Midnight (2008) REVIEW

Re: Midnight REVIEW

Postby Cygnus Prime » Thu Sep 05, 2019 3:25 pm

bige wrote:After submitting a review here yesterday, I thought I should submit one for my all-time favorite NuWho episode. Yes, that's right: Midnight. While The Sontaran Stratagem / The Poison Sky just gets a bad name in general, this one I have found to be extremely controversial. And admittedly, yes, the monster isn't really so great an idea. It copies you, then steals your voice. It's the mystery around it that makes it interesting.

Midnight seems to follow the same strategy as Fear Her, a low-budget single episode before the grand finale, other than the spa at the cold open and the very end, the entire episode takes place on one single set. Yet while Fear Her would be a yawnfest if it wasn't for the fact it insults anyone who watches it with the suggestion that it's supposed to be scary, Midnight means more one a single set in a single 45-minute episode than The End of Time or The Stolen Earth / Journey's End do with multi-million dollar SFX and locations and spaceships in their 2 hours running time. The episode first gets interesting with the mystery of Midnight, the planet made of diamonds that nothing can survive on, and this hunger for more never really gets fed. Hell, the planet is so dangerous we can't even look at it.

So the episode goes on a little, getting to know the characters, little hint dropped about the upcoming finale with the mystery of Poosh (with sounds like a plural for posh), then the monster arrives. Then it get's really good. It's not long before the human panic sets in, and we start to see what we can really become like. And it's the characters that make the episode really something, because there are so many subliminal meanings and symbolisms here. The professor profoundly establishes that nothing can survive on Midnight, even when it's right there in front of him he denies it. He has an unwavering opinion of him that he's right, he believes himself superior and therefore firmly believes that the moster cannot exist because he doesn't know of it. I think he represents how humanity believes that they are all-knowing. This monster defies all logic, it doesn't even make sense - so therefore it doesn't exist?

Jethro and Dee Dee are by far the most rational of the humans, and they are also the youngest. Yet in the end, they aren't much better, Jethro ends up going along with the "revolt" of sorts against the Doctor, but if you watch it closely it's because of his parents. His parents are two of the worst people there and pressure him, saying he's being stupid as always. Dee doesn't believe in herself because of the Professor's proclaimed self-superiority, and calls her "average" at best, and helps the "revolt" even though she doesn't agree with them.

The thing is though, the monster barely does anything. All it does is copy, and it is clearly demonstrated that it learns from us talking, and the humans continue in their panic. In the end, they even believe to have seen the alien physically passing into the doctor when they clearly haven't seen anything. When the creature in Sky steals his voice, it is obviously not her, yet they cannot see this through their own panic. What is also so beautiful about this episode is the very very thin line between right and wrong. The humans are the true antagonists, yet they are right, the monster should be thrown outside. When they know nothing about it, anything could happen. It may be able to spread, it could take over the galaxy or do nothing at all. The Doctor still wants to preserve it, but he could cause the destruction of humanity, yet he's the good guy, isn't he supposed to make the right decisions? But if he's saying this, is he the really right man to trust? And if it's the Doctor, are we wrong to think otherwise?

And in the end, it's the most irrational human of them all who saves the day: the hostess. She's the one who suggested that they throw the entity in Sky out, even throw the Doctor out, yet she saw that she had really stolen his voice, and before we found out god what the creature was capable of, she killed it and sacrificed herself. Because the humans weren't evil, it was like Pandora's box, through all the panic, confusion, anger etc. came sense and hope. She saved the day, and the Doctor himself.

In the end, we still know nothing. That creature could still be out there, it could be a species. By our own logic, it can't exist, yet it does. So we presumably leave Midnight and never return, and all of its mysteries with it.

Have to agree. My all time favourite NEW-WHO episode, that I think is a worthy drama in it's own right.

It is the only story ever, I think, to show the Doctor - who has faced down the terrors of the universe - to be almost undone by one small, scared, increasingly paranoid group of humans.

For perhaps the first time ever we see a Time Lord genuinely out of his depth - and saying he is clever only makes things worse for himself....

Here is the meat of the episode.......

I suspect that it (perhaps consciously and deliberately) owes more than a debt to the THE MONSTERS ARE DUE ON MAPLE STREET episode of THE TWILIGHT ZONE, showing the descent into paranoia, savagery and madness that humans are capable of under even the slightest applied outside pressure......

Maple Street is full of children playing and adults talking when a shadow passes over, accompanied by a roar, a flash of light, along with falling stars. Everyone notices, but they originally assume that it is a meteor, and quickly resume their activities. The residents soon discover that their power went off, affecting stoves, lawn mowers, cars and phones. They gather in the street to discuss the situation.

I know it is a controversial choice, but if some bizarre floating rag-monster turned up and turned the whole of New Who turned to dust I would ask for MIDNIGHT to be spared...... :death:

See Also........



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Re: Midnight REVIEW

Postby paulhickling » Fri Sep 06, 2019 3:38 pm

I was amazed by Midnight. Without doubt RTD's best script. Pure drama, and both David Tennant and the other woman from Scott and Bailey (not being snotty, just pointing out both of them have been great as guest actors) are excellent in it. And it does show they don't need all the flash, bang wallop to entertain.

And if you're going to use another show as inspiration, go for one of the classics.
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