The midseason finale of Doctor Who ‘The Angels Take Manhattan’ that aired on Saturday night was the departure of Amy Pond (Karen Gillan) and her husband Rory Williams (Arthur Darvill) from the show. For those of us who watch Doctor Who, it was an emotional night. Pictures and quotes from the episode began leaking online as soon as the episode aired in the U.K. Six million people watched the finale. Which means 6 million people are mourning the loss of Amy and Rory, including myself.
Doctor Who TV wrote an article about the most heartbreaking moments from ‘The Angels Take Manhattan.’ Although I don’t necessarily agree with everything Liam Duke lists in his article, I figured I’d take a page from his book (pun not intended) and try to cope with my grief the only way I know how: with a list. So here it is: my list of how Amy, the girl who waited, and Rory—fantastic Rory, funny Rory, gorgeous Rory—broke my heart in less than 60 minutes.
Both the Doctor and River tell Amy how much he hates endings in the first half of this episode. This of course is a hint toward Amy and Rory’s departure. There have been a lot of hints and talks about the future of the Ponds on the show, but I don’t think anyone thought the last page of this Melody Malone person’s book would be quite as important to the Doctor since he never reads the last page of a book. The scene where he rips out that last page and leaves it in Central Park is so much more heartbreaking when you find out exactly what’s on that piece of paper.
Amy’s Strength & Rory’s Humor
Rory has died countless times throughout his run with the Doctor. But that doesn’t stop him from joking about it when he’s getting ready to jump off an apartment building in order to save New York City and, more importantly, his wife: “You think you’ll just come back to life?” Amy asks. “When don’t I?” Rory responds. One Tumblr user captioned this scene with “Oh how I laughed through the tears.” And really, how could you not laugh at Rory in this moment? His humor is why I fell in love with his character and I was so glad to see it again before his departure from the show.
Amy’s strength has been debated and compared to the other companions, but I think Amy is the strongest companion the Doctor has ever had. She had the strength to bring Rory back from non-existence. She had the strength to bring the Doctor back as well. But most importantly, Amy has strength to not let the Doctor rule her life. She build a life with Rory outside the Tardis and when she had to choose, she chose Rory. She had a strength many other companions did not: the strength to leave the Doctor. Since the reboot in 2005, the only other companion to willingly leave the Doctor has been Martha Jones; now, Amy can be added to that very short list.
In the last episode, ‘The Power of Three,’ the Doctor promised Rory’s father, Brian, that he would never let anything happen to Amy and Rory. ‘The Angels Take Manhattan’ is proof that the Doctor cannot promise such things. We may never know what happened to Brian, as nothing is mentioned of him. For all we know, he continued to water Amy and Rory’s plants for years, never knowing what became of his son and daughter-in-law. Hopefully, the Doctor had the decency to tell him, but in an episode where the Ponds’ lives were tied up neatly with a bow, this is one uncertainty fans might have to live with.
The Doctor’s Breakdown
Matt Smith is perfectly heartbreaking in his portrayal of the Doctor in this episode. The Doctor has known for a while that the Ponds would be leaving him, but when it actually happens, he realizes just how unprepared he is. The Doctor is a Timelord, he is over 900 years old, he has witnessed genocide and other horrors, he has seen many companions come and go, but this regeneration of the Doctor hasn’t yet dealt with a loss this great. To say he doesn’t handle it well would be an understatement. This Doctor has always been much more guarded than past incarnations, but we see him truly break down when he has to say goodbye to one of his dearest friends. And it was impossible not to break down with him.
The Afterward by Amelia Williams
No matter how many times I read or listen to to the afterward or watch the behind the scenes video where Karen Gillan reads the script to Matt Smith as he acted this scene, I don’t think my heart will ever ache any less. This show often plays with the structure of normal timelines—the Doctor and River Song’s relationship especially—but to be reminded that somewhere in all of space and time little Amelia Pond is waiting in her garden for the adventures to begin was a beautiful way to end Amy’s story. Especially on the one page of a book she knows her raggedy Doctor never reads.
Hello, old friend.
And here we are. You and me, on the last page.
By the time you read these words. Rory and I will be long gone, so know that we lived well and we’re very happy. And above all else, know that we will love you, always. Sometimes I do worry about you, though. I think once we’re gone, you won’t be coming back here for a while and you might be alone, which you should never be. Don’t be alone, Doctor.
And do one more thing for me. There’s a little girl waiting in a garden. She’s going to wait a long while, so she’s going to need a lot of hope. Go to her. Tell her a story. Tell her that if she’s patient, the days are coming which she’ll never forget. Tell her she’ll go to sea and fight pirates. She’ll fall in love with a man who’ll wait two thousand years to keep her safe. Tell her she’ll give hope to the greatest painter who ever lived. And save a whale in outer space. Tell her, this is the story of Amelia Pond. And this is how it ends.
This episode was rough on all Doctor Who fans, no matter their opinion of Amy and Rory. It breaks my heart to see them go. Many people have been making gifs, taking screen captures, or editing photo manipulations of their favorite moments from ‘The Angels Take Manhattan’ in order to deal with their reactions to the episode. More importantly, fans have banded together to help each other get through the next few months until the Christmas special. Then we’ll get to meet the new companion (again) played by Jenna-Louise Coleman.