RS (rainbowstevie) wrote,

The Impossible Planet & The Satan Pit

A. My Shakespeare prof just bought a house on a street called Hamlet. In the town of Avon. Greatest thing ever, y/y?  I was really tempted to save that tidbit of knowledge for my post on 3x2, but who knows when I'll get there, and right now it's fresh in my mind so I'm sharing. 

B. I fetched myself the radio version of "My Immortal," and um...what does it say about me, exactly, that my brain fills in the sound of the Doctor & Rose's screams at the high point, and the TARDIS's whoosh at the end?  Not that it stops me listening.  God, this piece is brilliant.  I'm sorry I killed it with overplay and went multiple years without listening to it, because it's really a masterpiece of a song.  (now just watch, I'll end up killing it again)

C. I was looking at TV Squad's Big Damn List of Post-Strike Show Returns, and I fell out of my chair in shock when I saw that one of them was "The Sarah Jane Adventures."  Bzuh?! see, I was somehow under the impression that her show had been around back when she was a companion, somewhere in the 70's.  I thought it was long dead and buried.  I had no idea it was a brand-new spinoff circa 2007.  Why are you not all watching/discussing it?  Is it strangely horrible or something?  Because, I mean, from the title alone it sounds 16,000 times better than Torchwood, and I shall be checking it out just as soon as time and my progression through the original series permit.  Which at this rate should be early July, but at least it's a goal.

D. Speaking of returns, Doctor Who is somehow starting again in less than 2 weeks.  TWO WEEKS!  THIS IS NOT ENOUGH TIME AT ALL.  I'm torn between wanting to blaze through the rest of the series and catch up, for the American premiere if not the British one, and wanting to continue plodding on my slow and steady path, hopefully dragging out my entry into season 4 so that I don't have to wait when I don't want to.  The odds are about 99 : 1 that I will choose the latter option, but it's a pity that I'm going to miss my only real chance to fandom squee with everyone else.  Maybe I'll try to time it so that I swing into the current era about halfway through the season. 

D. And now, actual content promised in the title!

2x8/2x9, The Impossible Planet/The Satan Pit

I think  that for the first time ever, I'm just going to have to talk about these two like one great long episode and not differentiate between them, because my original watching of them was all sorts of messed up.  I've mentioned before that the first scene I ever saw of Ten was the hug in TSP, but I also in short order watched the little chat about mortgages from TIP.  Then, after only a couple of episodes of season 2, it was back to YouTube on one of those procrastinate-y nights where I watched a few short but hugely significant clips from the second episode, namely "Oh, she knows" and the scenes immediately preceding and following the hug.   And then of course there was "Behind Closed Doors," the missing-scene fic, of sorts, whose details I have combed over time and time again.  Oh, and I stumbled over the teaser from the first episode in there too.  See?  Tons of puzzle pieces but very little idea how to put them together.

FINALLY, I got to see it all in full, and it was exactly as great as I'd built it up in my head (not like that fake momentum I had built up for Empty Child/Doctor Dances, about which I shall always be twisted and embittered).  This was a solid, well-rounded 2-parter, an all-around satisfying story and the best of the season so far.  Part of me thinks it's just because the teaser was actually relevant to my interests, opening on the Doctor and Rose instead of stupid temporary characters.  And yet!  These are some of the best characters ever introduced.  Can we go back in time, redo Torchwood and make the spinoff about Zack, Danny, Ida and Jefferson instead?  We could even have Zombi Scooti!  No?  Aw, come on.  

Time for subject headings, I think.

Behind Closed Doors (a/k/a I Can Fangirl Fanfiction If I Want To!)
It stands very well on its own, but now, knowing the context and being able to understand all the little details that connect to what we saw in the episode, it's even greater.   Also, MAN, that fic covered a lot of ground.  I don't even know how you could watch the episode without it.  There needs to be a better bridge between finding Scooti's body and their next scene, and I definitely need to know that he 'd previously broached the subject of going down into the pit rather than just strolling up in a spacesuit and expecting Rose to be fine with it.  "I’m going to have to go down with her. You know that, don’t you? You did realise?"

Knowing that he’s turned his head, Rose can’t help but do the same and almost regrets it when she finds herself the object of the Doctor’s close scrutiny. "Yeah."  Her hollow tone doesn’t escape him. 

And despite what I said about having read the details a hundred times over, I somehow remembered the first sentence as being "mere minutes after Toby's death," and therefore I not only kept expecting him to die (...even long after Scooti bit the dust, sadly enough), I was completely shocked and gutted when it turned out to be Scooti instead.   

Thoughts on the Sanctuary team
Everything about their first meeting is golden.  I love when the Doctor starts rambling about how much he loves humans.  Hug tiem nao!  (I can't decide which response I love more, Zack's completely blase "All right then" look, or Rose's delighted smile as she observes)  I also love when he starts talking himself in circles about things being impossible.  And the slow realization turning to horror, followed by racing through the ship to confirm what he doesn't want to know; the TARDIS is gone.  And Rose at his heels, spurred to panic from his reaction alone.

"That ship is all I've got; literally, the only thing!" Well that's not true, even aside from Rose - haven't you got the sonic screwdriver on you?  (sorry.  can't help being facetious, even though that really is kind of a tragic thought). And that's an interesting tidbit about how they're grown, not made.  I guess I never really absorbed all that talk of the TARDIS being alive or having a mind of its own or whatever.  I thought that was just particularly good personification.

Was Scooti supposed to be related to Ida?  The recap said they looked like sisters; personally my inclination was mother-daughter, but I couldn't find an answer either way.  Anyway.  Her death was one of the most chilling ones they've had in ages - the Doctor's grim look as he points up, her body floating grotesquely in the non-atmosphere above the glass, one arm bent in a gruesome parody of a farewell wave...oh, boy.  That was unnerving.  Much more unnerving than Devil Toby, who would have been scary with his scribble-covered skin, except that his fake-red eyes were just sort of laughable.  And...I just really didn't like Toby at all, and confess I was disappointed when Jefferson didn't shoot him like a rabid dog.  He was snivelly and whiny.  With bug eyes.

Oh!  Incidentally, the music in the scene where they find her, as Ida closes the ceiling cover - a sweeping, dramatic motif that repeats throughout the episode - drove me absolutely crazy.  I spent the whole -parter going "I've heard this before!  I know it!  It's beautiful, but where is it FROM?!"  ...and then Rose opened the door of the TARDIS, and I fell out of my chair laughing as I realized it's from replaying the clip of the Satan Pit hug sixteen million times in weeks past.  In other words, I recognized the episode music...from the episode.

Ida, on the other hand, was a character I could connect to.  While she's not ZOMG AWESOME enough to put her on the list of "People Who Would Make Better Companions Than Martha and/or Donna," I did really enjoy all of her scenes.  I'm tempted to say she was my favorite crew member, except that Zack was really quite fun too.  

Oh, and funny story - one of the first clips I saw on YouTube was the Doctor was talking about exchanging Rose for Ida.  I kid you not, I went into this episode believing that the Station team members were the bad guys (with Ida perhaps being the leader), and that they'd kidnapped Rose and the Doctor was proposing a hostage trade.  I was completely baffled when I realized that Ida was just a very sweet lady, and possibly really going to die down in the pit.  Couldn't figure out what was going on. 

The Ood
Hee!  I like them!  They're creepy, but I like their voices.  Personally, if I were on that ship, I think my preferred job would be Ood Wrangler.  And even though slave races are never a good idea on this show, because of precisely what happens with this one (simple minds, always being hijacked for nefarious purposes), the concept in general has all sorts of room for interpretation - as illustrated when I agreed with Rose's indignance about keeping slaves for about three seconds until I heard that they wither and die without orders to take.  

That being said, I couldn't really connect with the Doctor's look of regret when he says he couldn't save them.  ("Meh.")  It's easier to feel sorry for the Ood if you think of them like cattle, though.  Or perhaps horses, given their usefulness.  A whole herd of horses getting sucked into the black hole, now THAT'S sad.  Sidebar: why can't alien species ever be cuddly and cute?  Why aren't there ever furry little alien pets?

1. Adorable teaser.  I love that Rose can't even pretend to keep a straight face while saying "If you think there's going to be trouble, we could always get back in and go somewhere else..." I think she starts cracking up before she gets to the first comma; it's one of those things that you find so funny you start laughing at the joke before you tell it.  I love those things.  

Oh, and then there's the fact that they're hand-in-hand backpedaling away from the Ood.  That's good too.

2. "I've trapped you here."  Oh, he looks so gutted.  Do I have to start rationalizing and assume that he's equally if not more distressed about being trapped himself?  Let's say I don't.  Let's assume that factors into it, but the first thought is still for her.  Never takes his eyes off her face as she slowly verbalizes their situation.  

"Yeah, I've changed my mind.  Start worrying about me."  Aw.  Sad, sad eyes and just the barest offer of a smile as he pulls her into a hug.  God, I love this hug.  Even more than the one last episode, despite the fact that Rose looks sort of squished, just for the way he has one arm wrapped around her shoulders.  Well, that the fact that comfort hugs always beat happy hugs in my Cuteness Hierarchy.  I have an odd love for the bittersweet in my cute moments.  

3. Rose's singsong "You'd have to get a mortgage!" and his subsequent "That's it; I am dying, it is all over" conversation is the best thing ever.  I always start giggling madly when he says that.  There will be no living with carpets and doors!  He'll lie down and DIE first!  And even though I squirm with physical pain over the awkwardness when Rose veers just a little too far into domestic territory, actually entertaining the notion of living a sedentary life with him, it's saved by the fact that she looks away when she says it, like she's wishing she'd checked herself.  I mean, it's not like she got all starry-eyed at the prospect of playing house.  That was me.  She loves traveling as much as he does.  And while they quite obviously WOULD share a house if they had nowhere else to go (and I say that even independent of my personal notion that they'd be sharing a bedroom, in whatever capacity you choose to interpret that statement), I also think it would take them all of about a week to find a spaceship and start planet-hopping as usual, even if they couldn't go whirling through time while they were at it.

And anyway, the beautiful point of this whole conversation is the fact that it really doesn't matter where they are, as long as they're together.  (DAMN YOU, DOOMSDAY.  DAMN YOU TO THE IMPOSSIBLE PLANET).  "Everyone leaves home in the end" and "Yeah, but stuck with you, that's not so bad."  Or, well, what I really love is her very firm affirmation of this fact, complete with eye contact, when she says it.  Doctor > home.  

4. "The mysterious couple."  Oh, yay!  Let's take "couple" in its shippiest context, shall we?  I've missed other characters commenting like that.  I was just saying to myself how much I missed season 1, with everyone constantly mistaking him for her boyfriend, and how that has disappointingly not been happening at all this time around...and then there it was.  Good boy, Danny.

5. She kisses his helment, a silent promise that she understands and trusts him to come back, and watches him go.  I really do love this scene, but it doesn't stop me being a tiny bit grumpy that she waited until he had the helmet on.  Would have been much nicer without all that glass and material in the way of physical contact.

6. I LOVE Rose cussing him out over the intercom for scaring her with his prolonged silence, especially since it's done in adorable Doctor Who protect-the-innocents'-ears fashion.  The face he makes upon hearing it is priceless.  

7. "I'll get back.  Rose is up there."  I enjoy these previews of season 3-style references while there's still time for happy endings afterwads. 

8. "If they get back in touch...if you talk to Rose... Tell her..." *pushes* Come on, come on!  "Oh, she knows."  *deflates* Yet another missed opportunity to have out with it.  When I first read that quote, I was VASTLY underwhelmed.  The plain text, however, fails to catch the repeated failures to finish sentences, or the long, defeated exhale before the last phrase.  That almost makes up for everything.  And it's true, she does know,  though probably finds it a bit hard to remember when you're off making out with French courtesans.  

9. "Except that implies ... that she's just a victim in all this."  And...long story short, "If I believe in one thing, just one thing - I believe in her."  *ADORES SHIP* I am running out of words for how much I love this ship.

10. And oh, God, The Hug (round 2, that is, from The Satan Pit).  Six weeks later, it's still the gold standard of the series.  I hardly knew a thing about their relationship when I first saw it; I was shipping Ten/Rose only for the pretty factor and wasn't quite feeling Nine/Rose yet, but the way his eyes gleam upon seeing here, the most beautiful smile spreading across his face, had me floating towards the ceiling on bubbles of euphoria.  Especially in combination with her throwing her arms around his neck, and him scooping her up off her feet, and her legs swinging back and forth.  Must admit, this is one instance where happy hug beats comfort hug.  The sheer, complete, utter JOY in their reunion is completely off the charts.  *twirls around giddily*  

Even if I do still have to detract points for the fact that at the sound of his laugh, I look around for a very deep-voiced Barney the purple dinosaur (I thought that would sound different once I got used to the new Doctor, but no, it's still weird as all get-out).

11. "It said I was going to die in battle."  
"Then it lied."
Such a small but poignant moment, the fear she still can't shake and the need for his reassurance - and how very emphatically he gives it.  Let's just ignore the fact that he's only partly right.

"You two, who are you?" "Oh...the stuff of legend."  Aw.  YES.  YES.  Can we just make the series end there?  That's such a lovely conclusion, and so true.

Plotty Type Things
"The valiant child who will die in battle so very soon..." *sniffles and sulks* Stupid beast.  Stop being doom(sday)-predicting.  I can't hear that line without shuddering, because no matter how many times I watch the Doctor warn her not to listen, voice low and quick, because its power does lie in playing on your's also not strictly making things up.  A sucky reminder in the middle of an otherwise glorious 2-parter.

Although I do rather like the Doctor's verbal bitchslap when they all start collectively freaking out.  Human beings.  Such panicky creatures, always in need of wrangling.

Everything with the Ood and running about/crawling through tunnels to take them down?  Fantastic.  (except for the part where Jefferson died.  Sigh.  That sucked even without the callback to 1x6 and "Sorry I was a bit slow.")  Especially since it involves Rose kicking ass and taking charge.  It's weird, because I loathe the idea of her working for Torchwood now - can't explain why, except maybe that I can't fathom why you'd want to run around combatting weird alien things unless you're doing it with the Doctor.  But in these adventures, when she's separated but manages to take everyone in hand and lead the charge on her end, I'm thrilled.

The Beast?  Even greater.  I may have yipped and barely resisted the temptation to dive under the desk when we caught our first glimpse of the raging, fiery thing.  (And yes, I am very stubborn about hiding under the desk vs. behind the sofa.  This is New Who.  The computer is my screen, ergo the space under the desk is my hidey hole, and I will not change references for the sake of tradition.)  CREEPY.  Very Balrog-like.  Possibly the most legitimately nightmare-inducing face I'm ever going to see on this show.  

I'm not overly fond of that editing technique where they do a bunch of angle cuts and make long speeches very zippy and choppy - 
NCIS pretty much burned me out on that - but the gist of that scene was great.  I'm always a fan of the Doctor having long, drawn-out explanations as buildup to his saving the world.  

And of course, the good ship TARDIS towing them home...brilliant.  I still smile every time.  

I love how plotty-type things always get the short shift in my reviews. 

Other Things
In general, the Doctor is particularly adorable in this episode.  Full of grins and that quirk of scratching his head, when he's not being wide-eyed in various stages of worry, and just...really, really cute (and the glasses!  Guh).  Rose is also wearing the prettiest outfit she's had in ages.  And playing it back the second time, they're really quite grabby in the first part of TIP, aren't they?  Sure, they're getting tossed around by an asteroid attack or what have you, but there're all sorts of little touches and reaching for one another's hands.   

"But if that gravity funnel closes, there's no way out."
"We have fun speculating about that."
"Oh yeah, that's the word.  FUN."
How bad am I, exactly, that I kind of shipped Danny/Scooti from the minute he playfully bopped her on the head with the rolled-up maps after that comment? 

Amusing quote from one of the dw-rewatch posts: "Doctor, you keep using that word 'impossible.' Maybe it doesn’t mean what you think it means."

"What's your job, chief dramatist?"  HEE.  I love Rose.  And the Doctor's fond grin.

I was really quite embittered when the Ood killed the pretty young guard.  Why did all the best people have to die in this episode?  (oh, right, that old First Rule of Awesome Guest Stars).  

"The killer of his own kind"?  Iiiiinteresting.  

"Not your best angle, Danny."
"Dunno, could be worse."

And finally...oh, Torchwood, I just loathe your references so much.  Speaking of the show itself, as series 2 rolls on and I hear peripheral commentary, I just keep coming up with more reasons not to watch it.  The list is up to 15 now, and surprisingly only three of them are "Jack."  ("Naked Jack" being its own separate category, of course)

Up Next: ...holy crap, I have absolutely no idea what's going on!  Is it possible I'm unspoiled about something?  No, it's not; I still have quite a catalogue of Doctor/Rose moments that have yet to come into play, but plot-wise, I am IN THE DARK!  All I recognize is that curiously irritating blond guy from part 2 of the "Deleted Scenes" reel.  Oh, and Jackie's back, so you know we're in for some fun times.  Extra fun times, because for once we don't have to simultaneously put up with Mickey.  Woohoo!

Tags: doctor who, sarah jane adventures, tv commentary
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