Well, here we are friends. The last stand of the Ponds. And I am conflicted by it, to say the least.
Now, before I go any further, I must invoke dear Doctor Professor River Song and mention that this post contains an epic amount of SPOILERS!, so if you haven’t seen the episode or any of this season, be warned that there are SPOILERS!
Oh, and did I mention that there are SPOILERS!? I did? Okay then.
Okay there is a lot to unpack with this episode, so I’m going to have to do this bullet point style. And again, this post is loaded with SPOILERS! so don’t say that I didn’t warn you.
•I loved the cold open on New York in 1938 and the whole nods to the hard boiled detective genre.
•Who didn’t guess who Melody Malone was? (Side Note: the BBC is releasing an e-book on October 4 entitled The Angel’s Kiss: A Melody Malone Mystery.)
•It’s always a delight to see the return of Melody Malone Melody Pond Doctor Professor River Song. Seriously, Alex Kingston and Matt Smith’s chemistry together, especially in the more bantering scenes, is fantastic. And while it’s sad to see that River has finally earned her professorship (which means her time is starting to come to an end), it’s nice to know that she’s been pardoned due to the fact that the man she supposedly killed doesn’t exist any more. Hmmm….
•There were some telling lines about the Doctor’s view on his companions: “I hate endings,” he says as he rips out the last page in a book (with a cover that makes him go “Yowza!”). “Never let him see the damage. And never let him see you age,” River tells her mother. “It’s hard to compete with a man who insists on looking like a twelve year old boy,” River says to her husband. The Doctor doesn’t like endings. He doesn’t like it when his companions age or die or leave him. He’s fine with leaving his companions (hell, prior to the Nu-Who era, he did it all the time) but he can’t abide people leaving him.
•Once again, as in all stories involving River Song, there are handcuffs and a book loaded with spoilers. This time we learn why you can’t read such things as they really do set the future. I guess this is why River has guarded her journal so much.
•Once again, the weeping angels are back and this time they’re dragging people back in time to live out their old age in a hotel. Sadistic and brilliant if if way too “Wibbly Wobbly Timey Wimey” for my tastes. But that said, the notion of the cherubs as weeping angels was clever.
•Which leads to my big problem with this episode over all; if you stop and really think about the mechanics of the plot of this episode it falls apart, especially at the end. And this reliance of timey wimey stuff really takes the sails out of Rory’s farewell (though it is a bit of brilliant “gotcha” moment in the show). Of course the scene on the ledge with the biggest weeping angel ever was a brilliant moment for the Ponds. And the more you think about it the more the basic story unravels and it just feels slapdash and cheap in terms of the plotting, and it sadly takes away from the many brilliant moments in the show…
•…Like Amy’s final farewell. It’s sad but I was more choked up by her instructions to her daughter. That was a brilliant moment and Karen Gillan and Alex Kingston play it perfectly.
•Then come’s Amelia Pond’s final farewell. While I thought the idea of a voice over letter was a bit trite it brought back one of the big themes of this half of the season: that The Doctor needs his companions as much, if not more, than they need him. They help prevent him from going to those mental dark places that he likes to go. Remember, this is the man who for all intents and purposes killed all the Gallifreyans and Daleks to stop the time war.
•And in one brilliant touch, we flash back to young Amelia Pond waiting for her Raggedy Man to appear. And he does.
Thus ends the tale of Amelia Pond and Rory Williams. And now we wait patiently for Christmas which brings us such things as figgy pudding, some sort of nonsense the Doctor must figure out, Richard E. Grant…
…And this woman…
Miss Coleman, you have the floor…