Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Doctor Who A Show Rewiew: A Farewell To Ponds

By: William G. Muir
Hold on to your fezzes Doctor Who fans, because at the end of this month the good Doctor will be returning to our television screens (or computer screens if that is how you roll). It looks like there will be eight episode in this second half of series 7, that is not counting a Christmas Special at the end of the year. And we can't forget about the long await 50th Anniversary Special. I hear it is being filmed in 3D. 

On March 30th not only will we get the return of our beloved Doctor, but we will also be getting a brand new companion. Even though Clara Oswin Oswald will finally become the Doctor's official companion she will not be a stranger to Doctor or us fans. We were introduced to Ms. Oswald in the series 7 opener Asylum Of The Daleks and once more in the Christmas episode Snowmen. Both of which she died at the end of.  



So I was thinking before we all fall in love with Clara Oswald, and there is no doubt that we will fall in love with her. That girl next door aura that she possesses will be impossible to resist. She is going to entrap us all with her innocent beauty. But before that happens let us take a look back on the two companion that currently hold residence in out hearts. Before they too join the long list of companions that will forever live on in our memories.

What I want focus on here is the departure of the Ponds, or more specifically which was the better ending for the characters. Would The God Complex have been a more suitable ending for the 11th Doctor's closest friends, or was the correct ending for the Ponds the one we got in The Angels Take Manhattan? Did that episode give us the emotional farewell for the Ponds that we had been waiting for? Well I have an opinion on this and I believe the proper way for Amy and Rory to have gone out was the departure we got at the end of The God Complex. For me personally it was the better of the two parting of the way episodes.
  
Now let us see why I think The God Complex was a much more fitting end for the Ponds than they received in The Angels Take Manhattan


The biggest reason why I believe Angels fails in comparison to Complex is hype. We all saw it coming. The departure of  Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill had been announced several months before it was to take place. We all knew that end for Amy and Rory was coming soon. As Doctor Who fans we all know that change is a big part of the show. Even the Doctor himself is going to change every few years. Just when we get comfortable with the current actor another comes along and takes his place. And since the show first aired in 1963 there have been 29 full time companions in the TARDIS (not counting those characters who may or may not qualify officially as companions).

I am only talking about the New Series when I say this, but I can not recall such a big deal being made about a companions departure as there was to the Ponds' exit. With foreknowledge that their time was close at hand the episode that was going to be their last never had a chance. The hype was going to be greater than the episode could live up to. We all had our expectations on how the this was all going to go down. Nothing that Steven Moffat and the crew could come up with was ever going to live up to what we as fans envisioned for the Ponds' farewell. 



Not taking anything away from Matt, Karen and Arthur, they are all very talented actors. 

The Angels Take Manhattan was doomed to fail even without the fact that I think it was a terribly weak story. Which is why I think The God Complex should have been the last time we saw Amy and Rory as companions. (I still think they could have made the cameo appearance in Closing Time. It gave us a rare glimpse into the life of a companion after their time with the Doctor is ended.) The story in that one was much stronger and it came as a surprise at the end. The Doctor just dropped his two best friends at their home at the end. It had a much more emotional significance for me because I was not aware that was how the episode was going to end. I truly felt like I was losing two friends.  

The same couldn't be said about Angels,we already knew that this was the pairs final episode, and we knew that it had something to do with the Weeping Angels. There was no suspense, no moment that ripped your heart right out of your chest and stomped into the ground. If anything it was like Micheal Jordan final retirement from the NBA. We had seen this same story before. This wasn't even the second time that we seen that the Doctor and the Ponds had been split up, it was the third time. Sometime between A Christmas Carol and The Impossible Astronaut the three of them had become separated.

 Make that four times if you count Amy's Choice. When you think about it Moffat does like to use certain plot elements over and over again.  
 
Not only did I find The Angels Take Manhattan to be a weak episode, but all the ones leading up to it in the first part of series 7 were duds. Asylum Of The Daleks just didn't make any sense, plus it left the Daleks looking weak. Dinosaurs On A Spaceship was a big disappointment. It had two unneeded characters and far too few dinosaurs. Although the stuff with Rory and his dad was good. But how do you mess up a concept like dinosaurs on a spaceship? A Town Called Mercy was a halfway decent episode, but if you want see the Doctor in the old west done even better you should check out the First Doctor serial The Gunfighters. It's the Doctor at the shootout at the O.K. Corral. While The Power Of Three had a pretty good concept it was just boring.

What about the four episode leading up to The God Complex, what did I think about them. The first two was the two part episode A Good Man Goes To War and Let's Kill Hitler. Now this was the first time that the BBC had split a Doctor Who season into two parts, so this was sort of like a season finale cliffhanger with the resolution coming at the beginning of the next season. And I believe this was one better executed example I had ever seen. In a Good Man/Let's Kill we get a continuation in the whole Silence story line.We also have the birth of Melody Pond, who we come to find out is the little girl in The Impossible Astronaut/The Day Of The Moon. Not only that but we finally learn who River Song is. Spoilers, she is Amy and Rory's daughter. Now that was a twist I did not see. 

From A Good Man/Let's Kill we go into Night Terrors. This was not episode that I liked. The big dolls just did not do it for me. I thought they were rather lame. The only good part about this episode was when Rory asked if he had died again. Then we get my second favorite episode of the whole season, The Girl Who Waited. In this episode Amy is once more waiting on the Doctor to come back for her. What is there not to like about this episode, there are two Amy's, one young and one amazing looking M.I.L.F (or is that cougar) Amy. Rory does something no other companion has ever done; he calls the Doctor on his bullshit. And even though this episode doesn't have a completely happy ending it does have a satisfying ending. Rory is left to make the hardest choice in his life. To open the door and let future Amy in causing a paradox, or to leave her behind. In the end older Amy tells him to go on without her. 

I think more shows should have the guts to end on a downbeat. 

And this why The God Complex was for me the better ending than The Angels Take Manhattan could have ever been. It felt like Amy and Rory were being stolen away from me. It was like when my father died, even though he had been through a lot in his final year of his life, he had fought through it all. Even moments that should have been his last. He was weeks shy of turning 59 and there was no reason to believe that he would be going anytime soon. That was what The God Complex was. The Angels Take Manhattan was more like when I left college. Sure I knew that I would never see any of those people again and I was sad about that fact, but it wasn't something I was unprepared for.There was plenty of time for me to have gotten use it. Just like the Ponds leaving Doctor Who. We all had time to get use to it. 

And that is the saddest thing of all. 

Though I did like the thought that in the end it was all a fairy tale.  

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