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Series 1-7 Face-Off: Episode 8

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 8th 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-8-face-off

Introduction by Vincent van Onna.

Today’s Candidates

  1. Father’s Day (2005)
  2. The Impossible Planet (2006)
  3. Human Nature (2007)
  4. Silence in the Library (2008)
  5. The Hungry Earth (2010)
  6. Let’s Kill Hitler (2011)
  7. Cold War (2013)

What Makes a Good Episode Eight?

To answer this question, one has to wonder what makes any episode of Doctor Who good. It should be creative, fun and adventurous. If it pulls this off well you have a good episode. If it pulls this off fantastically (as most in this list did, in this writer’s opinion) you have a very memorable episode eight, one that will not be forgotten quickly.

Depending on whether there was a series split or not, an episode eight might be under more pressure. After a long time without any new episodes, the third episode after a split has to be a good solid adventure. It sometimes has to stand on its own, and sometimes it is the beginning or the ending to a two-parter.

If there was not a split, it should still be good of course, but with a split the episode could be under more pressure as fans have grown more impatient and judgemental. Either way, all episode eight has to do, is be good.

Predicted Winner

I have been thinking long and hard on this one. There are some really good episodes in the list of today’s candidates. I have narrowed it down to either Human Nature or Silence in the Library. Both are a part of very highly rated stories among the fandom. Both feel very unique from the rest of the series run; they are among the most memorable episodes. So which one of these will win? That is a very tough call. I think Human Nature might top Silence in the Library. I am really not sure why. It is more a gut feeling then anything. No science is involved in my predictions. Just space magic and ice tea.

The Dark Horse

Of all the episodes mentioned above, I fear Let’s Kill Hitler might be the one to divide people the most. It seems Let’s Kill Hitler is what the Helmic Regulator is to the TARDIS: It makes for a gratifying bumpy ride, but it is not reliable, and at times you will find yourself annoyed with where things end up.

I think something that people dislike about the episode is the character of River. She is a lot more immature in this episode. Her immaturity is justified, as this episode is set earlier in her personal timeline, but it does not make it enjoyable.

I think it could also have gotten some heat because it was after A Good Man Goes To War, which might have set the bar a bit too high for this episode. This episode did not carry on the arc as well as A Good Man Goes To War did.

I personally don’t think Let’s Kill Hitler is the best episode ever, but I can enjoy it nonetheless. Not every episode has to be completely mind-blowing. The acting of the cast is spot on as always, and while the writing was not perfect, I enjoyed the various ideas it employed, such as The Teselecta. If you look past the flaws, this episode can be very amusing. So if I were to vote for this one, it would be because of its solid concepts.

Writer’s Pick

It has to be The Hungry Earth for me. It is part of my first series, Series 5. Asides from this I really enjoy the Silurians, and I think The Hungry Earth was a great reintroduction for the species.

I hope in the future a writer continues what this episode started, and show the future human race working together with the Silurians. I love the Silurians for the fact that they can both be allies and enemies. Despite what people might think, the Silurians and humans are not that different from each other. They have enough similarities to work together towards a brighter tomorrow.

This was a solid episode, with good performances and good writing. I was not disappointed. I quite liked the new Silurian design as well, though I think the old design was more unique. My only major criticism is the cliff-hanger. I find it a bit lame. Don’t get me wrong, it is satisfying, but it does not have me at the edge of my seat, and it is not exactly ‘hide behind the sofa material’. Despite that, I really enjoy this episode. I am curious about what you might think, so feel free to comment. Any tips regarding my writing is welcome too.

Vote

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

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157 comments
JJ2000
JJ2000

8. Silence in the Library - Episode 8 is the hardest one to choose from, such a strong category. A part from Cold War, they are all good. Let's Kill Hitler is okay-ish. The rest are just absolutely brilliant though. But I just had to then take out The Impossible Planet, then The Hungry Earth and then Father's Day. It was then boiled down to the past and future episodes of Human Nature and Silence in the Library. But I just had to go for that one, too many questions, sad, fun, funny and just an all round great adventure and the very first episode of one of the greatest characters EVER - River Song! Loved it!

Dalekoverlord
Dalekoverlord

1. Hungry earth 2. cold war 3. silence in the library 4. impossible planet 5. Lets kill Hitler 6. Fathers day 7. human nature

GWad84
GWad84

My choice. Human nature. Perfect from start to finish. The writing is sublime and Tennant peaks playing two different characters over the piece and in the end you route for smith as much as you do for the doctor. My favourite Doctor Who story

2nd choice. Fathers Day

3rd choice. Silence in the Library

DaftDalek is Ceter Papaldi: Moon Lives!
DaftDalek is Ceter Papaldi: Moon Lives!

1. Human Nature 10/10  2. Silence In The Library 10/10 3. The Impossible Planet 10/10 4. Father's Day 9/10 5. Let's Kill Hitler 8/10 6. The Hungry Earth 7/10 7. Cold War 6/10


chinnysandshoes
chinnysandshoes

It's either Father's Day or Silence in the Library. I chose FD because what I really like about it is RTD establishing clear rules and boundaries on what can be changed and what cannot unless you want terrible consequences for the interference. One of my biggest issues with Moffat is how he is 'allowed' to change personal histories without apparent consequences or regard for the cost of the decision. Not referring to Day of the Doctor, just overall he really complicates things and then says it's "wriggle room".

OfirZeira
OfirZeira

One of the easiest polls for me: The Impossible Planet.

I remember after watching the first series and Christopher leave I was actually mad at david for replacing him. This episode was the first one in which I truly felt that David is the doctor and that it is okay.

legionofthebeast
legionofthebeast

I really liked Matt's what-I-call 'dead-leg acting' in Let's Kill Hitler. I don't hate the episode as much as others, even if I'm not a massive fan of River in it. Also, Amy's daughter has just been kidnapped but never mind, let's carry on travelling and forget about it until she shows up again because we grew up together after all. 

Eradallion
Eradallion

I don't actually like Silence in the Library anymore. I used to, but after getting used to the amazing production quality of series 5, SinL just felt so chaotic. There's so much noise and fast music and screaming and shouting. It's become near unwatchable for me

Unibot
Unibot



Hmm, tough one. I always loved Silence in the Library so it gets the top pick for me. Father's Day was an emotional little tale which I thought was beautifully done. Let's Kill Hitler I think is unfairly reviewed - the scene with Matt lying on the floor begging to the Tardis is just fantastic ("Fishfingers and Custard"). Human Nature I've always found... good, but I've never understood the massive praise for it. It's not one I would regularly rewatch.












To me the dark torturous ending was a poor characterization of The Doctor, the villains didn't seem threatening enough for The Doctor to hide from them (The Doctor doesn't hide...) and most of all, I felt it was a missed opportunity, the episode could have been about identity: finding out who he really is in a deep sense, but I felt it was more superficial with him having memories of this or that as opposed to relearning what it truly means to be The Doctor. I also dislike the reoccurring idea that what makes The Doctor so great is his Time Lord DNA - it's his sense of compassion, courage, wonderment and tenacity, which aren't necessarily Time Lord characteristics anymore than they are human characteristics. The Doctor is the sum of his promise to himself and the company he keeps.






I've always suspected that the fanbase in Doctor Who may be fractured between those who see The Doctor as eminently courageous and good and those that want to see him as more of a tortured, grey soul. The optimism of the latter comes out the most in Moffat's work, whereas the latter's nihilism manifests in RTD, Cornell and Gaiman's work, among others (Murray Gold for starters).


1. Silence in the Library (2008)




2. Father’s Day (2005)  

3. Let’s Kill Hitler (2011)  





4. Human Nature (2007)











5. The Hungry Earth (2010) 

6. The Impossible Planet (2006)





7.Cold War (2013)

DW_girl
DW_girl

In order of preference:

1) Father's Day 10/10

2) The Impossible Planet 9.5/10

3) Silence in the Library 9/10

4) Human Nature 8.5/10

5) Let's Kill Hitler 8/10

6) The Hungry Earth 7/10

7) Cold War 6.5/10

Father's Day is an absolute favourite of mine, and I will always defend it. The next 3 on my list are brilliant too. Let's Kill Hitler is rather good (I actually prefer it to AGMGTW). But The Hungry Earth and Cold War don't really excite me....

TheOncomingFish
TheOncomingFish

Human Nature. Although The Impossible Planet and Silence In The Library are great too.

TheSoundofDrums
TheSoundofDrums

1. Human Nature

2. Cold War

3. The Impossible Planet

4. Father's Day

5. Silence in the Library

6. Let's Kill Hitler

7. The Hungry Earth

TheSoundofDrums
TheSoundofDrums

For this one I went for Human Nature. Again this one was one of the catagories that consisted of less episodes that truly stood out as a clear winner. Human Nature on the otherhand was a truly brilliant story and concept and really allowed David Tennant to shine as he played not only the Tenth Doctor but also John Smith and his many traumatic decisions. Also the Family of Blood were a sinister bunch and proved to be a challenging foe along with their scarecrow army.

Aztecs, Daleks and Cavemen
Aztecs, Daleks and Cavemen

I love The Impossible Planet. So much drama. So much tension. So scary. The introduction of the ood and answered questions.


It's a tasty episode.

Riversmith
Riversmith

How ironic - this list contains the end and the beginning of River Song (SitL, LKH). Silence in the Library is just a brilliant episode; with the terrifying Vashta Nerada and the puzzle of River's identity. But I must admit, I have an affection for Let's Kill Hitler.



DawnTime
DawnTime

AHHHH - How can I choose between The Impossible Planet, Human Nature and Silence in the Library and Let's Kill Hitler.  I could just not vote at all in protest for having too many goodies in this list.  I could vote 4 times.!??  which I might do ! going for the amazing atmospheric The Impossible Planet. !

YorkshireDicky
YorkshireDicky

This is hard. The first four are some of the very best of the new run! But for me it's Human Nature (for me series 3 and 5 are the best).

hazwho
hazwho

For me it's either silence in the library or let's kill hitler

Malohkeh
Malohkeh

Eh, I guess I'll go LKH. It won't win, but I like to show it some love. I could write pages praising the dialog alone.

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

I'm in a dilemna... I want to vote for Silence in the Library today, and then The Family of Blood tomorrow, since they are so great and I can't choose between them... But then the Empty Child comes up tomorrow, and then if I vote for The Doctor Dances the next day, I can't vote for Blink... Help! Why, Moffat??

Malohkeh
Malohkeh

Crap. Five of these are favorites of mine.

The_Ogri
The_Ogri

I was stuck between the Impossible Planet and Silence of the Library. What made me bite the bit (or whatever the saying is) ultimately was the villain. I voted for Silence in the Library because they introduced the in the first part. I then promised myself that I would vote for the Satan Pit tomorrow.

HitchcockWhovian
HitchcockWhovian

Between the first four series' here. They're all SO good.


Lord Styro the Drashig
Lord Styro the Drashig

Father's Day is fantastic. The Impossible Planet is fantastic. Human Nature is fantastic. Oh dear. I think I'm going to vote Impossible Planet though, if I may play Devil's Advocate here a bit. (And wow, looking at I what I just wrote now, that was entirely unintentional yet perfect at the same time :P)


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

Okay, after some time stewing on it, I have decided to cast my vote for The Impossible Planet.  And at the risk of being preemptive, I'm gonna go ahead and say that I'll vote for The Satan Pit tomorrow.  In terms of general quality, I consider the second through fourth choices and their following installments to be pretty much equal.  But for whatever reason, I just prefer the first of them.  I think I just have a fondness for base under siege stories; maybe that's why I'm one of, like, 20 people in the universe who likes Cold War (even though I didn't vote for it. :p).  And the Beast is a fascinating character and concept: huge, unknowable, foreboding.  Not to mention, he represents an unknown about the Universe: namely, just what exactly was the Universe before Time?  Before space and matter?  Anything outside of our own understanding that is difficult to ponder and visualize is terrifying all by itself in its own way because it forces us to reconsider what we think we know and accept that reality is more inscrutable than we originally assumed.  The Doctor himself demonstrates this in his interactions with the Beast.  He comes to accept by the end that his assumptions about reality were wrong, and that there are some aspects of the Universe that are simply unknowable.  I think before then the Doctor may have been more terrified by that than any old big, snarling beasty, so the Doctor faced his fears right along with every other character in the story.  Speaking of whom, this episode also had very well fleshed out characters and well written dialog on top of an intriguing story.  That is true of most of these other episodes as well, but I felt the strongest connection with the people in this story: these amazing, stupid humans who ran headlong into obvious danger just for the sake of seeing what was there.  Rose, too, saw some development, having to take on more of a direct leadership role in lieu of the Doctor.  It's perhaps the most impressive and capable that Rose has been in the entire series, barring, arguably, Army of Ghosts and Doomsday.  In short, an amazing and gripping story.  I don't normally make it a point to rank my favorites, but if I were to do that, I think this story would be in my top five at least.  So once and for all, I cast my vote for The Impossible Planet today, and The Satan Pit tomorrow.

Jortan
Jortan

First poll that is too hard to pick for me :(

 it's out of

 Father’s Day, The Impossible Planet, 

Human Nature, Silence in the Library and Cold War

mgm1229
mgm1229

Human Nature. It gets to the essence of the difference between human emotional life and Timelord emotional life. Watching John Smith fall in love with a woman as different from Rose as you could find? I love Rose, but this was one for the grownups. And really, how many of us have wished that a human version of the Doctor, all charm and sass, would just show up in our lives?

I also love Father's Day, as it gets into the whole "step on a butterfly in the past and change the future" sci-fi trope, and I love stories where time travel is part of the plot, and not just a way to get to another time and place.

I also have come to enjoy this poll, after feeling at first that it was a little random. It's fun thinking about why I love the episodes I adore, and seeing everyone's thoughts. Even the episodes that are relative duds are better than most things on television, and there's always something redeeming that someone else points out I forgot. And in this Doctor Who drought, its been something to look forward to.

Oncoming_Badger
Oncoming_Badger

The Impossible Planet easily. Matt Jones two parter is one of the most brilliant Doctor Who stories in it's entire history to date there is nothing like it. It threw the Doctor and Rose way out of their depths into a world far away from home and you kind of felt the intense space the enormous gravity in the danger of space travel and the absolutely bone chilling use of the devil as the enemy, not to mention this is Murray Gold at his finest as 'The Impossible Planet' is a hauntingly beautiful piece. The whole story is beautifully crafted to challenge not only the TARDIS crew but also the viewers and give a really engulfing image of what space travel is really like it is absolutely one of the best pieces of television I've ever seen in my life.

1. The Impossible Planet

2. Father's Day

3. Cold War

4. The Hungry Earth

5. Human Nature

6. Silence in the Library

7. Let's Kill Hitler

NerdWithWings
NerdWithWings

Cannot possibly choose between the first 4. I just can't do it.

Nightmarish
Nightmarish

Silence in the Library. Amazing episode, probably my most rewatched Tennant episode other than The Girl in the Fireplace.

Wibbly-Wobbly is John Reese
Wibbly-Wobbly is John Reese

Choosing between Cornell,  Matt Jones, Cornell, Chibnall, Moffat, Moffat and Gatiss... 


I have to choose an RTD era episode some time I guess... 


Human Nature.

HandofOmega
HandofOmega

A tough choice as a River Song fan, either where it all started with 'Silence in the Library' .... Or ummm where it all started with 'let's kill Hitler'

Galactic Yo Yo
Galactic Yo Yo

Ouch, this one's tough. I think I have to give it to "Father's Day", seeing as the other capital G Great episodes are both the first halves of two-parters.

troughton who?
troughton who?

Argh... Father's Day, The Impossible Planet and Silence in the Library all rate among my favourite episodes of the new series... all 9s or 10s. But in the end I have to go for Human Nature, which is my all time favourite Doctor Who story, classic or modern. Absolutely sublime story. Great characters - Tennant's portrayal of John Smith is fantastic; Martha is amazing too - her performance here cements her as my favourite companion of the new series. Great, genuinely creepy villains - particularly Son of Mine (Harry Lloyd). It also manages to touch on sensitive issues (racism) without it detracting from the plot. An amazing episode based on the best doctor who novel of all time. 

Americanwhovian
Americanwhovian

Why does cold war get so much hate? I was estatic when I got to see my favorie classic mnster back brilliantly

Jono81
Jono81

Silence in the Library, my second favorite episode (counting it as a two-parter). Much of the RTD era's best seems to be on this list, though.

CheckerboardAndroid
CheckerboardAndroid

Had to go with Impossible Planet, it's a personal favorite with it Ten and Rose's last real adventure. I thought Human Nature was good, but a little slow, Family of Blood was much better.



Ninjauthor
Ninjauthor

so difficult, its yet another great list of episodes, i don't know why but the middle part often seems to be the best part of a run, I think i'll have to say fathers day though

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

This one is impossible! How am I supposed to choose?

First, I say that Father's Day, Cold War, and The Hungry Earth are all good, but not spectacular, in my opinion. Let's Kill Hitler, as the article said, was a bit annoying, because of the plot, not because it was a bad quality episode necessarily. So I will rule those out, even though some of them I really like.

Ah, of the rest, this is really hard. All were brilliant episodes, and two-parters which makes it hard to vote on them. If I vote on the actual story, Human Nature has to win, but part of that is because the second part makes it so good. Silence in the Library was probably a better episode by itself, but it isn't as good as both Human Nature and The Family of Blood.

I suppose I will have to rate it as follows.

  1. Silence in the Library- 10/10 (I'm going for it today, because it's awesome,)
  2. Human Nature - 10/10 (I'll go for Family of Blood tomorrow.)
  3. The Impossible Planet - 9/10
  4. Let's Kill Hitler - 8/10
  5. Father's Day - 7/10 (Nice episode. Not particularly brilliant.)
  6. The Hungry Earth  - 6/10 (I thought Cold Blood was more interesting)
  7. Cold War - 6/10 (Good idea, just not particularly well done.)

KristiStoneman
KristiStoneman

A three-way tie between "Father's Day", "Human Nature", and "Silence in the Library".  I voted for "Human Nature", though.

Pockydon
Pockydon

Hmm, I'm actually going for Let's Kill Hitler for this one. It stands out the most, as the rest are pretty much all first parts of 2-parters. Tomorrow's gonna be really difficult though...

Planet of the Deaf
Planet of the Deaf

So, so hard... It's funny how these polls seem to swing so I've had weeks when when the only candidates have been Moff era shows, whereas this week it has to be an RTD era show. But what, S1, S3 or S4 I DON'T KNOW!!!!

Polyphase
Polyphase

@Oncoming_Badger Agreed and well said. I will add that the wonderful Gabriel Woolf as the voice of the beast was inspired :)

DW_girl
DW_girl

I don't hate it but I don't think there's anything particularly stand-out about it.

Planet of the Deaf
Planet of the Deaf

Actually I did S2 a disservice so must include that in my options as well :-)

Oncoming_Badger
Oncoming_Badger

Oh my goodness yes, could you find anybody to do a more bone chilling voice for the devil?