Doctor Who Review: Blink

With apologies for the delay. Job hunting takes a remarkably large amount of energy.

Cast and Crew

David Tennant as the Doctor
Freema Agyeman as Martha Jones
Carey Mulligan as Sally Sparrow
Lucy Gaskell as Kathy Nightingale
Finlay Robertson as Larry Nightingale
Richard Cant as Malcolm Wainwright
Michael Obiora as Billy Shipton
Louis Mahoney as Old Billy
Ben Wainwright as Thomas Nelstrop
Ian Boldsworth as Banto
Ray Sawyear as Desk Sergeant

Written by Stephen Moffat

Directed by Hettie MacDonald

Originally aired on the 9th of June 2007 on BBC One in the United Kingdom.

Synopsis

Exploring an abandoned house leads Sally Sparrow to a message from the Doctor, and some really really scary statues.

High Points

  • Kathy’s letter
  • The second scene with DI Shipton
  • “It’s more like a big ball of wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey… stuff.”
  • “Don’t patronise me because people have died and I’m not happy.”

Low Points

  • Martha feels tacked on and useless, although it was nice to see her apparently knowing what was going on during the whatever it was at the end.
  • The very end of the episode montage didn’t seem necessary.

The Scores

Originality: it’s nice to see Doctor Who exploring some of the impact of what time travel can do to continuity. This episode feels fresh and interesting throughout. Five out of six.

Effects: not huge on effects, this episode, but it’s got the ones it needs and they’re good. Six out of six.

Story: a confusing, interesting and ultimately satisfying time-travelling mystery with scary bits. Possibly the best of the entire revived Doctor Who. Six out of six.

Acting: the entire guest cast was excellent, a rare event. Six out of six.

Emotional response: the story gets us involved in the characters, and we really start to care what happens to them. The atmosphere builds, the tension develops and before you know it you’re hiding behind the sofa. Six out of six.

Production: there’s not much to say really. Good sets, good camera work and wonderful lighting. Five out of six.

Overall: possibly the best episode of the revival. Six out of six.

Blink receives a spine-chilling forty out of forty-two.

19 replies on “Doctor Who Review: Blink”

  1. Cerberus7 says:

    Why don’t we ever see the monsters move?
    During the scene where they’re attacking the TARDIS, we see still-frames as the light flickers, but there’s nobody there to see them, so why are they stone?…

    Because _WE_ see them. Dun dun duuunnn!!!

    Loved this ep. Absolutely loved it.

    • Alexius says:

      Re: Why don’t we ever see the monsters move?

      During the scene where they’re attacking the TARDIS, we see still-frames as the light flickers, but there’s nobody there to see them, so why are they stone?…

      Because _WE_ see them. Dun dun duuunnn!!!

      Loved this ep. Absolutely loved it.

      Exactly! Though one could wonder if you’d see them on video cameras…

      • y42 says:

        Re: Why don’t we ever see the monsters move?

        During the scene where they’re attacking the TARDIS, we see still-frames as the light flickers, but there’s nobody there to see them, so why are they stone?…

        Because _WE_ see them. Dun dun duuunnn!!!

        Loved this ep. Absolutely loved it.

        Exactly! Though one could wonder if you’d see them on video cameras…

        They’re faster than the frame rate :)

    • Trekkie says:

      Re: Why don’t we ever see the monsters move?

      Loved this ep. Absolutely loved it.

      I just finally got to watch it the other night, had been avoiding this forum so I wouldn’t see it.

      This was just flat out Brilliant!

      no blood & guts or explosions, just a few statues and your mind racing away with it.

      The best part was when they were trying to leave the room with the one in the room, and he looked away and looked back to have it inches from his face.

      My wife actually screamed a bit at that point. She doesn’t normally watch them with me but it even made her stop and sit down. Reminded me of one of my favorite early (real early) episodes. I don’t know the name of it, and haven’t seen it since, but it was a first doctor episode where they were trapped somewhere, stuck inside the tardis, and the center column was about to blow out and destroy the universe or some such.

      Meanwhile something is banging on the tardis from the outside, and you can’t see what it is, or know what is going on.

      Full of suspense, lets your imagination run away with it, and everything. Great stuff.

  2. joe__gee says:

    I still loved "The Empty Child"
    But this episode was excellent. In its presentation it reminded me of the X-files like episode with the absorbo-whatever, and Moaning Myrtle, in that it relied on secondary characters to carry the story up until the end. On the other hand, it was a vastly superior episode.

    I kept thinking through the entire program "this is what time travel stories *should* be like." I don’t think there was a single element of the story that was not intelligently addressed.

    I agree, this was very well-written, very well-presented, all in all a superior piece of television. I also noted that Russel T. Davies did *not* write this one. I am wondering if somewhere there’s a Doctor Who bible, akin to the guidelines JMS distributed to B5 writers.

    That would be an interesting read.

    I enjoy how questions are beginning to build in Martha’s mind about the Doctor’s personality. I can see this assistant leaving him, by her choice, because she doesn’t like who he is. I think that would be a first.

    I really like Martha.

    -Joe

    • y42 says:

      Re: I still loved "The Empty Child"

      I kept thinking through the entire program "this is what time travel stories *should* be like." I don’t think there was a single element of the story that was not intelligently addressed.

      I agree, this was very well-written, very well-presented, all in all a superior piece of television.

      That was really excellent: "Things don’t always happen to me in the right order…"

      As for the bible, every large collaoration like that has one, and for Martha, she’s in love with him, she wouldn’t leave him because she doesn’t like him… maybe because it’s too hard to be so close to someone who can’t help being so distant. But not for a judgmental reason.

    • J_W_W says:

      Re: I still loved "The Empty Child"

      But this episode was excellent. In its presentation it reminded me of the X-files like episode with the absorbo-whatever, and Moaning Myrtle, in that it relied on secondary characters to carry the story up until the end. On the other hand, it was a vastly superior episode.

      -Joe

      I kept thinking that myself. Again it was episode 10 for the season, and I felt right away that they had set the story to happen from someone elses viewpoint. But… the characters (as noted in the review) were waaaayyy better. Also, this episode really seemed to hit some really subtle, but powerful notes. Sally’s meeting with the cop was incredible (espically the freudian slip) and then to lose him immediately afterwards was an incredible buildup of emotions for what was a scant few minutes of screentime. No charachter in "Gods and Monsters" came anywhere close to the level of these characters.

      This was just plain a superbly written story.

      There are so many great (even wibbly-wobbly) bits to it. Other high points inclde:

      The entire DVD conversation.
      The don’t point it at a hen bit.
      The strobe light effect was…. terrifying.
      The really touching handholding at then end and its significance because of their previous converstation and her seeing the Doctor.

      All kinds of great stuff. At least as good as Empty Child and The Satan Pit eps.

    • igemini says:

      Stephen Moffat
      Stephen Moffat is the writer of Coupling – a UK sitcom which was sold as a British version of Friends, but in actuality the writing in every episode (at least in the first three seasons) was spot on with some clever storylines as well as the humour. I really love it (it also features the English Captain from Pirates of the Carib) and I when watching the opening credits for Dr Who got an extra tinge of anticipation when his name came up.

  3. y42 says:

    The low-point montage
    I think the writers just want to see all the 10 year olds in Cardiff staring at statues unblinkingly.
    And I bet it worked :)

    • TwistyHat says:

      Of course

      I think the writers just want to see all the 10 year olds in Cardiff staring at statues unblinkingly.
      And I bet it worked :)

      Yes clearly, it the point was top scare tons if children witless. I support that! *g*

  4. hans says:

    My Favorite
    I agree completely – this is what time travel stories should be like. I think my favorite since the revival, and certainly this doctor. The last one was great too, it’s good to see them really shining.

  5. fsphil says:

    Best of S3 so far
    I was beginning to think series 3 was a bit of a loss but the last few episodes, particularlly this one, have brought it right back up again. A classic episode!

    BUT… ;-)

    How did the angel get the key to the TARDIS?

    • dubbayoo42 says:

      Re: Best of S3 so far

      How did the angel get the key to the TARDIS?

      Best guess — it was taken from The Doctor as he was transported back to 1969. Perhaps he had it in his hand, ready to open the TARDIS door, and then got touched by the angel.

      The plot point is that Sally get the key, not how The Doctor loses it, so it’s not terribly important us viewers know the in-between bits of how the angel got it.

  6. crow says:

    Alternate solution
    The Doctor could have simply gone over to UNIT headquarters, and borrowed his older TARDIS to skip back to 2007, then programmed it to return to 1969 with his previous self none the wiser.

    • y42 says:

      Re: Alternate solution

      The Doctor could have simply gone over to UNIT headquarters, and borrowed his older TARDIS to skip back to 2007, then programmed it to return to 1969 with his previous self none the wiser.

      That would be crossing in his own timeline, which queen Victoria aside, he’s not supposed to do (except for cheap tricks).

      • TwistyHat says:

        Re: Alternate solution

        The Doctor could have simply gone over to UNIT headquarters, and borrowed his older TARDIS to skip back to 2007, then programmed it to return to 1969 with his previous self none the wiser.

        That would be crossing in his own timeline, which queen Victoria aside, he’s not supposed to do (except for cheap tricks).

        And that is why i think who in general is a bit lame children’s show. But oh well.

    • AceCaseOR says:

      Re: Alternate solution

      The Doctor could have simply gone over to UNIT headquarters, and borrowed his older TARDIS to skip back to 2007, then programmed it to return to 1969 with his previous self none the wiser.

      Actually, John Pertwee’s tenure wasn’t until the 1970s, and, if you recall, The Doctor was trapped on earth at the time, so I would say that it would be reasonable to assume that he probably figured the TARDIS wouldn’t let him off Earth then, even though he was a future incarnation.

      • Alexius says:

        Re: Alternate solution

        The Doctor could have simply gone over to UNIT headquarters, and borrowed his older TARDIS to skip back to 2007, then programmed it to return to 1969 with his previous self none the wiser.

        Actually, John Pertwee’s tenure wasn’t until the 1970s, and, if you recall, The Doctor was trapped on earth at the time, so I would say that it would be reasonable to assume that he probably figured the TARDIS wouldn’t let him off Earth then, even though he was a future incarnation.

        True, when it was at UNIT, he had a lot to fix in it. Plus, who knows what was and wasn’t left behind as a result of the Time War. If the only thing that kept him from leaving was an act of the Time Lords, and the Time Lords don’t exist, he wouldn’t have been stuck, so he ….

        Ouch, Paradox headache!

  7. erpel says:

    blink again
    For those that want to see the ep again, you can see that the angel in the back, right after the Tardis disappeared, moved her right arm when the scene switched :)

    nitpicking, but still fun, it let me forward/reverse a couple fo times.

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