This week’s Doctor Who: Mad Man with a Box Podcast focused on the episode Midnight. This week’s guest was the co-host of Just Cos, Chloe Dysktra. To prepare for this episode I decided to revisit the episode. I also decided to write this before I listen to the pod cast.
Here is a handy link to Mad Man with a Box Pod: http://www.amadmanwithabox.com/
(Warning: There might be spoilers under the break. You’ve been warned.)
The episode Midnight takes place during the 4th season right after double episodes Silence in the Library and Forrest of the Dead. It is also the last stand along before the season speeds towards season ending “Journey’s End.” There is a reference towards Journey’s End but it’s the last real stand alone episode of the season. The rest lead you to that season finally.
Donna and the Doctor are visiting the planet of Midnight. It about the Doctor’s trip to Sapphire waterfalls. What starts off as a simple 4 hour trip turns into one of the creepiest Doctor Who episodes. I would rate this episode equal to the infamous episode Blink in terms of scarey Doctor Who episodes. Sure the Weeping Angels are a formidable foe. But Russel Davies puts the most scariest foe of all in this episodes—ourselves.
It’s like that old saying “If you stare at the abyss long enough the abyss will stare back.” It is look at human psychology that gives this episode it’s impact. We never really see the alien. Lesley Sharp who plays Sky Silvestry a business woman who recently broke up with her girlfriend. It is her brilliant acting that makes us believe she was transformed from a normal human being to an unknown alien. Fear motivates the rest of the group to view her as a threat. The alien quickly learns how to turn the group’s fear into a tactical advantage.
It is clear from the group interactions that the Doctor is the most powerful of the group. Isolating him from the group and using everyone’s individual fears against them was the best course of action. It almost worked. If it wasn’t for the selfless act of the hostess the Doctor would have been tossed off the shuttle. I don’t think even he could have survived the X-tonic radiation.
The first time I watched the episode I did not realize that the no one asked the Hostess her name until the Doctor asked what her name was. How many people do you interact with in your daily life where you actually take the time to know their name?
From an existential and philosophical point of view I loved this episode. I’m not sure it’s the best David Tennant episode but it is in my top 5. I think the people who like this will be people with active imaginations. There is very little that freaks out the Doctor. Clearly David Tennant’s Doctor was extremely shaken by his experiences on planet Midnight. Anything that can scare the Doctor deserves to be up there with the Weeping Angels.
A bunch of asides!!!! It’s like dessert!!
This was the first David Tennant episode I have watched since Matt Smith took over the role. I still haven’t seen End of Time. I skipped those two and started with 11th Hour. Sue me!!! (As an aside, I would watch it with either David Tennant or Chris Hardwick but I digress.) So I got all sad and nostalgic when I saw David Tennant as the Doctor. I forgot how much I missed 10!!
I wanted to draw parallels between Midnight and Rebel Flesh/The Almost People. You could add the Hungry Earth here too. I’m sure that I’m missing episodes. The main issues are those of showing humanity at it’s best vs. humanity letting fear control their actions. I have to think about this for another article.
Thank you for reading. Remember do not give up what you want most for what you want right now.