Monday, 15 April 2013

Review: Doctor Who 3.10: Blink

Carey faces the angels.
Doctor Who - Season 29, Episode Ten - Blink
Written 3/3/13

"Moffat!" I scream as I shake my fist into the sky. It's arguable that Blink is the story which won Moffat the role of showrunner, mainly because it's often voted one of the best stories in the history of the program. The love for Blink is immense from all corners - the public loved it, most of the fans love it, and it's won enough awards to make sure that it got the praise many felt it deserved. And, weirdly enough for a Doctor-lite story, it's a story often used to introduce new people to the show. I, however, am deeply conflicted as to whether Blink really does deserve its lauded reputation - mainly, of course, due to certain aspects of Moffat's writing.
     The story is an adaptation of one of Moffat's short stories from the 2006 Annual, "What I Did On My Holidays By Sally Sparrow." Here the pre-teen protagonist is sexed up a bit into the shape of at-the-time-up-and-coming actress Carey Mulligan. While investigating a spooky house, her friend Kathy (Lucy Gaskell) ends up being zapped back in time by the Weeping Angels. After the same thing happens to flirty police officer Billy Shipton (Michael Obiora), Sally discovers via Kathy's brother Larry that The Doctor has been trying to communicate with her via DVD easter-egg from 1969, where he and Martha are trapped. Following his instructions, she manages to send the TARDIS back in time and temporarily trap the Weeping Angels in the house. They then give info on the event to a time-travelling Doctor from before the events of the episode.
     Carey Mulligan's Sally Sparrow exudes a great deal of charm and she's an identifiable audience figure, but I really think this is more her acting than the script, which gives her rather blandly "weird" statements that don't really form cogent characterisations. Certain events, like Larry first meeting Sally while nude, feel like they've come straight out of a sitcom, and the characterisations reflect that. Sally is a hipster who thinks "Sad is happy for deep people" and takes pictures of abandoned buildings, whereas Larry is a harsh parody of Doctor Who fans that feels like a very bitter jab on Moffat's part.
Billy Shipton took the slow path.
    And that's the reason why it just doesn't feel as frightening or as wonderous to me as it does to others. I mean, I absolutely love the timey-wimey plot (and this is the origin of that term) and I think it's very well crafted, technically speaking. But when I watch, I can't help but see Sally and Larry as archetypes rather than people. There's nothing about Sally Sparrow that suggests to me that she's at all real - she doesn't seem to have a job, she doesn't have any family, and she has enough free time to go around taking photos of abandoned buildings on weekdays. 
     Now I'm not going to be mad enough to say that I think that Blink is bad, because it's not - as a piece of horror drama it's been shown that it scares the pants off of most people. But the gimmicky nature of the villain and the archetype-stuffed cast means that despite all of the love that people have for it, I just don't find it very memorable. It's nothing personal, just a simple matter of taste - Blink isn't my kind of Doctor Who. And, given what I've said on this blog about the parts of Who I have ended up liking, that shouldn't come as a massive surprise.

Thanks.

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