Blink and You’ll Miss It

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Blink was this years ‘Doctor Lite’ episode. Essentially due to the tightness of the shooting schedule for Doctor Who much of the shooting on multiple stories is done in parallel. By having an episode that has little involvement from the main characters almost the entire episode can be filmed at the same time as other episodes are being shot. It also of course gives the writers a chance to do something a bit different.

Last year, the ‘Doctor Lite’ episode was Love and Monsters, which although it didn’t feature the Doctor and Rose, gave Camille Coduri as Jackie Tyler a chance for a bit more screen time. However this time Steven Moffat had no regular characters at all aside from a few brief scenes with the Doctor and Martha. The story instead focuses around Sally Sparrow played by Carey Mulligan, a girl who at the start seems to have wandered into events quite by chance when she explores an old abandoned house. However strangely she then finds a message written to her by name, from the Doctor, but written in 1969…

The house is occupied by four alien creatures who look like stone angel statues. Whenever people can see them or are looking at them, the angels are frozen like stone – they can only move when they are not seen, like in the blink of an eye. They live by feeding on time energy, obtained from people they touch – the act of touching them sending the people back into time. They have trapped the Doctor and sent him back to 1969, and the Doctor now needs Sally to locate the TARDIS and send it back in time to rescue him. However alongside the message on the wall, the Doctor has also turned up in hidden messages on DVD’s – strangely the same seventeen DVD’s that Sally owns. More than that, when Sally watches the DVD’s it’s like the Doctor is having a conversation with her.

As a episode that didn’t feature the Doctor much it worked a good deal better than Love and Monsters. In Love and Monsters, the Doctor effectively popped up at the beginning, and at the end to defeat the monster, and whilst the plot was a group of people looking for the Doctor it didn’t really involve him. This time around the Doctor was part of the plot, and although not on screen much was apparently driving events in order to guide Sally towards the TARDIS. However once she’s done that, we still don’t quite know how the Doctor knows about Sally. As with other Steven Moffat stories, the payoff comes right in the final scene where we see Sally a year later who has collected together everything about her adventure and then a year in the future by chance meets the Doctor – but the Doctor in his past, and hands him the file, causing a predestination and ontological paradox.

After the fantastic two-parter we’ve just had, Blink wasn’t bad, and it’s interesting to note that we’ve now had three episodes on the trot without much of the Doctor, so it might well be a bit of a shock when he is back on screen for a lot more next week! The story benefited from the good Steven Moffat script, and good acting from Carey Mulligan left to carry the episode. Then just to really freak the kids out, the episode closes with a series of shots implying that whilst the four angels have been trapped, there are others still out there…

3 thoughts on “Blink and You’ll Miss It”

  1. I feel that was an excellent episode despite being a bit Doctor free. First time i’ve ever been properly scared by the monsters I admint.

  2. An interesting inversion of the Medusa legend 😉

    That said, I did find the “if any creature looks at them – even another of their kind – they freeze to stone” a bit hard to swallow.

    I can’t see them not evolving an ability to stay fluid while being within the field of view of one of their own kind – or (since the effect is describe as “Quantum Locking” and therefore may be inherent in the “wavicles collapse into particles when observed” nature of Quantum Mechanics and therefore possible can’t be “out evolved”) of not directly observing or noticing one another through some peculiar kind of sensory or psychological “blind spot”.

    Other than that (relatively minor) quibble, a quite enjoyable episode.

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