Just finished watching. Certainly an emotional moment there at the end when Rory and Amy take that leap, and the Doctor trying to convince Amy not to blink... but I'm not sure how I feel about it all.
I definitely think it was more style over substance for the episode, and a lot of it was filler to get to the final five minutes, which is something I have an issue with when it comes to Moffat's later offerings here; Too, I'm not sure I buy all the logic in the episode.
It's kind of like when Spike was incinerated in the series finale of Buffy The Vampire Slayer
-- we all basically knew he'd be back on Angel
the next season, so it didn't really carry much weight or have me on the edge of my seat. And while the Doctor says he'll "never be able to see them again," I think that's just code for "...unless we come up with a nifty idea!" (which is of course the purview of every writer)... still, I don't know that I see the need for the Ponds' exit to have been manufactured the way it was.
Another major issue obviously centers on Rory being so much of a lesser companion in the eyes of the writers, very obviously marginalized throughout his tenure. Yes, he was on for most of Amy's run, but just like last week, this episode wrapped up Amy's story. "This is the story of Amelia Pond, and this is how it ends." -- as if the Doctor shouldn't also go back and see Rory, or tell Rory's dad what happened or as if Rory doesn't even deserve a send-off after the last 32 episodes.
Ironically, the presentation of Rory and Amy, now that I think about it, isn't too far removed from how the Star Trek fans doing fan films write their characters -- mostly as reactive instead of proactive. Sure, Rory's predicament was the crux for his ultimate fate but also Amy's - it wasn't anything they did or didn't do that got them in the situation, Amy's fate ultimately boiled down to Rory's fate by extension. And yeah, you can chalk it up to Amy "choosing love" over the Doctor, the same emotional and story points could have been hit in much less clumsy ways. What if the whole thing had been inadvertently caused by something the Doctor did? And instead of him running around like a manic fool trying to solve it, he could be trying to solve it to make up for his error and his asking Amy to stay and to wait would have been a real nail-biter for her (and for us.) And then in the end she still chooses Rory over the Doctor, that would have been something. As it is, she chooses Rory and they get to live their lives out, but she also gets to have the Doctor come and visit her as a child (which to our knowledge previously hadn't happened.) And while all this "I choose love!" can be done well dramatically and in a way I can believe (I'm looking at you, Jin and Sun Kwon
), I just didn't really buy it in this episode beyond their leap off the roof of the Winter Quay. (EDIT: I mean, come on. I just re-watched that video from LOST
and I haven't seen it since the DVDs came out two years ago, and I'm already more of a wreck at that than anything I saw tonight in "The Angels Take Manhattan.")
In many ways, the "fairy tale" arc from series 5 was perfect and could have been a great little exit for Rory and Amy, but I get why they didn't do that... after the unevenness of series 6 and the hodge-podge usage of them in these five episodes, it just seems like it wasn't altogether well thought out.
-River Song managed to not irritate the shit out of me in this one, and managed to also not utter her now tired tag-line "Spoilers!" like she always does.
-River revealing that she's been pardoned and thereby not sitting in prison for no reason any more. At least there's that.
-The writers managed to not have Amy say "Glasses. I wear glasses now. Glasses are cool," playing on the Doctor's bit about bow-ties from series 5 (and which fandom has whored out endlessly since)
-Mike McShane! Friar Tuck was fucking around with the Angels! THat was a nice bit of casting.
There were some great one liners in this one too, among them:
AMY: You'll die!
RORY: Don't I always?
RIVER: Ah! Wherever it is, it's within a few blocks. There's a car out front. Should we steal it?
THE DOCTOR: But to create a paradox, like that, takes almost unimaginable power. What have we got, eh? Tell me. Come on.
AMY: I won't let them take him. That's what we've got.
RORY: I always wanted to visit the Statue of Liberty. I guess she got impatient.
I've had my issues with them, and I'm sorry to see them go, but Rory and Amy deserved, I think, a better exit than this.
In summation: Filler till an overly manufactured (and if we're nitpicking, nonsensical) final five minutes. Some emotional stuff, absolutely, but almost unearned.