The Satan Pit (2006)

Now we get to what has the honour of being the least watched new Doctor Who episode (out of 76 as of May 10, 2011). This half of the story deals a lot with fear. After the lukewarm feeling I had for the cliffhanger the story plows straight into the action. The story is split into two parts with the Doctor and Ida dealing with faith and what at the bottom of the big black pit and Rose and the others dealing with the mad Ood. I found the Ood stuff to be more interesting. The Ood scuttling around in the ventilation shafts is another scary image. In retrospect of what we learn about them in Planet of the Ood there is a sense of feeling sorry for them for what happens to them.

Mr Jefferson’s sacrifice is very handled and acted out by Danny Webb (who would soon after this appear in the Big Finish play ‘The Dark Husband’). It’s quite a noble death as he chooses to die by suffication quickly than by Ood which will probably be more painful. In fact it’s the style of deaths that stands out in this story. Scooti and Toby death were both great as was Mr Jefferson’s.

Normally a Doctor Who story its about trying to escape but in this story its about staying whilst the guest stars are trying to escape. With Rose not wanting to leave the Doctor even though there’s no clear way that the Doctor could have survived the fall. The story mentions Torchwood and the more important is that Rose is told that she will die in battle. This was the last story that Billie Piper filmed before leaving the show and it’s the start of the build up to her departure.

The Doctor and Ida are separated and its quite a good way of ensuring they stay down and not have a escape plan. This is where the stuff about the devil and similar things are discussed. There’s a nice little bit discussing whether the Doctor believes anything. There’s a lot about faith in Tennant stories and in a show lead by Russell T Davies (an atheist) its quite a unusual thing to see. I also found the Doctor’s goodbye to Rose to be quite sad. The CGI Devil is very good and looks better than something you would get from a Hollywood movie. The scene with the Doctor and the Devil is very good because it’s David Tennant doing all the talking and trying to work out why he was kept alive after falling to the bottom of the pit.

I thought that this part wasn’t as good as The Impossible Planet but it was still a better two parter than the ratings suggest and that I remember from the first time I saw it. It just goes to show that ratings aren’t the be all and end all. However what was about to come would make this two parter seem like the best Doctor Who story ever.

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