Doctor Who : The Impossible Planet

March 5, 2014 in Dr Who by Firebird

The TARDIS materialises in what seems to be a store room. The Doctor says that she seems to be having problems, Rose says that if he thinks there’s going to be trouble they can get back in and go somewhere else. They both laugh. As if!

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They find they’re on a deep space exploration base. Sprayed on the wall is the phrase “Welcome to Hell” and below it a lot of writing in strange symbols which the TARDIS can’t translate, which means it must be old, impossibly old. They go to look for whoever is in charge and are quickly surrounded by aliens saying “We must feed”

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“… you if you are hungry” Opps, electromagnetics interfering with their speech systems. They were just being polite. Then some of the human inhabitants turn up. They’re amazed rather than hostile and lead the Doctor and Rose to the command centre where everyone else is equally as puzzled but then a quake hits, shaking the whole base. The surface has caved in but Zack (the acting Captain) deflected it onto storage 5 through 8, they’ve lost them entirely. Toby the archiologist is sent to check it out.

Since it’s clear that Rose and the Doctor have no idea where they are the science officer Ida introduces them to the crew and then opens the roof to show a black hole. They are in orbit around a black hole. It’s impossible but here they are.

Toby is walking down a corridor when he hears a voice calling his name and the lights start to flicker.

Back in the control room Ida tells them a story, that the black hole was a demon and it was tricked into eating the planet, only to spit it out because it was poison. The Doctor is fascinated, this planet shouldn’t exist, the power required would be ridiculous. Rose is given refreshment by one of the aliens and politely asks it’s name. It says that it does not have a title, “we are as one”. Danny explains that they are Ood, a slave race. Rose is unsurprisingly upset about this. Meanwhile the Doctor is being told that the energy source buried in the planet is why the base is here, they’re drilling down to find it, to find out what it is. As the Doctor sees it, they came because it was there, a very human thing to do, and he decides to hug Zack. “Human beings, you are amazing” “Thank you” “But apart from that you’re absolutely mad. You should pack your bags, get back in that ship and fly for your lives”.

Which brings up the subject of how the Doctor and Rose got there and suddenly they realise that the TARDIS was in the storage area that’s not there any more. They rush off to check and yes, it’s gone, the TARDIS is gone. Zack won’t divert the drill to go looking for it. They’re trapped.

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Jefferson the security chief is with the Ood. Scooti the trainee tech is working outside. Danny is counting Ood. Toby is examining ancient writing on pieces of pottery, when the voice starts talking to him again. He thinks someone is playing tricks.

Rose is getting her lunch and trying to make conversation with an Ood when it says “The Beast and his armies shall rise from the Pit to make war against God”. She’s a bit taken aback, but then the Ood returns to normal.

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In the control room Zack is monitoring the drill, when he turns his back the image of the drill head is momentarily replaced by a horned figure.

Danny is closing a door while the automated system tells him to close it, but then says “He is awake”.

Again the voice calls to Toby, this time he knows it’s not Danny messing about. He asks “Who are you?” “I have so many names”. The voice tells him that he must not look behind him or he will die. Eventually as the voice says it’s getting closer and closer Toby can’t stand it any longer and looks around. There’s nobody there. He turns back to his work but finds that the pottery fragments he was examining are now plain. He removes his gloves and finds that the writing is now on his skin instead. Picking up a mirror he sees it on his face as well and his eyes are red. He collapses onto the floor.

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The rest of the crew watch as a star system is consumed by the black hole. The Doctor and Rose discuss what they will do without the TARDIS assuming the crew can do as they’ve offered and give them a lift when they finally leave this planet. The Doctor is not keen on getting a job and house like normal people. It gets a little awkward when Rose touches on the idea of sharing a house. Then her phone rings. A voice says “He is awake” Rose throws the phone to the floor.

Tobby wakes up. Still red-eyed and covered in writing.

The Doctor and Rose go to see Danny to ask about the Ood, how they communicate (a low level telepathic field) and if they could have picked up any transmissions to explain what was said to Rose. Danny monitors the telepathic field, it’s only basic level 5 he says but as the Doctor and Rose watch the number starts to increase going up to 30. When Rose repeats what her phone said the Ood all say “and you will worship him”. The Doctor asks them who.

Scooti goes to see Toby but he’s not there. She hears door 41 open and close and goes to investigate because it’s an airlock. She tries to tell Zack but can’t get through. The Door says “He is awake. He is awake. He bathes in the black sun”. She opens a view port and looks out to see Toby standing outside without a spacesuit. He’s grinning and beckons to her but she’s terrified. He clenches his fist the glass smashes. The hull breach is detected and the rest of the crew rush to seal doors. Everyone except for Scooti is accounted for but she seems to be in Habitation 3 so they all go there. It’s empty, she isn’t there. Then the Doctor finds her. She’s floating outside, obviously dead. Ida closes the blast doors.

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The drill has stopped, they’ve reached point zero. The Doctor volunteers to go down the drill shaft with Ida. They walk out into a massive cavern and Ida releases a gravity globe to illuminate it. It’s decorated with gigantic carvings.

The Ood are at Basic 100 which should mean they’re dead and Danny is starting to freak out. Zack tells him that if they’re not actually doing anything just to keep an eye on them.

The Doctor and Ida find a seal, or as the Doctor calls it a trap door. It’s covered in the writing. They call up to ask Toby if he’s deciphered them yet. He stands up, red-eyed and written on again and speaking in a voice that’s not his own. He knows Jefferson’s secrets and taunts him. Jefferson threatens to shoot. His eyes glow, the writing leaves his face and transfers into the Ood whose eyes now glow red. All the Ood are affected and move to attack. Below the seal opens.

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The gravity field is weakening. The voice says “The pit is open and I am free”.

For me this episode stands out for the introduction of the Ood who we’ll see again in several future stories. Gotta love an Ood 🙂

Darth_Namialus : This episode (and arc) is by far one of the scariest of Doctor Who. I was up on a summer night, alone at around 2AM watching these episodes, and I was even tempted to turn off my laptop to continue in the morning. Having said that, this arc is also one of the most entertaining of the whole show and I loved it all.

I’d cover my face whenever a scene involving Toby appeared, and the flashing images of the Devil himself made me jump once or twice. It was freaky. I did like the fascinating environment, however, especially the Black Hole and the presence of humans on that planet – not just aliens. The team we got to meet was pretty cool, especially Ida. Scooti’s death was a little surprising too (I marked her as one of the characters who’d survive.)

And yes, the Ood! I liked the transformation they went through across Doctor Who – a slave race, then freed by Doctor-Donna, and then there to witness Ten’s death. This episode marks the introduction of one of the best aliens on the show. But they do look a little scary…

With a strong plot, fascinating environment, and freaky shots, I’d give this episode a rather high 9/10. I loved the arc.