After 5 enjoyable (if sometimes flawed and rushed) episodes the series ends with a stand-out classic. Steven Moffat has written another episode that ranks right up there with his best (not as high as Blink though, but then I doubt he'll ever top that).
BBC America (a separate company from our BBC across the pond) providing funding so they could really shoot in Manhattan was a plus. Actually showing the city was one of the myriad reasons why this was so much better than the last episode set in Manhattan – the execrable Daleks of Manhattan (personally I'm hoping that the paradox-forming actions of the Ponds has also erased that episode from history).
It also featured the return of River, and best of all she got to be River again! Not being tied down by a season-long story arc allowed her to really shine. Alex Kingston was fantastic, as always, getting to revel in her unconventional marriage to the Doctor and looked stunning as a classic Film Noir style Private Eye.
But let's focus on the departure of the Ponds. The Ponds got a goodbye worthy of a Doctor regeneration (in fact they got a considerably better send off than Colin Baker!), befitting such popular and awesome characters. We've known for a while they were leaving (even if you'd managed to avoid the press releases they've been foreshadowing it so heavily the last few weeks), but not known the details.
I didn't think they'd die (Adric is the only companion I can remember dying and he was very unpopular – a British version of Wesley Crusher), but Moffat has a cruel streak and isn't adverse to traumatising children so I didn't feel as secure as I usually do when a companion leaves. The moment where Rory and Amy jump is a moment I won't forget and one of the most emotional scenes Doctor Who has ever managed to pull off.
It then manages to top it by having Rory sent back in time just as you think there might be a happy ending. Amy choosing a life in the past with Rory, abandoning all her friends, family and most of all The Doctor to be with Rory is beautiful and a fitting end to one of the most realistic, best written relationships I've seen on TV for a long time.
However, the goodbye might not be as final as the actors and Moffat have made out. There's the potential of more Ponds in future (or a massive plot hole depending how you look at it) – the Doctor can't visit 1930s Manhattan but he can go there in future (maybe 10-15 years down the line) allowing the actors to return, Sarah Jane style. Alternatively he could travel to another city and wire them the money to jump on a Greyhound bus, but let's not dwell on that.
It is going to be a long wait until Christmas, but I'm sure I saw Richard E Grant in the mini trailer. The big question is: will he be playing the alternative universe Ninth Doctor from the 40th anniversary online episode Scream of Shalka? No, no he won't. However, I'm sure he'll be fascinating to watch anyway. Almost as fascinating as the memory that 10 years ago the BBC thought the only place people would bother watching Doctor Who was online!