Apr 17, 2018
The Seeker: The Dark Is Rising (2007) (part 7 of 14)
We leave Dad in his office with an absolutely perfect “kicked Spaniel” look on his face, and cut to (presumably) outside the next day. Snow is falling thickly, and it’s windy. Up in Will’s attic, he notices a rattling window and climbs up to deal with it, only to fall down off the ladder and hurt his ankle. Ouch.
The local doctor comes to pay a house visit. Inside, Will is arguing with his “mom” about how he doesn’t need to go to a hospital (which he doesn’t. It’s a sprained ankle. Stop being such a drama queen, “mom.” If you were my mother, you’d be telling me to stop whining and walk it off).
Will breaks off from the argument to rummage in the (ridiculously expensive-looking) fridge, only to stop dead when he hears the doctor’s voice behind him. Boy, that accent sounds familiar…
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Sure enough, Will turns around, and there is the rider, wearing a tweed suit and glasses and smiling happily at him.
Yes, the rider’s secret identity is as the friendly local… doctor.
Let me just rephrase that for you. The rider is a doctor. And he’s being played by Christopher Eccleston. You know, I really don’t know why everyone in the audience thought that was so hilarious. I must be dense.
Grinning manically just like… well, just like this character he once played on TV (you may remember it—it was a very small role in some obscure series nobody watched), Chris invites Will to join him in the loungeroom so he can have a look-see. At the ankle, you pervs. Will reluctantly obeys, with some cajoling from Mom, and the Doctor/Rider (riderdoctor?) has a look at the ankle, which is slightly swollen and bruised (hah, that’s nothing. When I sprained my ankle the entire joint turned bright blue). He then gets rid of Mom with a flimsy excuse (he asks her to get him a tape measure so he can “check the swelling”—come on, who’s going to buy that without encouragement from an incompetent scriptwriter?). Mom, of course, buys it, and leaves. Will tries to get her to stay, and the riderdoctor mocks him by basically calling him a mama’s boy.
Once she’s gone (and we’ve seen the scene filmed from above for about the third time apropos of nothing), the riderdoctor takes off his glasses (hey, he uses glasses to disguise himself just like Superman! This guy gets cooler all the time!) and immediately turns nasty.
Will tells him to leave him alone, but the riderdoctor calmly tells him not to trust “those fools who want to make you do work they can’t” or something, because they haven’t told him he’ll fail. Yet again, he demands to have the Signs (I’m damned if I know what he’ll do with them if he gets them).
Will says (again) that he doesn’t have what the guy is after. Man, I’m getting really bad déjà vu here. The riderdoctor basically does the standard “help me and you’ll be rewarded” thing, and then comes out with a real gem of a line. Imagine this, if you will, as said by a tweed-suit-clad Christopher Eccleston:
Riderdoctor: I am the Dark on this earth. I’m the end of everything you see and know.
And then try and imagine that Will looks intimidated by that.
To emphasise the point, the riderdoctor touches the sprained ankle and it’s instantly healed. The riderdoctor! Able to make bruises vanish with a single touch! Ph34r the power of the Dark! But then he emphasises the point even further by touching it again and making it a million times worse, causing Will to pull an hilarious crybaby face. Black bruising starts to spread over his entire foot and leg, but luckily Mom returns before I can complain about how this is overdoing it just a bit.
Riderdoctor puts his glasses back on and instantly turns back into Nice riderdoctor. But he proclaims that he doesn’t need the tape measure after all, because the ankle is just fine—it’ll just take some time to heal. “And don’t look so worried!” he “ironically” adds. “It’s not the end of the world!” Har har. You know, that line is almost as funny here as it was in End of Days.
“Not quite yet,” he adds. Well, the movie still has an hour to go, after all (oh gods please please someone help me). Then he leaves, mentioning to Mom that she has “a lovely home.” Yes, it’s a fine example of Reel Estate, isn’t it?
Back in his attic, Will is busy cleaning up the mess he made when he fell off the ladder. He finds an old photo among the junk. We don’t see it, but on the back it says “Will & Tom.” Bum bum BUM!
He shows the photo to Mom, and now we see it’s a picture of two newborn babies side-by-side. You see… Will has a secret long-lost twin brother that his parents never told him about!
He did in the book, too, mind you, but there the twin had died in infancy. Here, we learn that little Tom was abducted one day, as a tearful Mom explains that he vanished from his cradle during a storm one afternoon, never to be seen again. In a shockingly original twist, we’re told that Dad blames himself because Tom wouldn’t have been taken if he hadn’t been distracted for just a few moments by his thesis (my mother wrote one of those. They do take your attention away from your family a fair bit). Mom actually provides some pretty good acting here, as she explains why they never mentioned it before (plot convenience? No, you idiot—they were just too grief-stricken to talk about it. Geez, how heartless are you?).
Well, Will is kinda heartless too, because instead of comforting Mom he asks if Tom was born before him. And the answer… is yes. Albeit by a few minutes. I’m sure you can all connect the dots here. Seventh son of a seventh son, indeed (urgh, who’d want that many kids?). Ominous music plays to back this up.
Back in the attic, Will stares at the photo for a long time, looking rather red-faced. I guess he’s meant to be upset, but I’m too distracted by the fact that the camera is slowly listing over until it’s tilted by nearly ninety degrees. “Seventh son,” Will snivels to himself, while “now-I’m-a-believer” music plays in the background. He stuffs the photo in his pocket and brings out the box with the Wheel of Taranis on it (you remember that, right? The one he got at the maul?). The Wheel is moving again, and Will decides to take it to the Old Ones.
Amusingly, as we cut to outside the music builds to a crescendo as we… watch a pasty-faced kid limp slowly through the snow with a bag slung on his back. It’s, uh, not exactly the final battle from Lord of the Rings or anything (well, maybe the Bakshi version). He stops suddenly, for no apparent reason, and suddenly we get that camera-whipping-around thing and find ourselves back in the new-and-improved forest. How did he do that? For some reason, the transition heals Will’s ankle.
He heads back to Merathgadan, and inside picks up the Book which contains everything he needs to know (in other words, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy) and starts reading it—aloud, for some reason. Oh, it’s so we can find out what it says. Thanks, kid. Oh, wait—the Old Ones are suddenly there too, listening while he reads off a lectern. What, are they at church or something? Or are they really a branch of the Freemasons?
The book basically details the backstory—the Six Signs were made to contain the essence of the Light, for no apparent reason, and each one was made from something different—rock, bronze, fire, etc. But the last one is in “the essence of a human soul”.
Okay, I’ll pause to let you think about that last bit. Take all the time you need.
If you immediately thought “Will is the last Sign,” don’t bother to pat yourself on the back—I figured it out the instant I heard it in the cinema that day. And I was surprised by the final plot twist in Van Helsing. (And again, Doctor Who fans watching this can enjoy being reminded of Princess Astra, who was the sixth Princess of the sixth dynasty of the sixth royal house of Atrios and therefore was the sixth segment of the Key to Time.)