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Doctor Who: A Most Ingenious Paradox

By Chance

Doctor Who: A Most Ingenious Paradox

October 03, 2012 at 1:05PM EDT

If you haven’t seen “The Angels Take Manhattan,” the mid-season finale of Doctor Who, then you should probably avoid this little exercise. Complex time travel plots always remind me of word problems in math: I get the general idea, but my eyes glaze over when you start looking at specifics. In school, whenever truck drivers needed to plot their courses or cargo, I would usually just start imagining their long, lonely nights on the road, broken only by the occasional tryst in a roadside rest stop. So, you see, I have no patience to figure out the physics involved in time travel. However, I do want to understand this episode, because I love the Doctor, and I want him to be logically consistent, just for my own peace of mind. I also want to understand this for Amy’s sake. I’ve always been fond of Amy, and to a lesser extent Rory, and my immediate reaction is that “The Angels Take Manhattan” is not a fitting end to their story.

So, if you can help explain a few of these “timey-wimey” word problems, I’d appreciate it greatly.

Hazy Shade of Winter Quay
Were Amy and Rory zapped back to 1938 New York? The tombstone seems to suggest that. Couldn’t they have waited until 1939, then have the Doctor pick them up? Or can the Doctor never go back to New York anytime in the past, anywhere near the Ponds, ever? If that’s the case, why couldn’t they just travel to the UK during WWII and look for Captain Jack and the 9th Doctor?

Pair o’ Docs
#1 Why couldn’t River just refuse to write the book? Wouldn’t that create a new paradox? Are we to believe that any future paradox anywhere near New York will just rip it apart?

#2 The Doctor avoided his own death (a fixed point in time) by employing the use of the Teselecta. Couldn’t he just go back and push a couple of those out the door to get zapped back, while Rory and Amy stay safely inside the TARDIS?

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50 Shades of Fan Fiction
How exactly does River get the manuscript to Amy? She can’t send it to her in the timeline prior to this episode, because then Amy would know about it in 2012. So that would suggest that River is going to go back in time, find her parents and ask them to get her book published. If that’s possible, then why wouldn’t River include a note that says, “Hey, folks! The Doctor wants to save you, so please book a passage to the UK and send me a sign.”

Get a Second Opinion
Since the Doctor routinely and consistently destroys the lives of every companion he encounters, why would anyone suggest he keep doing it? Is it Moffat’s way of trying to keep him likeable, by having all his victims assure him they don’t mind all the destoying, and that their constant sacrifices are actually really cool, thanks ever so much? Will the Doctor let Rory’s dad know that he lost them? Or will he just pick Brian up and let something horrible happen to him, too?

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Who’s Your Broker?
I have to admit that Winter Quay has fabulous views of the city. After apartment hunting in New York last year, I have some questions. Will they waive the broker’s fee in exchange for your time energy? Is there a Weeping Angel super on site to make minor repairs? I refuse to spend any more summers in New York, so can I sublet my room/time energy while I go to Fire Island?

That’s it! Feel free to fill the comments section with your “wibbly-wobbly” thoughts.

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