Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Angels Take Manhattan

Oy.  To summarize my review of The Angels Take Manhattan:

As always, spoilers behind the cut.
Let me say first off that The Angels Take Manhattan had the chance to be a spectacularly well-crafted episode.  The TARDIS "bouncing off" 1938, the whole idea of baby angels, time-energy farms...

Except they flubbed enough details to break this pedantic sci-fi nerd's spirit.

Starting with the Weeping Angels.  Let's go back to that picture, shall we?

Time of Angels / Flesh and Stone messed with the Angels continuity enough to piss me off, and this jumped the shark completely.  The Angels go from being "the lonliest creatures in the universe" because they can't even look at each other because a biological process forces them to become stone in the sight of any living thing... to amassing armies and coordinating group hunts, and apparently being "tricked" into turning into stone... to having freaking children and taking over the Statue of Liberty.

This is not okay with me.

As was pointed out by the wise folks over on Tumblr, "This is continuity over the course of four episodes. If he can’t keep it together for four episodes, there is something wrong."  Angels are scary because yes, they could be anywhere, but they hide and wait until you're not looking, until no one's looking, and then they strike.  It's the passing thought, "Huh, never noticed a statue there" while you're walking late at night... until you turn your back on it.

They're not T-rexes, they're velociraptors, and shoehorning one into the other is just bad writing.  You have all of time and freaking space; if you need a giant stompy monster, there's lots of options.  Why shoehorn the Angels into it?  (Apparently because shiny, that's why.)

It makes the rest harder to swallow, even when it's brilliant.  (Noticing a theme?)  The distant-yet-approaching "thump, thump, thump" is ominous, but it also pisses me off a little, because what each step means is that everyone in New York City, the city that never sleeps, had to look away from the Statue of Liberty which they just saw in a different place than it usually is what the fuck that's not how human beings do.

But even though I don't trust Who to keep the monster continuity straight, I do think that some of the continuity fucks are deliberate.  For example:

River:  "Does the bulb on top need changing?"
Doctor:  "Just changed it."

He changed the bulb... in Pond Life #5.  From the Ponds' (and our) perspective, before the events of Asylum.  Brb, updating headcanon.

Oh, also, River agrees to travel with the Doctor, but not all the time. One psychopath per TARDIS.  Ahem.  In my recap, I'm going to have to figure out which one's the psychopath in each episode.  I kind of love the fuckery.

That's not the only fuckery in that scene though, and some of it is bad fuckery.  I can't be the only one whose potential feels were stymied by the intrusive thought: "Uhhhh so how about you go to Jersey and take a cab?"

I know, I had a good think on it later and realized that the paradox would probably F NY in the A, but like, there doesn't actually need to be a paradox.  Headstones can be forged.  I'm just saying, it was distracting.  I shouldn't have been wondering these things; I should have been full of sobs because Amy is about to leave, and the Doctor has tears in his eyes, and River!  RIVER.
"River just lost two of the three people she trusts in this universe. She never got to say goodbye to her father, and she could only kiss her mothers hand goodbye because someone had to watch that angel. The Doctor breaks down, he screams and cries and rages all the while his wife stands composed..."
River, oh god River, River whose very life began and ended because of the Doctor... who was stolen from her family, taken from her mother... who doesn't even recognize her until she's a grown woman because of this man.  I love the conflict there, and I love how it comes out in this episode.

Doctor Who gets so much so right.  But the episodic storytelling that Doctor Who is famed for, which carried the series through decades of crappy special effects and sometimes terrible acting, is sorely lacking in this entire season.

I'll have a half-season recap complete with predicted Doctor's timeline version coming through the tubes sooner rather than later.  Thanks for reading along, those of you who did!  Feel free to leave a comment in ze little box below and let me know your thoughts.

ETA:  Here are some links:
My continuity roundup of all the episodes in S7, part 1.
Asylum, Dinosaurs, Mercy, Po3.

1 comment:

  1. Wow. That was amazing. I especially loved the River part. Maybe you should do a blog just for River and how her surface shows absolutely nothing about how scarred she is inside...great blog though! Keep it up :)