The Doctor and Donna are taking a bit of a break from their adventures and spending a bit of time on the planet Midnight. While Donna opts to spend a bit of time in the spa, the Doctor goes off on an all-day bus tour to the Sapphire Waterfall. Part way through the four hour journey to get there, the vehicle stops for no apparent reason. When they hear noise coming from outside the vehicle, panic begins to set in. When one of the passengers is taken over by the being, the passengers paranoia and fear know no bounds and the focus of their solution is to eliminate the Doctor. Written by
It would be hard to top the Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead duology with anything remotely similar, so it's probably a good thing that this episode went in an entirely different direction.
As opposed to vast, unearthly (CGI-generated) settings, almost the entire episode takes place in one small confined place, a tourist shuttle craft. This gives it almost the feeling of a stage play, and also a sense of claustrophobia that's very effective in enhancing the feeling of being trapped.
And as with a stage play, when you don't have elaborate sets and props to depend on for effect, it all comes down to acting, and the human factor - both of which are truly excellent in this episode. It's a very strongly character-driven story, and while the basic premise of small group of people trapped in a dangerous situation gradually turning against each other may have been done before (from Lord of the Flies on down through the movie Cube and many others), that doesn't lessen its impact, or change the fact that this is an extremely well-done rendition of that theme.
No, it's not standard Doctor Who fare - technology and aliens are decidedly second to human psychology here, and the Doctor for a change does not come across as all-knowing and able to handle anything. But that just makes it all the more effective.
All in all, a strong if atypical episode, and a nice break between Silence/Forest and the concluding three-episode story arc of the season.
24 of 28 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?