Saturday, September 29, 2012

Saying farewell to a companion, The Angels Take Manhattan

The angels take Manhattan

In which I say goodbye to a companion.

One of the things a true Doctor Who fan girl fears most of all is saying goodbye to a companion. Especially since Russell T Davis had a terrible habit of shunting off or in some  killing off companions in brutal tragic ways. In the past all  New Who! companions who left the doctor were given a second life as a consolation prize.
Rose got a Doctor Clone, Martha in a case of racial profiling married Mickey and Donna forgot several years of her life!
Only Captain Jack with Torchwood, and Sarah Jane with her son were given lives that were “better” then their adventures in the Tardis.

Spoilers beyond the jump sweeties...
This was why I was so terrified of saying goodbye to Amy and Rory. Unlike other fans I love Amy, Rory and River Song.
But why?

In many ways I could have been Amelia Pond. Obviously the crack in the wall led to her living an incredibly messed up adolescence with no parents and a neglectful  Aunt. It’s no wonder that she obsessed over her imaginary friend “ the raggedy doctor”  and never really made much of herself after school (at the age of twenty two she’s working as a kissogram).
I had similar experiences and often found myself escaping into the fantasy series Harry Potter. Like Amelia I dreamed of one day escaping my life, and thus never really did much to improve the lot I had.
Which was why it was such a delight to watch Amelia transform from a kissogram to a companion, to a model and finally to a travel writer.

Rory as well, dear sweet Rory.
In many ways whenever the doctor meets a companions boyfriend they are either ridicules buffoons designed to illustrate how awesome the Doctor is..or well evil.
For the first time in New Who we found ourselves meeting a companion’s boyfriend who in many ways is “better” then the doctor.
Much has been said about Rory’s constant devotion towards Amy Pond. After all this is the same guy who died countless times, took on the cyberman army and waited two thousand years all for a feisty fiance.
It could be easy to write Rory off as a devoted lovesick puppy but this season has revealed so much more.
In many ways Rory’s development came so quietly we almost missed it.
We saw the caring way he patched his dad up during “Dinosaurs on a Spaceship”  to his brutal insistence that the doctor sacrifice an alien accused of war crimes in order to save others in “A Town Called Mercy”.
 While the doctor ran about making grand gestures Rory became the quite hero who “got things done” as we witnessed in the Power of Three when he worked overtime helping the injured.
In fact, we can see exactly where  River Song got her personality from. 
In no way was this clearer then the moment Rory decided to kill himself in order to save the world from the angels.
This sacrifice was  eerily similar to River’s introduction when she kills herself in order to save a library filled with millions of trapped people.
Although River may insist she’s a “psychopath” the silence were unable to destroy the traits she inherited from her father.
Both characters truly care for others, show an almost brutal lack of mercy when faced with something they perceive as “evil” and a willingness to sacrifice their own lives for the greater good.

And River, what can we say about River Song?
I remember when she first burst into fandom three years ago many fans were faintly horrified.
How dare their David Tennet flirt with a feisty middle aged woman instead of a teen bomb shell?
I remember on ‘fandom secrets’ one girl admitted that she only hated the character because the actress playing her was forty!  seriously, these are the reasons why people hate her.
I on the other hand loved River because for the first time since Romana we were introduced to a woman who was truly the Doctor's equal.
I was also delighted when it turned out River was Amy and Rory’s daughter, there was something incredibly neat about that solution which feeds into Moffat’s themes concerning free will, destiny and fairy tales.
Needless to say I was incredibly happy with River in the angels take Manhattan.
We have finally gone full circle, meeting River soon before her final meeting with the doctor.
This is a River who has grown and matured, thinking of others but still gleefully asking if she can steal a car.
I also loved the way the relationship has developed.
The tables had well and truly turned, from watching the Doctor checking his breath to kissing her on the mouth and fixing her hand we finally saw the eleventh Doctor truly besotted.
Meanwhile River was no longer the obsessive teenager from Let's Kill Hitler, rather she was back to her sassy and independent self from Quiet In the Library.
One of my favorite moments was when he fixed her hand before kissing it and she slapped him declaring him “sentimental”.
My inner feminist also trilled with excitement when River stated she would only travel with him “sometimes”. 
Professor River Song has her own life now and her own adventures.
Oddly enough that has truly made her the perfect wife for the Doctor.

A few of my friends may recall my insistence that I had “prophetic” dreams about television shows.
It all started around fourteen years ago when I had a very distinct dream involving Helga Pataki from Hey Arnold seeing a child psychologist! low and behold a few years later Helga on the couch was produced!
Since then I’ve had prophetic dreams involving Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Just Shoot Me, Community and The Office.
This either means I am truly psychic or like Abed on  Community I am excellent at predicting future story lines based on human reactions and environment,
Anyway, around six weeks ago when I first arrived in Stuttgart I awoke from an incredibly vivid dream.
At this point I knew that their last episode would be called “Angel’s in Manhattan” and would contain a tragic ending.
However in my dream it wasn’t tragic at all.
Rather, the angels sent them back in time by around fifty years.
This made their point of arrival 1967, the waited patiently until baby Melody regenerated during Day of the Moon in 1969.
Of course my dream was half right, they did go back in time roughly fifty years and they did spend the rest of their lives in Manhattan.
The interesting thing however is did they try to find baby Melody?
After all Melody revealed in Lets Kill Hitler that she regenerated into a toddler in Manhattan during the sixties.
Is it a mere coincidence that amy and rory went back to the same place at roughly the same time?
Is that the reason why River screamed at her mother to go with the angel with such joy?
I guess we’ll never know.
However, I like to think this is the case especially since Karen Gillian said that Amy’s issues involving River would be resolved in this episode and then it never happened.

 The Angel’s Take Manhattan was a lovely ending to Amy and Rory’s run with the doctor. In fact this was the first time I didn’t find myself crying when a companion left, mainly because for the first time it wasn’t very sad at all.
Rather I was filled with the bittersweet sense of accomplishment one feels when a close friend moves far away.
One of my friends suggested on Facebook that Brian is of course still watering their plants, but I’m pretty sure Rory was conscious enough to pull a “back to the future” style lawyer move.
It’s good to know that for once the Doctor didn’t completely screw up his companions, but rather helped them develop into a loving couple who lived full happy lives.

I’ve always been terrified of growing too attached to New Who Companions, mainly due to Russell T Davis’s belief that good writing  involves pain and death.
Instead I felt happy and calm when I said goodbye to the Ponds, life as Charles Dickens once said is full of meetings and partings.
That is the way of it.
Once, a long time ago I had a friend who could be seen as my “raggedy doctor”. She was my best friend and partner in crime during high school. Then, like Amy and the doctor we both grew up and saw each other less and less.
Then, one day we never saw each other again.
Some may view this as tragic but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Although we were no longer in each others lives we were still happy and fulfilled.
I think everyone at some point has had a friendship like this, just because it ends it doesn’t make it any less important.
I’d like to think that Amy and Rory called up Canton from Day of the Moon and continued their adventures. 
I also like to think they never truly forgot their Raggedy Doctor.

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