"...You die in the past,
and in the present they consume the
of all the days you might have had..."
In an old, abandoned house, the Weeping Angels wait. However, when people start disappearing, a young woman called Sally finds cryptic messages bleeding through from 1969 - messages from a mysterious stranger called the Doctor. But can she decipher them before the Angels claim their prize?
Like the errant whale, adrift in the River Thames last summer, BLINK was surprising, heartening, beguiling and leaving your bereft once the spectacle was over.
And like that whale, whose skeleton is to be displayed in London's Natural History Museum, Steven Moffat should be submerged in a formaldehyde Hirst-like and displayed, for appropriate worship, at the Cardiff-based DOCTOR WHO exhibition.
Or at the very least, if he objects to that, be installed as Executive Producer.
Second only to CLASSIC SERIES writer, Robert Holmes, Moffat balances the value, construct and heritage of DOCTOR WHO more so than another other NEW SERIES writer - more so than its current Executive Producer & Head Writer.
BLINK is CLASSIC NEW SERIES.
If this was 1977, it would be classed as "Gothic Horror" matching scene-for-scene the quintessential Philip Hinchcliffe stories THE TALONS OF WENG-CHIANG or THE BRAIN OF MORBIUS that scared viewers to engineer a hunt for loose change in sofa crevices whilst the story was broadcast. However, even though those two stories are widely regarded by critics in being prime examples of "excellence" they were flawed - by today's standards - in production unlike BLINK .
This Doctor-lite episode could have been out of it depth, wrestling with the challenge to establish lateral and logical thought within the DOCTOR WHO framework whilst having very little contribution from the TARDIS crew. Relishing this, Moffat created potentially the most creative alien concept (since the Dalek?), the Weeping Angel - formerly know as "Lonely Assassins", according to the Doctor - (you may like to visit: The Weeping Angels of Texas for a potential origin). A race of hunters created within the realms of a paradoxical thought at the beginning of universe, their physiology is quantum-locked (re-imagined in the format of a stone angel) and can only "move" within the nanosecond of a human blink. The Weeping Angels only threat is from themselves, like the mythical Medusa, as should they gaze upon each other they are quantum-locked as stone forever. Unlike the majority of DOCTOR WHO aliens, they are humane killers for the fact that they merely time-shift their prey backwards to devour their "potential energy" of a life they would have had. No death but no first-person future.
The Doctor: No mess, no fuss, they just zap you into the past and let you live to death. The rest of your life used up and blown away in the blink of an eye. You die in the past, and in the present they consume the energy of all the days you might have had. All your stolen moments. They're creatures of the abstract.
A stunning, seemingly rationale - even for DOCTOR WHO - idea.
Added to that Moffat weaves a contribution from the arms-length Doctor that initially leaves this viewer questioning, pondering and then, at it's climatic resolution, punching the air with dramatic satisfaction. How is the Doctor bleeding messages from the past - beneath layers mock-flock wallpaper at the derelict Wester Drumlins House, and as DVD "Easter Eggs" - and just how did the Doctor & Martha fall foul (or had they been hunted through time & space?) of the Weeping Angels?
The on-screen realisation of the paradoxical lifeform is equally satisfying, and if you didn't know the Angels were "costumed actors" then you could have thought that CGI had been used.
Truly magnificent, truly scary.
In holding the episode together, actress Carey Mulligan (as Sally Sparrow), has spurred fan-critics to speculate that she would be ideal as (the next or future) TARDIS companion. Mulligan's ease and conviction carried viewers through the "Scooby-Doo haunted house", scattered time messages and "monster threat".
Of course, it would not be DOCTOR WHO (whether CLASSIC or NEW SERIES) if the episode was not confettied with enigmatic or disparate dialogue. An eclectic collection that more often than not add little to the plot but contributes to the Doctor's backstory. Such as:
The Doctor: I've got a complex life. Things sometimes don't happen to me in the right order. I'm rubbish at weddings, especially my own.
Or the conversational bizarre:
The Doctor: Time Travel without a capsule, nasty. Catch you breath, don't go swimming for half an hour.
The Doctor (about the concept of Time): People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect... but actually, from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint. It's more like a big ball of wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey stuff.
Without such didactic and ephemeral script inclusions DOCTOR WHO would not be the series it is (and was).
The enthralling climatic denouement within the TARDIS is a roller coaster of portent, exquisitely directed and passionately scored (by the ever-present Murray Gold), that demonstrates the strength of the series to draw on talent & professionalism.
This a movie script distilled and crafted (not only evocative & taut direction from Hettie MacDonald but superb photography and film editing) as a 45 minute television drama that could have been broadcast at a nine o'clock prime time slot, drawing in ten million plus viewers.
Potentially, BLINK could be "the programme of the 2007", and its only June.