Episode 39 – Beware the Weeping Angel

Episodes discussed: Buffy 3×4 Beauty and Beasts  and Doctor Who 3×10 Blink

Beauty and Beasts

Written by Marti Noxon; Directed by James Whitmore Jr.

Oz is suspected when a vicious beast starts attacking the people of Sunnydale.  Discussion points include:

  • Why is beauty singular and beasts plural?
  • Men and their beastly dopplegangers
  • Oz controls his wild side
  • Pete & Debbie as a cautionary tale for Buffy & Angel
  • Angel’s rescue and feminism
  • Faith the faithless
Blink

Written by Steven Moffat; Directed by Hettie MacDonald

Photographer Sally Sparrow explores an abandoned old house where she encounters terrifying monsters and messages from the Doctor. Discussion Points Include:

  • The origins and legacy of “Blink”
  • “Sad is happy for deep people”: Old things and nostalgia
  • Sally Sparrow and the Nightingales
  • Death, the brevity of life, and the horror of the Weeping Angels
  • Audience participation and the rules of the Quantum Lock
  • Easter eggs and “timey-wimey” mythology

Bonus: Read Steven Moffat’s original short story that inspired “Blink”: “What I Did On My Christmas Holidays” by Sally Sparrow.

Next time: Doctor Who 3×11 Utopia and Buffy 3×5 Homecoming.

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About Katherine Sas

I graduated from Messiah College in 2009 with a B.A. in English Literature. I'm a student of all things arts and humanities, in particular Tolkien, the Inklings, and the fantastic and imaginative tradition in storytelling.

2 thoughts on “Episode 39 – Beware the Weeping Angel

  1. Really fantastic podcast. Wow, Buffy is deep! Blink is definitely Top 5 Doctor Who episodes for me. I think the “Weeping Angels” are terrifying in that Gothic sense. Also there is a history of practices which call a demonic entity into a statue. The ending montage of these beings in actual statues in public places, where they are seen is such an important concept & tells the viewer to pay attention. It always fascinates me in any time travel story (Back to the Future, Looper, etc.) how the mechanics of Time travel works is always very ambiguous at best yet the explanation by The Doctor of “Timey-Wimey stuff” and not linear, is at once an example of this but it’s really seeing Time & Space as Einstein (and others) would call Time/Space. Basically it’s a fabric if you will. And this is the Weeping Angels ontology (their being), they use Space & Time in a very linear way and they indeed, as you pointed out, use grief, and yet there is a that bittersweet feeling.

    It was nice to get the background story, I think Moffat is a master. And I immediately thought, when the Dr is explaining the Angel’s ontology, that they can’t look at each other (nice Medusa allusion btw), “just have them put in a circle.” It’s almost something so simple yet brilliant, reminds me of maybe what we will see in Sherlock.

    Let’s see. looking at my notes, Curt made an allusion to the symbolism regarding the Sparrow, and I’ll just say that there is much more to a Sparrow than the Biblical account. And notice Sally slips and almost has another last name? There are a group of writers in LA I work with who did a really great free dramatized David Lynch meets Stephen King meets Frank Herbert series called “Sparrow & Crowe.” It eventually became a comic book and I had to go to NYC to try to get stores to buy a few issues, and we did end up at Comicon. Anyway, the symbolism of any bird is more than meets the eye. Don’t blink!

    Returning to Curt’s Biblical allusion, I’m happy you pointed out that God has its eye on even the smallest of things. We know it’s not a matter of alliteration because Sally’s other last name begins with an “S” which is Moffat saying “I picked the name Sparrow for a reason, look into it.” Here, the Sparrow is looked at not by God, bur by the Doctor, the closest thing to a God. But a God of Science, a Time Lord. So is the Doctor usurping the current God of the Church, the “Kirk?” I think we’ll see this theme come up again (SPOILERS) most definitely in Rings of Akhaten, where the old God who has been sucking on the offerings of these people for millennia, is destroyed. More on that later.

    Of course at the end of the “marriage” (alchemy?) of the two opposites (Lawrence & Sally) it isn’t until she sees the Doctor in the flesh that she takes his hand. And that’s important. Mostly all the female companions love the Doctor almost as a God, but then hold on to the nearest thing (or settle for the nearest guy) or perhaps they hate him with all their heart (nicely put Curt).

    I have a bunch of other scrambled notes, but I don’t want to write an essay here. Just a last thing on Werewolves, via Buffy. Lycanthropy is a rare disease. I know a psychiatrist who had a patient with this affliction. It’s rare but it really exists. Once a month this patient has to go to the hospital/psych ward to be put under sedation & supervision for 3-5 days & this person gets full funding and housing from the government but the deal is he MUST go into that hospital every month.

    I liked the interesting interplay in Buffy of how to deal with (to quote Johnny Cash) “The Beast inside” all of us. And that is partly the reason Crowley took that name. It is instinct. I like to think of Beorn in The Hobbit as an illustration, or even Beren & Luthien which tells us there might be a time & place to use that beast in a correct way. I liked “The Hulk” allusion, thought that was very fitting.

    I have much more, but I’ll just leave it at that. Very good episode. Looking forward to the next episode. Do we have to wait a whole week?! You guys are great. Big fan.

    1. Wow Brandon – what a nice long comment! Me likey. Let me see if I can dignify that with some coherent responses.

      Yes, Buffy is quite deep – our episodes keep getting longer as both of these shows improve and become more involved. I agree about the gothicness of the Angels (Dr Sturgis is covering Blink in her Gothic literature class for Mythgard – I wish I could be a fly on the wall for that lecture!). I particularly love the juxtaposition between the gothic fantasy horror of the Angels with the timey-wimey sci-fi stuff. That’s classic Doctor Who.

      Interesting thoughts on the Doctor being a stand-in (or replacement/usurper) of the God of the Christian church, especially when you consider that the villains of the piece are explicitly Christian iconography made demonic and terrifying. (I’m not actually sure what to do with that since I’m pretty sure Moffat [or at least his writing] is far from anti-Christian, but interesting nonetheless). And I totally agree that we’ll come back to these themes/questions in The Rings of Akhaten…(still waiting for your essay on that episode by the way).

      Yes, I’m aware of the distinction between the mythological/literary lycanthropy (basically the tradition of werewolves in folklore) and the primary world medical lycanthropy. It’s an interesting phenomenon, but I’m not sure how relevant since fantasy lycanthropy (what Oz has) is clearly symbolic and metaphorical. JK Rowling in particular as a metaphor for any chronic, wasting illness that caused prejudice and social ostracism (MS, AIDS, etc). Whedon/Buffy seem to be consistently using it as a metaphor for the “beastly”, violent, and anti-social impulses lurking even in the most gentle and civilized of people (of which Oz is the poster child).

      Thanks again for listening. New episode Monday! (Another good pair of episodes coming up.)

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