The Doctor's 200th story is brilliant. Absoltely brilliant.
Midnight, whilst not in my top 5 episodes of the show, is still, for me, the most perfect singular episode of the series, of NuWho at least.
Russell T. Davis wrote this episode in a weekend, after deciding Stephen Greenhorn's episode was too similar to a previous ep. And so began an awesome adventure.
Humanity was the real monster in this story. An enemy that rocks The Doctor to the core. For (possibly) the first time, The Doctor's main weapon, his own defence is stolen from and used against him; his speech. It's the most powerless I've seen the character. Here, all of the character's true nature is revealed through an impossible situation, and the Doctor's own arrogance is displayed and deployed against him, almost killing himself in the process. His natural dominance over "thick humans" has been evident throughout the show, and this is one of the best examples of the dangers of this. Once the Doctor is pitted against true humanity, those he self-proposed to always protect, he's powerless and in serious danger. It examines various themes of humanity, arrogance, nature, fear, paranoia and power.
Midnight was also an episode that worked on a limited budget. The fear that leads to paranoia, writhes in the atmosphere and ploughs it's way into the minds of the "thick humans". This is evident, that even those that stood with him, ultimately could not fight their nature and the extreme paranoia that infested them, as seen with Jethro and DeeDee, until ultimately he was on his own.
As best of an example of the paranoia, is the Hostess. "Throw her out" she whispers at Skye, as The Doctor cries "insanity!" This invades the minds of the paranoid humans, seen mostly with the mother who is at the most vulnerable and fearful. And soon, before they know it, they've decided to kill. As the Doctor takes leadership and screams "no-one is getting thrown out" his own presence becomes an enemy as the humans act against him too. As the entity infects the Doctor, it's apparent to the humans that he was the enemy all too well, and the act of murder had never seemed easier. Notice how neither Jethro or DeeDee attempt to stop them, other than cry to themselves.
This whole exploration of our own species, told in a meagre 42 minutes, was quite restrained in it's execution. Never in th script did it feel out of place or random, just a story well told.
At the conclusion, the Doctor's voice saves him once more, as the Hostess regains clarity and sacrifices herself and Skye Silvestri in a brief moment of redemption.
And no-one knew her name.
The cast in this episode were phenomenal.
Lesley Sharp as Skye, after invasion, was as creepy and as subtle as the writing. Her transition from a stuffy, hostile human, into an animalistic, hostile entity was terrific. Creepy and alien throughout.
David Troughton as the Sceptic, was equally brilliant, never admitting truth and always practising humanity. When you don't understand something, you kill it.
Lindsey Coulson as Val Cane; one of the most frightening performances on the show - to channel real human darkness. Her antagonistic personification of humanity was handled expertly and never felt comical or OTT, just perfect.
And of course, David Tennant. I have never seen a more beautiful performance, other then the Rage Against The Dying Of The Light moment from End Of Time P2. His enthusiastic and lovable Doctor at the beginning, off on another exploration of the Universe, exactly what the Doctor always set out to do all those years ago, was lovely. His turn into the most vulnerable The Doctor has ever been was chilling, and every time I see that episode, I'm on the edge of my seat. His struggle against humanity within the middle portion of the ep was also brilliant. His frustration at the his favourite species in the Universe really hit it home to the Doctor that actually, these species are still in their infancy, prone to superior acts of violence and fear.
His face when he becomes infected, that unbelievability, that surprise, that shock, that fear....was perfection. He knew he was at the mercy of frightened humans and boy was the Doctor scared. He hadn't been that scared since he was dying in 42 I think.
Alice Troughton excelled herself in this installment.
The staging, the lighting, the editing, the acting, the delivery etc it worked completely. The tension with the knocks was so menacing and chilling that it could not have played any better.
The Visual Effects:
For me, I have no issue with the Vis FX and think they were beautiful.
The Overall Tone:
Fear, paranoia, vulnerability, shock, menace, claustrophobia, surprise, tension etc. It just all works and is expertly employed from Alice Troughton.
Overall, David Tennant and RTD's best episode together.
I cannot find a fault in this episode, it works on every level. For me, a complete success. Whilst it's only 7th in my favourite episodes list, technically I think it's THE most perfect episode (and it was written in a weekend!)
Thus, I don't understand the dislike of this episode at all.
It's all Greek to me.
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