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Doctor Who - The Impossible Planet / Doctor Who - The Satan Pit

episode 2.9, episoce 2.10

UK 2006
produced by
Phil Collinson, Russell T.Davies (executive), Julie Gardner (executive) for BBC Wales/BBC
directed by James Strong
starring David Tennant, Billie Piper, Danny Webb, Shaun Parkes, Claire Rushbrook, Will Thorp, Ronny Jhutti, Myanna Buring, Paul Kasey, Gabriel Woolf (voice), Silas Carson (voice)
written by Matt Jones, music by Murray Gold

tv-series
Doctor Who, Doctor Who (David Tennant), Doctor Who (new series), Rose Tyler

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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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.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Tales to Chill
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Tales to Chill
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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD