Most of what I've seen on Twitter among people I follow is that the latest Doctor Who finale ("Angels Take Manhattan") was good, impressive, etc. At least as far as the ending went. Oh, I am SO not in that camp. I agree more with the commentary by io9 and Crisis On, in terms of picking up on a number of flaws. See, it's harder to be emotionally invested when you're staring at a plot hole.
But rather than rant on about said problems, I'd prefer to see if I can pull off some repair work. Let me preface it by saying that I have a fairly good grasp of paradox - in fact, I'm curious as to whether it's mostly people like me who had the problems, as many seem to say "I didn't get the paradox stuff but the emotional stuff was nice". For instance, I was nodding at the notion of not reading ahead, and almost literally applauding Amy's decision of looking at the chapter titles, that was brilliant.
But then it all sort of fell apart. At the end, when I wanted to be all emotional, instead I was all "but... obvious loophole!". It's like when you get a nice steak dinner, and then at the last second it's yanked away by the waiter who says, "Sorry, meant to give you this one!" and you're left staring at the replacement wondering what was so bad about the previous one, plus this one looks undercooked.
So here then, is the missing scene from the episode "The Angels Take Manhattan". It takes place right near the end. At least in my mind.
|I said SPOILERS, Matt Smith! No Peeking!|
(The DOCTOR and RIVER Song have returned to the TARDIS after Rory and Amy's disappearance)
DOCTOR: I've missed something. Something obvious. I hate it when I miss something obvious.
RIVER: You mean all that fixed point nonsense? After all, you could always go back and visit the two of them. Not directly to 1938 of course, but indirectly, traveling to some time before or after the event.
DOCTOR: No, no, that's not it...
RIVER: Then it's true. You're not doing it because you don't want to see the two of them once they've aged.
DOCTOR: What? Who said that?
RIVER: Me, just now. There's the issue of your companions aging while you don't.
DOCTOR: Don't be ridiculous. Sarah Jane Smith aged amazingly well. No, I wouldn't want to go back because it's like Rory's father said. They can't give me up, same way I can't give them up, so best for all concerned that I simply give up. I... must allow their loop to close. Let them enjoy the rest of their lives. (tries to convince himself) It hurts, but it's better for all concerned. Yes.
RIVER: Wait, you've met Rory's father? My grandfather?
DOCTOR: Yeah, uh, not now. Thinking. Something obvious.
RIVER: Perhaps I should be the one to break the news to him. He might want to know about the gravesite at least.
DOCTOR: Aha! That's it, the grave! Huge loophole! Anyone can put up a gravestone! Well, alright, not just anyone, obviously, but you can have whatever you like carved into it. Isn't that right?
RIVER: I suppose. Wait, you're saying Rory and Amy might not actually be buried there?
DOCTOR: Precisely! Just because you see the EFFECT of something, doesn't mean you necessarily know the CAUSE. (claps and rubs hands) Just because you see a room covered in blood, doesn't mean it isn't owned by a butcher! Now then, let's extrapolate. Using the same reasoning, you could have purposefully lied about something when writing that book we had, to create a twist ending!
RIVER: I didn't.
DOCTOR: How do you know, you haven't written it yet.
RIVER: ... Point. But why would I lie to my husband like that?
DOCTOR: I don't know, but we should have at least considered the possibility. For that matter, hang on, how do you know we're married? You're living in reverse, you can't know about both the Angels AND our marriage. Can you?
RIVER: Can't I?
DOCTOR: Well, I'm not sure. But that's beside the point. Point being, Rory may not be dead except oh wait. Damn.
RIVER: You're giving me whiplash, sweetie.
DOCTOR: Pond's name appeared on the grave marker too.
RIVER: Williams' name.
DOCTOR: Thing is, that kind of sealed both their fates. Though, that also changed Rory's. So really, if we go by the rules we've been laying down, her name SHOULD have been there a lot earlier. Merely, perhaps, in another context that didn't become clear until the end. That would then make her departure EMOTIONAL rather than a SUDDEN GOTCHA MOMENT.
RIVER: Who are you shouting at?
DOCTOR: I don't know. I've missed something. Something obvious.
RIVER: We've done this bit.
DOCTOR: I know, but we drew the wrong conclusions... the gravestone, it works if her name had merely been obscured by vines, so let's assume that was the case. AHA! Now I've got it. The whole reason I said Rory would be stalked by the Angels for the rest of his life was so that they could transport him back to the hotel, to resolve the paradox. Yes?
RIVER: I doubt you'll hear whatever answer I give.
DOCTOR: Exactly. But, they just got Rory. So of course, they would want to send him back to the hotel, to fix the paradox he created. How do we know that's not what happened? Wait, what did you say?
RIVER: Never mind. You're saying the Angels could do that?
DOCTOR: It would be diabolically clever. They would want to. So how do we know they didn't? Answer, the Reapers would prevent it, given that the paradox was already in effect.
RIVER: Reapers? I don't remember them.
DOCTOR: Yes. I fear a lot of people have forgotten about them. Still, they're the reason I didn't do anything to that Angel out there in the cemetery, I know a Reaper will get him too. The entire presence of the Angels in the present is a bit of a paradox.
RIVER: Connected to the Statue of Liberty?
DOCTOR: Yes. Well, no. That is, she's all smoke and mirrors. People would bloody well notice if she went missing, plus she's not stone, plus there are tons of pictures of her, plus Angels don't inhabit statues, they're quantum locked humanoids, and besides, there was a lengthy amount of time on the roof when no one was looking at Lady Liberty yet she made no move and you're getting me off topic.
RIVER: Sorry. You were saying the Reapers were the reason you're not going after the remaining Angel.
DOCTOR: Yes. I knew there was a reason for that. What else did I say?
RIVER: You said you weren't going back for Amy and Rory not because of the fixed point nonsense, since that could be corrected by carving a fake gravestone, but rather because you've recognized that they need to have their own life.
DOCTOR: I said that?
DOCTOR: Noble of me. Not sure I believe it. But I suppose I must, because they... they really do deserve to live out a happy life together. They really, really do. That's why I'm not even going to travel back to a point before I picked them up, to talk to them one last time.
RIVER: You don't have to convince me.
DOCTOR: No. I have to convince myself. I feel like there was so much more that could have been said, if given the opportunity. But it's like the remaining pages of our story were all torn out. AH! Now I know what the obvious thing was that I missed!
RIVER: Do tell.
(DOCTOR goes to sit on the step)
DOCTOR: They were your parents...