Saturday, 16 May 2009

Doctor Who: The Impossible Planet (1)

Doctor: 'I promised Jackie I'd take you back home.'
Rose: 'Everyone leaves home in the end.'

When the visual effects are as stunning as this, it makes you wish that we were off-world more often. K37 Gem 5 looked spectacular, as did Krop Tor and the ruined city. Even the Ood, despite their rubber exteriors, were a triumph. It's amazing what you can do with a ballcock float, a bulb and a beard o' tentacles.
The invisible presence which haunted Toby Zed was outright creepy, which only goes to prove that the evil we can't see is often more frightening than the evil we can. If a voice behind you said 'don't turn around or you'll die' (apart from crapping your pants), what would you do? Mind games, indeed. In the end, Toby did turn around, and he didn't die. At least, not yet.

There were probably more peripheral characters this week than were strictly necessary. As a result, some were underdeveloped (Danny and Jefferson), and others were destined for a quick death (Scooti). Toby's characterisation was also a bit thin, but his presence was so pivotal to the story, that it wasn't a problem. Top notch performance from Will Thorp. The possession sequences were excellent, particularly the scene with him stood on the planet's surface, all demon-ed up, beckoning to Scooti through the window. If that was the smile of a sane man, I'll eat my hat.

There were also some nice moments between the Doctor and Rose. Without his TARDIS, the Doctor was forced to contemplate a life of normality, of mortgages and carpets, and of potentially sharing a home with Rose. He was also struggling with guilt. His promise to Jackie, that he would always take Rose home, seemed impossible to keep without his big blue box. Not that Rose seemed particularly bothered. She appeared far less traumatised at the prospect of settling down than the Doctor. And it was cute to see Rose kiss his helmet. (Not a euphemism.) Awww... they're like a real couple.

It was difficult to know what to make of the Ood's predicament. Is it ethical to wish for the emancipation of a species which has no desire to be free? From a human perspective, it's easy to think that all slavery is wrong and that freedom should always be striven for—but what if freedom means death? What if you don't want it?

If I had one gripe this week, it's that the Doctor's 'aren't humans brilliant' shtick is wearing a bit thin. We know that the Doctor loves humankind—he's said it enough times—so why do the writers feel the need to keep telling us? And did anyone really need a hug? Didn't that just make the Doctor look a little... well, silly?

But all in all, a great episode. Roll on 'The Satan Pit'.

Other Thoughts:

—Some great opening humour from the Ood....'We must feed! We must feed... you... if you are hungry'.

—It's reassuring to know that even future technology needs a good kick every now and then.

—TARDISES are grown, not built? Says who? I thought K9 had a set of TARDIS blueprints?

—The lines 'And how can man die better than facing fearful odds. For the ashes of his fathers, and the temples of his Gods,' are from Thomas Babington Macauley's poem, Horatius.

—'Sorry, I'm so sorry.' Again?

—The 'Christmas in Walford' quote was a reference to UK soap Eastenders.


Doctor: 'This place was put together like a flat-pack wardrobe, only bigger... and easier.'

Rose: 'The Ood?'
Danny: 'They're the Ood.'
Rose: 'The Ood?'
Danny: 'The Ood.'
Rose: 'Well, that's ood.'
Danny: 'Very ood.'

Rose: 'Seriously, you like being ordered about?"
Ood: 'It is all we crave.'
Rose: 'Why's that then?'
Ood: 'We have nothing else in life.'
Rose: 'Yeah, well, I used to think like that—a long time ago.'

Doctor: 'To generate that gravity field and the funnel, you'd need a power source with an inverted self-extrapolating reflex of six to the power of six, every six seconds.'
Rose: 'That's all the sixes.'
Doctor: 'And it's impossible.'
Zach: 'It took us two years to work that out!'
Doctor: 'I'm very good.'

Toby: 'It's buried beneath us. In the darkness, waiting.'
Rose: 'What's your job, chief dramatist?'

Beast: 'If you look at me, you will die.'

Doctor: 'Oh, did you have to? 'No turning back' is almost as bad as 'nothing can possibly go wrong' or 'this is going to be the best Christmas Walford's ever had'.'

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