Doctor Who: Blink

Doctor: "People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect, but actually, from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint, it's more like a big ball of wibbly-wobbly... timey-wimey... stuff."

A gem of an episode. It was Doctor light, but it wasn't story light. It was creepy and amusing and unusual, and it had a lot of heart.

Statues that move when you're not looking, and get you if you take your eyes off them? Tapped right into unreasoning childhood fears and the creepout so many of us experience when we look at statues, mannequins, and dolls. The statues chasing Sally and Larry right up to the TARDIS actually made me gasp out loud. I loved the explanation for the weeping angels as "quantum-locked," time-stealing assassins who don't exist when they're being observed.

All of the characters were skillfully done, from the wonderfully named Sally Sparrow to the better-than-he-first-seemed Larry Nightingale. Billy Shipton's death moved me, and we only knew him for five minutes; you could just feel the potential of the life he and Sally could have had together. I also really liked the confused Kathy wandering about a field in 1920 with her future husband trailing after her. It made her fate a bit more bearable, that she was happy with him.

Loved all the references to eggs and chickens. (Which came first?) Especially the idea of the Doctor's DVD Easter eggs as an enormous mystery, with forums on the Internet. And the message from the Doctor on the wall, which I assume he wrote back in 1969.

The bits we got of the Doctor were so in character; he was mysterious and wonderful and brilliant and exasperating. The ending, where Sally gave the Doctor the list and transcript because it hadn't happened to him yet, was the perfect little time travel conclusion, too. All the plot bits just dove-tailed. Okay, possibly too many poultry cliches – the plot bits snapped together like a jigsaw puzzle, how's that?

Three faves in a row. This is when being a reviewer can be so much fun. Although, oddly, it can be harder to effectively praise than to wittily trash.

Bits and pieces:

-- Not much of Martha, although it turns out she was supporting the Doctor in 1969 by working in a shop. Two months as a maid, and now this? It's like Martha has become an enabler of a slacker guy that just uses her.

-- How far in the future will this happen for the Doctor? It couldn't be too long, could it? How long will Martha be his companion, after all?

-- Kathy told Sally they could be a team, Sparrow and Nightingale. Sally went into business (and became involved) with Kathy's brother Larry, and it turned out to be the name of their video store. Very nice.

-- This episode was written by Stephen Moffat, future head writer for Doctor Who. I am now officially a fan of his.

Paul Kelly says...

I was dreading this year's Doctor-lite episode. Last season's "Love and Monsters" left too much of a bad taste in my mouth. Thankfully, "Blink" was a tour de force. Mind you, Steven Moffat does have a higher batting average than most Who writers.

The script itself was based on a story Moffat wrote for the 2006 Doctor Who annual (“What I did on my Christmas Holidays, by Sally Sparrow”). Despite the Doctor not being in the episode much (which I thought I wouldn't like, but after ten minutes completely forgot about), when he was on screen he was either as cryptic as hell or hilarious. Nobody writes dialogue like Moffat. And I loved Sally trying to warn the Doctor about getting trapped in 1969. A normal person's reaction would've been to think she was mad -- instead the Doctor simply nodded, as if Sally's warning were an everyday occurrence.

There's something fascinating about knowing the exact time and date of your own death. Would the knowledge fill you full of fear, or would it make you pack as much into life as was humanly possible? Poor Sally, having to watch Billy die as an old man right in front of her eyes. The character of Sally Sparrow was infinitely likable. Beautiful too. And what a great finish to her story, with the Doctor appearing, allowing her to complete the loop, and pass onto him the information needed to save her in the past.

So a nice happy ending for once. We don't get those very often. Incidentally, was anyone else closing their eyes one at a time, just to see whether it was possible not to blink? Nope? Just me then?

Quotes:

Larry: "Okay, not sure, but really, really hoping... pants?"
Sally: "No."

Sally: "I love old things. They make me feel sad."
Kathy: "What's good about sad?"
Sally: "It's happy for deep people."

Billy: "Where am I?"
Doctor: "1969. Not bad, as it goes. You've got the moon landing to look forward to."
Martha: "Oh, the moon landing's brilliant! We went four times. Back when we had transport."
Doctor: "Working on it!"
Four times? I thought they couldn't chance running into themselves?

Doctor: "No, no, no, don't get up. Time travel without a capsule, nasty. Catch your breath, don't go swimming for half an hour."

Doctor: "They're creatures of the abstract. They live off potential energy."
Billy: "What in god's name are you talking about?"
Martha: "Trust me. Just nod when he stops for breath."

Doctor: "This is my timey-wimey detector. Goes ding when there's stuff. Also, it can boil an egg at thirty paces, whether you want it to or not, actually, so I've learnt to stay away from hens. It's not pretty when they blow."

Billy: "It was raining when we met."
Sally: "It's the same rain."

Larry: "Wait till this hits the Net. This will explode the egg forums."

Doctor: "Look, sorry, I've got a bit of a complex life. Things don't always happen to me in quite the right order. Gets a bit confusing at times, especially at weddings. I'm rubbish at weddings. Especially my own."
Has the Doctor been married? I know he had a granddaughter. Does anyone know whom he married? Have they ever said?
---
Billie Doux loves good television and spends way too much time writing about it.

12 comments:

Mark Greig said...

I always loved that little montage at the end. A clear effort by that mischievous Mr Moffat to put the kiddies off statues for life. Like you Billie I’m a massive fan of Moffat’s work and ‘Blink’ is another masterpiece from the same evil genius who also gave us Press Gang, anchored by a fantastic central performance from the wonderful Carey Mulligan (loved her since Bleak House).

shawnlunn2002 said...

Moffat hit it out of the ballpark with this episode. It's hard not to love this one.

Sally Sparrow in another world would've made a brilliant companion. I love when she tells the Doctor that she's clever.

The Weeping Angels are so brilliantly played out as characters - the kindest assassins in the world.

Doctor lite episodes actually do work. This and Turn Left are two freaking gems.

WhyMe said...

As a wannabe scientist I must say this episode is one of the best uses of quantum mechanics in SciFy I have ever seen. It didn't actually invent any new scientific processes it used one very well known paradox called "Zeno's Arrow Paradox" and a scientific quantum phenomena called "Wavefunction Collapse".

5/5 quantum dots. Amazing.

References to whomever,

Zeno's Arrow paradox:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zeno%27s_paradoxes

Wavefunction Collapse:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wave_function_collapse

MovieMark said...

I fell for Sally in this episode, and Blink is the hour that made me a fan of the series. A wonderful piece of science-fiction. I’d love to see more of Sally in the future.

Remco said...

Beautiful episode. The wibbly wobbly easter eggs, the quantum-locked angels, Sally Sparrow. Just beautiful.

And yes, I was totally closing my eyes one at a time, except that I failed miserably. I would be so dead if those angels came looking for me...

Michael Colvin said...

A random thought. Seeing this now, the marriage reference might be a reference to River Song. Both were Moffat episodes. Ponders...

Who only owns 17 DVDs?

Josie Kafka said...

The past three episodes have been just wonderful.

I only own 19 DVDs.

R said...

"Four times? I thought they couldn't chance running into themselves?"

Perhaps they meant that they were in different places each time? I mean, if they were watching it on tv and not actually on the moon. But if they watched from a tv in London, one in Miami, one in Nevada, and one in Scotland (for example), they wouldn't need to worry about running into each other.

In other words, I don't think that was necessarily a mistake.

Kenneth Serenyi said...

DVD's? BwaHAHAHAHAHA this episode is so old :D (OK, I'm exaggerating)

I guess the easter egg of the Doctor was the same on each DVD?

Why not get some mirrors? Wouldn't that have worked too?

Fun episode!

Sooze said...

Didn't know where else to put this...

Did you see this?

http://www.tor.com/blogs/2014/07/how-to-turn-barbies-into-doctor-who-weeping-angels#more

Wow.

Great PurpleRobe said...

Still my absolute favorite DH episode. To me, it wasn't a "Doctor Lite", because the Doctor was so central to the plot.

Most of my questions were about Kathy: she knew WWII was coming, how did she cope? What did she think of early Rock n Roll? How did she suppress the urge to act like a 21st Century woman in the midst of the 1920's? {I would have terribly missed my cell phone, and counted the days until one was invented}. Did she ever confide in her husband where it was she came from?

And I will forever quote the wibbly-wobbly timey wimey monologue. --JB

Patrick said...

All these years later and this is still one of my favorite hours of television ever. Stories that rely on temporal mechanics like this(stories like Back To The Future and such) can be very tricky to do well, and this one did a lovely job. The story was exciting, as well as touching, and the Weeping Angels to this day are my favorite Who villain, along with the Clockwork Men from The Girl In The Fireplace. And Carey Mulligan as Sally Sparrow was so cute it hurt. I would have loved to see her & Larry travel with him for a while.