Okay, so our tears have been cried and our souls have been wrought now let’s look at this episode a bit in depth because I do have some nagging questions.
First, do the Weeping Angels still get “Quantum Locked” (see quantum Zeno effect) when looking at each other? I ask because that was how “Blink” ended and Sally Sparrow was saved but here you have a whole city of Angels, not to mention the apartment building, where they are running around looking at each other. Maybe, at least in the apartment block, they set the lights to flicker and turn off so they can walk freely in the dark without worrying about looking at each other? That might answer that, but it doesn’t answer how the Statue of Liberty walks around the city let alone creepy cherubim off the Bethesda Fountain in broad daylight.
Also, if we are dealing with the paradox of fixed points in time versus free will, and if the Doctor wants to change the future to save everyone, why didn’t he just break the wrist of the Angel? This one sounds like a weak objection, but he walked off angrily telling River to get herself out. The whole time the option to break the Angels wrist is there but they ignore it because they read it in a book and then later chose to ignore the book so as to act in free will. After two viewings I’m sure I could have missed something.
Let’s skip over the McGuffin of the book just being in the Doctor’s pocket because the Grandfather Paradox that it implies of not only 1938 to 2012, but also all the adventures the Doctor has had suggests they are one long and squiggly closed time-like curve of self-fulfilling history. The implications just make my head hurt.
Lastly my problem with the sendoff is multifold: Why couldn’t The Doctor just take the long way around? You know, travel to before 1938 or however long and just wait for Rory to arrive and take him away from New York to return? Or, why couldn’t River use her Vortex manipulator to get Rory out? Or, if River is going to go see her mom, Amy, at some point in the past to tell her to write an afterword, then why doesn’t she just get them then? Or, why couldn’t The Doctor travel to 1939 or later and pick up the Ponds once the temporal disturbances died down? But wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey, I guess.
Yeah the time travelling and paradoxes are a bit shallow, and the Weeping Angels seem to behave slightly different. In the long run big deal, because that all pales to the emotional weight that the episode carries.
Here Steven Moffat does one hell of a job portraying the power of love, altruistic sacrifice and ultimately of hope. The power of love and the altuistic sacrifice is easy to spot but the hope is almost drowned out by our tears. You see, the moment you see Rory’s name on the tombstone Moffat pits your hope against fate. When Rory figures that by ending his life it would save them all, you hope that he’s right and that it will bring them all back. When Amy decides to join Rory in the past, you hope that they have a happy life together. And when The Doctor sits alone in the TARDIS, you hope that he will recover.
I give this episode a 5, which brings the first half of the season to a 4 for me. This one just hit all the right beats and had timey-wimey stuff to it, which I love. But I can’t help but think that this episode really should have been the last episode of the previous season. As I mentioned in my last review, these recent episodes have only acted to draw out the departure of the companions, it felt like exploitation and was causing me to get a bit annoyed with the Ponds. Like when you have to leave to be somewhere but the persons you are currently with keep talking to you and you know you’re going to be late. It’s a long, drawn out goodbye but in the end you realize it was drawn out because you never wanted it to end.
Good job Mr. Moffat. You’ve broken my heart, but you gave them a happy ending even if it was abrupt.