Planet of the Ood
Donna: I dunno, it’s all sort of… I don’t even know what the word is! [pause] I’ve got the word: freezing.
The Doctor: Snow!
Episode star rating: **** (out of a possible five)
One of the aspects of the 2005 Season that was much remarked upon at the time was that in many of the episodes, it wasn’t really the Doctor who saved the day (but he usually inspired someone to.) This aspect returns with this episode, with the Doctor and Donna almost spectators to this Ood revolution.
The era of Doctor Who script-edited by Eric Saward often had this feature too, with the prime example being Saward’s own script in this era Revelation of the Daleks, where the Doctor is a bystander to the story’s events. Other Sawardian motifs in Planet of the Ood: the Doctor seems to take a strange relish in the comeuppance of the bad guy (Halpen); lots of machineguns. Halpen’s gruesome fate itself recalls a similar transmogrification from The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances, and is equally dramatically effective.
(If we are talking specific references to earlier stories, then the most obscure one to modern audiences would probably be the Ood-sphere being in the same star system as the Sense-sphere e.g. the planet of The Sensorites in the very first season of Doctor Who.)
Enough reference-spotting – was the episode any good? Yes, it certainly was. Tennant and Tate have great chemistry. The glossy production values of last week’s episode were again on display here, and RTD needn’t have worried about portraying “Planet Zog” as this one was very convincing. The “arc” mention about bees seemed almost comically shoehorned in, but on the whole, this was a well-told, old-fashioned Doctor Who story.