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In their timemachine, the TARDIS (Time And Relative Dimensions In
Space), Doctor Who (David Tennant) and Rose (Billie Piper) land on a
planet on the edge of a black hole that somehow manages to not get sucked
into it while whole star systems all around it do - an anomaly most
certainly, and thus earth has sent a science team to the planet, to see
what's holding it there and possibly mine whatever-it-is - and thus the
mining team is drilling a hole to the center of the planet.
Soon enough though, murders start happening on the drilling
plant, committed by the teams archeologist Toby Zed (Will Thorp), who
seems to be possessed by something, but by now only the audience knows
that. And then there's the service aliens, the Ood, who thus far have only
been willing slaves, but now they start to rebel. And while everything
goes topsy turvey on the plant, the drill reaches the center, and the
Doctor decides to go down and fix things because he figures the solution
can only be down there (plus in the course of events he has lost his time
machine and figures it has to be somewhere deep deep down as well).
At the planet's core, the Doctor meets the Devil himself, chained up by
some very ancient civilisation ... but somehow he figures the chained up
beast he sees is only the Devil's body while the Devil's mind is probably
in one of the crewmembers - Toby -, and suddeny he finds himself in a
catch-22 situation: if he destroys the Devil's body, the planet will fall
into the black hole (how the Doctor knows that I do not know), but if he
doesn't, the Devil will be able to leave the planet and head back to earth
... and really, on the planet surface, the crew of scientists already mans
a rocket to leave the planet for good - and of course Zed is with them. It
is ony when the rocket is already airborn that Zed shows his evil other
self. But Rose has nerve enough to smash the rocket's windshield, open
Toby's safety belt and has him sucked into outer space - now that wouldn't
work in real life - and earth is saved from the Devil.
But unfortunately with the Devil gone, the planet and the rocket are
sucked into the black hole.
But fortunately, the Doctor has found his TARDIS again att he planet's
core, which is obviously stronger than some old black hole, and he drags
the rocket out of the hole's gravitational field ... and all is well ...
Despite some amusing ideas like the devil living at the center of a
doomed planet, this episode fails to really come to life: First and
foremost, the story lacks any really interesting characters, the whole
crew of the drilling plant seems to just have one and the same opinion all
the time and everybody is so awfully nice to the Doctor and Rose despite
the fact that they don't even bother to explain how and why they came to
this godforsaken planet (quite unlike a Doctor Who episode
from almost years earlier, The
Robots of Death, that touched some similar topics but with more
hindsight). Then there's the whole plot about the Devil himself: How did
he get here ? How does the Doctor all of a sudden know that his fate is
directly linked to the planet's fate ? And what the hell is the Devil in
the first place anyways (in the context of a sci-fi-narrative) ? Finally,
the finale is rather weak, with Rose out of the blue realizing all she has
to do is smach the rocket's windshield and open the Devil's safety belt to
get rid of him. Now apart from the fact that this solution to the problem
is purely ridiculous, it is not all that exciting either. Plus, from the
time the Doctor lost his TARDIS in an earthquake you just know he is going
to find it at the planet's core in the end in order to save everyone. And
wouldn't you know it, that's exactly what happens.
That all said, the episode isn't all bad, it has its moments, it just
could have been so much betterwas the screenplay more thought through.