Tuesday, 20 July 2010
Doctor Who: Planet of the Ood
“The circle must be broken.”
Bit hard to know what to say about this one, really. It’s sort of… average. Not that it doesn’t have lots of things going for it, of course; there’s Ood, Tim McInnerny, and the still great chemistry between Tate and Tennant. And I love the scene with the claw. It’s just that it’s all a bit… “meh”, as I’m told the young folks say. Even the dialogue hardly sparkles at all, unusually for the RTD years, hence the desperate choice of quotation above.
There’s a bit of political subtext (What? You noticed?), but it doesn’t really go anywhere beyond “Slavery is bad, mmmkay?” and a bit of superficial dialogue about culling cows during outbreaks of foot and mouth. Even the whole “Who do you think makes your clothes?” thing rather comes across as fence-sitting in the execution. Otherwise there’s little that particularly stands out about the plot, good or bad. I had to raise a smile when the lovely Solana betrayed our heroes, though; by the laws of the programme she’s signed her own death warrant.
There’s lots of good Doctor / Donna stuff though. Again we get the “We’re not married”, again we get Donna experiencing both the wonder and the horror of the universe. And Donna’s turnaround from despair at the Ood’s singing and wanting to go home to euphoria and enthusiasm again echoes last week very well. Their mutual character development is being very well handled.
There’s another mention of the bees disappearing, I notice, confirming its significance, and another pleasing reference to the show’s early days as the Sense-Sphere gets a name check. This story pretty much confirms the likely exploitation of the planet by humans after our original TARDISeers left, incidentally, but then it was clear at the time that this was bound to happen. Oh, and this is 4126, so RTD is sticking to his habit of often setting the future stories in defined periods, including the year Five Billion and the 42nd century.
The ending’s a bit odd- the Doctor and Donna have been rather passive throughout the episode, so what’s Ood Sigma thanking them for? We finish on an ominous note, though, as the Doctor is told “I think your song must end soon.” 3/5.