The first minute or so of ‘The Angels Take Manhattan’ is good noir fun. The last 5 or so are sweet, touching, beautifully acted, hopeful, and sad.
Most of the rest is crap.
This story is supported by some of the worst premises in show history. The big one, of course, is that the timelines get so scrambled that the TARDIS can never reach New York in 1938. What about New Jersey? What about 1939? Another is the idea that reading something – knowing something – makes it fixed, makes it happen. This idea is shot through by pretty much every single other episode of the series, particularly the modern series. A third is River’s conviction that the Doctor must never see his friends’ pain. This is offensive, bogus garbage. What sort of child is the Doctor, that he has to be protected from the hard facts of life? It’s not like he doesn’t face them every day. He may not like them – ‘School Reunion,’ anyone? – but he can face them. He’s a grownup whether he wants to admit it or not.
All bogus. It’s storytelling at its weakest, and the Doctor at his most petty and selfish.
Still. The ending is absolutely gorgeous, from the moment Rory steps up on the rooftop ledge. Here their love for each other, their commitment, their conviction, are crystal clear. Of course Amy would choose the angel’s touch, and Rory, over going on without him. Someone calling himself her best friend ought to understand. The setup may be terrible, but the moment itself is a sendoff worthy of characters as long-standing and much-loved as Amy and Rory. The afterword, with flashback to Amelia waiting in the garden, serves as satisfying wrapup to Amy Pond’s run.
The after-afterword, penned later by Chris Chibnall and sketched but never shot, is another wonderful moment, though including it in the episode might have been a bit much.
And finally, it may be completely implausible and ridiculous, but the Statue of Liberty is cool.
(don’t bother with the image source, it’s just Moffat talking.)