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Friday, May 09, 2008
Doctor Who: Planet of the Ood
After the heights of the previous two episodes, it feels like damning with faint praise to point out that Keith Temple's Planet of the Ood is merely good. Following up on a two year old plot thread, the Doctor and Donna find themselves on the Ood-Sphere, next door to the Sense-Sphere (and seemingly our completely gratuitous minor old series continuity reference for the season). The Ood are in the midst of a semi-rebellion, with formerly subservient Ood turning into rapid killers and attacking humans. The Doctor, feeling guilty over failing to save the Ood in his last encounter with them, or to ask how it was even possible for a sentient race to willingly sell themselves into slavery, determines to uncover what is happening to the Ood and the best way to help them.
Overall, it IS a good episode. We have a nice action piece, a big explodey battle sequence, and some nice moments with Catherine Tate and David Tennant. Donna in particular gets several good scenes here that emphasize her compassion for others, which are nicely contrasted with the Doctor's more "big picture" perspective. He sees the problem in macro; she sees it in the suffering of individuals. It was also nice to see the return of several themes from both the old and new series highlighted here, chiefly the banality of evil, which is expressed here in the form of an evil corporation and a blisteringly obvious comparison of the Ood's lot to contemporary factory workers in the Third World. What I would have liked to have seen more of was the nice inversion of the standard sci-fi cliche that takes place in this episode, namely that the evil, enslaving aliens are humanity.
Plot Threads to Watch For Bees disappearing "Your song must end soon."