Season 7 is confirming for me that despite flashes of brilliance, I do not like Moffat at the helm.
There’s no need to go over episode one again, as I’ve done that and for the most part stand by what I wrote. Episode two (“Dinosaurs in Space”) was fun, mostly because of Mark Williams being introduced as Rory’s dad, and playing him well. The storyline was fairly straightforward, and it started the build-up to the “Don’t travel alone, Doctor” theme that we’ve been treated to before (recall the 10th deciding that as a Time Lord, he could break unbreakable laws and change fixed events). Episode three, “A Town Called Mercy,” developed the same theme more fully in a wild west setting. Both episodes were neither awful nor great.
Episode four, “The Power of Three,” was, in my view, the best of the first five. It was quirky, funny, and had a great element of mystery to it. My only complaint is that it felt like the kind of episode that would have been developed by Russell T. Davies and rightly lasted at least two parts, but it was crammed into just one. I think that needed to be a two-parter.
We come now to the episode of Doctor Who I hated more than I even have the ability to write: “The Angels Take Manhattan.” Maybe it’s because I’ve been dreading another Angels episode since “The Time of Angels.” But you’d think that with my dread, almost anything would have been not as bad as I expected. This was worse.
I loved “Blink” as much as anyone who says they love “Blink.” I even have a T-shirt. So when the Angels were set to return in Season 5, I was excited. And then disappointed. While there were some intriguing new ideas there, it was frustrating to see the most simple rules of the Angels broken. Angels looking at each other? Walking forward in an army? How? I had hoped Moffat would back off some of those problems with “The Angels Take Manhattan,” but the problem just got worse.
Can I use capslock to shout, just once? HOW DID NO ONE SET EYES ON THE STATUE OF LIBERTY, ESPECIALLY WHEN IT WAS MAKING THOSE BIG CRASHING NOISES AS IT WALKED? I know that’s not a particularly bright insight, and almost everyone thought of it. “Come on, Travis. It’s just funny. The Statue of Liberty is a Weeping Angel. Ha ha ha.” Well, I don’t think it’s funny. Don’t Blink. If you blink, you’re dead. All the terror surrounding the angels is in the rules of their existence. As long as they’re being watched, they can’t move. Lady Liberty just tromped on through the water and into Manhattan, regardless of the many eyes that would have seen her. Add to that the fact that when Amy and Rory were discussing their next move with Weeping Liberty staring at them, they both looked at each other and away from the statue at least once, for more than just a brief moment. The rules of the Angels only being able to move were broken so many times, it’s hard to remember them all (and I really, really don’t want to have to watch this episode again). It happened in the way they trapped their victims in the apartment complex hallway. It happened in the stairwell of the same building. It happened, worst of all, with the remaining Angel in the graveyard: When Rory gets taken, Amy is looking at the Angel; when Amy is taken, the Doctor and River are looking at the Angel.
The plot holes continue: The TARDIS can’t make it to Manhattan because of the Angels, but a vortex manipulator can? If you become knowledgeable of your future, you can’t change it? Where did this rule come from? And worst of all: A Time Traveler with a TARDIS and a vortex manipulator can neither save nor visit the Ponds again, because they … went back in time? This is all so maddening.
The episode had some great dialogue, and it was beautifully shot. But watching the beloved Ponds go in the context of such an absurd episode, while Moffat continues to destroy and make a mockery of his greatest creation (the Weeping Angels) was just painful.
For further reading, check out this article from SF Signal (HT revgeorge).