Connections between the timelines
Sally Sparrow's timeline
The Doctor's timeline
The Tardis' timeline
Kathy Nightingale's timeline
Billy Shipton's timeline
This is an 'Easter egg' that goes with my review of the 2007 Doctor Who episode 'Blink'. It discusses the episode in detail, and if you want to avoid spoilers you really need to stop reading here.
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An important plot element in 'Blink' is time travel, which causes different characters to live through the same events in a different order. Here's what connects their timelines:
Below are the timelines for the main characters (and the Tardis). The numbers between parentheses refer to the above list.
In 2007, Sally Sparrow visits an allegedly haunted house. When she pulls down the wallpaper in one of the rooms a message is revealed, addressed to her and signed by the Doctor (1). The message warns her about 'weeping angels' and tells her to "duck... no, really, duck...". When she does, a stone that is being hurled through one of the windows only just misses her.
On the next day, Sally visits the house again together with her roommate Kathy Nightingale. As they explore the upper floor, the doorbell rings and Sally goes downstairs to answer. At the door is Kathy's grandson, who has been asked by his grandmother to deliver a letter and some photos to Sally Sparrow (2). He tells her that Kathy has been dead for twenty years. Sally then discovers that Kathy has disappeared from the house (3). The letter describes everything that happened to Kathy after her disappearance (4). At the house, Sally finds several weeping angels that seem to be made of stone. One of them has a key in its hand, which Sally takes before leaving the house (5).
As she's been asked to do in Kathy's letter, Sally visits Kathy's brother Lawrence at the DVD shop where he works. They discuss some mysterious one-sided conversations, all featuring the same man, that have been included as Easter eggs on several DVDs. Lawrence gives Kathy a list of the seventeen DVDs that he's found the Easter eggs on (6).
Sally goes to the police station and meets Billy Shipton. He shows her a mysterious blue phone box that was found near the haunted house, and that is now being kept in the police station's basement (7). She gives him the number of her mobile phone (8). When Sally returns the Tardis has gone (9).
Sally receives a phone call from Billy (10) and visits him at the hospital where he is spending the last days of his life. He tells her that after their first meeting he was transported to 1969, and that he has put the Easter eggs on the DVDs. He also tells her to look at the list that she'll have by now. When she does, she realises that the DVDs on the list are the seventeen DVDs that she owns, and that the Easter egg is intended specifically for her. Billy tells her that he'll die when the rain stops, and they spend his last moments on earth together.
Sally and Lawrence go to the house and play one of the Easter eggs. A conversation ensues, between the Doctor on DVD and Sally. The Doctor claims he's recording his end of the conversation in 1969, reading from the transcript that Lawrence is making as the conversation takes place in 2007 (11). He also tells them that the angels have the phone box (17), and he tells Sally and Lawrence to send it back to him.
Sally and Lawrence find the Tardis in the house's cellar (12), surrounded by angels. They use the key that Sally took off one of the angels (5) to gain access to the Tardis, and trigger a program that sends the Tardis back to 1969 (13), leaving Sally and Lawrence behind. The Tardis' disappearance from their midst tricks the angels into looking at each other, something they can't do without turning to stone, and Sally and Lawrence are saved.
A year later the Doctor and Martha pass by the DVD shop that is now owned by Sally and Lawrence. Sally gives him the folder that contains all the material that she has on the weeping angels (14). This includes an account of Sally finding the writing on the wall (1) and the incident with the stone, an account of Billy's death, the list of DVDs that contain the Easter eggs (6) and the transcript of the conversation between the Doctor and Sally (11). Possibly it also includes Kathy's letter (4) and the key to the Tardis (5). Sally tells the Doctor that he'll need the contents of the folder when he's being sent back to 1969.
When he passes a DVD shop in 2008 the Doctor is given a folder by the shop's owner, who tells him that he will need the contents when he's sent back to 1969 (14).
After receiving the folder in 2008, the Doctor travels back in time and visits the haunted house. We only know that this visit takes place before Billy shows the Tardis to Sally in 2007 (7). The Doctor has the folder with him. During this visit, the angels transport the Doctor and Martha to 1969 (15).
In 1969 the Doctor and Martha meet Billy (16), who has also been transported there (then?) by the angels after Sally left him in the basement of the police station. By the time of the meeting, the Doctor and Martha appear to already have spent some time in 1969. Billy tells the Doctor that the angels have the phone box (17).
In 1969, the Doctor uses the transcript (11) that is included in the folder (14) to record his end of the conversation with Sally. He asks Billy (18) to include the recording as an Easter egg on the seventeen DVDs that are on the list (6) that he found in Sally's folder. The Easter eggs contain a program that, when loaded into the Tardis, will send the Tardis back to 1969 where the Doctor and Martha will be able to find it (13). He also asks Billy to phone Sally in 2007, on the day of his disappearance, to tell her to look at the list of seventeen DVDs that she is going to have by then (10). He informs Billy that he will die after his conversation with Sally.
At some point, the Doctor leaves the message to Sally on the wall of one of the rooms in the haunted house (1). The contents of Sally's folder (14) told him what to write and where to write it.
The Doctor and Martha find the Tardis which has travelled back to 1969 (13) and continue their adventures (they either have a spare key, or Sally has put the key that she took away from the angels in the folder).
When the angels transport the Doctor and Martha to 1969 (15) they presumably get hold of the key to the Tardis, but not of the Tardis itself. The police find the Tardis and store it in the police station's basement, where Billy eventually shows it to Sally (7).
It is subsequently removed by the weeping angels (9) who leave it in the cellar of the haunted house (12). By that point the key to the Tardis has already been taken from them by Sally (5), which means that the angels now have the Tardis but not the key.
After Sally and Lawrence trigger the program the Tardis travels back in time to 1969 where the Doctor and Martha find it (13).
Kathy visits the haunted house with Sally, and looks on as her grandson delivers her letter (2). The angels transport her to 1920 Hull (3). She falls in love, gets married, raises a family and writes a letter to Sally telling her about her life since her disappearance (4). She leaves the letter to her grandson, asking him to deliver it where and when she originally saw him deliver it (2).
In 2007, Billy meets Sally at the police station and shows her the blue phone box which is being kept in the basement (7). She gives him the number of her mobile phone (8). After she leaves he finds the phone box surrounded by weeping angels, who send him back to 1969.
Back in 1969, Billy is being met by the Doctor and Martha (16). He later gets a job in the DVD industry, and at the Doctor's request (18) he includes an Easter egg on seventeen DVDs (6). Also at the Doctor's request he phones Sally in 2007, on the day of his disappearance, to tell her to look at the list of DVDs that she will have by then. They meet at the hospital where he is spending his last hours, and he dies with her watching over him (10).
A couple of nit-picks:
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