The Angels Take Manhattan

I’ve been watching Dr Who since I was three years old. Granted, my preference is for Classic Who but I was glad to see the show revived and the new seasons have been good ones. If you’re following along like I am, but you haven’t had a chance to watch the latest episode, you need to see The Angels Take Manhattan.

You can watch it here. My thoughts are spoiler free so read as you will…

I love Alex Kingston as River Song. She’s smart, sexy, capable, slick and flawed.

To pair the middle-aged Kingston with Matt Smith’s younger incarnation of the Doctor is genius: it challenges our perceptions of relationships head-on by giving the Doctor more than a mere foil but an active partner. And she’s not just any partner, she’s his wife; something that’s a big jump for any hardcore Who fan to begin with. But to choose this character – an accomplished woman who’s more than his equal, following in the footsteps of Mary Tamm’s Ramana while adding not only romance but sexuality – to make her fierce and independent yet warm and effecting, is brilliance and I can’t imagine anyone but Kingston in this role.

At a time when the conventional pairings, such as older man with younger woman, have been repeatedly challenged, this combination has its own winning formula. The much younger Matt Smith, almost thirty, plays the Doctor, a very old man who behaves like a quirky, eccentric pencil-thin geek. Kingston, almost fifty, is the smouldering femme fatale River Song, who is in reality a much younger woman than he. Not many could have pulled it off with such richness and panache, but those two manage to do it not only well but with style and depth.

While it forces us to challenge our preconceived notions of how relationships should look, feel and be, it does far more than this. It envelopes us in their story, harsh piece by piece and delicate layer by layer. so well that combating our ageist, sexist prejudices happens not in the forefront but the back of our minds.

Because the story’s just that good.

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