Doctor Who: Angels Take Manhattan – SF Debris

The weeping angels return for a story that seeks to combine pathos with silliness. The results are decidedly mixed.

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  1. Can’t for the life of me understand why so many folks love the Weeping Angels so much. I personally can’t stand them. I mean they’re meant to be so scary because they’ve altered themselves so that they turn to stone when you look at them and “you can’t kill a stone.” Except I’m pretty sure that disintegration is a thing in Dr. Who, which would easily eff up a Weeping Angel.

    Also, in Gargoyles their greatest weakness was that they turned to stone by day. They were helpless then. The Weeping Angels have altered themselves so that happens WHENEVER SOMEBODY LOOKS IN THEIR DIRECTION. That’s not brilliant, that’s idiotic!

    • Turning to stone is how they explain it in the show, but that isn’t literally what they are doing. They exist in images and ideas, in their second appearances they were inside of Amy’s eye. You could break up a statue or turn off a movie projection but that doesn’t kill them, it just puts them into a sort of stasis. Hence why they were able to regenerate when drawing energy from the crashed starship, again in their second appearance.

      People like them because they have a cool and creepy gimmick, they are a statue that moves to kill you when you aren’t looking, that is clever.

      • It was a cool and creepy gimmick the first time they were brought out. By this point, it’s just stupid and makes no sense when you compare it to how they worked in Blink.

        • Blink is outright the best episode of Nu-Who and one of the best ever episodes of Doctor Who….Unfortunately The Weeping Angels should have remained a one-off villain because their stories since have been uniformly awful!

    • Actually, the concept is really creepy: statues that come to life and get you when you’re not looking.

      However, the fear factor diminishes significantly when you realize that basically all they do is send you back in time a couple of decades. And if, like the Doctor, you have access to a time machine, then at best it just ends up being a minor inconvenience.

      In Jessica Jones, there’s a scene in which Kilgrave’s servants are staring out the window unable to blink out of fear of death. It basically means that, even though it’s not shown, Kilgrave had to say to them, “Don’t blink! Blink and you’re dead!”

    • you know, using a completely different species, with a completely different physiology, from a completely different series isn’t the best argument to use…

  2. “We really expect more from […] Steven Moffat.”
    Somebody hasn’t seen Sherlock Series 4.[/easyjoke]

  3. Didn’t the Muppets beat them to it?

    And here’s a question: if the paradox caused a temporal anomaly that screws up any attempt to visit 1930s New York, THEN HOW DID THE DOCTOR GET THERE BEFORE TO FIGHT THE DALEKS AND THEIR PIG SLAVES?

    • Ah, Rory. He’s died and come back to life more times than Jean Grey.

    • That happened on the Doctor’s personal timeline beforehand. And we just saw 13 trying to fix the problem in the most recent Christmas special.

      So at somepoint it all gets worked out, but there’s a couple decades in there, that happen to be AMy and Rory’s lifetimes, where time travelling around NY is problematic.

  4. The Angels were a good one off idea. After that it all falls apart. My initial understanding was that they turned to stone when anyone looked at them. In subsequent episodes the were stone all the time just with the ability to move or not.

    The image of angel thing added in the 2nd appearance was severely flawed. Don’t look away and don’t blink or the angel will move. But if you do follow this advice the image of the angel in your eye will also be an angel and mess with your brain for the lulz.

    The angels eventually took on the mentality of internet trolls. Case in point, the Statue of Liberty.

    The main villain in this episode wasn’t the angels. It was The Doctor himself that Amy and Rory had to overcome and his misguided adherence to fixed points in time.

    Imagine if the scene with River being held by the angel had gone differently.
    R: Why do you have to break my wrist?
    D: Because Amy read it in a blook.
    R: Why did you just say blook?
    D: Because there was a printing error when the book was published.
    R: So, knowing that it was a printing error why did you still say it that way.
    D: Wibly wobley, timey wimey.
    R: But that’s usually the explanation as to why an event from a previous episode is altered to accommodate the plot of the new episode… and why are you pouring soup into your fez?
    D: The book says that’s how this conversation ends.
    R: Remind me to change it say pants after we get out of this.

    Basically anything could have been edited into the book after the fact and whether it was true to events or not The Doctor would have insisted on doing it.

    Likewise there’s no reason that The Doctor couldn’t have retrieved Rory from some location outside of the distortion so long as someone still put that headstone there for them to see. No one actually verified that he was buried there, just that it had his name on it. Which is then proven by the episode itself when the headstone changes, demonstrating that Amy altered what The Doctor had just insisted should be a fixed point. There was only the one name at first. Now that they witnessed it there should have been no way to add a second name, unless The Doctor had been wrong all along.

    Plus that was a lot of trust that the angel would send her to the same place it sent Rory given their previously mentioned mentality and that it would have been really PO’ed at them right then.

    • “Which is then proven by the episode itself when the headstone changes, demonstrating that Amy altered what The Doctor had just insisted should be a fixed point.”

      Rory’s death and his name on the tombstone were fixed; Amy’s presence or not presence was not fixed yet.

  5. Oh sweet Jesus, this episode. So Amy and Rory get stuck in the past because the Doctor can’t take the TARDIS to New York City in 1938, and apparently has become so stupid under Steven Moffat’s writing that he can’t puzzle it out that he needs to just go to New Jersey and take a train to pick them up, or that he could just travel to 1940 and pick them up in the TARDIS.

    Then there’s the pants-on-head stupidity of the Statue of Liberty being a Weeping Angel. The damn thing would *never* have moved because there’s no way in hell you can convince me that there’s ever a time when NOT A SINGLE PERSON IN THE ENTIRE CITY isn’t looking at it. Especially not at the point when it’s standing in the middle of the city and not on Ellis Island. I *think* people might just notice and take a look, wouldn’t you? This is the city that never sleeps, after all.

    And finally there’s the bullshit that continues with the Doctor and River’s relationship. He forces her to break her arm and she always seems to love hitting him. And what the fuck was up with the Doctor using his regeneration energy as healing magic for other people now?

    Man, I know he’s improved since this point (mostly), but god damn I can’t wait until he’s gone.

    • On a possibly interesting note, if you’re curious about the audios at all, is that this isn’t the first time the Doctor’s been in 1938. He was there in his Eighth incarnation with his companion Charley in October of that year, dealing with gangsters, inept aliens and Orson Welles. (Invaders from Mars. It’s a lot of fun, and they made it sound like an old 1930’s radio drama.)

    • the Statue of Liberty isn’t on Ellis Island, but your point still stands

  6. During any of the Weeping Angel episodes has anyone tried to kill a weeping angel? Sure, you can punch them or shoot them with a gun, but a sledgehammer or jackhammer or some dynamite would do the job, wouldn’t it?

    • Not really. The stone-like consistency and appearance are an illusion; in reality, the weeping angel is in a time stasis, meaning they cannot be harmed by anything outside of themselves. That is, if I understand the mechanics of how they work rightly.

  7. Others have mentioned how stupid Weeping Liberty is (btw, if “the image of an angel becomes an angel”, do all the Statue of Liberty post cards become angels?). But what really kills me is the Doctor’s speech that the angels have an advantage because ” they’ve never had a food source like this one: the city that never sleeps”. Um, if it’s the city that never sleeps, won’t there always be people around looking at them? The EPISODE ITSELF explains everything wrong with it.

    I stopped watching after Series 7 ended, in part because episodes like this and Asylum of the Daleks convinced me the writers were no longer putting thought into anything. Hell 2 episodes from now in The Rings of Akaten The Doctor and Clara ride on a space motorcycle exposed to the vacuum without space suits. I would have accepted 1 passing line of technobabble explanation if they’d bothered, but they couldn’t even do that.

    • Here’s the problem as I see it: when the transition from Tennant to Smith took place, there was a marked change in the show’s tone from one predominantly science fiction to one that really is more like a fairy tale. Yes, it still occurs in space, and there are sci-fi elements to it, but the Doctor is less of a mad scientist and more of a fairy wizard now. I mean, think about it: the Weeping Angels. Initially, their statue form was explained as some sort of quantum defense mechanism. But with their reintroduction, suddenly their existence and powers bear much more striking similarity to magic than to science. Time paradoxes: the rules about how they work are constantly changing.

      • That’s very true, but in most fantasy stories even magic has some rules to it. (Or what TvTropes calls “Magic A is Magic A”). Or to put it another way, if this story was completely unrelated to Doctor Who and was a fantasy story about a wizard fighting magic statues in New York, I’d still wonder how Weeping Liberty got there without anyone seeing her.

  8. Here’s something to think about:

    When the Doctor met Martha, they were up against an army of Rhinos. The next episode, they encountered an army of human pigs. Did anyone else think they were getting their ideas from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles?

  9. Yeah, this sort of stuff is why I basically stopped watching.

    To be fair, I just didn’t have time at first. But then I heard about all these things and decided I didn’t care enough.

    • On the plus side, it got a bit better later on. It’s still got some stupid in it (for example, the whole “the moon is actually an egg, please don’t kill the unborn!” bullshit that happened in Kill the Moon) but it was getting better.

      And now Moffat’s leaving after this season, so yay…hopefully. After Moffat disappointed me so horribly, I’m remaining cautiously optimistic. Very cautiously. On one hand, Chibnall created Broadchurch, which is a great show. On the other hand, he wrote the Cyberwoman episode of Torchwood, which was hilariously bad. Only time will tell which Chibnall we get.

  10. One aspect of the revived series is that they seem to feel companions can’t just choose to leave (unless you are Martha or Mickey). I get the original went kind of heavy on marrying off companions to get rid of them.

    Rose – trapped in another dimension
    Jack – becomes a temporal anomoly
    Donna – memory wiped to prevent killing her
    Amy & Rory – timey wimey stuck in past
    Clara – Kinda/sorta dead, Doctor’s memories of her wiped

    Pretty much from the Fourth Doctor on, he had reasonable control of the TARDIS, so not having companions being permanent doesn’t really explain why his 11th and 12th incarnations are so in and out.

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