Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The One Where Doctor Who Nearly Makes Me Cry...

Steven Moffat’s “Blink” might go down in TV history as the most imaginative and creepy short form fiction ever made. It certainly introduced some of the scariest creatures to science fiction. While the Weeping Angels have appeared again since then, it was not until “The Angels Take Manhattan” that they appeared in a story that came close to matching the creative storytelling device of their first appearance. There we experienced a video interview across decades of time, here it was characters read about the story they are actually living. Very trippy.

As if that weren’t enough, this is the long dreaded episode featuring the departure of characters that easily rank amongst the most beloved in the 50 years of the show. We knew it would be heartbreaking but we were hoping it would be meaningful. It was devastatingly meaningful.

Over the years we have had companions left behind like forgotten castaways, they have left the Doctor for “real life”, they have died, and been lost to other dimensions. In every case it was sad, sometimes tragic, but it always felt as if it were imposed by the production of the show. We have seldom, if ever, felt like a character has been allowed to truly reach the end of their tale. But deaths have only ever been played for ratings, and tended toward the shockingly abrupt.

What we go in this latest case was Amy and Rory taken away from the Doctor and us, but in such a way that they were able to finish. They lived a full life.

The most amazing thing about this story was that it stuck to the theme that has characterized Amy and Rory from the start: marriage. It is something that has never before (and will likely never again be) seen on “Doctor Who.” Yet in this episode it was front and center. (We even got to see our first real glimpse of the Doctor’s marriage.) Amy and Rory dying would be sad enough. To see them go through this episode together, or worse at times separated, made it even more impactful.

If you haven’t seen this latest incarnation of the show, last week-end’s episode demands that you go out and experience it. But don’t just watch “The Angels Take Manhattan.” You have to start with “The Eleventh Hour” and experience the whole life and love of the Ponds.

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