“Don’t turn your back. Don’t look away. And don’t…”
This is it. Blink is the alpha and omega for most modern TV fans and Doctor Who lovers alike. It contains most of the things the show is best known for: a unique sci-fi monster, a heartwarming sympathy for the human condition, and a whip-smart script. The one thing it (intentionally) doesn’t have much of is the Doctor and his companion. Due to budget and filming constraints, Steven Moffat was tasked with crafting an episode in the season that featured his stars as little as possible, and had some genius workarounds for such a problem. It doesn’t get enough credit for how incredibly unusual that is, and how entertaining the story remains without having them in every scene. Because of this, Blink is another high-water mark for one-shot characters, focusing on the iconic, spunky Sally Sparrow and a few memorable acquaintances around her. Yet again, the time-travel wrinkle is milked for maximum pathos and creativity (this hour is the source of the “timey-wimey ball” meme).
Meanwhile, the monster threat here has become famous for being legitimately unsettling, a very rare feat for this show. The Weeping Angels were the first hints of a particular fascination for Moffat – what I call ‘perception monsters’. He likes to make his extraterrestrial villains more fearsome by having them prey on some sort of sense, whether it be hearing or sight or touch or what have you. They follow obtuse rules of behavior to impose on the heroes and increase tension, and they’re usually highlights of his stories. It’s quite Doctor-esque for a show to scale such storytelling heights with so few resources, and Blink is breathlessly tense as a result.