Season 29 Episode 9 – Blink, by Steven Moffat
May 11, 2008
review by Martin Odoni.
Of all the new series writers, Steve Moffat definitely has that ‘something’ doesn’t he? He writes with good ideas. He writes characters with feeling, but without laying it on nearly so thick or unnaturally as most of the others. He’s able to write bland monsters and imagery and make it seem like the scariest stuff imaginable. He’s the only Who writer who hardly ever breaks the show-don’t’-tell law. His dialogue is smooth, generally realisitic, and not crass or unsubtle.
Sure enough, Blink is the best episode of the third season so far – probably at all seeing RTD’s written the three that remain – and easily the scariest; colourless monsters moving in stop-motion manage to be a thousand times scarier than the Daleks were on their sojourn to the 1920’s. Beautifully-written, crafted and directed, the fact that you don’t see them moving makes them all the more frightening, as you realise that their movements are completely imperceptible. I’ll never play Grandma’s Footsteps so casually again! And Sally Sparrow comes across as easily the most appealing and likeable guest character of the year so far.
The plot isn’t quite as clever as it thinks it is, mind, as it’s just yet another of those time paradoxes that has been done a hundred times before (including a few times in Dr Who itself; witness Day Of The Daleks). Detrimentally, the scene with Kathy’s grandson and the letter is clearly ripped off from the end of Back To The Future Part II, and Martha has easily her most irritating and unconstructive outing so far, doing nothing but throw unhelpful interruptions into the Doctor’s conversations with other people. Also, while Sally is an engaging character, it has to be said that some of the others are a bit 2D, especially the stereotype techno-nerd Kathy’s brother proves to be.
But the structure of the story, its pace, and the way it plays on your mind and perceptions as it progresses more than compensate for these problems. As a mystery, it’s not exactly difficult to figure out, but it helps that it doesn’t tax your patience much waiting for Sally to catch up with you.
By the way, another excellent thing this episode does is conclusively underline the problems with Love And Monsters last year. As I insisted at the time, the absence of the regulars was not the problem with that episode; they hardly featured here either, and yet, where L & M was smug, lazy, plotless, puerile sh*t, Blink is pure class.
I award 9/10! And I don’t give that mark easily.