Doctor Doctor Who Guide

Season 3 has been a bit of a let-down for me.

Except for 'Gridlock' and the excellent 'Human Nature/The Family of Blood' two-parter, Season 3 has been fairly disappointing. This is particularly galling because I had high hopes for season 3, what with new blood (coming in the shapely form of Freema). Season 3, I thought, would be the beginning of something wonderful.

Then came 'Mr. Smith and Jones'. Why, Russell, why?

The opening episode was dull, easily the weakest of the opening episodes for the current series. The Judoon were an awesome concept that turned on its head, and the less said about the MRI-bomb-thingy, the better. It would only become worse. The rather fetching Freema Agyeman as the Doctor's latest companion is nothing special, which I mostly blame on the writers: either she is a screaming nitwit or pining after the Doctor in not-so-obvious ways. The idea of having the relationship between the Doctor and Martha be more as a rebound/forlorn love is in concept do-able but in practice simply gets really old really fast. So far only in Paul Cornell's two-parter has there really been even a real exploration into her character and background, namely dealing with her race (and why not? After all, being a time traveller means that eventually Martha will be exploring times on Earth when difference in race was not so tolerated. Though I hope it doesn't become her defining characteristic - that too will become annoying very fast). 'Gridlock' was a grateful reprieve, and 'Human Nature/The Family of Blood' made me believe that perhaps Season 3 was not entirely doomed. But the in-between episodes left me feeling very cold and lonely in the Box of Hope. Then I saw that Stephen Moffat was writing the next episode, and my hopes rose.

They haven't been dashed.

They just exploded out of pure delight. (Possibly orgasmic; a gentleman never tells.)

'Blink' is hands-down the best episode out of the current series that doesn't have the Doctor as the main character. I'm even going as far to say the best single episode this current season. It has it all - time paradoxes, romance, the Doctor at his most entertaining, even more romance, loads and loads of humour and oh-my-god horror. Never, NEVER have I been on the edge of my seat for a TV show. Never. 'Blink' changed that. The moment that Sally (is it curious that Moffat seems to have a penchant for women named Sally? There was one in Coupling. Anyway...) enters the house and I saw the angel I thought, 'Oh my God.' And then she was walking away and its face was open and I thought, 'Oh dear Lord.' I only caught my breath when I heard the theme music, because surely she wouldn't die now! (Not unless Moffat manages to destroy the sacrosanctness of the title!...interesting idea) I was on the edge of my seat (quite literally) and thinking this is awesome.

And it continued to be awesome. When Sally's friend was alternately looking back at the angel and watching Sally talk with her as-yet-unknown descendant I was fairly near screaming 'Run away you mad woman!' Alas she did not. Though it IS happy that she had a great time, even in the past. Poor girl.

The Detective Inspector was fantastic. Oh man, I was so sorry to see him be 'Blink'-ed, because I thought, I can't get enough of this man. He's zany. Even as an old man he's worth a good long chuckle or too.

Which, I add now, is one of the greatest strengths of this episode, and Moffat in general. These characters, even the small ones, live and breathe in a way that just doesn't happen in the other episodes. They're funny and captivating and genuinely intriguing, and you are actually sorry for them to go. Can you say that about Lazlo and Tallulah, or Mr/Ms/Mrs. Generic Character that populate the Who-vian world, and who are useful as corpses (or, more likely, floating atoms) solely?

(The line 'Why does nobody ever go to the police?' is brilliant, by the way. A very effective way of both furthering the story and getting a genuinely niggling problem out of the way.)

The use of the easter egg DVD is top-notch, and genuinely inventive. The way how time, all 'wibbly wobbly' as the Doctor babbles, connects is both intriguing and frankly welcome (Wikipedia states that these are predestination paradox as well as an ontological paradox. I'll go with "big ball of wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey stuff", thank you very much.). Come on, this is a show about TIME-TRAVEL, some stuff to do with time paradoxes and exploring time as an issue for episodes is actually interesting! Hopefully this will lead the way for future writers to do a bit more on this.

'You're not looking at the Angel.' 'Neither are you.' - these two predictable (and very entertaining lines) lead to some of the tensest moments in Season 3 history, nevermind series, and it's all having to do with simply staring. How absolutely fantastic is that? The Weeping Angels' change from scary-gothic-morbid to scary-they're-going-to-eat-me left me with chills. Top props to the art department, they really got these down. I was biting on my fingernails as it looked like Lawrence (or is it Laurence?) was about to bite it. This time I actually spoke to the television: 'For god's sake Sally, stop being a twit and get back to Lawrence, how long do you expect the boy, never mind a frightened boy, to stand staring at a thing of death without blinking?'

This too is a rarity. Speaking to the television, that is. Not that staring at a thing of death without blinking is a usual occurance.

I too was panicked as the Angels closed in and the light drifted on and off. It was a brilliant way to scare the living bejeezus out of the audience. And the way that the Doctor defeats them...classic! Especially since we think oh Hell, the two kids are going to bite the dust. The ending was nicely done, getting back into the whole time paradoxes and seeing some David Tennant at work (don't you just find that just even speaking he's entertaining? Ah well.) The only critique I have at all is the absolute end, the many shots of the different statues and monuments of London. Was it necessary? I mean, if it had been to a lone Weeping Angel, watching from a balcony, oh sure, that would've been a great ending and made a good, loopy sense. But this, this is ambiguous. Are they trying to say that all these statues are 'Weeping Angels', and all that keeps them from killing us all is because they're in public places? Or that these days will one day become the Weeping Angels that hunt the Doctor and Martha down? see, quite ambiguous, and I can't figure out for the life of me why. Yet it really really really doesn't matter. Because this was one helluva show and my faith in the Season, and Doctor Who, has been restored. Steven Moffat has saved the day, once again by producing another top-notch, high-quality episode. He keeps on getting better and better - 'The Doctor Dances' two-parter was good, 'The Girl in the Fireplace' is still one of my favorites, and 'Blink' has just been added onto that list as well. If the rest of the season is as good as this, then there is nothing to fear, nothing to fear at all.

(Then again, Davies wrote the next show, so perhaps we do have to fear something.)

I end this with an uber kudos to the team behind this episode. Hettie Macdonald's direction is no small part in making what may be the most classic Doctor Who episodes ever. The art department should be given medals - the angels were genuinely terrifying, and the set designs were spooky and decrepit and perfect. The actors and actresses must be accorded due honour for a fantastic performance, with Ms. Mulligan as Sally Sparrow getting a free spin in the Tardis for a job-well-done. The Doctor Who production team have outdone themselves again.

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