Sunday, June 24, 2007


I won't be announcing the winners of the 2007 Toobits Awards until the end of the year, but I can't see there being any more competition for Best Episode of the Year now that "Blink" of 'Doctor Who' has aired. Its closest competitor was "Flashes Before Your Eyes" from 'Lost', but even that has to take a back seat to this stand-alone story about Sally Sparrow with very little of the Doctor and Martha.

If we were just considering 'Doctor Who', I will admit that I've yet to see "Utopia" or "The Sound of Drums", the first two parts of the finale trilogy. ("The Last Of The Time Lords" will be the last episode for the season.) But based on what little I've read so far on those episodes, people loved them... but with qualifications. (For instance, 'Utopia' was generally seen as being half an hour of typical RTD tripe/shite and fifteen minutes of brilliance.)

"Blink" was a delight throughout.

So let's take a look at a few things from the episode....

You have to feel kind of sorry for Larry Nightingale. Not just because he lost his sister to the past, but because of his name! Lawrence Nightingale. If he wasn't always getting beaten up in the schoolyard, he must have been mercilessly teased with the nickname of "Florence".

Almost everybody who wrote about the episode would probably agree with me that Carey Mulligan was wonderful as the lead character Sally Sparrow. So far as I know, the last time American audiences saw her was in the 2005 adaptation of Dickens' "Bleak House" in which she portrayed Ada Clare.

There were also a lot of suggestions urging that Sally Sparrow and Lawrence Nightingale be spun off with their own series (with their built-in "ITV name" of 'Sparrow & Nightingale'), and to that chorus I'm adding my two bits. As a team they could veer off from the 'Doctor Who' mythos and be more in keeping with storylines that combine 'Veronica Mars' and 'Buffy The Vampire Slayer'. And plenty of past characters from 'Doctor Who' could make guest appearances and fit in with that motif.

My hat's off to Hettie MacDonald, who directed this episode. She was amazing in her ability to create not only suspense but outright shock and fear from the angles she filmed the Weeping Angels. You have to admire the talent to raise goosebumps just by showing unmoving statues.

Stephen Moffatt's creation of the Weeping Angels ranks up there with some of the most original monsters to not only show up in 'Doctor Who' but in Sci-Fi TV anywhere.

Here's how they're described in the TARDIS wiki:

The Weeping Angels were a species of winged humanoids from the early universe, so called of their weeping appearance to prevent trapping themselves in stone form for eternity

The Weeping Angels were winged humanoids with sharp teeth who evolved numerous unique survival mechanisms thoughout their time, including the ability to move creatures back through time with a touch, allowing them to consume the potential energy from the time the victims could have had alive had the Angels not transported the victims back in time.

They also had a unique and nearly-perfect defence mechanism, quantum locking, which caused them to turn into stone when being observed. When not being observed, they could move incredibly fast to catch their victims. However, this meant that they had to cover their eyes when in their stony form, otherwise if they saw each other they would be trapped forever.

To me, it sounds like the Weeping Angels were specially evolved to the point of extinction, much like the same could be said for koalas and pandas; as it was for sabre-toothed tigers. And to have been that developed and still be one of the oldest species in the TV Universe, I'm thinking that they are a race of the Old Ones who survived the destruction of some other universe and somehow passed through a vortex during the "Big Bang" into the creation of the new universe. (Not OUR universe, mind you! Don't want to bleep off the creationists!)

It would seem that each Weeping Angel had the ability to send someone back in time a set number of years. Not to any particular year, but back by a certain amount. One of the Weeping Angels was responsible for sending Billy Shipton, Martha Jones, and the Doctor back to 1969, but it was one of the other Angels who sent Cathy Nightingale back to Hull in 1920.

Samantha Carter:
"The Stargate did send us back to 1969."
Jack O'Neil:
"Good year."
'Stargate SG-1'

1969 has some major temporal wormhole issues during that year. The starship Enterprise was temporarily stranded there one week in July, before the launch of the rocket that would be involved in the first moon landing (as seen on 'Star Trek'). The 'Stargate SG-1' team accidentally ended up there a few weeks before the Woodstock music festival in upstate New York.

I'm not sure if Woodstock has the same temporal allure as do the assassinations of Lincoln and Kennedy, and the sinking of the Titanic, but it does seem to draw its share of time travelers. Not that he traveled in Time to get there, but a member of the Q Continuum who called himself "Quinn" was present at Woodstock and changed history by providing a ride to Maury Ginsburg, whose van broke down. Just before the concert started, Maury noticed that a cable was loose which could have caused serious problems with the sound system. He was able to get it fixed just in time so that Sweetwater could perform as scheduled. And all thanks to Quinn. ('Star Trek: Voyager' and "Sweetwater")

Moffatt is an evil genius when it comes to teasing televisiologists. When Sally finally met up with the Doctor and Martha in order to bring the events full circle, they were on their way to prevent the "red hatching" of some kind of alien lizard's clutch. Could they have been the Silurians? Sea Devils? Maybe even the Gorn? Whatever the species, it was happening in the heart of London, so it put me in mind of a Quatermass adventure. Now, wouldn't that make for a loverly crossover?

Earlier this week I posted my ideas for the DVD collection of Sally's. But I have one last question on that:

Was there any significance in the name of the previous owner of the DVD store, "Banto"?

I hope the Doctor had some kind of endgame in mind for those four Weeping Angels. Because even though they had quantum-locked themselves into a trap, somebody could still get into that house - say, some punk thugs - and knock a couple of the statues over, thus breaking the link. Perhaps he used that temporal GPS device I suggested in an earlier post to determine how long it would be safe to leave them in that house.

But if they are permanently disabled, were they the last of their breed? Could there be other Weeping Angels in the galaxy? Here's hoping there are, because they are some of the most exciting and interesting monsters ever seen on 'Doctor Who'!

Please, sirs, may we have some more?

Toby OB


This episode, along with the previous two-parter ("Human Nature"/"Family Of Blood"), serve as great examples as to why the 'Doctor Who' of the printed word should not be considered as part of the same canon as the televised adventures. In this case, Stephen Moffatt adapted his own story from a 'Doctor Who' annual. However, in that version, Sally Sparrow was only twelve years old. Thankfully her age was doubled so that we could enjoy the performance of Carey Mulligan in the role.

No way to reconcile the discrepancy, so it's better to keep them separate in their own universes and never the Twain shall meet... unless the Doctor actually does meet Twain.

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