Annnnnnd right off the bat we’ll put this behind a big ol’ spoiler tag for those who are behind on Season 7 of ‘Doctor Who’…
Well, okay, my first question is “How does the Angel Statue of Liberty work, exactly?” I mean, the whole point of the Weeping Angels is that they’re scenery, and nobody pays enough attention to the scenery to notice, “Gee, was there a statue there yesterday?” And anyone who does pay obsessive attention to statues is bound to blink sooner or later, usually when they’re right up next to the statue trying to see whether it moves when you’re not looking, which is why the Angels have such a rich diet.
But the Statue of Liberty is not, pretty much by design, inconspicuous. Even if there were periods of time when absolutely nobody was observing the statue and it could tromp off its pedestal, people driving through Manhattan late at night would not simply drive past it, thinking “Huh. Wonder when they installed that. Ah, well…that’s New York for ya. They’re always putting something new up.” It would, to say the least, draw attention. That seems somewhat out of keeping with the aesthetic of the Weeping Angels. (That said, I probably would have given into the temptation too. When you’re doing a story about Weeping Angels set in Manhattan, how the fuck do you not make the Statue of Liberty into a giant Weeping Angel?)
My second question would be, “How do they keep their prisoners alive for fifty or sixty years without ever letting them leave the hotel room?” I ask this question only so that I can answer it by depicting the hotel kitchen, entirely staffed by Weeping Angels who pay very close attention only to their own work. When you walk into the room, you see Weeping Angels with knives, Weeping Angels holding pots of boiling water, and one very unfortunate Weeping Angel who was in the midst of tossing pizza dough when you came in.
But all that said, this is not my real question. My real question, the question that’s been haunting me since I watched the episode, is “What happened to the Weeping Angel that ‘killed’ Amy and Rory?”
My lovely and brilliant wife says, “Probably nothing,” and part of me agrees with her. This is, after all, the Doctor. He is an alien. He is not given to the same kind of emotionality that human beings are, even though he can be emotional. Looking at the overall almost-fifty year history of the series, he is not generally given to seek revenge. He might destroy you, your army, your planet, or even your species, but almost never as an act of anger. (We may discuss whether this makes him better or worse, of course, which is one reason why the character continues to fascinate me.)
But on the other hand, just about all the examples we do see come out of the post-Time War Doctor. Let’s face it, the Doctor in the classic series was defined by his relationship to Gallifrey. He had a stable, comfortable, staid and boring homeworld he could return to when ever he felt like it. His exile was by choice, his lack of possessions came from being able to go anywhere and have anything anytime he wanted, and he never had material needs because they were all met by his ship. The Doctor, prior to the Time War, had a life that was rarely touched by tragedy. It’s easy for a person like that to be noble.
The new series Doctor is defined by tragedy, and it shows. He’s tempted by ultimate power in a way his predecessors weren’t (“School Reunion”.) He’s prone to anger and revenge against a defeated opponent in a way his predecessors weren’t (“Human Nature/The Family of Blood”.) Even when he’s dealing with an enemy that he feels the need to destroy for the “right” reasons, like Solomon in “Dinosaurs on a Spaceship”, he’s much more personal about it than we’re used to. The Seventh Doctor would have done something clever with the teleporters so that Solomon didn’t even know what kind of danger he was in until the missiles hit…but after the Time War, the Doctor needs to see the knife going in. He’s become much angrier. He’s just lost his two best friends forever, even though he knows they’ll be okay (actually, there are strong structural parallels between this and ‘The Dark Knight Rises’, from the way that the audience knows going in that this is a “final story”, to the false climax/larger false climax/anticlimactic resolution/revelation that the bleak ending is a sham.) But he knows he’ll never be able to see them again. And there’s one extremely weakened Weeping Angel who did it standing right in front of him. And from this episode, we know they can be hurt. That scares me. The Doctor can be a scary person because unlike just about everyone else in fiction, you really don’t know what he’s capable of doing if pushed far enough. “Good men don’t need rules. Now is not the time to find out why I have so many.”
But while I was writing this, a third possibility occurred to me. The idea of a room somewhere in the TARDIS, locked and sealed and deadlock sealed again. A room with a Weeping Angel inside it, fed just enough time energy by the TARDIS to survive. Because the Doctor knows that he can see Rory and Amy one more time. He’d have to make some select preparations, arrangements to store the TARDIS as long as he needs to, and it would involve a certain amount of boredom (which is the Doctor’s one true enemy.) But he can make that Weeping Angel send him back to Rory and Amy once without crossing his own timelines. Only once. And as long as he knows where that Weeping Angel is, as long as it’s safe and fed and secured, that last page of the book is still there waiting for him. And the story hasn’t ended yet.