The Angels Take Manhattan
The Angels Take Manhattan was the fifth episode of the seventh series of Doctor Who produced by BBC Wales. It saw the final departure of Amy Pond and Rory Williams, and the return of River Song. It also marked the return of the Weeping Angels, giving them an appearance at least once in each season of the Steven Moffat era of Doctor Who through 2014.
The Angels Take Manhattan was given additional closure through the complimentary webcast entitled P.S., which showed the final fate of the Ponds. It also gave Brian Williams a working narrative end point.
Art collector and mob boss, Julius Grayle, has hired private detective Sam Garner, but wonders if Sam believes the reason he has been hired — and that statues can move. Sam simply says he believes what he’s told to believe, as long as he’s paid. Grayle sends detective Garner to Winter Quay, an apartment building “where the statues live”. Once Garner leaves for the Quay, Grayle looks out his office window, and notices one of two statues standing outside his mansion has disappeared when he wasn’t looking. When Garner arrives at Winter Quay, he notices the residents of the Quay and the surrounding apartment buildings watching his arrival with dread. A little girl sees him from the window of a building across from the Quay, mimicking weeping. He ignores her and enters the Quay, unaware as a Weeping Angel sitting on a plinth near the building awakening as he enters.
Garner enters a room in Winter Quay that has his name on it, unaware of the Angels stalking him through the building. He encounters an elderly version of himself, who warns him that “they” are going to send him back in time now that he is there. Garner is then attacked by the Weeping Angels. He manages to avoid them, as something large is heard approaching Winter Quay from outside. When he finds the Angels have blocked the stairwell, Garner is forced onto the roof. He comes face to face with the snarling Statue of Liberty, revealed to be a Weeping Angel of gigantic size. As he succumbs to his fate, someone is writing about Garner’s demise on a typewriter.
In 2012 New York City, the Eleventh Doctor, Amy Pond and Rory Williams are having a picnic in Central Park. Amy is annoyed by the Doctor’s habit of reading his pulp paperback novel, Melody Malone: Private Detective in Old New York Town, out loud. He in turn is perturbed by Amy’s use of reading glasses. The Doctor tells Amy that he doesn’t like her glasses because they make her eyes look “all liney”. After taking Amy’s glasses off, he realizes that the lines are minor wrinkles in her skin. He tells her that her eyes look better with the glasses. Amy then starts arguing with the Doctor about how she looks, asking Rory (who is a safe distance away from his wife) if there are lines around her eyes. Rory claims he never noticed them, walking back to his wife, who happily kisses him. Rory goes off to get more coffee for them as Amy tells the Doctor to tell her a story. The Doctor is amused she has changed her mind. The Doctor tears out the last page, telling Amy that he hates endings. The story will never end now, for him.
On Rory’s way back, he hears the sound of children giggling, as a small statue under Angel of the Waters disappears. As Rory passes an archway and enters a darkened terrace, the giggling gets closer and closer. In the meantime, the Doctor’s book says Melody saw a thin man appear on 3 April 1938, and followed him until he noticed her. The Doctor is shocked by what the thin man says to Melody: “I was just getting coffee for the Doctor and Amy. Hello, River.” “Hello, Dad,” River Song replies. The Doctor and Amy run to the TARDIS, while in 1938, Rory questions River about how he got there. River tells him she has no idea, but he better put his hands up; armed men are surrounding them.
In the meantime, the Doctor and Amy have boarded the TARDIS as Amy continues reading from the book, which has River saying the TARDIS cannot land in New York during this time because of several time distortions. Comparing it to trying to land a plane in a blizzard, she says even she couldn’t do it. An annoyed Doctor attempts to land the TARDIS, but it is bounced back to 2012 New York by a wall of temporal energy. Landing in a cemetery, the Doctor tells Amy to stop reading ahead in the book because reading the events written in it causes them to become fixed in time. However, Amy has read that River and Rory have been taken to Grayle’s mansion (406 94th Street, Manhattan), where River comments on the mob boss’s taste in Qin artifacts. Hearing this, the Doctor figures out how to get “landing lights”. Going back to 221 BC, he leaves a message on one of the vases: “Yowzah!” (in period Chinese).
As River is led into Grayle’s office, Rory is placed in the basement with “the babies”. Grayle tells River that “they” are everywhere, but no one seems to notice. He then shows her the prize of his collection: a chained and damaged Weeping Angel. River says she’s met them before, and that the Angel is screaming out in pain to its comrades; this is why Grayle has so many locks on his doors. However, Grayle quickly turns the tables on River by briefly turning off the lights long enough for the shackled Angel to grab her wrist. Grayle demands to know everything River knows about the Angels.
In the meantime, Rory has been tossed in the dark basement and given a box of matches by the guard, who tells him that he’ll last longer with them. Left alone in darkness, Rory hears the giggling again, scaring him into lighting a match. He comes across several stone cherubs, and during the time Rory takes to light another match after the first one has gone out, the cherubs move closer and begin to attack him. He repeatedly lights the matches, but they keep extinguishing. Down to one match, Rory watches as a cherub that got close to him blows it out. Above, as Grayle attempts to threaten River, she hears the TARDIS trying to materialize and tells her captor that he’d better watch out when her husband gets home. With a shock wave, the TARDIS lands, knocking Grayle out.
In the TARDIS, the Doctor is busy fixing his hair for his wife, annoying Amy. Once done, they depart and find River. He asks her how Stormcage is, only to learn that she was pardoned years earlier in her timeline, because her alleged victim, the Doctor, apparently never existed. She has received a posting as a professor of archaeology. The Doctor tells River they either have to break her wrist or the Angel’s to get her free. Unfortunately, Amy read ahead again and knows that River breaks her wrist to get free, so it’s the only way now. However, Amy has a brilliant idea to know what’s ahead without details or spoilers: they read the chapter titles. Reading one, Amy learns where Rory is and rushes off. After she does, the Doctor reads the table of contents and sees the last chapter is called “Amelia’s Last Farewell”. An upset Doctor then angrily leaves River to find a way to escape the Angel’s grip without breaking her wrist.
Amy checks the basement, only to find Rory gone. She returns to the Doctor, who is now sitting on the stairs, deep in thought. River emerges from the collection room with her scanner, saying that Rory is at Winter Quay, having only been moved in space, rather than time. The Doctor is delighted to see River didn’t have to break her wrist to get free. As he grabs her hand however, River grimaces in pain, revealing that she did indeed break it. He heals her hand with a little of his regeneration energy, and is scolded by River for wasting the energy. Amy asks River why the Doctor is in a bad mood and River subtly says they should never let the Doctor see them age. They then commandeer one of the mob’s cars and drive off to get Rory. However, they leave the doors open, which the two statues outside seem to see. As Grayle comes to, he finds the statues are now inside the mansion. He tries escaping, only to get trapped.
The Doctor, Amy and River arrive at Winter Quay, where Rory has been exploring on his own. They find him on the exact same floor where Sam Garner arrived. At the end of the hall is a Weeping Angel. The way out is blocked. Rory discovers a room marked “R. Williams” and enters with Amy. River and the Doctor linger, only to see the Angel is smiling. Inside the room is an old man who calls to Amy and is revealed to be Rory’s future self. Amy holds the older Rory’s hand as he passes away.
As the group discuss the situation, the Doctor explains that Winter Quay is a “battery farm” for the Weeping Angels to keep their victims imprisoned in and to send them back in time over and over. He also sadly informs Rory that their meeting with the elder Rory means the Angels will send Rory back in time and keep him imprisoned in the Quay until he dies, as they’ve seen. Amy won’t be sent with him, explaining why the older Rory was so pleased to see her. Rory decides to defy this. If the Angels aren’t able to catch him, he won’t die there. However, the Doctor notes that Rory will have to run for his entire life then. River then realizes that if Rory escapes, the subsequent negation of the timeline in which the Angels trapped Rory at Winter Quay will create a paradox, which will in turn poison the time energy the Angels feed on and kill them.
Something large is heard approaching Winter Quay, forcing the group to decide that Rory and River’s plan will work. Amy and Rory run out, but the Doctor and River are forced back into the room by two Weeping Angels. Amy and Rory enter the stairway, seeing an Angel is blocking the way out downwards. Thus, they climb up to the roof, where they are confronted by the snarling Statue of Liberty. Back inside, the Doctor causes a distraction that allows him and River to escape the Angels via the fire escape. Back on the roof, Rory sees the only way out is to jump and commit suicide, thereby preventing the Angels from sending him back in time to become the aged Rory who just died, creating a paradox which would kill the Angels and keep him from having been sent back. Amy tries talking him out of it, but Rory defends the idea by reminding her that he has died and come back to life numerous times before. Amy decides to jump with Rory just as the Doctor and River reach the roof. Before the Doctor can stop Amy or Rory, the two jump from the roof, and embrace as they fall to their deaths. The paradox Rory’s death has created then begins to take effect.
The group awake back in the cemetery in 2012 New York with the TARDIS, relieved to be alive, and the Doctor happily explains that Winter Quay’s negation from the timeline by the paradox meant that they never went there in the first place. Rory complains that when they came to New York, he wanted to go to a pub. The Doctor decides they can all do that; a family outing. However, as everyone boards the TARDIS, Rory notices a gravestone with his name on it, and immediately vanishes; a surviving Angel has sneaked up behind Rory and sent him back in time, and the group notice that Rory’s gravestone now reads that he was 82 years of age when he died.
The Doctor explains to a distraught Amy that he cannot go back for Rory; creating another paradox in New York will destroy the city. Amy asks the Doctor if she would end up in the same time and place as Rory if the Angel touched her, of which he cannot be certain. River, however, encourages her mother, believing her plan to be sound. Despite the Doctor’s attempts to talk Amy out of it, his mother-in-law approaches the Angel. Amy holds her daughter’s hand behind herself and addressing her by her birth name, Melody, tells her to take care of the Doctor. The Doctor tells Amy that by doing this, she will have created a fixed point in time and he will never see her and Rory again, but Amy assures the Doctor that she will be fine and live with Rory. The Doctor, in tears, begs her to come back into the TARDIS, saying that they will think of something else to bring Rory back. Amy turns, crying, to the Doctor, and says, “Raggedy Man… goodbye,” as the Angel sends her back with Rory. The Doctor sobs in agony as Rory’s gravestone now also reads Amy’s name and that she died aged 87.
In the TARDIS, River comforts the Doctor, knowing that he can never see Amy and Rory again. The Doctor apologises to River, as Amy and Rory were her parents. River says that it’s okay, and strictly reminds the Doctor not to travel alone. He then asks her to travel with him and River says she’d be more than willing to share adventures with him, but not all the time; “one psychopath per TARDIS.” Heading up to a room to begin writing the book, River tells the Doctor that while he may not listen to her, he may listen to Amy. After giving her the story for publishing, she’ll make sure Amy leaves a message for him in the book’s afterword.
The Doctor remembers that he tore out the last page from the book and rushes back to Central Park immediately after their picnic. The Doctor grabs the page and reads Amy’s message: “Afterword, by Amelia Williams. Hello, old friend, and here we are. You and me, on the last page. By the time you read these words, Rory and I will be long gone, so know that we lived well, and were very happy. And, above all else, know that we will love you, always. Sometimes, I do worry about you though; I think, once we’re gone, you won’t be coming back here for a while, and you might be alone, which you should never be. Don’t be alone, Doctor.”
Amy has just one more request from her “Raggedy Doctor”; to go back to her seven-year-old self sitting in the garden and tell her a story: “And do one more thing for me: there’s a little girl, waiting in a garden; she’s going to wait a long while, so shes going to need a lot of hope. Go to her. Tell her a story. Tell her that, if she’s patient, the days are coming that she’ll never forget. Tell her she’ll go to sea and fight pirates, she’ll fall in love with a man who’ll wait two thousand years to keep her safe. Tell her she’ll give hope to the greatest painter who ever lived, and save a whale in outer space.”
The Doctor appears to honor Amy’s request as young Amelia is seen waiting for him in the garden and looks up as the sound of the TARDIS is heard; as this happens, Amy finishes the story by narrating “Tell her: This is the story of Amelia Pond — and this is how it ends.”