Doctor Who: The Satan Pit

A belated sort of comment on The Satan Pit, with the usual warnings about spoilers and all that jazz.

The second part of the two-parter that began with The Impossible Planet, which I was a not impressed, The Satan Pit was much better. The title, however, sucks - it looks to me like that was a production label that they couldn't think of anything better for.

First point in its favour: it was Doctor Who meets the Cthulhu Mythos, not Doctor Who meets Deep Six. There was a lot less of the claustrophic stuff, and a lot more ass-kicking. In particular, Rose was excellent, taking command, making stuff happen, and having to be overpowered by three men because she wouldn't leave the Doctor.

Cthulhuoid elements: Undecipherable writing, artifacts and creatures from beyond the bounds of time, immortal evils buried deep, people who go nuts on trying to decipher the writing, and mutant alien servitor creatures (The Ood). These were actually all present in the previous episode too, but not so clearly.

I'm also struck by the resemblance between the Ood and D&D's Illithid. Both humanoid squid-faced creatures with telepathic powers. The Illithid are slave owners, the Ood a slave-race, but it looks pretty clear that someone's been cogging from the Monster Manual (cue pun about an illithid affair, and resulting groaning).

The actual body of the Beast was pretty excellent - a perfect imprisoned pit fiend (D&D again), although I think it was lacking the wings. The few times it lunged for the Doctor, though, it did actually make me jump. I don't jump all that easily, so that was good.

And the missing Tardis turned up at the right point, which was so predictable as to actually make me yawn. Question for the Whovian faithful: Is the Doctor the only one who can pilot the Tardis, or can anyone with sufficient knowledge do so?

Torchwood got its obligatory mention - the research scientists were from the Torchwood something - and if this is this season's Bad Wolf, I'm disappointed.

All in all, a good episode, with enough to make me look forward to the next one, this evening. No numberplates, though. I think I might be chasing a feral barnyard fowl on that one.

Posted by Drew Shiel at June 17, 2006 1:39 PM

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Others have piloted the TARDIS in the past, although rarely with any degree of skill. Romana (another Time Lord) did, and I'm fairly sure Nyssa did too at some point.

Posted by: Gar at June 17, 2006 3:09 PM

Tegan also apparently did, but that was really the Master controlling it indirectly (Castrovalva).

Geek mode OFF

Posted by: Niall at June 21, 2006 2:29 PM

Dear Drew, Torchwood is not Season Two's "Bad Wolf". There was another, more discreet repeated word this year, but its meaning was not resolved. Worked it out? It's in "School Reunion", "Rise of the Cybermen", "Idiot's Lantern", "Impossible Planet" and "Love and Monsters (boo)". That's all I'm giving you, though I have a feeling it's connected loosely with "I was a Dad once".

Posted by: Seosamh at August 11, 2006 3:11 PM

Hi Seosamh;

I've been racking my brains on this, and I'm getting nowhere. The only thing I've come across is the mention of the term "lonely" and "alone" with regard to the Doctor. "Lonely God" and "Lonely Angel" were both mentioned. But that doesn't match your list of episodes. I'll keep trying.

Posted by: Drew Shiel at August 11, 2006 3:29 PM