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|“||You all think I'm crazy? Well that's fine by me!||„|
|~ Dr. Blair|
|“||I don't want to stay out here.||„|
|~ "Blair" asking to be released from his confines|
Doctor Blair is the secondary antagonist of John W. Campbell's 1938 horror novel, Who Goes There?, and John Carpenter's 1982 horror film, The Thing. He serves as the senior biologist in a research facility in remote Antarctica that is overtaken by a shapeshifting monster. He is the final, and most aggressive incarnation of the Thing.
He is portrayed by the late Wilford Brimley.
Blair performs an autopsy on a stray dog that was placed in the base's kennel after it transforms into a hulking abomination and attacks the other dogs. After MacReady and Childs incinerate it with flamethrowers, Blair finishes his autopsy and finds relatively normal signs of dog anatomy, and concludes that the Thing is capable of imitating its hosts down to a cellular level. He accuses Clark of being an alien, as he was alone with the dog for over an hour, giving it ample time to duplicate him.
Later, Blair calculates that if the Thing is exposed to a civilian population, the entire planet will succumb to it's infection in only 27,000 hours. Alarmed, Blair kills the remaining dogs that were in the kennel with an axe to ensure they were not infected. He then shoots at the crew while destroying the vehicles and radio communication systems, effectively quarantining the crew to the base. Blair attempts to hack MacReady in the face with the axe but is subdued and locked in a closet.
After Norris is revealed to be an alien, he kills Doctor Copper and is incinerated by MacReady, the latter goes to check on Blair, who is calmly eating next to a noose and asked by MacReady if he's seen the now missing Fuchs. Blair says he hasn't but asks to be released, promising that he no longer wants to harm anyone. MacReady does not listen and leaves him in the closet before finding Fuchs dead.
Palmer is revealed to be the final Thing and kills Windows before being killed. The remaining Garry, Childs, MacReady, and Nauls have all been verified to be human, and leave to go get Blair out of the closet, but find him gone. Childs allegedly sees Blair in the storm and goes to chase him while Nauls, Garry, and MacReady investigate a tunnel under the cabin created by Blair to escape. They discover Blair had constructed a UFO to escape the base as Blair deactivates the generator, causing a power outage.
MacReady, Nauls, and Garry begin blowing the base up, starting with the UFO, to ensure Blair does not escape. While setting dynamite, Garry is killed by Blair, who chokes him to death with his bare hands and drags his corpse away. Nauls catches a glimpse of Garry being moved and goes to help. Nauls is never seen again, and is presumably murdered by Blair. MacReady, now alone, prepares to activate the dynamite, assuming he is the only person still alive.
At this point, Blair transforms into a large, amorphous monstrosity, revealing that the real Blair is dead and "Blair" has been the Thing in disguise, and disposes of the detonator before charging at MacReady who throws a stick of dynamite at him, presumably killing him and ending Blair's reign of terror.
MacReady goes outside and sits in the snow when Childs mysteriously reappears and asks if anyone else survived, to which MacReady declines. MacReady notes that Childs's earring is missing and recalls how the Thing cannot reproduce inorganic matter, e.g. jewelry, strongly implying that Childs was killed, assimilated, and duplicated during Blair's killing spree. However, MacReady, severely weakened by the cold and exhaustion, expresses how he is in no shape to fight off Childs, should he be an alien, and shares a bottle of scotch with him as the film ends.
- He is portrayed by the late Wilford Brimley who also portrayed Bill DeVasher.
- It remains a mystery as to exactly when Blair was killed and replaced by the Thing, although several theories exist:
- The most popular and plausible theory is that Blair was attacked by Norris while being locked in the closet—shortly before or after Fuchs was killed. This has been called into question as the door was locked when MacReady checked on Blair, meaning the Thing would have re-locked itself inside the cabin.
- Another less popular, but still prominent theory is that he was attacked by Palmer before he destroyed the communication and escape devices, although this has been called into question as to why the Thing would do this, as it is counter-productive to it's agenda to assimilate everyone.
- Another possibility is that Blair was the real first victim of the Thing while it was posing as Lars' dog. However, it has been widely accepted that the first victim was actually Palmer. It would also raise the question as to why Blair would have been researching the Thing's life cycle if he already knew.
- The comic and novel take away the ambiguity surrounding Nauls's fate. Here, he is shown during Blair's final confrontation with MacReady. After Nauls chases Blair and Garry, he reappears when Blair attacks MacReady, pleading for help as he is absorbed into Blair's monster form's body.