Just rewatching Blink. Martha and the Doctor were both zapped back to 1969 by the Angels. Yet they were eventually able to get back to the Tardis (not exactly explained how) and were not stuck on that timeline for the rest of their lives.

Yet when Amy and Rory were zapped back in time by the angels, the Doctor could not rescue them. I can understand the Doctor being somehow out of the Angels loop...being a time lord, maybe he's immune. But Martha? How was Martha any different from Amy and Rory, i.e. rescuable from their Angel timejump?

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    I believe part of the problem was that Amy & Rory's abduction happened in New York, which is very hard to get to - too much has happened there, so finding a path that hasn't already been used is almost impossible. Hence all that stuff about going back to ancient China to change what the vases say. The other part was the mystery novel: it said that this was the end for Amy, and the Doctor read it, and therefore it became a fixed point. Or something.
    – Martha
    Jan 29, 2013 at 3:33
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    @Martha Mostly it's a case of Moffat a) treating paradox and fixed points inconsistently (just within Matt Smith's run we've gone from "time can be rewritten, even if we saw it" to "once we've observed it, it's written in stone") and b) hoping people won't realise that there's nothing to stop the Doctor landing the TARDIS a hundred miles away and taking the sodding train to pick them up.
    – Darael
    Jan 29, 2013 at 5:15
  • @Darael what are you referring to with the ' Matt Smith's run we've gone from "time can be rewritten, even if we saw it" to "once we've observed it, it's written in stone" '?
    – acolyte
    Jan 31, 2013 at 1:45
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    @acolyte The entire premise of the story leading up to The Big Bang was that time could be rewritten - that events, even those from the Doctor's own past, could be retroactively changed. (This is why Amy didn't remember the Daleks, and nobody remembered the Cyberking in London). However, by the time of The Angels Take Manhattan the Doctor is claiming that things being even written down (as River has done in the book that features in the episode means they're "set in stone". That's a change during Matt Smith's run as Doctor (which is to say, Moffat's as showrunner), which is what I meant.
    – Darael
    Jan 31, 2013 at 23:47
  • @Darael but, in The Big Bang, time itself was ended. There were no such rules, because there was no longer any time. I'll have to rewatch The Big Bang in order to fully eloquate this, but I still hold to the fact that the "rules of time" only apply when there is time to apply the rules to.
    – acolyte
    Feb 1, 2013 at 3:59

2 Answers 2


Firstly, as a side note, the Doctor and Martha didn't find their way back to the TARDIS - they engineered events such that the TARDIS would later be sent back to them using a control code hidden on DVDs.

The explanation given for the Doctor's inability to recover Amy and Rory is that New York, in the time-range given, was too paradox-heavy - landing the TARDIS there would have risked tearing apart the universe. The disturbances in the timeline were also the reason it was so difficult to land the TARDIS there earlier in the episode - the additional effects of the Doctor's, Amy's, and Rory's interaction with the Angels made it entirely impossible. No explanation is given for why he can't simply land it a year earlier, wait two years (during which he would pick up Amy and Rory), and leave, but presumably there is one, even if it's just "everyone picked up the Idiot Ball".

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    But? Did you forget to finish your sentence?
    – svick
    Jan 29, 2013 at 12:24
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    Apparently life kicked him in the but. Jan 29, 2013 at 19:52
  • @svick I thought I had finished it. I probably intended to put ellipsis there. Nevertheless, the sentence now ends.
    – Darael
    Jan 30, 2013 at 3:12

The Angels themselves have nothing to do with it. The Doctor said that he couldn't ever see Amy again because she was creating a "fixed point." Once the Doctor witnessed her name on the tombstone, he became aware of the time of her death. He therefore couldn't visit her without crossing his own timeline and risking changing her death, creating a paradox.

(This is the same reason he couldn't go back to see her before his first accidental twelve-year jump in "The Eleventh Hour" -- once she'd seen him, and he'd seen her, then going back along her timeline would mean altering his own.)

In "Blink," the Doctor and Martha crossed Sally Sparrow's timeline by meeting her after she'd already met them -- but this is not a paradox. Indeed, the act of meeting Sally and collecting her notes created a closed time loop, which actually prevents a paradox. It doesn't matter which meeting happened "first," as long as both meetings happen.

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