Scene Breakdown of Doctor Who

Don’t forget from last week’s post that I’m taking an in-depth look at the Doctor Who episode, The Angels Take Manhattan. Please note that this is only one interpretation. It’s not meant to be seen of as completely, without fail, true. Also, you’ll notice that some events play many roles when it comes to the 5 commandments.

Backstory: the mini-story that sets up the dramatic irony used later on.

Inciting Incident: Mr. Grayle hires Mr. Garner at $25 a day to investigate the moving statues (we already know these to be Weeping Angels)

Complication: Mr. Garner doesn’t believe Mr. Grayle, but the pay is good so he takes the job and goes to the Winter Quay (Turning Point: he discovers that the old man in the bed is himself)

Crisis: Does he believe what’s going on? How will he escape the hotel?

Climax: Once he sees it for himself, he has no choice but to believe and he tries to run

Resolution: The banging sound following him turns out to be the Statue of Liberty and we are left to assume he was sent back in time.


  • Life to Death
  • Youth to Aged
  • Present to Past


Inciting Incident of the Global Story: The Doctor is reading a book and Rory shows up in it – meaning he’s in danger

The scene starts with The Doctor, Amy, and Rory sitting in Central Park. Amy gets mad at The Doctor for reading aloud from a book by Melody Malone. He comments on it with an enthusiastic “yowza.”

Inciting Incident: The Doctor notices something different about Amy

Complication: He makes guesses as to what that difference could be. (Turning Point: The Doctor realizes that it’s not her glasses that are all “liney” but rather her face and she asks Rory if he agrees)

Crisis: Will Rory admit that Amy is getting noticeably older or lie to her?

Climax: He accidentally admits that he’s seen the lines on her face, but covers it up

Resolution: The two kiss and make up while Rory goes to get coffee

The Doctor rips out the last page because he “hates endings.” When he goes back to reading, Rory’s name turns up in the book.


  • Safe to Danger
  • Together to Separate
  • Present to Past

This scene starts the repeating theme of The Doctor hating endings.


Complication of the Global Story: The Doctor and Amy must get to Rory, but the Tardis won’t take them. (Turning Point: River “texts” The Doctor)

Rory has been sent back in time, though he doesn’t know how he got there or when exactly he is. He’s met by River Song, his daughter, whom he discovers is Melody Malone.

Inciting Incident: The Doctor and Amy discover from the book that Rory has landed in New York on April 3, 1938

Complication: River tells Rory that the Tardis can’t land in NY because of all the time distortions and though he tries, The Doctor soon realizes she’s right. (Turning Point: The Doctor bounces off 1938)

Crisis: How can The Doctor and Amy make it to Rory without blowing a hole in NY or blowing up the planet?

Climax: River “texts” The Doctor using the Qin Dynasty plates and the word yowza as landing lights to get there safely

Resolution: Amy and the Doctor arrive to Mr. Grayle’s house – “Sorry I’m late honey, traffic was hell”

In the meantime, Rory was sent to the cellar with the babies. The Doctor has to break River’s wrist because Amy read it in the book. This proves that they can’t read ahead and raises the stakes. However, the chapter titles give them a non-threatening look at what’s to come. But, it upsets The Doctor to see “Amelia’s Farewell” written in the book. He leaves River to break her own wrist. She lies to the Doctor about it. When they discover that Rory isn’t in the cellar, River is able to tell them that he wasn’t sent back in time, but rather shifted from one location to another.


  • Present to Past
  • Separate to Together (minus Rory)
  • Danger to Safe

Landing in the graveyard comes back later. Also, this is the first time we see Rory’s name written on the headstone and, though we don’t know how it will play out, it’s significant. And, most important, the rule is established that they can’t read ahead in the book because there are certain rules they must follow: i.e. once you know something is coming, it’s set in stone. I think the camera showing Rory’s headstone solidifies the ending.


Crisis of the Global Story: Kill Rory to create the paradox and potentially save them all or let him get sent back in time to never see him again?

Based on the backstory we saw earlier, the audience knows it’s bad for Rory to go into the Winter Quay. Once again, dramatic irony.

Inciting Incident: The Doctor discovers River lied about getting her wrist out without breaking it (she did not, in fact, change the future which raises the stakes because Amy’s life with The Doctor is at risk)

Complication: They discover where Rory is and steal the car out front to go get him (Turning Point: Rory enters the room marked with his name – which we know is where he is as an old man)

Crisis: Do they attempt to run away from the angels even though the odds are stacked against them or give up and risk losing Rory?

Climax: Amy is determined to keep Rory safe – “I won’t let them take him”

Resolution: Amy and Rory attempt to escape the hotel


Inciting Incident: They can’t head downstairs because the angels are blocking the way

Complication: Amy and Rory head to the roof with River and The Doctor not far behind (Turning Point: Rory realizes that the banging sound, which we know to be the Statue of Liberty, is just that and that there is no escape)

Crisis: Can Amy let Rory sacrifice himself so that he creates a paradox and potentially saves them all, or not? Either way she risks losing him

Climax: Rory can’t get himself to jump off the roof, so he asks Amy to push him

Resolution: Amy can’t stand to see him die


  • Safe to Danger/On the run

The Doctor proves he doesn’t understand humanity when he uses Regeneration Energy to heal River’s wrist. She reminds Amy, once again, that he hates endings. Mr. Grayle gets what’s coming to him from studying and harming that angel. His front door is left open when The Doctor, Amy, and River leave and the statues come for him. The Doctor and River wonder why the angels didn’t send Rory back in time, but don’t think about it too much before jumping into action.

Normally the angels feed on the energy from displacing people back in time but in this instance they keep hold of their victims to feed off their time energy, creating a battery farm. “It’s like they’ve taken over every statue in the city.” The angels take manhattan because they’ve never had a food source like this.


Climax of the Global Story: Amy jumps off the roof with him so that he won’t die alone

Inciting Incident: Amy can’t risk losing him unless she goes too – “If it were me, could you?” He says he could do anything and she tells him to prove it

Complication: Rory doesn’t want Amy to die with him, he tries to convince her that he’ll come back to life (Turning Point: “together or not at all” they are all in)

Crisis: Do they risk their lives to create a paradox or give up and never see each other again?

Climax:  They jump together – “Changing the future, it’s called marriage”

Resolution: The paradox starts to work


  • Life to Death

**This is both the Proof of Love scene and The Hero at the Mercy of the Villain scene. Not only does Amy prove that she’d rather die than live without Rory, but the villain outmatches the heroes at every turn. They have no where to go. Now is the time to make a choice and we see that choice being made.


Resolution of the Global Story: They wake up in a cemetery and Rory is sent back in time by a lone angel – Amy decides to go with him and says goodbye to the Doctor for the last time

Inciting Incident: Everyone wakes up in a graveyard “back where they started” in 2012

Complication: The Doctor says he can never take the Tardis back to NY because the timelines are too screwed up (Turning Point: Rory sees a grave with his name on it and gets sent back in time by a rogue angel and The Doctor says they can’t go get him)

Crisis: Does Amy risk being sent back to a different time with the slim possibility she might see Rory again only to give up her life and adventures with The Doctor? Or, does she stay with The Doctor and know she’ll never see Rory again?

Climax: River encourages her to go and she does

Resolution: Amy tells Melody to look after The Doctor as he tries to convince her that she should stay because she’ll never get to see him again. Amy says her last goodbye and writes the afterword of the book from the beginning of the story.


  • Together to Separate
  • Life to Death
  • Traveling in time to Fixed point

The Doctor takes some time to realize that River just lost her parents, but she says it’s ok. She warns him not to travel alone, but says she can’t travel with him all the time because “only one psychopath per Tardis.” She tells him she’ll have Amy publish the book and write him an Afterward. That leaves him to run back to the picnic basket from the beginning of the episode to get the torn out last page. In it, Amy tells him that her and Rory lived a good life and were happy. She, too, tells him not to travel alone. She says she loves him and asks him to go and give her past self hope that she’ll live many adventures to come.

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