The latest Doctor Who episode, Midnight, is an expose on the darker side of humanity. Fear and paranoia rule this episode. It’s a wonderful psychological drama played out in 45 minutes, but also leaves you a little depressed about the lows people can sink to.
Things start out well enough. The Doctor decides to take an excursion to see a waterfall of sapphires while Donna chooses to stay behind. Being his usual, charming self, the Doctor gets the 6 other passengers to engage in conversation (a lost art is seems) on the 4 hour journey to the waterfalls. Everyone is getting along just fine, until the shuttle breaks down for some reason. Fear quickly starts to take hold as there is knocking on the sides of the shuttle on a world where nothing should be able to exist on the surface. When one of the passengers is seemingly possessed, the fear grows and the paranoia sets in, leaving the Doctor at odds with the human passengers, and all his usual charm and cleverness gets him nowhere.
Watching his episode made me very tense and uneasy. I was difficult to see the Doctor, who’s usually so in control of the situation, not only lose it, but to be afraid himself. It’s very rare that the Doctor is ever that afraid for himself. The last time was in the first series with Christopher Eccleston in the episode Dalek. But even in that one, he had Rose. In this episode, it was just the Doctor against a bunch of scared humans who just as easily turn on each other and the Doctor as look at you. Even though I did enjoy the episode, it was not comfortable to watch. Even after it’s over, there’s no real sigh of relief, because there was no real victory.
There was only one person who figured out what was going on, who could save the Doctor, who made the ultimate sacrifice to safe everyone, and we never knew her name.