|Toby is possessed by The Beast.|
Written between 9th and 11th of January 2013
Religion. Religiony widgiony. It's a topic that I've talked about to various degrees of controversy on this blog, mainly because I don't like it when writers shove religious themes into the finales of otherwise secular stories. Doctor Who itself hasn't shyed away from examining the subject, and while this week's story has certainly been done before by Who, it's not exactly what I'd call deriviative. The Impossible Planet two-parter is distinct in its sheer ability to summon the deepest and darkest of scenarios from what it a basic base-under-siege plot, invoking not just crazy new aliens but the bloody Devil himself.
This isn't the first time that Doctor Who has done The Devil; Season Eight story The Daemons had a slightly similar character in the demon Azal, but this takes a much bleaker and certainly more tense position. Despite obviously having a maximum of what looks like three or four sets, the base feels surprisingly large and the atmosphere is well-crafted. There's the right mix of desolation and loneliness, with the crew members of the base remaining proffessional while at the same time in a state of permenant awe at their current situation. It felt so serious and dark that Series Two's odd habit of having Rose make inappropriate jokes throughout the exposition just felt off. She had recovered by the cliffhanger, however, and managed to maintain a rather odd scenario in which she drove the majority of the action while The Doc drove the exposition.
Like most of this season, there were a few nitpicks here or there. But the overarching mythology and the well-crafted tone of the story overrode that immediately. The Impossible Planet two-parter is by far the best story of Season 28, and that's not just because it has The Devil in it or the funny Ood guys, but also because it takes a hell of a lot of old ideas and manages to fit them into a story that is not only interesting, but that also maintains a brilliant sense of tension. It was one that managed not just to make our leads come into their own in a way they haven't for a while, but that also managed to introduce a whole host of minor characters and have us feel for their stories.