Way back in 2010, I wrote some articles ranking each episode of the first five seasons of Doctor Who - ignoring specials, and everything before 2005. The idea was to determine which season I preferred. I wrote 8 entries. This is good for me, these days.
Here's the ninth.
The Empty Child
The dawn of Steven Moffat, gives us a strong period piece, a creepy monster with a playground-friendly catchphrase that is still occasionally heard in gay bars, the introduction of Captain Jack and a brilliant supporting character. The only downside is Rose climbing a rope for no good reason, but that's pretty minor. It's going to be hard to beat.
The Satan Pit
This episode isn't going to do it, though. Not that it's a bad episode, but the Doctor is stuck in a cave for most of it, which is what brings the score down. There's a bit of TARDIS magic, which isn't always great, but the base-under-siege is done well, Ida Scott's worth revisiting sometime, and Toby Zed combines creepy with vulnerable really well.
The Family of Blood
The second half was never going to be quite as good as the book - but the book is brilliant, so that's always tough. The key points are there, though, and Tennant does a great job of face acting when he portrays the Doctor's feelings about his cruelty. But that, in itself, doesn't quite work.
Forest of the Dead
Everybody lives... kind of.
Moffat. Moffat, Moffat, Moffat. Oh how you love playing with layers of reality. Marvellously ripping us out of creepy library story in to Donna's alternate reality - the first of several - and giving Catherine Tate something really meaty and human to get her teeth in to. It's a close run between this and The Empty Child
It's a game of two halves. There's the first 35 minutes, where people talk a lot and not much else happens, and then there's the last ten minutes, when Rory dies and Amy forgets that he ever existed. Twisty and intriguing, but not quite enough to cover up the cracks in the earlier part of the episode.
Indeed, because of that, I'm going to inch it in to fourth place, but to be fair, all five Episode 9s are pretty strong. Perhaps being part of a two-parter helps...?
Ranking for Episode 9
Rankings So Far Series 4 > Series 2 = Series 5 > Series 3 > Series 1
I'd thought Series 3 might have been higher up the list, to be honest.