A Town Called Mercy-
Waste of time #1. I'm really losing patience with this crap. It's all feeling very tired and gimmicky. Hey, let's do a western! And let's through in a nice anvillicious moral worthy of RTD. The minute it became obvious they were doing a Dr. Mengele story, all I could think was how disappointed Ivan was going to be, after telling me he liked Moff so much more than RTD because RTD was always doing "message" stories.
I wasn't an old-school Who fan when it was happening, but we've been going through all the old ones that Netflix has available and are currently up to the Tom Baker years. I really thought this plot would have worked much better in the old format where it could have been done in two hours, broken up into 1/2 hour segments. More time for world-building, character development and a little suspense. I'd also love to have heard Sarah Jane letting the Doctor have it, as opposed to Amy who I'm sorry to say has become a bit of nag and scold. I know we're supposed to be past the point of the Companion as a "yes woman" but I think where Donna managed to be tolerable when she challenged the Doctor in these kinds of situation, Amy is just shrewish.
Also the fact that once again Rory is basically left standing around like a pussy-whipped idiot is not helping me believe in the GREAT TRUE LOVE that is supposed to drive the finale.
The framing device didn't work for me AT ALL. Even less so in retrospect as the first of three consecutive episodes with narrations or framing devisions, or some technique that drew attention to itself.
Toby Whithouse could have (and has) done SO MUCH BETTER.
The Power of Three-
Chibnall, on the other hand, is a hack and he really proved it here.
Basically, it looked and sounded like they blew the effects budget Dinosaurs and Statue of Liberty Angels so all they had left were....boxes? The whole thing just felt lame and the quick time jumps for the sake of cheap jokes? BLEAH! I'm not all that enamored of Daddy Rory Weasley, but some of those adventures would have been more interesting.
Awesome points for Professor Brian Cox and AWWWWW for having the Brig's daughter run UNIT, but other than that...ZZZZZZZZZZZ. There was never any sense that the Doctor was genuinely sticking around or that his being there or not being there had any impact on the plot whatsoever.
The framing device just played up the lack of actual plot and made me realize how very sick of Amy Pond I really am.
The Angels Take Manhattan-
If I weren't sick of the framing devices, this would have been a great and unique one, although why start with one Noirish, Hard boiled detective narration and then switch over to a different one? Oh well. Loved the atmosphere on this one, although the idea of an apartment or hotel with Quay in the title in New York seems unlikely to me. The usage is very British or at least European.
Things in this episode I loved:
A New York 30's episode with no Daleks, no Pig Daleks and no Tallulah.
The Angels behaving considerable closer to how Moff wrote them originally. The whole bit about them being malevolent with the counting stuff just struck me as completely ridiculous. They were only scary because they did what they did, not because they actually had motives to be evil. They just happen to survive by doing something that messes with human lives. It makes them a foe, but not EEEEEEVIL. So these Angels, seemed to back to themselves and I loved the creepy baby angels. The older people dying were a nice evocation of Billy Shipton in the rain, so I liked that.
I love River Song, being all hot and boobalicious and sexy and badass and RIVER!
I like that lord willin' and the crick don't rise I won't ever have to see Amy and Rory again, although I don't trust Moff for a minute on that and I suspect we'll at least see them in the anniversary special.
Things in this episode I hated:
"Don't let him see the damage." "Don't let him see you age?" WHAT IN THE ACTUALLY FUCKETY FUCKING FUCK! The Doctor? REALLY? Even if that's supposed to be a call-back to "You age and decay" from School Reunion, it just all sounded so very wrong coming from River. The bit with the Broken Wrist was just incredibly unpleasant. I mean there's scaring the little brats with ooky monsters and then there's traumatizing them with borderline domestic violence. The implication was that if River hadn't somehow broken her own wrist that the Doctor would have done so? AND then healed her with "regeneration energy?" Have we ever seen this happen before? (I'm sorry I hit you baby. I love you. Let me take you to the hospital where you won't tell the doctors what happened? Have I become an SJW because it read that way to me?)
Really Rory? You can't think of a better solution than jumping off a building? You think you're that special? Sheesh. I'm not even sure it would create that paradox he wanted if one death was in the building and another was a splat that happened just outside.
THE BIG DRAMATIC HEART-RENDING CONCLUSION AND ALL THE FEELS ON TUMBLR THE NEXT MORNING.
A hearty bollocks to that all of it I say.
Amy did what Amy always does. I STILL don't believe in the big love story, but I do believe she can't stand to be deprived of the one man who will never stand up to her or question her or do anything but wait for her. I basically see them being stuck in the past as being a potential for something like a Strindberg play or Edward Albee. That's how much I don't believe Amy loves him, but needs him to worship her. Even more than she needs the Doctor, and that is saying something.
It may be sad for the Doctor to lose another companion, but as he's pointed out, some leave and some die (and some he ABANDONS on Game Stations because he can deal with his own repressed feelings, but I digress.)
Is this remotely as sad as what happened to Rose (the first time) or Donna? It seems far closer to Martha walking out on her own two feet. I just don't see the big tragedy. Yes, she the first face he saw? SO WHAT? He's the Doctor. She's one in a long line. (I don't believe he ever really gave a damn about Rory either. I know the Doctor CAN do multiple companions, but I think he'll always favor one and things haven't changed that much since the Rose and Mickey days.)
I will say THANK YOU for putting Williams on the tombstones for both names. I may be about to lose my feminist in good standing credentials, but I always hated "The Ponds." I never thought it was female-empowering for Amy, since it was always the Doctor's way of diminishing Rory compared to Amy, and had nothing to do with Amy herself and her choices or a genuine mutual decision. So thanks for giving Rory some dignity in death. (Which is his whole arc, isn't it?)
Looking forward to new companion and reallyreallyreally hoping for minimal moping post-Amy manpain when we see the Doctor again.