The Impossible Planet


It’s time for something a little different this week. No more of my exercises in finding synonyms for “good”, no sir. I’m going in a whole new direction. An in depth look at some issues from the story, you ask? Some sort of academic and fascinating thematic discussion? Why no. No, I’m doing a recap. Oh yeah. Let’s go.

A very dodgy sounding TARDIS materialises inside a cupboard on a base. The Doctor quickly comments that all human alien bases look like they were made out of kits — which it does a bit. But a good kit, reasonably eerie and not too shiny. We are so far from the bad old eighties glaringly bright sets, and thank god. And now there’s mindflayers Ood coming at the Doctor and Rose, looking to feed… them. Ah, classic. Now there’s an awesome way to begin an episode. Perfect comic timing, that Ood. The shaking of the translator is priceless. I like how the Doctor’s lost for words, until the stereotypical straight-forward security guard turns up. Then he seems to know where he is again.

“Are you telling me you don’t know where you are?” Oh dear. This episode has a bad patch and we’re heading straight for it!!! Yes, every line of dialogue that the crew has here gets repeated at least three times. Probably realistic I suppose but still irritated. The Doctor seems to be stealing all the good lines: “That’s us, hooray!” OK, introductions. Ida has a way of saying everything as if she’s thought about it a whole bunch of times before she says it. I wouldn’t be so uncharitable as to suggest it’s coz she can’t act. Some of her facial expressions are alright. The Captain is good and grumpy. The ethics committee guy looks like the gay guy from American Dreamz, but he isn’t. The archaeologist is a bit dull. Scooti is super-cute.

Ooops, almost missed it; we’re orbiting a black hole. Presumably we’re within its Schrodinger limit or whatever it is, because everyone’s convinced it’s impossible. The music is suitably creepy and off-kilter, quite awesome actually. Meanwhile, Toby’s hearing spooky voices. That’s so not a good sign. Unless he tells someone about it soon he’s toast. Hang on, it looks like the crew are attacking the death star. No, wait, there’s a gravity funnel that you can fly down. Rose seems to be getting high on something while the Doctor gets very concerned. And then Rose meets the Ood. I like how she gives Ethics guy a quick sarcastic line before anyone starts saying “you seriously don’t know” a billion times again. Free the Ood! And the Doctor’s already worked out all the calculations about the energy source below them — “I’m very good.” He’s arrogant and I love it.

And the wind is out of his sails quite quickly — he’s parked the TARDIS badly. No more TARDIS. Off the cliff. Goodbye! I’m impressed that they’ve managed to hush up that all the rest of the episodes are set in the future this season. Ack, this is dull — not the episode, just the typing — let’s fast forward a bit. While we skip, allow me to say that the CGI is magnificent this week. I don’t care what black holes look like, but they definitely should look like that. An Ood comes out with a bit of a non-sequitur at dinner but I think he got away with it alright. Words can’t express how cool these kooky messages are. Over the top villains are one thing; today the whole operating system is chewing the scenery and it’s fantastic. Ooooh, that’s a damn spooky voice. Toby’s so screwed. I’ve always said that language is a living, moving thing.

Ah, a nice quiet moment between the Doctor and Rose. It’s been a while between. This Doctor’s a bit shifier than the last one. The Doctor is suitably shocked by the idea of having a normal life and a — gasp — mortgage. He was a lot more game about it in ‘The Girl in the Fireplace’, but that time he’d just made a choice to save someone’s life. This time, he’s just randomly lost the TARDIS — that’s got to sting more. Not so heroic, and you don’t have to put a brave face on it. Now Rose is suggesting they move in together. I don’t think she’s worked out that her odds of keeping him are comparable to Wendy’s odds of keeping Peter Pan. Awkward but loveable, the pair of them. And then the phone tells Rose “He is awake” and Rose throws it away immediately because she’s a sensible little chicken. And while the Doctor plays an awesome game of Simon Says with the Ood, Scooti the cutie is jiggling in to visit Toby. Oh no. Oh dear. Not Scooti, you wouldn’t! She’s so cute! Wait, is that cool cello music? In space?

Oh Firefly, how I miss you. Thank you Murray Gold for giving me this moment of nostalgia. Spooky nostalgia. Damn, now Scooti’s dead and all the while I was thinking of Jewel Staite. I feel guilty. So does the Doctor, it seems. Does he consider things his fault as soon as he lands? Poor bastard seems to take everything on board. Twice in one minute the music and visuals come together to make television gold. The security guard starts quoting poetry but I can deal with that. And now they’ve reached the power source. Oh, it’s so time for things to go to shit. You can feel it in the air. I love that feeling. I think the Doctor does too. It’s just as well.

Woah. The Doctor and Ida have wandered into the Mines of Moria! I like the spacesuits. Very colourful, but they don’t make the Doctor and Ida look stupid and occasionally their faces look scary. And there’s a big seal. Oh, they completely shouldn’t open this. And now Toby’s gone all deep-voiced evil. He calls the security guard “Sir,” which I particularly like. Polite evil bastards are the best sort.1 But Toby steps aside to allow the Ood to become Satan’s Witnesses. There’s some quality evil ranting going on here, seriously over the top and cool. “I am the pain and the loss and the death of hope.” Oh, this episode rocks. Cue crescendo, cue mortal peril, and now… OPEN THE PIT!!!2

  1. I’m aware that if it does turn out to be the Devil himself, “evil bastard” will turn out to be something of an understatement.
  2. Now there’s a good cliffhanger. I’m delighted to say I really don’t know what’ll happen next.
The Beast and his armies shall rise from the Pit to make war against God. — The Ood

4 Responses to “The Impossible Planet”

  1. When the Doctor faced a life with Madame Pompadour he didn’t have a mortgage to worry about – he would have had to work for a living but in a cushy job probably. Also he had Madame Pompadour to dance with. So things weren’t so bad.

    I’ve always thought he was very blase about the dangers of losing his Tardis, the way he just parks it in any old place and wanders off.

    Do the Doctor and Rose start each day by pressing the Random Destination Button and decide it’s easier to find out when they are by going outside instead looking at the Tardis clock?

  2. Oh the shame. Schrodinger Radius my foot. I feel deeply… shamed. What’s another word for shame?

    I meant of course, schwarzschild radius. I’d correct it in the article but since the review was written as I watched and I say “or whatever it is” it seems tricky to correct.

  3. The wikipedia entry also states that black holes are non-rotating. Which means The Bitter Pill to be in geostationary orbit it couldn’t be moving – which surely is impossible. Not that I’d know. I learn about playing games.

    The characters clearly kept on using the term “orbit” just from habit. Obviously.

    Anyway I’ve talked about it before, I’m just happy that our science can sort of be rationalised, and the Doctor doesn’t seem like a fool for shouting “That’s impossible” multiple times. Yay.

    This Doctor does it a lot, actually. And by a lot I possibly only mean in two or three episodes. Still, it’s enough to be annoying. It suprises me that the Doctor could be so closed minded about new ideas. It’s almost a theme in the Impossible Planet. But in the Cyberman two-parter, they’ve clearly entered another reality so stop saying it’s not possible. Clearly it isn’t.

    It’s probably just a bit of arrogance shining through than actual unwillingness to accept new ideas.

  4. Clearly it isn’t not possible. Forgive the double negatives.