Doctor Who – The Impossible Planet/The Satan Pit

Yes, the great Doctor Who review marathon begins here!

The first half of this two-parter reminded me a lot of classic Who. Yes! It’s the traditional “isolated base under siege” thingy! The Doctor and Rose arrive at a base located on a planet where no planet can possibly exist – in an apparently stable orbit around a black hole. Rather in the manner of Inferno, the crew of the base are drilling into the planet in search of a power source. You’d think by now that people would realise that doing that kind of thing inevitably leads to trouble, but hey…

The crew of the base are served by a race called the Ood[1] – telepaths who communicate with humans via spheres they hold in one hand[2]. The Ood have been bred as slaves, which is the kind of thing the Doctor and Rose generally do not approve of, to put it mildly.

Trouble soon starts. Part of the base collapses into a deep cavern, taking the Tardis with it. The Doctor and one of the crew go down into the depths to investigate the mysterious relics of a long-lost civilisation deep underground. Meanwhile, the Ood start behaving very strangely, speaking with a new voice:

He is awake
He bathes in the black sun
We are the legion of the beast

They also start killing people.

Another of the crew seems to be, for want of a better word, possessed. His skin is covered in markings that look like the indecipherable writing of the lost civilisation. He seems to recover, though.

More seismic disturbances lead to the Doctor being trapped underground with no way of reaching him, and the surviving crew evacuate the base, forcing Rose to go with them.

Down in the cavern, the Doctor comes face-to-rather large face with a huge demonic being. It’s been trapped down there for a very long time. When speaking through the Ood, it had claimed to have been there since before the Big Bang – which the Doctor does not believe. But now the entity, whatever it is, seems a lot less talkative. It’s merely a raging, ferocious beast – its mind seems to have gone away.

The Doctor realises that the planet is a carefully designed cage, intended to trap the entity for ever. If it is released, the planet will fall into the black hole.

In the usual way, the Doctor and Rose emerge triumphant – and again, it takes the two of them to do it. All in all, a nicely thrilling couple of episodes, with a great line towards the end. One of the crew asks “You two – who are you?” To which the Doctor can only reply:

The stuff of legend

Which is about right. And we never find out what the imprisoned entity really was. Nice to have a touch of ambiguity now and then.

[1] And they are a bit on the ood, err, odd side
[2] Which must make doing anything else a bit tricky, but let’s not be too picky :tongue:

4 thoughts on “Doctor Who – The Impossible Planet/The Satan Pit

  1. David

    This was my first full two part episode that I mentioned. Top Class in my opinion. The right blend of story, mild horror, special effects etc… very good. Almost converted………… :bouncy:

  2. David

    From the review the last one sounds class. Dont worry about me spoiling it for myself, I saw the rose ending bit on BBC News 24 late lastnight. The Doctor on every channel, Can’t be bad! :grin:
    Mr Bessant, I think you have yourself a new Doctor Who Fan!

  3. Les Post author

    Oh yes. Good stuff indeed. Now you just have to catch up on last year’s series and all the classic series. UK TV Gold might be able to help you there…

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