TARDIS Thoughts: NaBloPoMo (catchup): Series 2, Episode 8: "The Impossible Planet"


NaBloPoMo (catchup): Series 2, Episode 8: "The Impossible Planet"

Welcome to yet another NaBloPoMo catchup post...almost there. Almost done.

Next up is Series 2, Episode 8 - and part one of a 2-parter with episode 9, "The Satan Pit" - "The Impossible Planet."

This episode is very intense, though not quite as intense as the next episode. Not the best episode to watch at night.

Basically, in this episode, The Doctor and Rose find themselves on a "Sanctuary Base" somewhere in deep space in the 42nd century. (There are a lot of 42s in this episode). As if it wasn't bad enough that the TARDIS didn't want to land, they are greeted by this haunting message:

(It says "Welcome to Hell" by the way...Rose's head is blocking one of the words)

Plus, there is this strange writing, resembling Ancient Chinese or maybe Arabic, that is apparently so ancient even the TARDIS can't translate it:

The two meet up with the base's crew, from whom they learn the base is on a planet orbiting a black hole - something which should be scientifically impossible. The Doctor is impressed by their daring, though:
TOBY: There was some form of civilisation. They buried something. Now it's reaching out, calling us in.
DOCTOR: And you came.
IDA: Well, how could we not?
DOCTOR: So, when it comes right down to it, why did you come here? Why did you do that? Why? I'll tell you why. Because it was there. Brilliant. Excuse me, er, Zach, wasn't it?
ZACH: That's me.
DOCTOR: Just stand there, because I'm going to hug you. Is that all right?
ZACH: I suppose so.
DOCTOR: Here we go. Come on, then.
(The Doctor hugs Zach.)
DOCTOR: Oh, human beings. You are amazing! Ha!
We also meet the base's other inhabitants, the Ood - an alien race inclined to servitude by their very nature (kind of like the house elves in Harry Potter), who are connected by a sort of hive mind, communicate using little globules, and look like they belong in the Mos Eisley cantina or something:

But all is not well on the base. The crew's work to drill down into the planet to investigate the power source of its gravity well has awakened something no one on the base understands. Plus, stuff on the planet is becoming unstable, causing parts of the base to periodically break off and fall into a massive chasm. And exactly that happens - and that isn't good for The Doctor and Rose. Cause one of the parts that gets lost is exactly where they parked the TARDIS. Which means...they are now stranded. Indefinitely. Oops.

The Doctor and Rose try to process this possibility:

The Doctor is devastated at losing his precious ship, and is equally worried about Rose being trapped with him, since he had apparently promised Jackie he would always bring Rose home. Rose is a little more optimistic, saying they can just wait till the crew leaves the planet (which we have learned they are going to do soon) and get a ride back to Earth with them and go settle somewhere, even suggesting she and The Doctor could get a place together (which makes The Doctor awkward, although we all know how much he would love that). 

Meanwhile, whatever it is the crew awakened with their drilling is on the prowl - and its target is Toby, the crew's archeaology specialist:
VOICE [OC]: Toby. Don't turn around.
TOBY: Dan? That's not Dan.
VOICE [OC]: Don't look at me.
TOBY: Who are you?
VOICE [OC]: I have so many names.
TOBY: If if I could
VOICE [OC]: If you look at me, you will die.
TOBY: But who are you?
VOICE [OC]: I'm behind you, Toby. I'm right behind you. Don't look. Don't look at me. One look and you will die. I'm reaching out, Toby. I'm so close. Don't turn around. Oh, I can touch you.
The evil entity, who we gradually learn is called The Beast, possesses Toby, and he goes on a rampage, killing fellow crew member Scooti:

It is determined soon after that someone needs to check on the drilling. Ida from the crew is chosen for this, and The Doctor volunteers to accompany her, despite Rose's protests. She kisses him before he goes down. Toby, now unpossessed, realizes he can better understand the mysterious writing he had been studying (the same writing The Doctor and Rose had found when they first arrived) as a result of his possession and begins trying to decode it. Everyone is now suspicious of him, though, because of what he did to Scooti under The Beast's influence, and tries to keep an eye on him.

The Ood, meanwhile, are acting funny too, mystifying their "caretaker," Danny. They occasionally make cryptic remarks to Rose about The Beast too, which they subsequently don't remember saying.

The Doctor and Ida reach the bottom of the cave created by the drilling and discover a stone, seemingly the cover for something, with strange markings on it:

They decide to investigate it, but just as they do so, The Beast jumps into action, repossessing Toby while simultaneously possessing all the Ood that are on board.

The Beast then properly introduces himself, saying they will all die, while the Ood proclaim they are the Beast's Legion:

And...the episode ends. To be continued. 

Like I said, this episode is intense. And not one of my faves personally, though I like it better than part 2 of this 2-parter, which I have negative memories attached to (more on that in the next post). 

This episode and the next features a voice long-time Doctor Who fans may recognize - The Beast is voiced by Gabriel Woolf, famous for playing Sutekh in the popular Fourth Doctor episode "Pyramids of Mars." I watched this episode long before I saw "Pyramids of Mars," so I didn't catch the connection myself. When I did finally watch "Pyramids of Mars" as part of the Fourth Doctor Doctors Revisited special, I tried to pay attention to Sutekh's voice to see if it sounded the same. It does sort of sound similar, but it's hard to tell. 31 years of time ("Pyramids of Mars" aired in 1975) can do a lot to the voice. (Not to mention a lot has happened in sound technology since 1975). Watch this clip and decide for yourself:

The idea of an ancient power using a human to escape his confinement (which we learn at the end of this episode is The Beast's goal) also hearkens back to "Pyramids of Mars," as this was also Sutekh's goal. 

The episode does play on the sort of "demonic possession" tropes you might expect - someone awakens a demonic power by accident, hears strange voices, then is possessed and does horrible things. The Doctor's reference to some equation involving three sixes also references the Biblical "number of The Beast," 666. But I don't buy the idea that you are led in this episode to believe the Ood are the bad guys. I mean, yeah, it's usually the token aliens in the episode - which the Ood are in this case - that are the bad guys of the episode, but if that's what they're trying to do in this episode, they're not fooling me. Clearly, The Beast is much more sinister; heck, even the Ood make cryptic warnings about him, as if they can sense something the rest of the crew can't (which is highly probable, given their reliance on low-level telepathic energy to communicate with others of their race; technically The Beast takes advantage of this telepathic connection to possess all of them simultaneously anyway...also we know from later episodes, like "Planet of the Ood," that the Ood are known to make cryptic prophecies, and that they're usually right - they were right about The Doctor's song "ending soon" anyway). 

Next post, we go to part 2 of this 2-parter, and an episode I really don't like, "The Satan Pit." Till next time!


NaBloPoMo Special: 
The Love of the Doctor and Rose Tyler 
Part Twenty-Two: "The Mysterious Couple"

Since the theme of NaBloPoMo this month is "Love and Sex" (probably because of Valentine's Day), I feel compelled to write something about love in my posts. Hence, since I am exploring Series 1 and 2 in this challenge, I am going to write a little special essay throughout the month about the growing love between the Doctor and Rose. Please note I am in no way an expert on relationships.

The Doctor and Rose definitely bond in this episode, especially when they are faced with the possibility of being stranded on the titular "impossible" planet:
ROSE: I've seen films and things, yeah. They say black holes are like gateways to another universe.
COMPUTER: Close door 18.
DOCTOR: Not that one. It just eats.
ROSE: Long way from home.
DOCTOR: Go that way, turn right, keep going for er, about, er, five hundred years, and you'll reach the Earth.
(Rose turns her phone on.)
ROSE: No signal. That's the first time we've gone out of range. Mind you, even if I could. What would I tell her? Can you build another Tardis?
DOCTOR: They were grown, not built. And with my own planet gone, we're kind of stuck.
ROSE: Well, it could be worse. This lot said they'd give us a lift.
DOCTOR: And then what?
ROSE: I don't know. Find a planet, get a job, live a life, same as the rest of the universe.
DOCTOR: I'd have to settle down. Get a house or something. A proper house with, with doors and things. Carpets. Me, living in a house. Now that, that is terrifying.
ROSE: You'd have to get a mortgage.
ROSE: Oh, yes.
DOCTOR: I'm dying. That's it. I'm dying. It is all over.
ROSE: What about me? I'd have to get one, too. I don't know, could be the same one. We could both, I don't know, share. Or not, you know. Whatever. I don't know. We'll sort something out
DOCTOR: Anyway.
ROSE: We'll see.
DOCTOR: I promised Jackie I'd always take you back home.
ROSE: Everyone leaves home in the end.
DOCTOR: Not to end up stuck here.
ROSE: Yeah, but stuck with you, that's not so bad.
ROSE: Yes.
It's worth noting that Rose is actually comfortable with the idea of moving in with The Doctor (in the Earth sense, that is; technically she is already "living with him" by virtue of living full-time in the TARDIS except for occasional visits home). This shows that she at least views their relationship as quite serious, since not even Mickey got that honor from her (and they were supposedly in quite the steady relationship). Rose would not suggest that sort of thing lightly. By this point, I'd say it's become clear that her primary object of affection has always been The Doctor, despite her pretense of a continuing relationship with Mickey (mostly in Series 1) and her seeming infatuation with Jack Harkness (then again, even I would admit he was a lot more romantic with her than The Doctor was being at that point...plus Captain Jack just has that effect on most people, if you know what I mean).

Rose is also very concerned about The Doctor going down in the drill shaft with Ida - not because Ida is any sort of romantic rival or anything, but simply due to the inherent dangers in going down there. Before he goes down, she gives him a kiss in front of everyone:

And once he goes down, she ends up pretty much in charge of the radio which is their one communication link to The Doctor and Ida, and takes great advantage of it.

Others note The Doctor and Rose's closeness too; Danny calls them "the mysterious couple."

But with the dangers of the Pit looming in the near future...will The Doctor and Rose's love survive? We'll see.

Pictures from Sonic Biro. Quotes from The Doctor Who Transcripts.

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