Monthly Archives: October 2012

Geeksquirrel’s Nutty Review: The Angels Take Manhattan

We all knew this was coming. More than that, given what we knew about the Angels, we all kind of suspected how it would end. But like so many things in life, how you get there is really what’s important. For once, the departure of companions was touching, suspenseful and integral to the story itself. This episode was one of the best written of the series, and given the fact that we’re talking about fifty years of writing here, that’s quite an amazing feat.

It’s been common knowledge that Amy and Rory’s departure would take place in a story involving the Weeping Angels. These time displacing beings are some of the scariest monsters conceived for Doctor Who, but given their ability to shift people backwards in time, it didn’t take much to figure out what the final fate of the Doctor’s beloved companions would be. But what makes this episode special is the getting there. Both Arthur Darvil and Karen Gillan turn in tour-de-force performances. Darvil is especially effective as the brave but still very human Rory, while Gillan touches on every part of her character’s existence…from wife, to mother, to best friend. Matt Smith conveys the gut-wrenching anguish of the Doctor with incredible gravitas. Of all of the characters, Alex Kingston’s River Song is probably the weakest, but even that is still a fantastic performance. River brings context and comfort to the Doctor, reminding him of his need to move on, even as she hints at the pain of being his wife often inflicts upon her.

The script contains some of the best dialogue in the series, giving all of the actors something worthwhile to use for their performances. Even the camera direction is brilliant in places, with the actors staged in ways that lend even more emotion to their scenes. Of all the departures we’ve seen in this show, the farewell of the Ponds is perhaps the best episode in every category.

The Angels Take Manhattan gets Five Acorns out of Five!

Advertisements

Geeksquirrel’s Nutty Review: The Power of Three

With the Power of Three we are one step closer to the end of Amy and Rory’s journey. And yet, so much of that journey remains undocumented. Amy tells the Doctor that they have spent 10 years of their lives traveling with him, which has not only put them out of synch with the real world, but with their legions of fans as well.

This episode documents the “Year of the Slow Invasion”, when Earth is bombarded by millions of cubes whose only function appears to be as a novelty item. The cubes arrive one day and do nothing…which frustrates the Doctor to no end. He leaves Amy, Rory, and dad Brian to watch the cubes, letting them get on with their lives while he runs off and has adventures on his own. Along the way, the Doctor meets the daughter of an old friend; Kate Stewart, daughter of the Brigadier and now in charge of UNIT.

The story itself is fast-paced to the point of being frenetic. Despite the long incubation period experienced by the characters, the action and cuts give the story a quickened feeling that often leaves the viewer a bit frazzled. That said, there are tons of loveable fan moments. Kate Lethbridge-Stewart is ably played by Jemma Redgrave, and Mark Williams is eminently adorable as Brian. The Doctor’s heart-to-heart with Amy about why he spends so much time with the Ponds is honest and touching, and the chemistry between Amy and Rory feels fully developed as they struggle between real life and Doctor life.

My major problem with this episode, and with the season as a whole, is that everything feels so rushed. We know that there are so many adventures that we have not seen, and yet here we are at the end of Amy and Rory’s time, and we end up with a rushed half-season that feels like watching their adventures on fast forward. We don’t get the sense of continuity that we have had with previous companions. Instead we are teased with hints about what we’ve been missing, and as a fan of Amy and Rory I can’t help but feel a bit cheated.

All things being equal, the episode is still one of the best of this season, and probably one of the best of Amy and Rory’s tenure. I only wish we could have gotten a full season with the Ponds; one that did not have a continued storyline and that gave us more of a sense of the amount of time they have really spent with the Doctor. Maybe we will see some flashbacks down the road, but still, I can’t help but feel that we’ve been short changed, and that’s a sad thing to do to one of the best set of companions the series has ever known.

“The Power of Three” gets Three and a Half Acorns out of Five!