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Series 1-7 Face-Off: Episode 10

Doctor Who TV is running new series pitting all the revival episodes against each other to decide your dream run. This will be done on an episode by episode basis. Today we continue with the 10th episode of each of the seven series so far.

Note: Splits are not counted and specials will have their own categories at the end.

episode-10-face-off

Introduction by Sam Rahaman

Today’s Candidates

  1. The Doctor Dances (2005)
  2. Love and Monsters (2006)
  3. Blink (2007)
  4. Midnight (2008)
  5. Vincent and the Doctor (2010)
  6. The Girl Who Waited (2011)
  7. Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS (2013)

What makes a good episode 10?

With the exception of The Doctor Dances in Series 1, a conclusion of a two-part episode, Episode 10 is usually a standalone story that has no bearing on the overall series arc. Now that the audience are fully invested in the main characters, and the arc as a whole, the episodes can really begin to push the boundaries of the show by exploring darker and more emotional themes. This has most commonly been achieved through the focus on small groups of characters in ‘Doctor/Companion-Lite’ stories; a new tradition in New Who – although not all of the stories are told in this way. Therefore a good Episode 10 sets up the dramatic tonal shift in the series, in the build-up to the finale, as well as furthering character development by really delving into their psyche, testing their relationships with the other characters involved, as well as pushing them, and sometimes the audience, to their limit. It’s for this reason that Episode 10s are, usually, some of the most creative, powerful and engaging episodes featured in the entirety of New Who.

Predicted Winner

There’s one episode on this list that continues to stun audiences and critics alike, that has won numerous awards and is widely seen as one of the best episodes in New Who; it was also recently voted the Ultimate Doctor Who story by the readers of this site. I am, of course, talking about Blink, the incredible story penned by Steven Moffat; and it’s not exactly hard to see why the episode gets such praise either. The success of the episode comes, in part, from the introduction of one of Doctor Who’s greatest and most terrifying monsters, the Weeping Angels. The concept behind them is ingenious and unnerving – they can only move when not being looked at, and if touched by one they “kill you nicely” by sending you back in time to live out the rest of your life whilst they feed on your potential energy; so the only way to stop them is by keeping your eyes focused on them and err, not blinking (which is physically impossible for a human to do) – the whole idea behind them is terribly cruel, and yet oh so brilliant.

Furthermore, what also makes this story so compelling is the utilisation of the ‘Doctor-Lite’ narrative. With the Doctor and the companion taking reduced roles within the story, the audience are introduced to the main protagonists , Sally Sparrow and Larry Nightingale – what could have been a risky move turned out to be a stroke of genius, and that’s due to the fact that they are some of the most engaging characters to have appeared on the show, coupled with the fantastic performances from Carrey Mulligan and Finlay Robinson, the audience become invested in their story in such a short space of time and want them to succeed. What’s also great about this type of narrative is that due to the Doctor taking a back seat and only being able to help Sally and Larry through Easter-eggs on DVD’s, the sense of threat is heightened tenfold with their safety net now taken away from the audience; there’s no Doctor and his blue box to save the day this time, the protagonists are on their own and must somehow find a way to defeat the seemingly unbeatable monster – literally, anything could happen, and that’s what is so terrifying.

The Dark Horse

Midnight is undoubtedly one of my favourite episodes in New Who, and yet it never seems to get the attention or acclaim that I feel it deserves. Russell T. Davies penned an absolutely masterful script here that presents a horrifying and accurate portrayal of humanity at its lowest form when faced with catastrophe; exploring the effects of human paranoia, and how even people who appear to get along can turn against each other at the drop of the hat. What makes this episode genuinely terrifying for both audiences and the characters involved is the fear of the unknown, we literally have no idea what this creature is that’s taunting the humans, mimicking them, taking control of them; we never know who/what is doing it, only the horrific actions they commit and the affects it has on the passengers of the leisure cruise.

Furthermore whilst in Blink the safety net in the Doctor was non-existent, here, the Doctor’s safety net in the companion has vanished too (hence it being a ‘Companion-Lite’ story). He’s a complete stranger to these people, usually the companion is there to shed light on who he is, offer support, make the side characters trust him – but now he has to do it all on his own, he has no one to defend him as the passengers all start to turn against him, our hero is completely and utterly alone and defenceless, and just as scared as the passengers and the audience, and then he himself becomes a victim to the monster, and with no one there to save him – which makes for some genuinely tense, chilling and nail-biting viewing. This episode could very well grab the top spot (and a small part of me hopes it does).

Writer’s Pick

This has been one of the hardest decisions for me, because, personally, I love almost every single episode in this list; and yet it soon became apparent to me that there could only be one winner, and that is Tom MacRae’s beautifully crafted The Girl Who Waited.  The episode is easily one of the most poignant and moving episodes of Doctor Who that I have ever had the pleasure of sitting through. Where this episode really excels is the exploration of Amy and Rory’s relationship. Rory is literally forced, by a situation outside of his control, to choose between two different, but equally real, versions of his wife; a wife who waited 36 years for her husband to find her, and one who is still waiting for him and that can be saved from the trauma the other version went through. It’s a heart-breaking but absolutely ingenious premise that asks the audience to question what would they do if they were in Rory’s position. Could you, honestly, make a choice between two versions of your true love? They’re both completely identical, they share the same thoughts, memories but choosing one would mean the other version dies, having never existed. The story is just breath-taking and is wonderfully written by MacRae who incorporated some of my all-time favourite pieces of dialogue in the shows history (“Tell Amy—your Amy—I’m giving her the days. The days with you. Days to come. The days I can’t have. Take them please. I’m giving her my days”). Coupled with tear-jerking performances from Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill, and Murray Gold’s sublime musical score, this episode is by every definition of the word, perfection; and is everything that a good episode of Doctor Who should be.

Vote

You’ve heard Sam’s thoughts, but what about your own? Which one tops your list? Vote below.

Continues on Monday.

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222 comments
JJ2000
JJ2000

10. Blink - The first 6 are all good. But it of course has to go to Blink.

Asparagoose
Asparagoose

I totally agree with you about Midnight

chrisew
chrisew

I'm surprising myself and going with The Doctor Dances. I think it may be the high point of Eccleston's run, and it features one of the great, triumphant moments of the character. At the time, it was the episode that brought me fully on board the relaunch.

JailBanksters
JailBanksters

Should I pick the Girl who waited or Blink, tough one....


Christopher Brown
Christopher Brown

Ouch! Tough choices, but ultimately Vincent and the Doctor is in the Top 3 Doctor Who stories of all time for me and its genius is supremely under-recognized so that has to win, with Blink a close second followed closely by The Doctor Dances and Midnight. The Girl Who Waited is overrated but has its great moments for sure, Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS is pure crap, and I haven't seen Love and Monsters so I can't judge.

TheSoundofDrums
TheSoundofDrums

1. Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS

2. Blink

3. Midnight

4. The Doctor Dances

5. The Girl Who Waited

6. Vincent and the Doctor

7. Love & Monsters

TheSoundofDrums
TheSoundofDrums

This one certainly has some of the hardest choices due to the quality of the episodes (minus Love & Monsters). The four I expect that will be fighting at the teeth for first place are Blink, Midnight, Vincent and the Doctor and The Girl Who Waited. These four episodes are highly loved by the fandom so it'll be interesting to see which one gets the top spot for best Episode Ten. For me though it had to go to Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS because of its interesting and thrilling story set pretty much entirely onboard the TARDIS. We got to see new and old rooms, learn new things about both the TARDIS and the Doctor along with the relationship between the two and also recieve real drama and a great sense of character development between the Doctor and Clara. It was a tense and adventurous tale that I found hit all the right boxes and really left me more than satisfied.

LaraHarris
LaraHarris

As most folks have already said this is one tough category. Vincent and the Doctor is a good but not *great* episode till those last few moments. It has some lovely bits beautifully shot and most of Vincent's parts where he talks about what he sees and how he feels are really good and the idea is such a good one but that last speech by Bill Nighy... I mean I could listen to that man talk for days but I wept like a baby. Hugh great uncontrollable sobs and it took me some time to recover from it. 

Blink as we all know is quite possibly one of Moffats greatest episodes. It was when the Angels were new and scary and we *all* held our breath and all tried to figure out if can you blink one eye at a time whether you were 7 or 70.  

But the best has to be Midnight. 

It was terrifying. For me, more frightening than Blink. The idea that something could possess you, steal who you are by stealing your words, your voice, the thing that makes you, *you*.... *shudder* 

And the acting was sublime. That bit where the passengers are getting more and more wound up, starting to turn on each other, their fear finding voice and turning that on the Doctor, demanding what gives him authority pushing, pushing pushing till he snaps with "Because I'm clever!" and then there is a break and for a split second you breathe out, you think the tension is broken but instead THAT is the moment they threaten to throw HIM out and the Doctor for one of the first times, genuinely looks terrified. In fact it has such an impact on him when he finally gets out alive, that in A Town Called Mercy he referrers back to the incident. Shivering, stating that he'd rather face a Dalek than "terrified people". For me, there is no competition. Midnight is one of the best episodes in the history of Who.


Swozor
Swozor

This was a really tough decision between Blink and Midnight for me, but in the end I decided to go for Midnight.

Strontium
Strontium

Oh this is unfair! There are only two which I don't like ( L&M and TARDIS). Seriously why!! Went for Blink though!

PaddyB
PaddyB

These are some of the best Doctor Who episodes ever (apart from Journey which is still good enough). I voted for Love and Monsters because no one else will!

dragonsfyre
dragonsfyre

  1.  Midnight (2008), Blink (2007), The Girl Who Waited (2011):  all 10/10
  2. The Doctor Dances (2005) 9.5/10
  3. Love and Monsters (2006) 8/10
  4. Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS (2013) 7/10
  5. Vincent and the Doctor (2010) 2/10


Vincent and the Doctor, while being an excellent story about the struggles of mental illness, is ruined by the fact that the alien nemesis is   -- essentially --  a giant space chicken.  This is silly and it undermines the seriousness of the central theme. 


Some of you may point to the fact that the Abzobaloff is just as silly a creature.  Point taken.  But Love and Monsters has *lots* of humour and throwaway laughs peppered throughout the episode (even some slightly inappropriate adult humour when Jackie ogles Elton's butt as he fixes her, ahem, her pipes).  Tempering the episode with laughs and comic turns allows the silliness of the Abzorbaloff to be just another sight-gag: "Takes just like chicken!" 


So while L&M has gags galore, its still essentially a great story with the central theme of bonding with like-minded people who are obsessed with the Doctor:  essentially making this a love-letter to the fans.  We may be eccentric and maybe make vlogs for social media but we DO have feelings and we can get hurt.  We are real people who are capable of forming loving relationships in a world that is rife with absurdities. 

The13thDoctor
The13thDoctor

Now theirs only 2 matt smith episodes i feel fail beyond all belife and one is the rings of arkhaten the others vincent and the doctor it was way too unforfilling

So midnight it is

DW_girl
DW_girl

This is the most difficult choice for me! Blink and Midnight are joint first really, but I voted for Midnight because I think most will vote for Blink. Vincent and the Doctor is definitely in my top 5 favourites also.

1) Midnight 10/10

2) Blink 10/10

3) Vincent and the Doctor 10/10

4) The Doctor Dances 9.5/10

5) The Girl Who Waited 8.5/10

6) Love and Monsters 7/10

7) Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS 6/10

Yes, I prefer Love and Monsters to Journey, and to a lot of other episodes too. Just saying this because people will most likely challenge my ranking of the episode because it isn't within the expected ranking range of 0 to 2. So there.

SouffleBoy
SouffleBoy

Most of this episodes are pure gold, but I went for Vincent and The Doctor, because of that scene where The Doctor takes him to see his artwork in a gallery, makes me emotional every time. :')

StephenAHayes
StephenAHayes

This is the hardest. I'm selecting Vincent as I still choke at the end. Blink and the Girl who waited were great along with Journey to the Centre

NewWho2012
NewWho2012

Now this is hard. Blink, Midnight, Vincent and the Doctor and The Girl Who Waited are all brilliant episodes and whichever one I pick here is just pick of the draw really, can't decide betweem all these brilliant episodes!

Liana21
Liana21

Vincent and The Doctor all the way, it's one of my Top 10 favourite episodes. I even have the song of the museum scene on my mp3.

Anthony Retondo
Anthony Retondo

Wouldn't be surprised at all if Midnight wins. People seem to praise that episode more than any other in Doctor Who.

WhovianAvenger
WhovianAvenger

Episode 10s are (mostly) the best of the series, with only Love and Monsters and Journey to the Centre  of the TARDIS being, well...bad. However, I am going to go with Midnight, as Blink has gotten a little overrated over the past few years (it's brilliant, but doesn't hold on repeat viewings), Vincent doesn't have a strong threat - but a heartbreaking finale - as does The Girl Who Waited. Midnight is claustrophobic and terrifying, as the characters you've grown to love in the first act fall apart by this unknown threat

TheValeyardsMimeArmy
TheValeyardsMimeArmy

All but Journey and L&M get a 10/10... and apart from those two I absolutely adore every episode here. They're all pure masterpieces... But there is one that I love more than I can probably put into words, and is probably my favourite episode of all Doctor Who... ever. And that episode is Vincent and The Doctor. Perfection - absolutely beautiful, heartbreaking, brilliantly written, acted, directed and scored... everything about it just... works. And I love it. So, so much.



zkotkami
zkotkami



Such a hard call. Blink and Vincent are two of my very favourite episodes. I went with Blink though. It is just a perfectly developed story. 

Balatsoukas Pavlos
Balatsoukas Pavlos

Oooh, a VERY difficult one! And I cannot stress this strongly enough! All of these (and yes, I'm including 'Love and Monsters') are actually brilliant episodes, each for its own reasons. 


As always, the final vote is heavily dependant on how one chooses to categorise the episodes. For instance, they can be divided in 2 broad categories, the arc/whole show important (the last two), and the mostly stand-alones (the rest). Another way to divide the list, is a weird one. You have those that you must know of the whole show in advance in order to get what's going on, and the others that knowing you are dealing with a show that goes on for 50 years is unimportant - they could be simply broadcast as mini-movies, with just a minor introduction to the characters and the TARDIS. The latter category includes "Vincent...", "Blink" and "Midnight" - all you had to know for these was that there's a guy named the Doctor for some weird reason, and he can travel in space and time.


Phew! What an unfair comparison!!! This ongoing, unfair, and agonising voting process, now asks for the perfect episode ten, which implies that you are dealing with a whole show, and not some sci-fi chunks - therefore, by my previous last reasoning, I have to exclude the best 3 of the list!!! And yes, I 've been a fan of the show for over 25 years now, and that's how I 'm suposed to vote. But I 'm also a huge sci-fi fan. So, I 'll follow my heart.


"The Doctor Dances": weird title. "Love...": clever story, stupid monster. "Vincent..."/"The Girl...": perfect drama, easy tears. "Journey...": Did not deliver, but gave an huge insight on the who-is-clara, and what's-the-secret thingys. Down to two...


If you ask me "What is your most favorite episode of NuWho", 9 out of 10 I'll say "Blink". But, when I see this list, I have to go with the Hitchcockian "Midnight". "Blink" is a perfect slice of sci-fi literature history. Boggles the mind with its timey-wimey (Moffat's best feauture), offers a chilling alien threat (along with the opportunity to teach kids what quantum physics is all about), and features great one-off characters and actors.


"Midnight", however, transcends the boundaries of a 'simple' sci-fi show, and it touches primal fears and insticts. It goes to show what you can (and can't) do with a handful of great actors, a 'plain' 'room' as a setting and a great story. Simple perfection - any way I cut and slice it. 


Sorry, "Blink", this one goes to "Midnight".



brewbrew42
brewbrew42

Damn.... any other occasion it would be Vincent and the Doctor..... but Midnight has to be my winner. It just does.

ReadingBadger
ReadingBadger

I'm torn between Love & Monsters, Midnight, VatD and TGWW. I think I'll have to vote for Love & Monsters because it rarely gets the praise it deserves.

FR3
FR3

I thought this was going to be a difficult for me. It wasn't. I'm voting for Midnight.

DeadlyJellyBaby
DeadlyJellyBaby

Hmm, tied between all of them except Love and Monsters which I'm trying to forget.

chinnysandshoes
chinnysandshoes

Why WHY must Vincent be up against Blink??? One is the best of Doctor Who monsters. The very best. I shivered all night in bed after the episode. That was how good it was. The Weeping Angels will go down in legend, together with the Daleks. Monsters of that calibre come by so very rarely.

But Vincent! The message of hope and love, of holding on... This is why I love Doctor Who so much. This is the Doctor at his most compassionate and all-wise and so comforting (and I'm not referring to Eleven, but the Doctor). The pile of bad things not taking away from the pile of good things....

I'm choosing Vincent. Only because I have to choose one.

taperman28
taperman28

Episode 10's are the best who knew lol

TheNightmareChild will ascertain its true nature
TheNightmareChild will ascertain its true nature

I have to say, I am as surprised as anyone that, at least based on the comments, Midnight seems to be giving Blink a run for its money.  And this is from someone who voted for Midnight, mind you.

stargazer0118
stargazer0118

Midnight is so underrated I just don't get it! So much better than the wildly overrated Blink and many others from Moffat's era... Yes, Blink is good but the Doctor is barely in it and the other actors don't hold my attention, so it's not an episode I find particularly exciting. I find Midnight's scrip much stronger, compelling and the villain a lot more enigmatic than the Angels.  

 Also adore The Doctor Dances, and The Girl Who Waited is very moving, but the best script and acting by all the actors goes to RTD's Midnight, IMO!

Oodkind is foretold...
Oodkind is foretold...

No!!!! This is the day I've been dreading, the day I've been running from all my life! Okay, not really, but this is impossible! I LOVE the Empty Child/ The Doctor Dances arc, and I had to vote Human Nature yesterday, so I want to vote for that! But then there's Blink, one of my favorite episodes ever, but Midnight is so good! And Vincent and the Doctor and The Girl who Waited are both exceptional! What can I do???

  1. Blink - 10/10 - Intense, well done, and even comical sometimes. A perfect balance.
  2. Midnight - 10/10 - Probably the best writing on the list. I prefer Blink's story. Usually.
  3. The Doctor Dances - 10/10 - Amazing arc, amazing story, totally epic.
  4. Vincent and the Doctor- 9.5/10 -A real masterpiece in quality. Story wasn't amazing.
  5. The Girl Who Waited - 9/10 - As above, well done. It's not as interesting, though.
  6. Journey - 2/10 -Yuk.The directing was awful.The acting was worse.I wanted to vomit.
  7. Love and Monsters  - 2/10 - HAHAHAHAHA!!!!! No...


mgm1229
mgm1229

Oy. The hardest by far! Four of my favorites ever- The Doctor Dances, Blink, Midnight, and Vincent and The Doctor. I think I'm going with Midnight, because as many times as I've seen it, I'm still always worried they just might throw the Doctor out that door. But really, all four of these are stellar.

The_Ogri
The_Ogri

"Everybody Lives. Just this once Rose, everybody lives!" Guess which one I'm choosing. Really, the way I see it here is the choice between two fantastic New Who villains, and two glue-your-eyes-to-the-screen-until-the-end episodes. I'm talking about the Empty Child, and the Weeping Angels. Then there's the part with Vincent in the museum, and When the Doctor becomes "possessed." Good Luck!                                                                           

1) The Doctor Dances 2) Midnight 3) Vincent and the Doctor 4) Blink 5) Love and Monsters 6)The Girl Who Waited 7) Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS


Huknar
Huknar

How can it be anything other than Midnight? Blink is nice but it's not great. Midnight is scarier. Much, much scarier. It is such a unique episode and I really love they they kept the mystery even until the end. It is one of the few episodes of Doctor Who that really, really haunts me. Top acting from everyone involved and one of series 4's most powerful episodes. (series 4 really was the best!)


JMorty
JMorty

Damn, I love all of these except Journey...

DW_girl
DW_girl

I went for Midnight too after finding myself in the midst of an all-out war between it and Blink.

sontaran17
sontaran17

@stargazer0118  I really dont think Midnight is underrated at all, its always so high up on everyones list

stargazer0118
stargazer0118

Last place goes to Journey.. I don't hate it, but it didn't live up to the hype at all. Visually stunning with some interesting concepts, but not what I was expecting. Love and Monsters is better due to Jackie's subplot, plus I DON'T hate the ending... it actually makes me laugh a lot.. 

DW_girl
DW_girl

@Oodkind What? How is Love and Monsters 2/10? Journey isn't even that bad either!