Monday, July 30, 2007

Blink - Doctor Who and the Existentialists


Don't blink. Blink and you're dead. Don't turn your back. Don't look away. And don't blink. image

 The first time I watched this stand-out episode from the latest season of the British children's science fiction programme Doctor Who, I didn't think  too much about philosophy.  I was far too busy consoling my terrified children.  For some reason weeping angels who send you back in time, ageing or killing your present-day self, were much, much scarier than Daleks or Cybermen.

The second time I saw Blink I couldn't understand how I missed the existential theme the first time around.

The episode's title - BLINK - as in " blink and life will pass you by" - is the first hint.

Then there are the experiences of the characters. After a visitation by the time-stealing angels, all that remains of Sally's friend Kathy are her remains in a graveyard. Billy, a young and sassy policemen, fares little better. One moment he is chatting up  Sally Sparrow with the immortal line

 Life is short and you are hot.

The next time we see  Billy, he is an old man in hospital, on the point of death. As he catches sight of young Sally he laments

Look at my hands. They're old man's hands -- how did that happen?

We know that Billy and Kathy's fate await us all - weeping angels are but an exaggeration of the human condition.

Generally Doctor Who reminds us of the downside of the immortality.  The Doctor lives for hundreds of years and regenerates when his old body gets damaged beyond repair. The Doctor can help us be aware of problems with life going on too long - boredom, too much knowledge, too many memories and the loss of loved ones being some afflictions associated with extreme longevity.

BLINK firmly reminds us of the opposite reality. Life is short - and we have no idea just how short. Life is short -so we need to make the most of it. Life is short - so treasure every moment. 

And remember:

Carpe Diem.

Gather ye rosebuds while ye may.

And - whatever you do - don't blink.



Blogger Dana said...

woa...I haven't thought about that..The best episode from de programme without a question...

7:42 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home