The “Terror TV” section of Hidden Horrors You Must See is typically used to discuss episodes of anthology horror TV shows. However for today’s review I’m going outside the norm and will instead talk about an episode of “Doctor Who.”
You might not think of this long-running (original series ran from 1963-1989, was revived in 2005 and is still going) British science fiction show as a good place for horror. However “Doctor Who” has a long tradition of providing viewers with some pretty terrifying monsters, creatures and stories. I have read stories online and heard from other Who fans about how their parents would hide behind the couch whenever the Daleks appeared on screen. Today I will be talking about the episode Blink from Season 3 of the revived series. Many fans and critics view Blink as the scariest Who episode as well as the best episode of the revived series. I would not call it the best but that is because I don’t like superlatives. However I will say it is a damn good episode and certainly one of the best.
For those not familiar with “Doctor Who” I suppose a brief synopsis of the series is in order. It’s about a time-traveling alien known simply as The Doctor, who travels through time and space in his time machine known as the TARDIS, which stands for Time and Relative Dimension In Space. Typically accompanied by one or two human companions The Doctor and his friends travel the universe to save humanity from evil alien threats. With that said, on to Blink.
Now if you have never seen a “Doctor Who” episode before you may be intimated to watch this one as it can be a continuity heavy series. However with Blink you don’t have to worry. It has nothing to do with the continuity of the season and The Doctor isn’t actually the main character of the episode. Rather the episode focuses on a woman named Sally Sparrow, an early role for the talented Carry Mulligan.
The episodes starts with Sally breaking into an abandoned house looking for subjects to photograph. While inside she finds a message addressed to her, telling her to “Beware the Weeping Angels.” The message is from The Doctor. Sally has discovered The Weeping Angels, an alien race who send their victims back in time and live off of the energy of the life experiences their victims would have had in the present. David Tennant as The Doctor can explain this better than I and that is part of the fun of watching Doctor Who. Nobody can spout off sci-fi techno babble greater than Tennant. Anyway, The Doctor and his companion Martha have been sent back in time by the Angels. Through a complex process The Doctor has to find ways to communicate with Sally in the present so she can send his TARDIS back to him and stop The Weeping Angels from destroying the world.
You might be thinking, why mention an episode of a sci-fi series on a horror website? It’s simple, this episode introduced The Weeping Angels. Many fans feel The Weeping Angels may be the scariest creatures now in the “Doctor Who” cannon and for good reason. Do you want to know why the episode is called Blink? It’s because you can’t blink in the Angels presence. The way the Angels work is similar to the ghosts in the Super Mario games, and yes I know they are called Boos. Keep your gaze on them they don’t movie and are frozen. Look away or blink even once and you are probably gone.
The average human blinks every five seconds or so according to Ask.com. It’s something we don’t think about. I think it’s quite impressive how writer Steven Moffat made a monster that relies on us not to blink. I don’t know about you but I find that pretty terrifying. See how long you hold a stare without blinking and you will see why?
The Weeping Angels are weak in design compared to other “Doctor Who” monsters as they are just stone statues. However you will never look at a statue the same way, especially with how the episode ends. The Doctor repeats the don’t blink speech he gives to Sally earlier over a montage of statues around London. It reminded me a lot of Kevin McCarthy’s speech at the end of “Invasion of the Body Snatchers.”
Moffat’s script is fantastic. It throws in humor, drama, and all the sci-fi/time travel elements make sense and work. Mulligan’s Sally Sparrow is quite a strong character and it’s a shame she was never used in any other Who episodes. The direction and editing creates strong tension, particularly in the last ten minutes where the angels are after Sally and the other character Lawrence. Even though he is a minor character in the episode it’s always a blast to watch David Tennant. Many consider Tennant to be the best actor to have played The Doctor and you can see why. He brings so much passion and enthusiasm to the role.
As I stated earlier if you have never seen a “Doctor Who” episode don’t let that scare you from watching Blink. In fact this might be a good starting point for those who want to get into “Doctor Who.” It’s a well-written, well-crafted adventure with some of the scariest creatures in sci-fi. Enjoy and remember, “don’t blink.”