Doctor Who: Series 2| Episode 8: The Impossible Planet
The Impossible Planet was the eighth episode of the second series of Doctor Who. It marked the first appearance of the Ood.
Rose finds herself further away from home than ever before, on a space base positioned on a planet in the orbit of a black hole. Meanwhile, an unknown entity is awakening and beginning to cause chaos amongst the crew.
The TARDIS materialises inside a “Sanctuary Base” meant for deep-space expeditions. The Tenth Doctor and Rose discover an inscription scribbled on the station wall which the TARDIS is unable to translate.
After a slight misunderstanding when first meeting the Ood, a docile race of empathic servants who work on the station, the travellers meet the crew of the base, led by acting Captain Zachary Cross Flane. Then an earthquake occurs and they all have to take cover. Afterwards, the crew is introduced to Science Officer Ida Scott, Head of Security John Jefferson, trainee maintenance officer Scooti Manista, and archaeologistToby Zed. They are on an expedition on an anomalous planet in orbit around a black hole, K37 Gem 5. The Doctor realises that it is impossible for the planet, which is called Krop Tor, to be in geostationary orbit around the black hole, as it should be pulled in like the star systems around it are. He calculates that it would take a phenomenal amount of power (six to the power of six for six seconds) to generate the huge gravity funnel stabilising its orbit. The funnel is not a natural phenomenon, and the crew is drilling ten miles underground to the core of the planet in hopes of finding the power source and using it. The origin of the power source is an ancient civilisation that had been on Krop Tor, and the inscription on the wall is a transcription of a stone tablet found on the planet.
The Doctor soon discovers that storage sections 5 to 8 had collapsed as a result of the earthquake-like tremor they had experienced moments after their arrival, dropping the TARDIS, which had been in Storage 6, into a crevasse. With no resources to divert the drilling, Rose and the Doctor are stranded.
It isn’t long before a malevolent presence begins to make itself known. Strange messages about the Beast awaking to make war against God emanate from the Ood’s translation spheres and the base computer’s speakers. Toby begins to hear voices just before he is possessed by the Beast. Then the crew and travellers watch as the Scarlet system is swallowed by the black hole. Rose receives a strange message on her phone and Toby wakes up. Danny, the Doctor, and Rose all discover the Ood acting up and saying strange things.
Meanwhile, Scooti goes to Toby’s room to drop off paperwork, but finds his room empty. While she puts the paperwork on the desk, the computer announces the opening and closing of Door 41, puzzling her. Concerned, she leaves Toby’s room in a rush and enters the section with Door 41, which is the airlock. The computer confirms that the door opened and closed, but cannot tell who went outside. Scooti then asks whose spacesuit was logged out, but it says no spacesuit was taken. Scooti tries to call Zach, but her wrist radio fizzles and dies; the computer can find no problem with it. Furious, Scooti demands that the computer tell her who went outside, but it says, “He is awake”. When she asks what that means, it responds with, “He who bathes in the black sun”. Out of the viewport, Scooti, to her shock, sees Toby on the barren planet’s surface, somehow surviving without a spacesuit. Toby turns, grinning evilly at her, and gestures her towards him. Scooti falls under the Beast’s influence and begins to move towards Toby, but soon manages to shrug off his control. Scooti is left shaken to the core and pleads for him to stop. Toby, angered by her refusal, clenches his fist. Sounds of glass breaking fill the corridor, and soon a crack appears on the window. Scooti gasps in fear upon realizing his intent and turns from the window. Frightened, she runs towards Door 40 and tries to open it. Scooti’s panic turns to horror as Door 40 refuses to open despite her desperate attempts to open it. Soon, Toby shatters the glass, and air begins rushing out the base. Scooti is violently dragged away from the door and pulled out into the vacuum of space, screaming in horror.
The base begins to shake violently and Zach orders them to evacuate. Danny, Rose, and the Doctor race to meet Jefferson, Ida, the security guards, and the now unpossessed Toby get through the door. Jefferson then closes the door, sealing the breach. Zach then asks if everyone was all right. Jefferson then reports that everyone is there except Scooti. Jefferson then calls for Scooti on his radio. However, he gets no answer. Zach then tells them she is alright and that her biochip located her in Habitation 3. Jefferson and Ida sigh in relief. They then go down to search for Scooti while the Doctor and Rose tend to Toby.
When Toby, Rose, and the Doctor enter the habitation they find the searchers looking frantically. Ida is calling all the habitations looking for Scooti. Jefferson then reports that Scooti is still missing while Zach continues by saying that her biochip says she is in Habitation 3. Then the Doctor sadly says he found her. Scooti was floating outside with her hair flying and her skin pale. Jefferson reports her death while Zach looks sorrowful. Ida then goes over to the control to close the overhead saying how she was only twenty years old. Scooti floats away towards the black hole spinning as the door closes. Jefferson recites a verse from “Horatius,” a poem by Thomas Babbington Macaulay: “And how can man die better/ Than facing fearful odds/ For the ashes of his fathers,/ And the temples of his gods.”
The team finally manages to drill down to the core of the planet. The Doctor and Ida journey down the mine shaft and into a massive cavern with ancient giant sculptures along its walls. They head for the power source, guided by sensor readings, and find a large circular disk set in the floor of the cavern, which the Doctor suspects is a trap door of some sort. The edge of the disk is also covered with inscriptions.
Meanwhile in the base, the Ood’s telepathic field rises dangerously to Basic 100, which is high enough to induce brain death, but they are obviously still alive. Finally the beast makes itself known through Toby before seemingly transferring itself to the Ood. The Ood identify themselves as the Legion of the Beast and begin to advance on the crew members, including Rose. Finally, the Doctor and Ida stand before a seal on the cavern ground, which then slides open to show a black chasm. A voice calls out from beneath it, stating, “The pit is open, and I am free!”. As the Doctor and Ida look down, malevolent laughter echoes from below…