Now, all this being said…I do not hate the ending. Not by any means. I have severe issues, as shown above, with how Moffat sent Amy and Rory off from a larger, arc-based perspective, but I think The Angels Take Manhattan itself absolutely nails the emotions of the big send-off. Gillan, Darvill, and especially Smith are in top form from start to finish, and once Moffat weaves his narrative web so tight that Amy and Rory are trapped, the episode is effectively intense and heart-wrenching from the very end.
The scene on the rooftop, where Rory decides suicide is his only way out, and Amy chooses to jump along with him, is an absolutely marvelous bit of acting and direction. Like I said before, we have seen this emotional scenario before, but the sense of finality here was palpable, adding to the power of the scene. Moffat paces this entire section expertly, so thoroughly establishing the double-suicide as a climax that when their actual demise rolls around, in the graveyard, it feels like a massive, tangibly painful gut-punch.
For all the negative things I have said in this review, there is absolutely no criticism I feel I can make about that graveyard finale. It’s perfect. Moffat’s writing is beautiful, creating a sad and claustrophobic sense of defeat, Nick Hurran’s staging and direction is taut and engaging, and Murray Gold delivers one of the very best musical compositions of his career. Amy’s final moments with the Doctor brought me to the verge of tears, just as Moffat likely intended, and I think he picked the absolute perfect final line: “Raggedy man…goodbye.”
Most importantly, Gillan and Smith absolutely kill it in their last moments together. In showing Amy’s struggle to maintain strength through this immense, heartbreaking ultimatum, Gillan delivers what may be her best work on the series to date. As for Smith…I keep thinking he must have shown us everything he has. I keep thinking he has reached the limits of how far he, or any individual, could possibly go as a performer. But the way he plays that last scene, practically shaking apart as he pleads for Amy to stay with him, completely confused and out of his element, is some of the best work I have ever seen on television. Not just on Doctor Who. That is a pantheon-level bit of acting, and pushes Smith even further into the stratosphere.
Finally, I must admit I was extremely moved by the following scene, as the Doctor reads Amy’s last words. For all my complaints about how out-of-place this ending seems on the whole, I cannot argue with going back to young Amelia Pond for the character’s final moments. It is a circular, fitting conclusion, and Smith is once again fantastic portraying the Doctor’s mix of emotions as he reads the letter.
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