"I hate endings," announced the Doctor as he sat reading a book with his friends Rory and Amy Pond, in idyllic Central Park, New York, the city of a million stories.
But sadly that was what he and we got in this final adventure for the Ponds, with appropriate warning by Steven Moffat that their departure would be in a blaze of glory.
From the outset, we knew where we'd be headed, off to 1938 and classic Manhattan noir - the stomping ground of Philip Marlowe types, one of whom had already been seduced by the city's spookiest residents, the Weeping Angels.
Once again, it was Rory who headed first into enemy territory, with Amy left furiously searching for him, in the rainy streets, and on the pages of a book, on which River Song mysteriously appeared to bring her usual frisson to proceedings.
There was time for a little bit more romance between the Doctor and his sweetheart, including him using "precious regeneration energy" to heal her hurt wrist. This scene was reminiscent of big screen romances like Highlander, with one looking frailty in the face, while her loved one remained ageless. His tender administrations annoyed River Song (not really) - "Nothing is gained by you being a sentimental idiot," she told him - a narrative warning for what was to follow...
The appearance of River Song (Alex Kingston) always adds an extra frisson to the Doctor's adventures
Because Rory and Amy didn't have the age-difference problem, but a much grander challenge, as Amy found Rory had been 'had' - twice - by the ruthless Angel antagonists, with the only way out - and down - off the ledge of a Manhattan skyscraper. And everything suddenly got epic on a Titanic scale.
Rory asked Amy to push him off to create the paradox and escape the blasted Angels. Amy couldn't do it, but she could jump with him... and it looked like they'd managed it - "changing the future, it's called marriage" - until one sneaky Angel got Rory again, the Doctor begged Amy to head for safety in the Tardis, and Amy had to choose between being a wife and being a Companion. Romance won out, Amy blinked, and the Doctor was left licking his wounds, with only a stoic River Song for company. And that was that, the Ponds were no more.
Steven Moffat did what he does best, and brought everything full circle to a satisfying whole, as Amy Pond left the lonely Doctor a note reminding him to look after the little girl we met all that time ago - the one who sat on her suitcase, dreaming about a strange man who likes fish-fingers and custard, and waiting for her time-travelling adventures to befall her.
The Doctor was left alone once more... hopefully not for long
"This is the story of Amelia Pond, and this is how it ends," she told him, and us too, and it was a noble departure, with Mr Moffat's soft spot for the titian-haired gentle-faced warrior clearly apparent.
She left behind one final instruction for her Time Lord friend - "don't be alone" - and for once, at least, we know the Doctor's going to do what Amy Pond tells him.
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