Picking up where last week’s episode left us, Forest of the Dead is a stunning conclusion to the story, especially if you’re revisiting the series and you know who River Song (Alex Kingston) really is.
Written by Steven Moffat this episode debuted on 7 June, 2008.
The Vashta Nerada, shadow beings, are still stalking the Doctor (Tennant), River and her team, Donna (Catherine Tate) has ‘left the library. Donna Noble has been saved’ – and that is creepy.
As all of this is taking place the little girl (Eve Newton) is still dealing with the fact that she may not be what she thinks she is, and may be part of the library itself. I love how she sees what is going on in the library, on her television, and I live that the musical score is exactly the same. She also reacts as I expect most children do to watching Doctor Who. It’s nicely meta.
Once the Doctor figures out what is going on, I love how he figures everything out and the sacrifice he’s willing to make to restore all the saved souls.
Donna’s existence outside of the library, once the story starts, is wonderful, poignant and heartbreaking.
Equally heartbreaking is the story arc for River. It’s amazing, especially when we learn that River knew what would become of her when this encounter happens. The series did an incredible thing with the creation of Professor Song, and I love how her story plays out. It makes me want to watch all of River’s story in her chronological order, not the series.
As good as the first episode was, the conclusion is really something.
Midnight was written by Russell T. Davies and aired on 14 June, 2008.
Taking a bit of a rest on the planet, Midnight, the Doctor elects to go on a shuttle trip to a waterfall made of sapphires. Donna decides to stay at the spa.
Perhaps the Doctor should have as well.
What follows is a closed room thriller that plays with paranoia and fear. There seems to be a lifeform outside the shuttle, which stops mid-route, and it somehow gets inside, mimicking people, echoing their words back to them, as it takes over.
People turn on one another, the Doctor tries to keep everyone safe, and calm, but the story takes a terrifying twist when they turn on him, believing he is the one behind it, possessed by the alien being.
This ends up being a truly unnerving episode, it’s tightly paced, filled with paranoia, and terrifying as the passengers become unhinged, and the Doctor struggles to keep everything and everyone safe.
The ending is tragic, frightening, and so well crafted. This and the next episode are probably some of the best episodes of the series. And I can say that with confidence, because next week’s episode is Turn Left.