I’ve always been a big fan of Doctor Who but never more so after the arrival of Matt Smith as the Eleventh Doctor and new companion, the beautifully stunning Karen Gillan as Amy Pond in Series 5. The new writing and cast did seem to split viewers into a love it or hate it vibe but I don’t think Who has been better and it certainly does show almost how poor Series 1-4 were written in comparison with lack of imagination and any real Sci-Fi vibe (saying this I did still love the show from episode one). Then, this September, the day came… The day I had dreaded since it was announced and even rumoured almost a year prior… The day Amy Pond left The Doctor. I had always known this would be a real tear-jerker because I honestly love the girl and the only departure before this that had moved me was Donna’s.
While the episode may not be as great as I had hoped and the whole first half of the series didn’t have that real abridged story that I do like in Who, as you’d expect, the two Moffat written episodes were stunning and worked as standalone features really well but for different reasons and both reduced me to actual tears because of the Ponds.
This is my first re-watch of the episode and I was initially worried it wouldn’t stand the test of time because when watching it the first time I clearly remember cringing in several places through pure cliched writing especially when Amy grabs Rory’s arm and says something like ‘You’ve got me’, but, dare I say it, I even loved this bit of Pond attitude when watching it today and it just made me even more sad. The Angels Take Manhattan had everything for a Pond fan and gave everything an end and completed their story so wonderfully and showed them as the perfect couple they are, where at first it seemed Rory would dote on Amy without getting anything back the sixth series showed a different side to the relationship and in the end we see them both give themselves to the other when they emotionally dive off the roof of the Angel inhabited building.
It’s a close call to decide what was the most emotional part of the episode because it was jammed full of moments not only between the Ponds and The Doctor but also between River and The Doctor, but I think the moment that Amy joins Rory atop that roof edge to face an end together rather than risking a life alone has to be one of the most heart-warming and crushing moments in TV history not just Doctor Who. People have criticised the use of slow motion in episodes but I it works well here and lets the music speak the emotions. On initial viewing I thought this was the end of Amy and Rory but alas, I was destined to be made to work even harder this episode and as I was tearing up already I was forced to watch more as not only Amy broke down but so did The Doctor and Smith does it in such a dramatic way compared to Tennant, the emotion is raw and really felt as the connection on and off set is a good one.
The final scenes in this dramatic roller-coaster ride of emotions takes place in a Graveyard just outside New York. We are teased into thinking a clean getaway is on the cards as they begin to get into the TARDIS ready to leave when Rory stops and doubles back to look at a gravestone… When watching this time round I begged ‘please don’t’ and as he did I sighed as he called Amy back knowing this was the end. As Amy turns round she is in time to see an Angel send Rory back in time and that’s it, we never see Rory again, when re-watching this is almost the saddest thing in the episode as he never gets a proper farewell but the next 3ish minutes are the moment that will make you want to rip through your own chest and eat your heart. The moment Amy screams and The Doctor runs out and Amy begins to cry The Doctor knows exactly what is happening and he doesn’t want it happen and does anything he can to persuade her to come back to the TARDIS.
I would go as far as saying this goodbye is the single best scene in Doctor Who and takes the crown from Catherine Tate saying goodbye as Donna Noble. It doesn’t quite hit you until Gillan begins to tear up and her bottom lip begins to wobble and the final ingredient to the pie was The Doctor actually breaking down and crying. If you didn’t cry at this I don’t think you can be classed as alive it is enough to send anyone over the edge even those who weren’t a Pond fan I think had to admit this was a beautiful and touching final moment.
When Amy turns to the Doctor and speaks her last words “Goodbye Raggedy Man” and is taken by the Angel seeing the Doctor break down again, tears now streaming down his face was even worse to watch this time around and I was completely with him, I felt like Doctor Who had for once actually lost something amazing, something I never felt with Eccelstone, Piper, Ageyman or Tennant but maybe slightly with Tate (although her story had really reached its natural end after that series). The beauty with TV Shows is that the creators/writers need to know when to end a story line, character, or the whole show. Gervais is a master of this and almost always leaves everyone wanting more especially after The Office and Extras. As sad as it is for to say and as much as I’d gladly watch Karen Gillan pout and prance across any alien planet for 45 minutes a week without fail I think the Ponds had reached a natural end and it may have been hard for any more plausible storylines to unfold around her.
As much as anyone wants to kid themselves that Jenna Louise Coleman is going to be a great companion they are 100% wrong, from the word go I said it, and I stand by it especially after her unnecessary appearance in Asylum of the Daleks. Her personality outside the show does my head in with this fake cookyness she possesses and the ‘banter’ between Smith and her on Children in Need was enough for me want to scratch my own eyes out. Looking at her credentials I don’t know how she got the gig either, I mean I know Karen Gillan came from almost nowhere but the idea was to start from complete fresh and with a relatively unknown actor like Matt Smith it was easy to surprise and along with Gillan they were perfect and had this real Indy style vibe going on outside the show. All I see with him and Jenna is forced and almost just an extended acting job for interviews. It’s awkward and horrible.
However, if she does surprise in the coming xmas episode I will be pleased but I can almost already tell what kind of annoying assistant she is going to be. She will be arrogant and a bit of a knowitall whereas Amy allowed The Doctor to show her the universe and took in the sights and sounds like in series 5 where he hold her outside the TARDIS and everything was so innocent. I don’t think I will ever have a connection with an assistant as much as I have Amy Pond. She has it all and I will forever remember the 33 episodes she has given me… I just hope Jenna only lasts a series, even better, half.
But who knows, she might be good.