Last Saturday Doctor Who fans bid a final farewell to Amy Pond and Rory. The Ponds’ final episode was a great send-off: a little sad, a little bittersweet, and full of the twisty-turny timey-wimey concepts that make the show so much fun. But as tear-jerking as “The Angels Take Manhattan” was, it could have been even worse. One of the endings considered by Moffat would have seen the Ponds end their travels with the Doctor six feet under rather than the comparatively happy ending they got in the finished episode.
Moffat says that the ending for “Angels” changed repeatedly during the writing process. “Alive, dead, alive, dead. Everything was wrong. Nothing felt right. Nothing felt inevitable.” Moffat only broke free of that cycle of life and death once he hit upon the idea for the episode’s current ending, which served as a callback to the very first episode that introduced us to both the Eleventh Doctor and Amelia Pond.
About four o’clock in the morning — with the gaspingly late script promised to the production team in a few hours — I remembered ‘The Eleventh Hour’… and the single moment we’ve been heading for, since the very beginning.
It’s easy to see how things could have gone down a darker road. You wouldn’t even have to change much of the episode, just a few of the final moments. Still, all things considered, I prefer the ending we got. It was nicely poetic, and I thought the callback the “The Eleventh Hour” made for a nice set of bookends for the Ponds’ adventures.
Now we can commence speculating about how the Doctor will eventually meet and recruit his next companion, to say nothing of how her character will connect with a certain Dalek we met in the season premiere. I’ll also be curious to see if they address how long the Doctor will have been traveling before he picks up the new girl. This season has repeatedly emphasized that traveling alone does bad things to the Doctor. Will he meet his new companion shortly after the events of “The Angels Take Manhattan?” Or will we meet him again after some time spent doing the very thing Amy told him not to do? We’ll have to wait for the Christmas episode to find out.