The one that that plays Nobody Here but Us Statues for horror.
Written by Steven Moffat.
This Doctor-lite episode was based on a short story written by Moffat for the 2006 Doctor Who Annual, titled "'What I Did On My Christmas Holidays', by Sally Sparrow".
Young photographer Sally Sparrow breaks into an old house called Wester Drumlins, and takes photos of fallen chandeliers and moss growing in fireplaces. Entering a room, she sees peeling wallpaper and the letters "BE" exposed underneath. She pulls back the corner and finds the whole message: "BEWARE OF THE WEEPING ANGELS". She tears off more wallpaper, revealing a message telling her to beware of the Weeping Angels, and telling her to "duck, Sally Sparrow." It is only when she reveals the words "duck now" that she actually does so, narrowly avoiding a rock that would have hit her head. She looks out the window, from where the rock was thrown and sees the statue of an angel with its hands covering its eyes. She peels the rest of the wallpaper off to reveal the writer of the message "Love from the Doctor, 1969."
Sally appears to return home, looking into her living room; there are numerous televisions; they show the Doctor, although, on one screen, Martha Jones is butting into the scene. The Doctor is speaking to an audience, telling them not to turn away, not to look away, and not to blink. "Blink and you're dead." Sally calls her best friend Kathy Nightingale, despite the late hour; she answers, groggily, but refuses to leave her home.
It's then revealed that Sally is in Kathy's home, having been given a key. Annoyed, Kathy gets ready to greet her friend; however, upon hearing the toilet flush, Kathy asks if Sally has met her brother, warning her that she's about to. Sally turns to the hall to see Kathy's naked brother, Larry, who desperately hopes he's wearing pants. Kathy walks in, shouting at Larry to get to bed; she then notices Sally isn't concerned by this, asking her what's wrong.
The next morning, Kathy and Sally return to the house; Kathy has a laugh that they are acting like detectives, "Sparrow and Nightingale". Sally shows Kathy the message on the wall and the Weeping Angel, but thinks it is now closer to the house than before. Someone rings the doorbell; Sally answers it, and Kathy waits in the room where the writing on the wall is, "in case of incidents". Sally answers the door to discover a man who is looking for her. He says that he was told to come to this place on this exact date at this exact time and give Sally Sparrow a letter. As Kathy spies on the conversation from behind a door, she fails to notice the Weeping Angel advancing on her whenever it isn't in sight; lowering its hands from its eyes, creeping into the room and upon Kathy from behind.
When Sally asks the mystery man who sent him, he reveals that he was sent by his grandmother, Katherine Wainwright. Although, she's specified that he add that prior to marriage, she was known as Kathy Nightingale. At that moment, the door to the room Kathy is in slams shut. Sally calls to Kathy, which the man assumes is her wondering if he said the right name; he restates her full name, Katherine Constello Nightingale, as confirmation. Sally presumes she has figured out the joke and calls for her friend, but Kathy does not answer. When she goes back into the room where she left her, Kathy has completely vanished, and the Angel is back in its original spot and position outside.
Meanwhile, Kathy gets up in a field and asks a local farmer, Ben, where she is. He replies that she is in Hull, but she refuses to believe it until he shows her the local newspaper, which not only confirms her location but also shows the year to be 1920.
At Wester Drumlins, the man has become upset; he promised to fulfill this task for his grandmother, Kathy Wainwright, who died in 1987. This persuades Sally to take the letter, who reads it; this man is indeed Kathy's grandson, who swore to fulfil her last request. In anger, believing it to be a sick joke, Sally flings down the letter and heads upstairs, only to find three more Weeping Angels. One of them has a key hanging from a string in its hand. She takes it and heads out, only to find Kathy's grandson leaving with his promise fulfilled, the envelope and its contents sitting on the banister. As Sally leaves, she fails to notice the Angels watching her from the windows.
In a coffee shop, Sally reads the letter fully, learning Kathy led a full and happy life with Ben, the first person she met in Hull, and had a family. She includes photographs of her and her children (with her daughter named after Sally), and grandchildren. Sally reads Kathy's joke about living to an exceptionally old age and her request to tell Larry, who works at a local DVD shop; her parents are gone by this time, so he's really her only close family. After visiting Kathy's grave ("You told him you were eighteen? You lying cow!"), Sally heads out to fulfill Kathy's last request and convey her love to Larry. Sally fails to notice one of the Angels from Wester Drumlins spying on her in the graveyard.
When Sally gets to the DVD shop, she goes into the back to find Larry. She sees the man with glasses who gave her the blinking warning on a TV. Larry explains that the man is an Easter egg found on seventeen DVDs and no one, not even the manufacturers or the publishers, know how it got there, and he and his friends have dissected every line looking for answers. As they are talking, the DVD keeps un-pausing itself, and the Doctor says random phrases, one of which shockingly fits with something Sally commented. In the end, Larry gives her a list of the seventeen DVDs that have the Easter egg on them. She leaves the shop, having gotten an idea from a comment said by Larry's co-worker (Go to the police, you stupid woman! Why does nobody ever just go to the police?). Sally is startled, but relaxes when she sees that he's watching a B-Movie.
This explicit Lampshade Hanging leads her to take the counter-jockey's inadvertent advice, and Sally heads over to the police station. While waiting, she sees two of the Angels on the church across the street. Watching them, she blinks and they have disappeared. She doesn't see that they are now beside the window she is looking out of. She then meets DI Billy Shipton. He shows her a collection of cars with something strange in common: all of them were found outside the Wester Drumlins house (some with their engines still running), and all of their owners vanished without a trace. The prize of the collection is an imitation police box built entirely to scale which nobody can manage to open despite having an ordinary Yale lock (they know it's fake because the phone's just a dummy and the windows are the wrong size).
Sally responds to Billy's come-ons by giving him her phone number "Just a phone number" and then leaves. Billy turns back to the garage to find it infested with four Weeping Angels, one of which is trying to open the door of the TARDIS. The camera zooms in on his face until he blinks, at which point he disappears.
When Billy opens his eyes again, he's in a back alleyway, where he is promptly greeted by the Doctor and Martha, who have been waiting for him. They tell him that he's landed in 1969, having been sent back by the same Weeping Angel that sent them back. After the Doctor rambles a bit about the Weeping Angels ("the only psychopaths in the universe to kill you nicely"), he explains that they found him via a Timey Wimey detector which detects when someone comes from a different time, "and can cook an egg from 20 paces, whether you want it to or not."note The Doctor asks Billy to deliver a message to Sally Sparrow. Apologetically, he warns Billy that it's going to take him a while to send it.
In the present, Sally gets a phone call. She goes to the hospital, where Billy Shipton is now an elderly man on his deathbed. They have a laugh that Billy managed to marry a woman named Sally, who has already passed away. He then passes on the Doctor's message: "look at the list", the list being Larry's list of DVDs. Billy explains that after meeting the Doctor, he got into video publishing and eventually DVDs, putting the Doctor's Easter egg on the seventeen DVDs. He also says that she will understand one day why those specific 17 DVDs were picked... but that he won't, because the Doctor told him that this will be their last meeting and that he will die when the rain stops. Billy goes on to explain that he could have contacted her before tonight, but the Doctor advised him against it because the resulting temporal paradox could have severely damaged the universe. She decides to stay with him until the end.
After Billy dies, Sally, still at the hospital, has a realization and leaves, calling Larry to tell him what the DVDs have in common: they're all the DVDs she owns. Larry is incredulous to learn that Sally only owns 17 DVDs, but quickly agrees to meet Sally at Wester Drumlins, along with a DVD which has the Easter Egg.
At Wester Drumlins they set up a portable DVD player and, on noticing an Angel in the garden, Sally tells Larry to keep an eye on it. The following sequence is one of the biggest Time Paradox Mind Screws you will ever encounter, with Sally and the Doctor carrying on an extended conversation even though the Doctor is speaking to a video camera thirty-eight years in the past.
Realising this, Sally thinks he can hear them, but Larry explains that he always says it and that he has a transcript of the Easter egg with him. As the Doctor gives his message, everything Sally says seems to fit in, so Larry, now very excited, begins to add her words to the transcript.
The Doctor mentions that he has a copy of the transcript on his autocue, which is how he knows everything Sally is saying. He warns of creatures from another world, the "Lonely Assassins", aka the Weeping Angels. They are incredibly fast, and they can send people back in time, feeding off the days a person might have spent in the present while their victim dies in the past, which is how he and Martha have gotten stuck in 1969. These aliens have a unique defence mechanism: they are "quantum locked"; they do not exist when they are being watched. If any living thing looks at the Angels, they immediately turn to stone until they are no longer looked at. This explains the "weeping"; they cannot look at each other since it has the same effect. Since a statue can't look away or blink, the Angels who see each other never move again. Right now, the Angels have the phone box, and if they can get in it, they'll be able to feed on the time energy inside... and do enough damage to switch off the Sun. Sally has the key, so it's up to her to open the TARDIS first and send it back to the Doctor in 1969. When she asks how, he states that he has run out of transcript:
It is at this moment, of course, that Sally and Larry realise that they've been so focused on getting the transcript down that neither of them has been looking at the Angel in the garden. After a moment's pause, they look up to see it standing only a few metres away, poised to attack. Sally goes to look for an exit, leaving Larry to stare at the Angel. The music gets more and more off-kilter as Larry stares at the Angel, trying not to blink. He slowly feels the need to. His eyes water either from strain or sheer terror, and he sobs a tearful "Oh god..." He looks away for a moment to call to Sally to hurry up, while also getting in a split-second blink, and when he looks back the Angel's hands are inches away from his neck.
Sally finds the TARDIS in the mansion's basement, and she and Larry make their way down the stairs. However, the Angels follow them, and one creates intervals of darkness for the Angels to move by feeding on the electricity powering the single lightbulb. Sally and Larry make it inside the TARDIS just as the Angels reach them.
They then discover that Larry's DVD functions as a TARDIS-activation key, slot it into the TARDIS' handy drive for a one way trip and then watch as the TARDIS dematerialises without them. The Angels have surrounded the TARDIS by this point, and when it disappears they're stuck looking at each other forever. Whoops.
One year later, Sally and Larry now run an antiquarian book and rare DVD shop named "Sparrow and Nightingale", which Sally insists is all there is between them, at least partly because she's too focused on investigating what happened to them.
Then a cab pulls up, and the Doctor and Martha get out, with Martha carrying a quiver of arrows, and the Doctor carrying a bow. They are in a hurry to deal with, well, four things and a lizard. Neither the Doctor nor Martha recognises Sally, which leads her to realise that for them, the events of the episode haven't taken place yet. She also realises that the folder containing Larry's complete transcript of the conversation and various other details regarding the "Weeping Angels" affair is the source of the Doctor's knowledge about the incident. She gives the Doctor the folder, and tells him to use it the next time he gets trapped in 1969.
Larry walks up just in time to see Martha and the Doctor off. Then he and Sally walk back into the store, their clasped hands hinting that they are about to have a Relationship Upgrade. Then the camera lazily travels upwards... and halts on a statue on the roof above. The scene shifts to a montage across the public statuary all over London, punctuated with the Doctor's recorded warnings, warning us that there might be other Angels lurking among the statues...
- Action Survivor: Sally, and, to a lesser extent, Larry, are garden variety muggles. They learn how to deal with "the Lonely Assassins" by staying just one step ahead of them.
- Alliterative Name: Sally Sparrow.
- And I Must Scream: The ultimate fate of the Angels; by staring at each other they are forever trapped in stone.
- Animal Theme Naming: Sparrow and Nightingale is it any wonder they get together in the end?
- Buffy Speak:
- "[Time is] more like a big ball of wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey... stuff... it sort of got away from me, yeah."
- "This is my Timey Wimey Detector. It goes 'ding' when there's stuff."
- Chekhov's Gun: The DVD list Larry gives to Sally becomes a clue to the mystery.
- Comically Missing the Point:Sally Sparrow: [on realising the Doctor was speaking to her through the DVDs] The 17 DVDs, they're all the DVDs I own. The Easter egg was intended for me.
Larry Nightingale: ... You've only got 17 DVDs?
- Creepy Changing Painting: The Angels change positions when you're not looking. (Yes, you!) It's played for Paranoia Fuel initially, then for several Jump Scare moments.
- Dangerous Key Fumble: Sally takes dangerously long to open the door to the TARDIS while the Angels are approaching.
- Determined Expression: Done mostly through body language, when Sally gets dangerous.
- Duck!: A hidden message from the past telling the reader to "Beware the Weeping Angel" and "Duck. No, really, duck!"
- Easter Egg: An in-universe example. The Doctor's half-a-conversation is a "phantom easter egg" on 17 DVDs. It's also been Defictionalized the Doctor's half of the conversation really is an Easter egg on the Series 3 DVDs.
- Fan Disservice: Larry Nightingale, a very hairy guy walking around naked.
- Fanservice: On the other hand, Larry Nightingale, a very hairy guy walking around naked.
- The Film of the Book: "Blink" is based on Moffat's short story and shares several common elements; the heroine in both is Sally Sparrow (though the story's Sally is somewhat younger), there are elements of finding messages left by the Ninth Doctor trapped in the 1960s behind peeling wallpaper, and concludes with Sally finding a video tape, having a similarly strange conversation with the Doctor through the tape, and eventually helping to reunite him with the TARDIS. Fortunately, the story lacked much of the terror that "Blink" had involving the Weeping Angels and being sent back through time.
- The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You: The Angels can't move when anyone is looking at them. This includes the audience. And then, the episode ends on the Doctor's warning about the Angels, with a montage implying that every statue ever is an Angel...
- Freudian Slip:Billy Shipton: And that's Sally...?
Sally Sparrow: Sally Shipton. SPARROW! Sally Sparrow!
- Fun T-Shirt: Larry has a T-shirt with "The Angels Have the Phone Box" on it. You can get one too.
- Gambit Roulette: Subverted. From Sally's perspective the Doctor's plan relies on insane guesswork, but by the time it's over you can clearly see how he pulled it all off. After all, he has a record of the entire incident given to him by Sally herself. It's timey-wimey, you know.
- Get Back to the Future: From the Doctor's and Martha's perspective, this is the plot of the episode. They're stuck in 1969 and need their time machine back.
- Hologram Projection Imperfection: The hologram of the Doctor inside the TARDIS flickers.
- I Gave My Word: Kathy's grandson clearly makes a big deal out of the promise he made to her, despite having no idea why she asked this (and being royally confused by the result).
- Invincible Boogeymen: The Weeping Angels - not only indestructible in their stone state, but when nobody's looking at them, they move too quickly to be attacked; all it takes is one blink at the wrong time, and you're dead.
- Ironic Echo: Billy, meeting Sally as a young man, tells her "life is short and you are hot". Later, bidding her farewell as an old man, he tells her "life is long and you are hot".
- Just Friends: Sally states that this is all there is between her and Larry. This lasts one scene.
- Just Ignore It: Inverted. If you ignore a Weeping Angel, you will soon find yourself in the past.
- Just Smile and Nod: Martha says this is the right way to behave around the Doctor: just nod every time he takes a breath.
- Leaning on the Fourth Wall: "Go to the police, you stupid woman! Why does nobody ever just go to the police?" Everyone's talking to Sally, even if they're talking to a TV screen or out of a TV screen.
- Let's Get Dangerous!: Sally after Billy dies of old age. Even the music gears up as she goes into Determinator Mode.
- Light-Flicker Teleportation: Invoked by a Weeping Angel in the cellar with the flickering lightbulb. Sally and Larry can't see them in the dark.
- Lower-Deck Episode: Like "Love & Monsters", this episode focuses on Muggles on the edges of the Doctor's world, with the Doctor only able to offer them advice from a distance.
- Memetic Mutation: In-Universe with "The Angels have the phone box". This later caught on in Real Life, Just as Planned.note
- Metaphorgotten: The Doctor attempting to explain how time is not linear, but is more like a ball. It gets away from him.
- Mind Screw:
- The Doctor only knows what to do because Sally gave him a folder with instructions, but Sally only created that folder because the Doctor set everything up. Try not to go cross-eyed.
- A later story reveals that "that which holds the image of an Angel becomes itself an Angel". With it now on DVD, how many times do they show the Angels in the episode?
- Mistaken for Granite: The Weeping Angels are initially thought to be just statues.
- Naked First Impression: Larry Nightingale, for Sally Sparrow. He wasn't aware that he wasn't wearing pants.
- Naked People Are Funny: When Sally and Larry meet again the next day, he barely remembers the incident. But as soon as he recognizes her, his first instinct is to cover his crotch... despite being fully clothed this time.
- Newspaper Dating: Kathy finds out that she's in 1920 by picking up a newspaper. It was either that or ask the guy that was obnoxiously following her.
- Noodle Implements: Said while carrying a bow and arrow:The Doctor: Things happening. Well... four things. Well... four things, and a lizard.
- Noodle Incident:
- We never learn what the four things and the lizard are, and it isn't a reference to another episode. All we know is that "hatching" was involved.
- It may be the time the Doctor was hunting in Belgium for Charlemagne, who'd been kidnapped by an insane computer (the Doctor has the same bow there in the flashback!), but that is also a noodle incident.
- We never find out exactly how the Doctor and Martha got stranded in the past as part of the Angels' plan to get the phonebox.
- We never find out what the Doctor and Martha were doing in 2007, considering that (from a linear, subjective viewpoint) Martha first met the Doctor in 2008. This means there were two Marthas in London simultaneously, putting her at risk of the Blinovitch Limitation Effect.
- We never learn what the four things and the lizard are, and it isn't a reference to another episode. All we know is that "hatching" was involved.
- Nothing Is Scarier: We never actually see an Angel send anyone back in time. We only see the people they've sent back after they've been sent back. In part this is because of the fourth wall-breaking nature of the Angels' portrayal (see Paranoia Fuel on the YMMV page), but in part it's because imagining them creeping up on you is much scarier.
- Oh, Crap!:
- "Why's it pointing at the..." [lightbulb flickers] "light?"
- Also:Sally: You're not looking at the statue.
Larry: Neither are you.
- Once More, with Clarity!: The Easter Egg, for Sally and Larry. It makes more sense the second time.
- One-Word Title: Don't "Blink"!
- Plot Coupon: The DVD is actually an authorized control disk for the TARDIS.
- Public Secret Message: The DVD Easter egg is on 17 DVDs.
- Really 17 Years Old: Once she ends up in 1920, Kathy claims to have been born in 1902. Sally makes it clear to the audience that Kathy wasn't really eighteen.
- Recurring Camera Shot: Three times in the episode there is a slow zoom-in on someone's face followed by a close-up on their eyes as they blink. The first is Sally looking at the Angels from the police station and opening her eyes to find they've disappeared, the second is Billy Shipton looking at the Angels before being disappeared to the 1960s, and the third is Larry desperately trying to resist blinking, though he actually survives.
- Red Shirt: Kathy literally wears one while rooting around with Sally, although she's not killed outright, just time displaced.
- Scare Chord: Used whenever the Angels are in close-up.
- Screen Shake: To create the effect of the Angels rocking the TARDIS, Carey Mulligan and Finlay Robertson threw themselves around the ship's set. The camera's operator then shook the camera in the opposite direction.
- "You live in Scooby-Doo's house."
- Also someone getting stuck in the past and arranging for a message to be delivered to a friend at the location and time when they disappeared. Which Gary Sparrow ended up doing in Goodnight Sweetheart.
- "How did I get here?" "Same way we did! Touch of an angel!"
- The object right in front of the camera the first time Sally goes into the back of the DVD shop looks like the Owlship.
- The Slow Path: The Weeping Angels' favoured killing/eating method makes people do this. It particularly applies to Billy, who has to return to 2007 this way to deliver a message to Sally in order to resolve the time loop; the Doctor explicitly tells him that he would normally offer him a ride home, but can't in this case. He also apologizes that it's going to take Billy a while to pass the message up to Sally. Billy is reunited with Sally on his deathbed as an old man, from her perspective around an hour after they first met."It was raining when we met."
"It's the same rain."
- Stable Time Loop: The episode revolves around creating one of these. The only reason that the Doctor can do all that stuff with the DVDs is because Sally gave him a record of the incident one year after it was over. This makes the ending a Foregone Conclusion. Doesn't make it any less terrifying.
- Stalking Is Love: Ben is the first person Kathy sees when she gets sent back to 1920; they later get married.Kathy: Are you following me?
Kathy: Are you going to stop following me?
Ben: No, I don't think so.
- Take That!: When entering Wester Drumlins for the first time, Sally and Kathy suggest names for their little "investigation team". When Kathy comes up with "Sparrow and Nightingale", Sally dismisses it as a bit too ITV. This doesn't stop Sally and Larry from using it as the name of their shop.
- The Tape Knew You Would Say That: Twice.
- Accidentally at first.The Doctor: ... it's more like a big ball of wibbly-wobbly... timey-wimey... stuff...
Sally: Started well, that sentence.
The Doctor: It... got away from me, yeah...
Sally: 'Kay, that was weird. Like you can hear me.
The Doctor: Well, I can hear you.
Sally: Okay, that's enough!
- Then what it was supposed to mean.The Doctor: ... it's more like a big ball of wibbly-wobbly... timey-wimey... stuff...
Sally: Yeah, I've seen this bit before. You said that sentence got away from you.
The Doctor: It... got away from me, yeah...
Sally: Next thing you're going to say is, "Well, I can hear you."
The Doctor: Well, I can hear you.
Sally: This is impossible!
- Accidentally at first.
- Temporal Paradox: Of the ontological variety: Sally gets the DVDs with the Doctor on them, which prompts her to go to the police, causing her to meet Billy Shipton, who ends up getting taken back in time by the Weeping Angels as a direct result of meeting Sally, causing him to meet the Doctor and record the DVDs that Sally finds in the future; from a linear, subjective viewpoint, there's no way that the first set of DVDs that Sally acquired could ever have come into existence. Similarly, the transcript that Larry makes of Sally answering The Doctor on the DVDs is later given to the Doctor by Sally when they meet in person for the first time, which is how he knew what her half of the conversation would be when recording the DVDs in the first place, meaning that the transcript is also part of the paradox. However, if looked at from a non-linear, objective viewpoint (like that of the Doctor), everything makes perfect sense.
- That Was the Last Entry: "And that's it, I'm afraid. There's no more from you on the transcript, that's the last I've got. I don't know what stopped you talking but I can guess. They're coming. The Angels are coming for you, but listen your life could depend on this don't blink. Don't even blink. Blink and you're dead. They are fast, faster than you could believe. Don't turn your back, don't look away and don't blink. [beat] Good luck."
- Time-Shifted Actor: Billy Shipton is played by Michael Obiora (young) and Louis Mahoney (old). It was planned for Michael to play both versions, but he didn't look convincing in old-age makeup. After Mahoney was cast, all of young Billy's lines were redubbed so both versions would have Mahoney's Gambian accent.
- Timey-Wimey Ball: Averted, despite being the Trope Namer. The timeline for this episode, despite being circular, is relatively organised. The only real issue is that there's no way from a linear, subjective viewpoint to enter the circle in the first place. If you take a non-linear and non-subjective viewpoint, then it will make sense.The Doctor: 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.
- Trapped in the Past: Happens to the Doctor and Martha, as well as Kathy and Billy.
- Travelling at the Speed of Plot: For all the hype about the Angels being extremely fast, they sure can take their time sneaking up on people when no-one (including the audience) is watching. Some of it could be explained by the fact that the Angels like to mess with their victims.
- Sally spies two of the Angels on a church across the street and one blink allows them to cross the entire distance.
- During Sally's conversation with the Doctor on the DVD, both she and Lawrence spend a good bit of time not watching the Angel in the garden, only to look up and find that it has just come in the room.
- The amount of time the two take to run towards and unlock the TARDIS after the lights start going out. The Angels should have logically got them within seconds. Though if the No Fourth Wall is any indication, the fact the viewers were able to see the Angels in the dark was what saved our heroes.
- What Do You Mean, It's Not Political?: Parodied in-universe, with a spin on It Makes Sense in Context.Sally: How can you know what I'm gonna say?
The Doctor: Look to your left.
[Sally looks to her left, and sees Larry transcribing everything she says]
Larry: What does he mean by "look to your left"? I've written tons about that on the forums. I think it's a political statement. [clicks pen]
Sally: He means you.
- Write Back to the Future: Kathy, pushed back to 1920 from 2007, writes a letter to Sally and her brother and entrusts it to her grandson to deliver.