“Don’t blink. Don’t even blink. Blink and you’re dead. They are fast, faster than you can believe. Don’t turn your back, don’t look away, and don’t blink. Good luck.”
Who could have followed up the masterpiece that was Human Nature/The Family of Blood but Steven Moffat, with probably the most acclaimed Doctor Who story ever. With the exception, perhaps, of The Empty Child, Blink is probably the creepiest thing Doctor Who has ever done. The Weeping Angels are an absolute masterstroke of a new monster, such a simple but chilling concept with an inspired psychological gimmick that makes these the best monsters since the Daleks. Giving them the form of angels has the curious effect of making them even more sinister a villain, in a similar way that evil clowns are a particularly terrifying inversion. The first time you watch this episode and see the angel’s face contorted in bestial passion is a truly startling and frightening experience. I’ve watched this episode countless times now, but I’m still struck by the terror the Angels, and the episode in general, is still capable of inducing, a testament to its timeless genius. Congratulations, Moffat, for once again terrifying an entire generation of children.
This episode was in general masterfully produced. It really encapsulates what makes a perfect single-episode story: it was exciting and gripping without feeling rushed; the pacing was perfect. The cinematography was superlative, effectively inducing an entrancing aura of claustrophobia, panic and mystery. The marked absence of the Doctor from the majority of the episode added to the sense of claustrophobia, as it created the feeling that a reassuring presence was missing. That said, that “Don’t blink” quote (above) by the Doctor in the recording was genuinely spine chilling. This episode revelled in timey-wimey creepiness that made for an intriguing plot device. We all know Steven Moffat loves his timey-wimey devices, but arguably timey-wimey was done better here than in anything he’s written subsequently; here it was used elegantly and with finesse and subtlety, while in stories like Pandorica and The Wedding of River Song (and pretty much Series 6 in general), it’s overly heavy-handed.
Carey Mulligan is to be praised for an exceptional performance as Sally Sparrow. Sally was an endearing character in whom the audience quickly became emotionally invested. She was clever, brave, kind and likable, and fit the bill perfectly for a “could-have-been” companion. I can see her travelling the universe with the Doctor, piping up with the occasional playful, snarky remark to keep the Doctor in check. Given that she became embroiled in this affair by wandering into an abandoned haunted house, I would say she definitely has the curiosity and character to be a companion. Billy Shipton was also a great character, played well by both Michael Obiora (Billy the Younger) and Louis Mahoney (Billy the Elder).
I don’t have any hesitation about giving this one top marks. Although not, in my opinion, the best Doctor Who story ever, it certainly comes close. Within the New Who run, I would rate only The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances (another Moffat triumph) above it, as I stated in my definitive list of the top 20 New Who stories. Nevertheless, Blink is unarguably a timeless masterpiece of the highest quality which, as my own experience attests, never gets old.