It would be easy to pull “The Angels Take Manhattan” apart for one little thing after another, and many people no doubt will. Even if they do, that doesn’t make it a bad or a weak episode, but it does point to how complicated this series has gotten over the years, much of it due to the heavy injection of romance. “Angels” isall about romance, though it wants to be about plot, too. Here’s where Steven Moffat has a tendency to trip up in his writing, because his aim is to deliver a big twisty-turny story alongside gushy-wushy emotions, and it’s becoming increasingly difficult for him to do both, especially where long term arcs are concerned. Classic Doctor Who didn’t have this problem, as it wasn’t cluttered with complicated feelings between its characters (or extended story arcs, for that matter). If the Doctor said he couldn’t go back and save Adric from being blown to smithereens, we believed him. There were certain laws of time that couldn’t or shouldn’t be broken, and it made perfect sense.
Now we have a Doctor Who that not only features a godlike central character who appears to be governed by nobody outside of himself, but who’s also an extremely clingy, emotional being, desperate to hang on to his companion, possibly even at the expense of her own husband. So when the script puts him into the position of claiming to be unable to do anything about the situation Amy and Rory find themselves in at the close of this episode, it’s an almost impossible notion to swallow, because in any other episode besides this one, it would’ve been quickly remedied, probably with the wave of the sonic screwdriver.
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