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Wibbly Wobbly Timey Wimey Stuff

Steven Moffat Condescends To Explain That Huge Doctor Who Plot Hole About The Ponds

Look, I’m not saying something not even invented yet needs to make sense all the time, but if you’re going to make up your own rules, at least stick to them. And don’t be a jerk when people ask you to explain. I’m looking squarely in your direction, Steven Moffat

[Spoilers for the Season 7 midseason finale to follow.]

Dan Martin interviewed the Doctor Who showrunner for Blogtor Who (kudos on the blog name) and seems to be the first to get a, somewhat, straight answer out of the guy about the fate of the Ponds. But from the sound of it, he also got some attitude.

The crux of the matter was, the Doctor explained he could not go back to rescue Rory, and in turn Amy, after their last interaction with the Weeping Angels because it would cause a paradox so terrible, New York would rip itself apart. But the language used in the episode was so specific, many wondered after the fact, why couldn’t the Doctor just go pick up The Ponds in New Jersey, Connecticut, Washington, etc. somewhere outside of NYC?Here’s what he had to say when asked to explain that little blip:

New York would still burn. The point being, he can’t interfere. Here’s the ‘fan answer’ – this is not what you’d ever put out on BBC One, because most people watch the show and just think, ‘well there’s a gravestone so obviously he can’t visit them again’. But the ‘fan answer’ is, in normal circumstances he might have gone back and said, ‘look we’ll just put a headstone up and we’ll just write the book’. But there is so much scar tissue, and the number of paradoxes that have already been inflicted on that nexus of timelines, that it will rip apart if you try to do one more thing. He has to leave it alone. Normally he could perform some surgery, this time too much surgery has already been performed. But imagine saying that on BBC One!

Yes, imagine actually explaining logically why The Doctor can’t go back on BBC One. That would be totally weird and not necessary. Insert sarcasm. Basically, Moffat is saying the newer fans, the fans who aren’t deeply obsessed with the show like we are, accepted what he presented as fact and didn’t bother thinking too hard about it. That’s not only rude to Whovians, that’s just plain rude. But here’s the thing, it wasn’t just sci-fi fanatics who took issue with the wonky explanation in the episode. My 10-year old and 7-year-old nieces even knew it didn’t make sense.

“You could never eliminate the possibility of dream sequences and flashbacks, but will the Doctor see them again? No,” said Moffat. “When I was first talking to Karen [Gillan] and Arthur [Darvill] about it, we said ‘let’s make it the proper ending’. Bringing back things just gives you sequel-itis. Just end it and get out. Heaven knows if they’ll appear in some form of flashback – I have no plans to do that I have to say – but the story of Amy and The Doctor is definitively over.”

The actors are leaving the show? Ok. You don’t want them to return ever? Ok. Couldn’t you come up with something as permanent that wouldn’t mean killing them off but didn’t leave most of your viewers tilting their heads? If you think it’s too much trouble or too complicated to explain on the show, maybe think of something else next time.

(via Blogtor Who)

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  • Anonymous

    Basically, Moffat is saying the newer fans, the fans who aren’t deeply obsessed with the show like we are, accepted what he presented as fact and didn’t bother thinking too hard about it. That’s not only rude to Whovians, that’s just plain rude. But here’s the thing, it wasn’t just sci-fi fanatics who took issue with the wonky explanation in the episode. My 10-year old and 7-year-old nieces even knew it didn’t make sense.


  • Kerry Dolan Timony

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who feels that Moffat is beginning to believe his own hype.

  • Anonymous

    Not only does it make no sense, it’s a horrible end for Amy. Does she really deserve this? Martha is lucky she got away.

  • Louis Gonzales

    So.. wait.. couldn’t Rory and Amy just travel abroad to meet the doctor?

  • Michael Boon

    The only condescending one here is the writer of this article. Even if he was, most obsessive Doctor Who fans deserve it. They overanalyze and whinge about everything to do with the show…yet still mysteriously watch it every week. Oh, and let me guess – the writer of this article prefers RTD’s Who and thinks Moffat is a sexist/misogynist? Thought so.

  • Anonymous

    I dub this kind of explanation ‘fansplaining.’

  • Alyssa Franke

    This, I think, is the main problem I have with Steven Moffat. It’s not his writing, or his problematic plot lines, or even some of the larger problems he has with using sexist tropes and other harmful stereotypes. It’s that he disregards the majority of the fandom so quickly, as if anyone else who doesn’t wholeheartedly believe his plots are clever and his writing incredible just isn’t worth his time or attention.

  • Elwyne

    I think I quote David Tennant when I point out that Doctor Who is ‘not supposed to make sense, or add up.’ Plus Moffat is one squirrelly dude when it comes to large sweeping storylines. As long as he kept it to one or two eps, he could create gems, but give him a season and he can’t handle it anymore. Nothing he’s created since Silence in the Library has really worked.

    That said, I thought it a fitting end for Amy and Rory. They got the life together they claimed they wanted. The alternative was Amy growing a spine a la Martha and telling the Doctor to leave them alone, and that’s not nearly tragic enough for Moffat.

  • Christin

    I don’t watch Who (interloper alert!) but this makes me super nervous about the return of Sherlock.

    Nearly two years without the show means tons of fan theories which is fun but some of these theories are so intricate. We’re all expecting something spectacular, expectations are super high. These are the creators who ended the season 1 cliffhanger with a disco song.

  • Jill Pantozzi

    You’re adorable. Thanks for reading!

  • Jill Pantozzi

    Which is funny because he’s a huge DW fan himself.

  • James Alexander

    Can we stop being silly about this? The Ponds had to leave the show, and that ending was way nicer than killing them or creating some artificial rift between the Doctor and the Ponds.

  • Anonymous

    That ending was so horrible. I spent the next hour after watching it complaining about all the awful loopholes. Especially that in the city that never sleeps, no one is looking at the Statue of Liberty. Also I don’t get the apartment building. Can they never leave it? That doesn’t make sense because: 1. how do they get food? 2. Where did Amy get a typewriter to write the book the doctor was reading? 3. How did she then get in touch with River to get the book published? Also if she could get together with River to get the book published why can’t she hang out with the doctor too? And also, if they can leave the apartment building, can’t the Doctor just take them on adventures so long as he brings them back, as if that was their home? And if they can’t leave, who paid for their tombstones? Darn it! I shouldn’t have read this article, now it’s frustrating me again. :/

  • Michael Boon

    Yes I am and no need to thank me. Even tripe has to be read otherwise I’d never recognise the good stuff.

  • Rebecca Pahle

    New York would still explode because ~paradox~. Because clearly Moffat cares so very much about avoiding those. /sarcasm

  • Anonymous

    This is a website dedicated to fans. Geeky fans. Fans that love to discuss and ‘overanalyze’ the shows that we love (yes love, fans can really like a show while still admitting it has problems). So… what was the point of your comment? To just be a dick?

  • Adanedhel

    Just to clarify; the angel farm was destroyed after Rories selfsacrifice.
    So Rory and Amy got too live in standard NY. So the second and first part of your third point are only important if you didn’t pay attention.
    The food could easily have been brought there by the angels. ANd they could try to leave it, but the angels would just zap them back.
    And the Statue of Liberty was indeed an inconvienient, but 1 not neccesary for the plot, and 2 cried for by fans for years (I posted a Philosoraptor meme about the SoL as Weeping Angel more then a year ago fe).
    RS could enter via the Vortex manipulator; and in theory so could the Doctor, but before the Doctor had a chance to figure that out; he read the note where Amy said they’d never see each other again; and thereby it was solidified for him. All pretty logic, but you really got to pay attention to everything they said.
    (really, the only dissapointment from Moffat from me as season endings has been the empty episode that is Wedding of River Song)
    Sorry if I sounded rather rough, wasn’t really meant, but this reasoning I’ve had to explain a lot, while it seems pretty basic to me.

  • Matsé L’hybride

    Moffat is brilliant but he needs more time to write his episodes. Since he’s been the lead writer of DW, he hurried to do everything in time… Not a good idea when you love writing about things as complex as paradox. Anyway, I think this ending was good, I don’t understand why everybody always want DW to be realistic… I mean : we speak about a man travelling in a box bigger on the inside. It’s not hard science, it’s more like magic ^^

  • Anonymous

    Moffat is disrespectful towards his fans and the material he’s working with. I’m not surprised but this still makes me sad.

  • Scarlett Springate

    I mean, I bought that he couldn’t go back *right then* and save them, as getting the TARDIS back into whatever year it was might destroy New York, but, you know, why not 5 or 10 years later? Even if it was just to pop in and say hi. Anyway, this doesn’t bother me that much, but what I REALLY want to know is, what’s up with Amy not remembering the Daleks, a la the end of season 4? Remember, way back from the very beginning? That was never explained, and it bothers me.

  • Travis Fischer

    It was a lazy ending. At the end of the day, it just comes off like The Doctor just didn’t want to try very hard to get Amy and Rory back. Which is funny because that mirrors the feeling of most of the fans I know.

  • Jim

    There’s a great difference between being realistic and agreeing with your own version of the truth. He reads like one of those guys whose story changes depending on who he’s speaking with and just got caught. I think that’s one of the reasons we have trouble with him. And he comes across as a bit of a tool. Maybe you’re right and show running is too many balls to keep in the air.

  • Rebecca Ramsey

    Moffat is a very selective DW fan. I don’t think you could call him a fan of the 00′s reboot, up until he took control of the show. He’s changed so many things, paved over so many of the stones Davies laid, that he looks like a man bent on ‘recapturing’ the ‘glories’ of 70s and 80s Who without any understanding that the rest of the fandom has moved on, and now expects ANSWERS instead of handwavium wonderflomium to explain why things worked out as they did.

    And we wont even get into the anti-feminist overtones of Amy’s arc from wide-eyed dreamer and adventurer to happy housewife and sacred mother . . .

  • Anonymous

    He has done some extremely clever plots (Blink, the Coupling episode in Hebrew, some of Sherlock). However, that doesn’t mean that everything he writes is clever. It doesn’t mean it has to be. But it’s treated as all or nothing, like you have to say that everything he’s ever written was amazing or you just plain hate Steven Moffat and/or Doctor Who and/or fun. And now even Moffat’s doing it. :(

  • Craig Forshaw

    Um… the show did explain it. The Weeping Angels were keeping people locked in that building, or nearby, in New York, so they could feed on them. If the Doctor wanted to rescue them, he would have to go to New York to rescue them – which would rip time apart. The problem is that most people want to appear really smart, but don’t fully understand the thing they’re proclaiming their love for.

    As for attacking Steven Moffat: the guy has been the heart and soul of the show since it returned, and has managed to move us away from the repetitive, “Oh, it’s the season finale. Daleks or the Master?” storylines which were starting to hurt Russell T. Davies tenure on the show. I know people hated the multicolour Daleks, and seem to have massive issues with Amy and River, and believe that Moffat hates women, but you cannot deny that he has tried to keep the show fresh and moving forward.

    Further, I cannot for the life of me understand the “sexist tropes and other harmful stereotypes”: I’d argue that tropes are an under-researched area at best, and often reflect the socio-political bias of the writer at worst, at the present, and that there is not a single stereotype on the show. What people are actually referring to is that they have projected onto a character and demand that the character behave in such a way as to conform to their own unique worldview, ignoring what might be right for the character and the way that they would behave.

    Just look at Amy: Moffat was vilified by some because Amy didn’t spend an entire episode crying over having her child snatched from her, despite the fact that almost the entire time following the abduction was done off-screen. When we see her again, she’s become incredibly hardened to it, before finding out she actually did get to raise her child after a fashion. So, everyone complained that we didn’t get to see her go through the emotional wringer on a show that has to be accessible to fans who may not have even gone to primary school yet. Then, when Moffat did raise the issue, first in ‘The Wedding of River Song’, where Amy murdered Madame Kavorian, and in ‘Asylum of the Daleks’, where they talked about how Amy cannot have children anymore and the issues surrounding that… he was bashed for being too adult and dark in the UK media.

    So, you will pardon me if I tend to think that there is a section of fandom that has become too narrow minded and political about the show, because it is making online discussions incredibly difficult to get into without descending into the usual political arguments about a show aimed primarily at children (of all ages).

  • Rebecca Ramsey

    Moffat IS a sexist and misogynist.

  • Michael Boon

    Careful! This is not what the mob want to hear. Seriously, I could go through 90% of Doctor Who episodes, including the ‘Classic’ era, and point out ‘plot holes’ but that’s not what this article is really about. An interview which could easily have been done with a playful wink, has been turned into yet another excuse to depict Moffat as the Anti-Christ by his detractors. There are new episodes on the horizon after all….

  • Shira Hecht

    Speaking of DW Fandom…my friends and I are doing brackets for March Madness to pick our favorite episodes. This seems like something people here might like?

  • Lady Viridis

    Honestly, I still don’t understand why they didn’t just have the Ponds’ ending at the end of S6. Having them back for the first half of S7 just felt awkward, like none of the writers knew what to do with the characters. I don’t feel like the characters learned anything or grew in any way in S7, and their ending was full of plot holes and had an explanation that just didn’t make sense. In my headcanon, they adventured with the Doctor for years and then just retired to their house with the TARDIS blue door and had occasional holiday visits from River and/or the Doctor.

  • Joel Murphy

    I don’t find his answer condescending. I think he (perhaps wrongly) assumed an explanation wasn’t needed, but from what I’m reading above, he had an answer to the question thought out in his head and ready when someone asked for it.

    I can see your argument that this information should have somehow been conveyed for those people who wanted to dig a bit deeper, but I don’t get any malice in his tone and I can kind of see his point that he felt it would be superfluous information in that episode.

    Now perhaps it would have made sense for The Doctor to explain this in the Christmas episode or one of the others going forward, but I don’t think Moffat is being a jerk here.

  • Craig Forshaw

    The answer to this was in the episode…

    The Angels are keeping people alive to feed off the chronal energy in them. The fact that Amy and Rory are there would arguably save people given how much they have to give from traveling with the Doctor. The Angels, therefore, are probably happy to make sure that they stay in the area, not just that one building, and are kept healthy and well-fed. Otherwise, how can they feed off them? Further, after all the terrible warnings The Doctor gave to Amy JUST BEFORE SHE LET THE ANGEL TAKE HER, THE LAST TIME SHE SAW HIM, she probably thought it would be a good idea to make sure that events played out as she knew they would, given that they would all die otherwise.

    Further, the book was written by River, who had offices in New York at that time, having been living there tracking the Angels for quite some time. You see, the book was probably sent to Amy prior to the events seen in ‘The Angels Take Manhattan’: River had been there for a while, and she didn’t seem too surprised to see Rory when he arrived. Chances are that River was playing her role, knowing what would happen if she tried to change time. Before the events of the story, with River having already learned what would happen from various sources, she writes the book, and sends it to Amy. It could even have been River who set everything in motion to protect her parents: this way they live out their lives, free from the Silence and everything else that has to happen. Given that events probably happened prior to Rory being sent back in time, and prior to all the damage occuring, River easily did it, and then didn’t do anything after the end of the episode.

    As for The Doctor picking them up… the Angels are still keeping them in Manhattan, where he cannot land anywhere near the time they landed, because of the paradoxes. Further, given that Rory tends to die every other week, could he risk all those people dying in Manhattan for one adventure? As for the Tombstones… I’m pretty sure that Melody Malone left everything to her parents, and the Angels would probably have something in place to keep everyone alive and everything paid for. Most of this is explained or implied in the episode. The truth is that most people want a spoon-fed explanation: I’m more happy with one that doesn’t pander to dumbing down.

  • KirkB

    What gets me is he had already given them their way out. Amy and Rory had their own normal, if somewhat boring, lives on Earth outside of the Tardis and away from the Doctor. He simply just had to never go visit them again. They would be gone, he could find a new companion and everyone would be happy.

  • Craig Forshaw

    Also, two other things: if River did set everything in motion, then her psychopath/sociopath comment at the end makes perfect sense.

    Further: at the end, when The Doctor reads that chapter by Amy, based on the rules of the episode, she said exactly what he needed to hear to convince him he couldn’t go after them.

  • Anonymous

    I give Moffat credit for being one of the few writers for Doctor Who over the last 50 years who really gets all the weird stuff that can happen with time travel.

    Given, however, that Moffat has been able to have such complex plots on the show, this comment is kind of weird. I’m inclined to think he simply couldn’t come up with dialogue that would give the explanation and not ruin the drama of the moment.

  • Craig Forshaw

    What is there to understand? The Silence tried to blow up the TARDIS, and then they tried to turn River, someone he has an emotional connection with, and someone who can regenerate if killed, into a perfect killing machine to, again, kill The Doctor, in order to stop some vague future prophecy.

    Whilst I hate “the prophecy” as the single most tedious and overused type of foreshadowing, it isn’t particularly complicated. I think that this has more to do with shows which have built massive mysteries over a half-a-decade and haven’t paid them off in any real significant way.

    Moffat’s mysteries: River Song’s history – solved within two seasons.

    The TARDIS exploding – solved within a season.

    The Doctor dying – solved within a season.

    Doctor Who? – already announced as being solved at the end of this season.

    Clara – again, already announced as being solved at the end of this season.

    Perhaps the only mystery unsolved is why the Clerics are wearing an Omega symbol, and, if anything, that is an easter-egg, not a mystery.

  • Craig Forshaw

    Wow. You do get that they were his friends and in-laws, don’t you? Imagine if someone said to you, “You shouldn’t see your friends any more.”

  • Craig Forshaw

    It wasn’t the area or the time where the paradox took place – their lives were the paradoxes at that point. A paradox is an event not about location, or time, but the events carried out by individuals within that time/space. If he was to rescue them from anywhere, at anytime, it would cause a further paradox, potentially killing everyone.

  • Being Geek Chic

    I agree with this and I don’t. You could say I’m pulling a Moffat even. I agree because I always want to understand the stories better. But at the same time, we don’t have a real, scientific basis for actual time travel
    so the notion that there is ever going to be a logical explanation seems
    like a jump to me.

  • Gregory McIntyre

    How about an explanation of why he cut the really touch scene of Rory’s father meeting their adopted child?

  • Matsé L’hybride

    Yes, of course, he didn’t have the time to think about it, so he himself doesn’t believe what he is saying : he is probably still trying to find an explanation ;-)

  • Anonymous

    I’ve always felt that Moffat can be a superb writer when someone else is there standing over him—or at least beside him—to help him to reign in . His episodes during RTD’s era? Most were superb. His work on Sherlock, where he has Mark Gatiss there as a sanity-check, is excellent. But give him total free reign, and he sort of goes a little power-mad.

  • Anonymous

    Anti-feminist? Really? Why, because she’s a wife with her own successful job? Heaven forbid someone would have to grow up in Doctor Who.

  • Edward Alcantara

    Probably for the same reason any deleted scene is deleted – it doesn’t add anything to story and it could on just fine without it.

  • Edward Alcantara

    He does that to pretty much every companion ever – when’s the last time he visited his granddaughter?

  • Andrew Johns

    I think the issue here is that it’s difficult to write a clever twist that works on so many

    levels. This is a flagship programme that is supposed to simultaneously be approachable for both casual and obsessive viewers, both children and adults, those who like their stories with questions and ambiguities, and those who like everything nicely wrapped up into complete stories with no holes. Name one show that can do that, over and over again, that would be capable of keeping it up for 50 years? There’s always going to be a few iffy moments.

    He can’t please everyone. Which means his stories will usually contain an element somewhere that someone won’t be happy with. E.g. whenever he tries to come up with a clever but slightly complex plot he has to contend with fans complaining about not understanding it its because they didn’t bother paying attention to it. If he simplifies an explanation, the fanatics complain.

    That your nieces knew it didn’t make sense is a credit to them. Clearly they are becoming fanatics like the rest of us :)

  • Adanedhel

    I to an extent am forced to agree.
    Though Moffat has his share of plot holes; it is not that this is new to Doctor Who; and I’ve yet to see an issue as glaring as that frigging Time Lock. I wouldn’t mind a Time Lock in and of itself; as a rift that’s henceforth impassible; but really the Doctor isn’t nearly alone in the universe, considering there where several timelords active in present and past; and he could still meet those TL out of order. (I’m thinking of the Monk, the War Chief, the Master and so on (and if the Rani wasn’t copytighted by Pip and Jane, her as well).

  • Adanedhel

    Actually; if Moffat is using the Cartmell Masterplan; and going with the Doctor=the Other; then the Omega symbol might well become very very relevant :)

  • Nidaria Noir

    On the contrary – that scene actually provided the emotional resolution that was lacking from the abrupt “thud” that was the Ponds being ripped from the show and deposited into a Deus Ex Machina plothole. Not to mention that it honored The Doctor’s promise to Rory’s dad.

  • cweb

    Ok but the Ponds will run into Captain Jack at some time, no? And then what happens?

  • Alyssa Franke

    Exactly. You can see it in some of the comments below. If you criticize something, call out a plothole, or just present a societal critique of a his themes, there are a group of people that just call you a hater and dismiss everything you say. It’s disappointing, but thankfully it’s a minority of the fandom.

  • Alyssa Franke

    The irony is terrible, isn’t it? I know that Moffat has received a lot of vitriolic hate on the internet, and I know he’s under terrible pressure, but from the interviews I’ve seen, it seems that he conflates reasonable critiques and “haters” and is generally dismissive of both.

  • Erin Carr

    I think it really had more to do with time restraints. The episodes have to be under an hour, and since there was SO much going on in that episode something had to be cut. While it was a beautiful scene, it wasn’t necessary to the plot (as in, it didn’t fill plot holes).

  • Roberto G. Blanco

    Then again… What exactly happened to Old Rory and Old Amy waving outside that factory?? Remember? I always thought they were they supposed to get there at some point in their lives, even when Rory was erased from time, Amy was seen waving alone. What happened? Just another timey-wimey?

  • Kathryn

    Or they could just have wanted to go home? Or, even, why do we need a definitive end? They had many more (canonical) adventures than are shown in the show, so a simple “Thanks Doc, but it’s time to end it” episode after they got married (or not long after) would have sufficed.

  • Space Marine Lysana

    My goodness, but someone misread her remarks. And yes, Moffat is anti-feminist. Erasing the one companion who never once let the Doctor forget he was imperfect and never fell in love with him since the start of the reboot. Making every companion since Donna a cute 20something with a mad crush on the Doctor. Turning River Song into a lovesick fool. He hates writing women who aren’t stuck on men, so he refuses to do so.

  • Space Marine Lysana

    Pointing out Moffat’s an arrogant boob is calling him the anti-Christ? Somebody’s butthurt.

  • Sidney Tucker

    I miss Russell T. Davis. Sure a lot of his episodes were very big and Earth shattering when they went on. But then got pushed aside for the next episode. But he was a fan of the show. Oh, I miss David Tennant too.

  • Anna Sophia May

    I’ve been spoiled by fansites (i’m ok with that, I really don’t mind) but have only seen season five. like that’s it. I” go back and end up watching all of new who when i’m on my semester off. I just wanted to say, i’ll probably not watch TATM. I like some of the ‘lalala not listening’ endings that people have posted here.

  • electrasteph

    Agreed! Couldn’t they have just said “sorry doc, we’re kind of tired of all the bopping around the universe. Come back and visit sometime; we’ll make dinner. Maybe pick an new companion?” That thing they sort of started to in S6.

  • Hannele Kormano

    I’m sure RTD had his share of handwavium as well, but all of my immediate examples were Moffatt episodes XD

  • Hannele Kormano

    It’s still not as bad as Donna, though. At least they got to keep their character development!

  • Hannele Kormano

    But what about my EMOTIONAL plot-holes /whinge

  • Hannele Kormano

    “Erasing the one companion who never once let the Doctor forget he was imperfect and never fell in love with him since the start of the reboot.”

    If you’re talking about Donna here, I believe that was RTD’s move.

  • Dara Crawley

    Ok “Sequel-itis”? Says the man who has been using the same enemies over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over.

    moffat is great at character but awful at story, or at least story arch payoffs. Truthfully I find his shows only really enjoyable on the first viewing.

  • Rebecca Pahle

    Because that wouldn’t be ~dramatic~ enough for Moffat. Everything has to be overblown and epic to the nth degree.

  • electrasteph

    Even though I wished for a rather simpler ending for the Ponds, I was about to point out something similar regarding technology and Dr. Who plot lines. Sometimes we just have to suspend our disbelief and overlook plot holes for science-y stuff that’s intended to be fantastical.

    It’s interesting that we have more people picking apart plot and story device online than any other time in the history of television, while simultaneously we have many many programs to choose from that are very well-crafted compared to years past. Not that we should stop deconstructing every show, or that writers have a right to complain when we do, but it is important to say thanks to the television gods once in a while.

  • Lady Viridis

    Honestly, I thought the ending of, hm, was it S6E10? The one with the hotel, was a perfectly fine ending for Amy and Rory. The Doctor himself was like “I love you both, but if you stay with me, only terrible things will happen and you will probably die horribly. Here, I have set you up for life, please go have a long and happy one, I will stop by sometimes to visit.” That was perfectly satisfying! It was implied that Amy and Rory could still go on adventures with the Doctor without keeping them as the main companions.

  • Jill Baker Oliver

    So, I guess I’m one of the few that figured out that’s what the problem was when it was mentioned in the episode? What with the giant purposely done paradox and all. Technically, he could run into them in China or something as long as he didn’t try to rescue them back to his wonky time ball. But their story is done. They got to live a long and happy life together. Amy didn’t deserve it? She got to actually spend one of her lifetimes with the man she loved and I’m sure she didn’t let anything stand in her way of anything she wanted. Let the Ponds go. Embrace souffle girl.

  • Jason Atkins

    Every companion since Donna has a “mad crush” on the Doctor? You mean, all two of them?

    Amy, the girl who constantly bossed the Doctor around, wasn’t afraid to pull him up on stuff if she needed to, chose Rory over the Doctor repeatedly, and then became his mother in law?

    Or do you mean Clara/Oswin, who we’ve already seen two polar opposite versions of, and neither of which are the *actual* companion we’re going to see when the shows come back, making any conclusions drawn from that relatively baseless?

    Or maybe you’re referring to River Song, who yes, did become a little obsessed with the Doctor… but only because a cult of crazy people brainwashed her in order to kill him. She also constantly outsmarted him, is better at doing most things than the Doctor is, and seems to take very little crap from him. We’ve still seen very little of the Doctor and River interacting when they’re on the same page (bear in mind that most previous appearances she’s known more than the Doctor, and has been holding out on him), so I don’t think we’ve quite got enough evidence to conclude anything there yet either.

    Sorry, I think you’re being a bit too quick-draw on the anti-feminist / sexist card there.

  • OdinsEye

    Exactly, how boring would that be?
    I still miss Donna… :(

  • OdinsEye

    Because the Ponds weren’t that boring, and they clearly couldn’t give up the Doctor. The Girl who waited and her Roman Centurion, were all about drama, and couldn’t just retire.

  • Louis Gonzales

    but what if he accidentally runs into them in the future/past?

  • cupofkona

    I agree with “packetdancer” . I guess I’m just glad Gatiss is taking charge of writing the first episode of Sherlock s3…

  • Anonymous

    Ok, at the risk of having my throat jumped down because Moffat is Serious Business… I read that quote as being more derogatory of the network than the fans.

    He gives the explanation as the ‘fan answer’, that includes you guys, not just the oldwho fans. The BBC does not finance programmes based on the viewership of diehard fans, because they are a minority. BBC One would have a problem with inserting detailed explanations of events for the sake of the invested fanbase, who are familiar with the workings of and contradictions in the Whoniverse, at the risk of casual viewers being turned off by technobabble and who will accept ‘he saw a grave, he cant see them again’ and not think too hard about it.
    I am a diehard fan of the NewWho. I didn’t like the episode, or where River Song and Amy went. I have some Moffat issues, but that doesn’t mean that everything he says is an insult.

  • Meep Meep

    Many of the comments posted here have a clear subtext of ‘waaah bring back David Tennant and Rose Tyler – the Doctor’s tru luv 4ever’.

  • Elias Algorithm

    Killing off characters is just laziness, plain and simple.

  • Corbomite

    Amy couldn’t remember the Daleks because of the cracks had erased them from memory.

  • Corbomite

    Nice smice, is was terrible writing. There are two right ways to do something like, 1) write a something character-based, make them want to leave; or 2)write something plot-based *that makes sense and follows the established rules of the world.*

  • James Alexander

    I have to strongly disagree with this. The Doctor and the Ponds were way more attached to each other than other companions. It’s hard for me to believe they’d just cut the Doctor off full stop (Would Ron and Hermione just leave Harry Potter?Would Xander and Willow just leave Buffy to fend for herself?). And with the cracks and time/Melody Pond kidnapping stories over the show made it clear that the Ponds were no longer traveling with the Doctor full time anyway. He really was just coming to visit, while occasionally recruiting them for an adventure.

  • James Alexander

    As I recall, the Doctor couldn’t return the Tardis to New York PERIOD, because the paradox Rory created by killing himself messed up the timey-wimey stuff there, which was a separate problem from not being able to go to 1938 New York because of the Angel’s feeding had screwed up the timey-wimey stuff of that specific year. And finally, the Doctor cannot go back and rescue the Ponds because he’s seen their fate in the form of those tombstones, changing it would further damage the timey-wimey stuff they already damaged erasing the Weeping Angel farm from history.

  • James Alexander

    The relationship between the Doctor, River and the Ponds had evolved in such a way that it would probably be harder to believably have them quit. I made the comparison earlier that it would be like Xander and Willow deciding that they’d suddenly outgrown Buffy, or Ron and Hermione calling it quits with Harry Potter. (Series 7 stresses how BFF and co-dependent they’ve become) Dramatically, they needed the forced separation.

  • James Alexander

    A lot of people complain about Moffat-era Doctor Who being “too complex” but compared to many shows of it’s type, it’s serialization is pretty light.

    Have these guys seen anything produced by JJ Abrams?

  • James Alexander

    They waved to themselves in 2015. But “Angels Take Manhattan” is probably further in the future than that as the Ponds wedding was in 2010, and a lot of the dialogue suggested that several years passed during the first half of series 7. They could have easily gone waved at themselves during one of the long gaps between Doctor visits.

  • James Alexander

    That scene would have worked fine as a web episode like “Pond Life.” But it had no place in the show itself, the Doctor reading Amy’s goodbye note was closure enough. He’ll never see her again, but at least he knows she’s all right, the end.

  • James Alexander

    Exactly. The big conflict of series 7 was that the Doctor wasn’t visiting the Ponds so much anymore. He wanted them to be safe. But it’s also clear that if he just up and left everyone would be sad about it (also they are his In-Laws, was he going to stop seeing his wife too?). And ultimately, they are killed on a picnic, by an evil Bethesda Terrance, something that could have easily happened to anyone visiting Central Park in a non-companion fashion. You can’t even say they died because he put them in the line of fire.

  • Deggsy

    Jill, thank you for this! I was beginning to think that I was the only person in the world who saw Emperor Moffat’s New Clothes. When he writes for others, he’s capable of producing amazing, memorable stories. But since taking over, his flaws have been shining brightly. He writes whole seasons of the show as if it’s a novel, with story arcs that require you TO PAY ATTENTION TO EVERY LITTLE DETAIL THROUGHOUT EVERY EPISODE BECAUSE DAMMIT, HE’SA GENIUS! HAVEN’T YOU HEARD HIS FANS SAY SO? And yet so much of his dialogue between characters is interchangeable, and for that matter so are his female characters (even the non-human females), all sassy and feisty and independent and capable of dishing out the banter but still be girly girls (was Amy really a *model* at one point? How liberating!). And when asked to explain why a story ends as it does, he gets exasperated that you don’t just accept the cleverness of what he’s written.

  • Richard Grant

    Really, more attatched than Sarah Jane and the Fourth Doctor? The Fifth Doctor with Nyssa and Tegan (who were with him for almost his entire life-time), The Second Doctor and Jamie? The Tenth and Rose? Each show-runner always wants to make their companion the one that means more to The Doctor than any other (look at how special Rose was in the RTD era and how long Ten mopped around when he couldn’t see her again!) Amy meant so much to Eleven because, according to the in-universe logic, she was the first face he saw as Eleven and it is why he built such a strong connection to her (and by extension Rory)…The problem was they didn’t know if Karen and Arthur would be coming back at the end of series 6 so they wrote an ending to their story then (only to have to restart it slightly in series 7, which is when the issue of them never wanting to leave The Doctor came up.)

  • Corbomite

    Then they should do it in a way that makes sense in the context of the show’s world. Thats not a silly standard.

  • Adanedhel

    What did Moffat do to Evelyn Smythe?

  • Adanedhel

    Sorry misread the ‘start of the reboot’ part

  • Corbomite

    I think you can take solace in the fact on Sherlock he’s at least bound by the laws of physics. But during his tenure on Doctor Who his mode has been to build to huge epic moments, and then sidestep them with a new idea and totally different idea that leaves the people who were invested in the set-up scratching their heads.

  • Hannele Kormano

    The surgery metaphor would be the perfect way to explain that on BBC One! Give your viewers a little credit, Moffat.

  • getlouder

    That plot hole didn’t bother me as so much as how the hell did River get her manuscript/book back to Amy for publication… but the Doctor couldn’t??

  • Robin Burks

    He should have just answered “Because it’s wibbly wobbly timey wimey.” I think that’s a better explanation.

  • Kaity Perry

    I honestly don’t think this is that rude. I also don’t think there was that much of a plot hole. People try to tear it apart. Also, bringing them back would be just as annoying as Rose and all her little come backs. It’s the end of a chapter.

  • Tamara Brooks

    Rose. Blech.

  • James Alexander

    I haven’t seen a lot of the classic series. But when I compare the Ponds to other companions. It feels like they are random people he thought were cool enough to fight aliens with for a year or so, while he River and the Ponds developed this entire co-dependent family dynamic. Rose helped the Doctor fight Daleks, but the threats in the 11th Doctor era are actually connected to the Ponds it’s different (it’ll also be different with Clara, because she’s apparently just as “special” as the Doctor, she won’t spend a whole season confused and in awe of things like Rose/Amy).

    Also, years and years pass during the first half of series 7. The Doctor was treating them like quasi ex companions anyway. We just didn’t see his solo adventures or the times he picked other people up. Basically, it comes down to if you think the show needed the tragic exit. I thought it was a damn effective tragic exit for two characters I really liked.

    Moffat’s audience contempt is an asset. The least effective thing in drama is always playing it safe. I mean, Skyfall could have ended with M safely retiring, it wouldn’t have been as effective.

  • James Alexander

    Being trapped in a time paradox doesn’t make sense in the show’s world? This is the same show that trapped Rose Tyler in an alternate universe twice and made Donna an amnesiac Time Lord.

  • Anonymous

    Given that she was a Time Lady and thus is either dead or time-locked on Gallifrey (if she fought in the Time War), I think he gets a pass on that particular one.

    That said, Sarah Jane quite rightly called him on the whole ‘you move on and never come back, and leave us to try to live in the aftermath’ during School Reunion, and Doc actually did address the matter (sort of).

  • Corbomite

    Telling a scifi or fantasy story doesn’t mean there are no rules, it means there are different rules. Thats a contract that has to made between author and audience or else there are no stakes, and therefore no drama. Now, if you think the Ponds’ departure was comprable to those other examples I can’t prove otherwise, but it seems to me, and a large segment of hardcore fans, and Jill’s 7 & 10 year-old nieces, that those other example kept to the contract, and the Ponds’ departure did not.

    It occurs to me now that Moffat may be a person who does not see a distinction between what he did and those other examples either, which would explain much of what annoys people about his tenure.

  • James Alexander

    Also, also the Doctor still visited Sarah Jane every now and again for about 35 years after she left him.

  • Anonymous

    Oh good grief. ‘Jerk’? ‘Attitude’? ‘Rude’? Jill, you read a lot into this, and I really don’t think you’ve interpreted Moffat’s words correctly, or at least the way in which it was said. To be fair, that can happen in print, and I hope you’d think differently if you actually *heard* what he said.

  • Anonymous

    You forgot Eight and Charley in your list of Doctor/companion pairings. #audiodramafan

  • Kateedelstein

    There’s a big difference between being realistic (which nobody asks of Doctor Who) and being logical, respect the rules you made for yourself, and respect the fans’ intelligence to the point when after every episode I shouldn’t be forced to bump my head against a wall to make SOME sense out of the plot only to accept that it makes none.

  • Kateedelstein

    lol I love your attitude. And I completely agree

  • Kateedelstein

    JESUS I WANT TO MARRY THIS COMMENT. It’s all I’ve ever said about Moffat, thinking I was alone in a world of Moffat lovers. It appears that if you dare to criticize an episode, they jump at your throat, call you a basher, that you don’t understand the full impact of his genius. I especially agree with the interchangeability of dialogues and female characters.

  • Anonymous

    Seconded. I got more out of that scene then I did out of most of the episode.

  • Deggsy

    Thanks, glad someone else sees what I mean :-)

  • Michelle Mista

    Logic and Doctor Who. I thought one of the things that we agree to as Whovians is to throw it out the window.

  • Anonymous

    I haven’t really liked Doctor Who since the first series with Matt Smith, it’s just gotten too un Doctor-Who like for me.

  • Anonymous

    “Making every companion since Donna a cute 20something with a mad crush on the Doctor.”
    Kazran Sardick and Madge Arwell are not “cute 20somethings”, and don’t crush on the Doctor – and neither do Rory Williams-Pond and Craig Owens. The younger girls might crush on him, but, come on, Matt Smith is HOT. I don’t know a single woman who doesn’t think so. It’s more playing on Matt’s obvious good looks – and, in Moffat’s case, making fun of him for it – than objectifying women.

    Also, sex sells, and so it can be used as a way to appeal to a wider audience, too. It’s not necessarily Moffat so much as marketing departments love to remind show-runners of this fact. Plus, most screen-writing classes teach their students this rather sexist and racist lesson: white, straight males leads sell, and no one wants to see two women talking to each other about something other than a man. So, while you might blame Moffat, it’s likely that he’s not necessarily the one to blame.

  • Anonymous

    Susan was left in the 22nd century on Earth. Whether she escapes the events of the Time War or not depends entirely on whether you accept the extended universe (Big Finish Productions, Eighth Doctor Adventures, etc.), or not.

  • Anonymous

    Well, given my “what about Eight/Charley?” remark earlier up in the thread about companions Doc cared deeply for, I think you can draw conclusions about my opinion on the Big Finish audio adventures. ;)

    That said…

    Given that in the new series Doc speaks repeatedly of having had a family in the past tense (“My entire planet died. My whole family.”) and says he would know if other Time Lords survived, one has to presume that he believes *something* happened to Susan. Whether she is dead (be it with David on 22nd century Earth, or in the Time War), is trapped in the Gallifreyan time-lock, or used a Chameleon Arch a’la the Master (and so Doc only *thinks* she is dead/gone)… Doc still probably does not believe she’s somewhere he *could* visit her.

    If you go by some of the books, Susan leaves 22nd century Earth after David’s death. If you go by the comics, Ten admits that he hasn’t explicitly gone looking into Susan’s fate, and there is some hint that is because he’s afraid he would find final confirmation she’s dead.

    (Trying to reconcile all the branches of Whovian continuity is proooooobably a recipe for some variety of madness.) :)

  • Anonymous

    It’s a children’s television show.

    Don’t like it? Write your own show.

  • Jill Pantozzi

    This is a geek website that often discusses fan opinion.

    Don’t like it? Write your own article.

  • Anonymous

    I did. See above.

  • Kristen McHugh

    That’s not actually an opinion, so much as a thinly-veiled, “STFU.” It’s not a, “Children’s,” show, btw. It is a family show, that now has 3 generations of adult viewers. They are working on a real-world sonic screwdriver, as well. So it’s not unreasonable to say that questioning the science and physics is a common thing. I recognize that Moffat may have wanted to preserve a certain amount of the dramatic heft on this one, and not explaining it *in* the episode would have been fine, as long as there is an explanation at some point. Whether it’s River or talking to Clara/Oswin/??? it’s not that hard to do. I’m still hoping we will see that on air when the show returns. Moffat is fantastic talking about the show in BTS footage, but he’s rubbish at answering questions that require him to articulate things that make sense to him internally. He often handwaves or responds brusquely because he doesn’t get why the question’s being asked. Understandable, but counterproductive in interviews. Fan responses are the lifeblood of a show/film/book, so the, “Don’t like it, write your own show,” is basically saying that fans are worthless except for slavishly giving up time and money. Spare me.

  • InterGALactic©

    So, you don’t like how she didn’t like something. She wrote about it, so you wrote about how you didn’t like how she didn’t like something.

    Perhaps you should return to children’s shows. Or, by all means, continue with ironic postings to everyone’s amusement.

  • Anonymous

    Encouraging someone else to write is telling them to STFU?

    Who knew?

    To paraphrase Mr. Gaiman, “Steven Moffat is not your bastard.”

  • Robert Ivey

    Actually leaving a loophole you can drive a semi through indicates its possible to bring the Ponds back for episodes as needed not unlike Rose.

  • Anonymous

    And Jill is yours?

  • Samuel Loy

    I actually am not surprised by this explanation, mainly because this is the same answer I gave a friend when he asked “Why couldn’t they go to another city?” It’s clear that the entire point of the episode was that “foreknowledge is a dangerous thing.” and I know that Time physics doesn’t always work the same way in every scenario, and some Time is in flux and some isn’t…

    Do I wish that the ponds ending would have been more straightforward… I think the graveyard scene was just added to appease fans who would want a proper in your face ‘goodbye’ scene (unlike the first Rose ending.) But do I think he really needed to explain this? No.

  • Samuel Loy

    I think the problem lies with the closeness of the doctor to his companions. Rose was the first after he regenerated, and she risked all for him and he fell in love. Would he really just leave her back on earth and say “hear is your life.” Now Martha, he never cared for, they became close friends but not serious. She can leave the TARDIS behind just fine… Amy wasn’t just his companion, she became like a daughter, then a best friend. She became close, probably closer than rose did, then she was family… the ‘ending’ at s6 was just as you said he left them, and they had occasional visits, but the occasional became more frequent as he tried to hold on to them

  • Anonymous

    You are reading comprehension’s.

  • Tim Lieder

    Wow. That’s probably the snottiest article I’ve seen since fans were bitching about Battlestar Galactica having blonde human Cylons.

  • Kayla Anderson

    The thing that bothers me, is he writes SO many plot-holes and by now it feels like he just doesn’t care. I was re-watching “The Pandorica Opens” and it dawned on me, if Rory technically never existed and became a centuarian… How was River alive? And yes, I know we didn’t know about her at that moment, but it’s still a plausible argument. Moffat seems to write these episodes without really taking the time to think about the previous history of Doctor Who. And don’t get me wrong, I love the companions and the stories, but he’s taken it upon himself to write and make the show what he wants it to be rather than what it is with all these characters and overarching stories.

  • Paul Morris

    I don’t necessarily think we need answers. A damn good story would help!

  • Wendy Mays

    “Bringing back things just gives you sequel-itis.” – Really? Because lately, it seems that’s all they do. At least in the enemies aspect of it. ‘Blink’ was a FANTASTIC episode, but I think bringing back the Weeping Angels lessened the effect they had on me a little. It was as if they had brought back The Gentlemen on Buffy or something. It wasn’t as cool the second/third/howmanytimesnow time. Maybe that’s just me, though. Love the Daleks, love Cybermen, but let’s get some new baddies in there too. More episodic baddies instead of archs.

  • Anonymous

    I for one think the show has improved greatly under Moffat. I suspect a lot of people complaining about him just don’t like new fans making their love of Who a little less special. The Davies era was wonderful as well but it was time for a change and the turn Moffat took was refreshing (hopefully when he leaves we will have an equally refreshing change).

  • PadLock

    Goodness, everyone is acting like unexplained plot holes are somehow an new entity in Doctor Who. There have been plot holes, deus-ex machina and blatant “I don’t care how this works” moments from ALL of Who’s lead writers, ESPECIALLY RTD! (The End of Time, anyone?). The truth is, Moffat wrote some of the best episodes new who has seen, and we expect to much of him. He has far more brilliant scripts than poor ones (not something that can be said for all Who’s lead writers) and he generally does a good job at providing answers for mysteries (again, something RTD tended to neglect, life potion anyone?). Also, this ‘Moffat is sexist’ thing is rubbish, look at Kate Lethbridge-Stewart, she is in charge of a massive government organisation, she hugely reformed UNIT, she is in a position of extreme power and no fuss is made about it. There’s no ‘look, a woman in power’, just a strong character. Honestly, everyone looks upon Moffat so harshly and looks back at the other show runners as being so perfect. Moffat is doing better than a lot of them did.

  • Craig Forshaw

    The TARDIS won’t go near them. It actively avoids paradoxes that bad – hence why he had such a hard time getting there. Also, he knows where they are: Manhattan.

    (That said, I still think they’ll be back eventually.)

  • Anonymous

    I’m not one to always defend Moffat, but here he can be cut some slack. In a very-very-long-running show about a universe filled with time machines and every form of techno-wizardry you can think of, it’s just about IMPOSSIBLE to “kill off” anyone, or otherwise cut them out of the story. Consider how Donna came back for a brief stint.

    In general, if the characters say “Okay, this bit of timey wimey means that we can’t meet again,” then I accept that completely (with the caveat that of course a future writer could bring ‘em back), because there can’t really be a totally satisfactory explanation. In Who-like fictional universes, there’s always the infinity-plus-one key to unlock an infinity lock.

  • Jonida Sanço

    I am more concerned about other plot holes. In the Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe Amy says it’s been two years that they hadn’t seen the doctor. Does that mean that he had dropped Amy and Rory off after God Complex in 2009? Why in 2009? And after that in the Power of Three we see that Amy and Rory meet the doctor from July 2012 to July 2013 several times before the whole Angels take Manhattan, so it must have been December 2011 where he goes for Christmas after all. But why would he drop the Ponds in 2009, instead of their own time? Yes, they wouldn’t meet with their younger counterparts who were in Leadworth in 2008 when first meeting the doctor, and in June 2010 on their wedding when Amy first leaves, and Rory also leaves, after the reboot, after the wedding. They had to stay quiet and not meet their parents, until their younger counterparts left to kill Hitler in August 2011.

  • Anonymous

    As far as Rory, when they rebooted the universe, everything BESIDES The Doctor who had been lost to the cracks in time was restored. That’s why Amy’s parents were at the wedding, when no one even remembered that she’d HAD parents.

    The bigger plot hole was, how was Rory (who’d been lost to the cracks) even there to BECOME a centurion??

  • Robbie Moraes

    British TV useually have jerks who write them, and Moffat is among them.

  • Wolverine

    But Captain Jack lived through that time period in the past, so he must come across them some day… that will prove interesting.

  • Wolverine

    But Captain Jack lived through that time period in the past, so he must come across them some day… that will prove interesting.

  • Wolverine

    I actually think he moved on from the Ponds. He could get to them in one way or another, or with Captain Jack’s help. He could even ask Captain Jack (before he ended up in the past) to take of them once he ends up in the past.

  • Wolverine

    I actually think he moved on from the Ponds. He could get to them in one way or another, or with Captain Jack’s help. He could even ask Captain Jack (before he ended up in the past) to take of them once he ends up in the past.

  • Fivish

    Only Moffat thinks his plots are ‘clever’. They are not ‘clever’ they are a deceit. We want good stories with a beginning middle and end. We don’t want to have to carry information around for years. We don’t even know which information is necessary to the ultimate plot should it ever come. Although Davies was obsessed with gayness he wrote much better stories.

  • Anonymous

    The ending of the Ponds’ arc bugged me more than anything I’ve seen in Dr. Who. Not just because of the inconsistency, but because it didn’t really conclude their arc.
    To me, at any rate, their arc in their last season was about choosing between an ordinary life or life with the Doctor. Or more specifically, about their inability to choose. In the end, they just died. They didn’t die because they chose the Doctor, or didn’t chose the Doctor. They just died. It was completely unrelated to their arc.
    My personal thoughts on how I would end it is to have the Doctor realize what their inability to choose is costing them, wrestle with it for a while, and eventually make the sacrifice himself and chose for them, by fixing Amy’s reproductive organs.
    If she gets pregnant again, then they pretty much HAVE to settle down. They failed River, but this gives them the chance to do it right. They can go back to England and live a normal, happy life.
    It could also be fodder for later River episodes, if one was so inclined.

  • Voila

    Well said!

  • Voila

    How the hell is he being rude? You don’t have to write a blog post just to diss someone, twisting the words they said, in your head. Put that in your blog. Or better still, stop inflicting your opinions on the world.