off with SFX, whose 4/5 rating might raise some eyebrows, along with their declaration that “it’s downright baffling…”. However the review is largely positive, with this interesting observation concerning the character development of the Angels.
They won’t just immediately zap you: they may play with you first; they may even have plans for you. Even the idea of a worn-out Angel – who can only grab and not use her timey-wimey powers – works in context rather than seeming like a handy (ahem) plot device.
Popular TV and pop culture website Digital Spy, meanwhile, gets to the bones of the episode, commenting on the success of Amy Pond’s long-awaited departure.
Amy’s exit… is executed in terrific fashion. She gets an emotional exit scene, a touching epilogue in the form of her novel’s afterword and a full-circle return to her introduction in ‘The Eleventh Hour’ – this writer’s initial instinct was that it might have been nice to actually see the Ponds reunited, but perhaps that might have been a saccharine step too far.
Dan Martin reviews the episode in The Guardian, and refers in detail (and delight!) to the success of the final scene back in 2012.
This was a fitting end to a golden era, and bravo to Steven Moffat for telling such an involving, emotional story with such style. That last scene, as the Doctor darted through the streets of New York – grabbing at the final page as it flapped in the wind, speeding toward the ending he’d refused to accept was coming! Here ended Doctor Who’s ultimate fairytale in the way it had begun – in the pages of a storybook.
We’ve been hugely critical of The Telegraph’s Gavin Fuller reviews (with good reason, truth be told) over the years, but who could argue with this week’s appreciation?
Karen Gillan, looking very fetching in reading glasses (and shooting Dorothy Parker’s theory about bespectacled women down in style), was the star here, really pulling out the emotional stops in the last half of the episode. The scene in the graveyard where she determines to join Rory back in time was almost as heartrending as Rose’s being stranded in another dimension in Doomsday.
We’ll end our reviews coverage with the words of someone who has been in Karen Gillan’s situation as a departing companion who never saw the Doctor again – not for many years, at least – Katy Manning, the Third Doctor’s companion Jo Grant. She reviewed The Angels Take Manhattan for the Radio Times, and her insight into the show brought some gems.
That was so damned good. I laughed. I cried. I was on the edge of my seat. I jumped out of my skin. That to me is perfect entertainment. Every piece of my emotional machinery was fully engaged. I’m now going to have to have a lie down and take a valium because I don’t think I can actually get through the rest of the day!
She’s boundlessly positive about the Tardis tag. “I don’t think about it often, because I’m so busy taking on life and its vicissitudes, but watching Doctor Who reminds me how absolutely joyous I am that I’ve been involved in that programme. What a treat! To watch this wonderful piece of modern television and be so proud that I was a part of it, all those years ago.”
I think that says it all, doesn’t it?
In previous reaction roundups we’ve taken into account our own reviews and our reader’s votes. This time around, that won’t be possible as the review isn’t due for a few hours, and the voting is ongoing! You can check back later in the week for the results of both, however.
Until then, let us dwell on what was, overall, a success!