“Blink” – Review: Redux

The Doctor “People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect, but actually, from a nonlinear, non-subjective viewpoint, it’s more like a big ball of wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey… stuff.”

Blink

It might have just been me, and judging by reaction elsewhere I could be right that it is only me, but “Blink” wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be. You’d think that this might teach me (once again) not to believe the hype generated by an online fan community, I had been hearing tales of RTD being positively chilled as he viewed the rushes during production and scoring it as 5-and-a-half out of 5. It is, without doubt it is an episode that stays with the viewer. For about a week after first watching “Blink” I remember that every time I saw a statue in the background of a news report or if I caught a glimpse of one in any TV programme, I would whisper to my wife “Whatever you do, don’t blink!” (Yes, I am an absolute joy to live with).

In fact, when you look at Steven Moffat’s script you can almost imagine each line being written with glee as every quirky, quotable, catchphrase he’d ever dreamt up about time-travel and Doctor Who got woven into a glorious tapestry. Brilliantly though, not once did I ever think to myself, “People don’t talk like that’. Instead I was just swept along on a tide of thinking, “Ooh, that’s clever”. Of course, this will consequently throw itself open to criticism of being too knowy, or too cocky and self-assured but I think that critique misses the point. We’ve never had a Doctor Who story like this on-screen before, where the time travel that is core to the programmes brilliance and charm, is suddenly used as an integral part of the narrative. And instead of trying to cleverly circumvent the paradoxes and conundrums that result from time-travel stories, it faces them head-on, gently takes the mickey out of people who take this all too seriously* (with lines like “Wait till this hits the net. This will explode the Egg Forums”), and dismisses them with a nonsensical reference to wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey stuff.

Some people may be aware that “Blink” expanded on a Steven Moffat short story contained within the 2006 Doctor Who annual. It revolves around a young lady who, for reasons best known to herself breaks into a dilapidated building at night to take some pictures and get spooked by the statues that, in typical Doctor Who fashion, turn out to be ancient-creatures-from-the-dawn-of-time (this phrase works best when spoken out loud in a James Earl Jones voice). She then begins to get a series of mysterious messages from the past where the Doctor and her best friend have been separately stranded. If the fantastic tale and mind-bending time travel bits weren’t enough for you, we also get the single most successful monster created for 21st century Who in the Weeping Angels, and a starring role for Carey Mulligan who’s gone on to become a huge player in Hollywood.

Like “Love & Monsters” from Series Two, this was the Doctor-lite episode when the main duo take a back seat because the rigorous filming schedule results in two episodes being filmed concurrently, although the Doctor’s continual appearances on the DVD Easter Eggs meant that only Martha was really notable by her absence. However, unlike last year’s love-it or hate-it style, “Blink” had a suitably dark and gothic theme running through it. There wasn’t much in the way of special effects either but they weren’t needed as the amazing looking prosthetics on the Angels created more than the necessary number of memorable moments. I do have a problem with “Blink” though, and that is…. Can’t you just blink one eye at a time? As soon as you think about, you can’t stop thinking about it. These angels are dead easy to escape from. I realise that saying that is a but churlish but it probably stopped me from giving this a 20/20 for what was a magnificent 45 minutes of television.

[* = Yes, that’s me that is]

Highlight: The frankly glorious script

Lowlight: Don’t you just blink one eye at a time?

Talking Point: Was the episode that cemented the desire to get The Moff to take over from RTD?

Demon’s Run Rating: 18 out of 20

Original BBC1 Broadcast:

Marathon Status: Almost forgot to write this one up. Just made it though.

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