Doctor Who, Season 2, Disc 4

The continuing adventures of the tenth Doctor and his companion Rose; I have enjoyed this, but I think I liked Christopher Eccleston better as the Doctor, and know I liked Rose better in the last season. I’ve seen bits and pieces of the older Who (like many people, starting with Tom Baker) and may eventually work my way through them (at least enough to have an idea of the different Doctors). I generally try to avoid spoilers, but there are some in here (unavoidable).

The Impossible Planet
The Tardis lands in the middle of a station on a planet far enough away from everything that there is writing that it cannot translate. They discover that they are on a planet orbiting a black hole; there is a gravity field of some sort going outwards, keeping the planet in orbit. There is a group that are trying to find the power source that is located somewhere inside that is causing the gravity field, and they are close to it at the beginning of the episode. They are assisted by a race called the Ood, who apparently live to serve others; they are humanoid with tentacle faces (I immediately thought of Lovecraft, but others would probably be reminded of Davy Jones from Pirates of the Caribbean; I haven’t seen the relevant movie yet). They are apparently low-level telepathic with each other and speak to the humans via occasionally wonky translators.

The Ood’s first appearance is a group of them advancing on the Doctor and Rose, saying “We must feed” in unison; they apologize and offer refreshments (“We must feed you”). There is an earthquake, and the sector where the Tardis landed is destroyed; the leader refuses to divert the drill to look for the Tardis, but offers them a lift back to civilization once they have found the power source and leave.

I didn’t realize this was part one of two until near the end, when I looked at the title of the next episode. This episode was nicely creepy, with disembodied voices whispering to people, and occasionally taking over the computer’s voice, the Ood’s translators, the Ood themselves, and once calling Rose’s phone. Toby, the archaeologist, is the main target of the voices; he is trying to translate the language on some pottery they have found. The drill eventually reaches the core, and The Doctor volunteers to accompany Ida (the Science Officer) down the shaft. They find a seal, it opens, the Ood are possessed and start speaking for the occupant of the pit, and the episode ends.
The Satan Pit
I like the major spoiler in the title, though it is a spoiler for the end of the last episode (and was fairly obvious earlier). The Doctor and Ida are down the shaft, debate investigating the pit, are ordered to return, and the cable snaps. Below, The Doctor and Ida have philosophical discussions while using the cable from the capsule to investigate the pit (The Doctor investigates), while above, Rose takes charge and gets the crew to come up with a plan to stop the Ood. The remnants of the crew above manage to escape; unfortunately, the possessed member is one of them. The Doctor finds the beast and faces a dilemma: destroying the beast will also destroy Rose (the gravity field is tied to its prison; destroying the field will cause the planet to fall into the black hole; the lack of the field will cause the rocket to fall into the hole as well. The existence of further episodes makes this less suspenseful than it might have otherwise been, though the remaining crew’s fate was uncertain until the end.
Rose actually is kick-ass in this episode; after the beast causes the crew to start panicking, she convinces them to concentrate and come up with a plan to stop the Ood (there are 50 possessed and armed Ood and five or six crew members by this point). She seems to be using “What would the Doctor do?” as her motivation, and it seems to be working. I liked her fine in the last season, but earlier in this season, she was getting on my nerves a little; she seemed a bit weepy and clingy, though I guess the regeneration was hard on her.
Love and Monsters
There’s a guy (Elton, with Ursula filming) telling his story of his encounters with the Doctor. He ends up meeting a group of people who were interested in and investigating the Doctor who become the London Investigation ‘N’ Detective Agency (LINDA), and they ended up becoming friends and becoming more of a social group than an investigatory one. A man named Victor Kennedy joins the group and takes it over, giving people files to analyze and getting them to look for information about Rose. Members of the group begin to vanish, there is an alien, and eventually the Doctor shows up to save the day.

For such an emotional episode, that was an extremely grotesque alien (fat and ugly). It was kind of interesting seeing the Doctor from an outsider’s point of view, but I would have rather had an episode with the Doctor in it.

wikipedia on Doctor Who

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