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Friday, July 11, 2008
Doctor Who: Midnight
I'd like to say that this is the episode that puts to rest the nagging Who fans who can only seem to complain about Russell T. Davies's writing for the show, but Who fans just wouldn't be Who fans if they weren't complaining about something. Which is a shame, because while the nuttier aspects of Who fandom are out there complaining about "the gay agenda" being shoved down our throats because of an off-hand line from one character, or the fact that money was saved on the effects budget by never actually showing the monster, it means they're missing out on one of the best episodes not only of the current season, but of both the original and current series as well. With Midnight Davies has written a truly dread-inspiring horror tale touching upon the fragile nature of identity and self, along with an inspired take on the old sci-fi chestnut "and humanity turned out to be the real monster all along."
David Tennant gives his best performance of the season in this claustrophobic little number, especially in the scenes that drive home the ways in which the Doctor needs a companion, not only to ground him, but to humanize him while he's trying to help others. A companion less Doctor doesn't quite work, and the near disastrous consequences of the Doctor going off on this adventure without Donna spell that out: his alien nature makes him as much of a threat to the scared as the real menace. Lesley Sharp makes the most of a role that doesn't require much of her for most of the episode, which is a shame, as the scenes where Sky is still Sky make for an intriguing character study, and Rakie Ayola gives another nice performance as a character who manages, in a few carefully chosen words and deeds, to exemplify both the best and worst natures of human beings.