Among all the reasons I enjoy “The Impossible Planet” is that it has a brilliant sense of scale. This is a story about Earth during the time of its Empire – so it’s perhaps contemporary with season nine’s “The Mutants” – but it talks about a vastness of space and the passing of billions of years. I just like it when Doctor Who imagines something far, far bigger in scope than just “this story takes place exactly one hundred years from the date of transmission.”
And I also love the scene where the Doctor and Rose – who are back to being insufferably smug right after they land – discuss what the world might have in store for them without the TARDIS. The Doctor feigns horror at having to worry about a house and a mortgage, deflecting a genuine worry. David Tennant sensibly doesn’t let him be vulnerable here, but it’s a big situation that the Doctor hasn’t run into in a really long time. I also like it when our hero can’t rely on the ship to get himself out of trouble.
Elsewhere in the audience, our son positively exploded at the cliffhanger ending. “Come on! Come on! Why does this have to be a two-parter?!” he grumbled. We answered that there was too much story for just one episode, and reminded him that one of his pals has asked the same question about the occasional two-part episodes of Thunderbirds are Go. It seems he was just enjoying this one a lot and really wants to know what’s at the bottom of the mysterious hole on the impossible planet Krop Tor right now.
He also suggested that there’s an error in the story. He observed that the possessed archaeologist, shown above, has all these symbols on his skin when the mysterious villain is speaking through him, but once the possession leaves him and takes over the Ood, they don’t get the symbols. I suggested that perhaps each of the base’s Ood gets a single symbol, and since they’re wearing suits, the symbol could be on their backsides for all we know. I don’t think this mystery will be solved in part two…