Review of The Satan Pit (10th Doctor)

Posted by: Whochick

The Satan Pit (part 2 of 2) - Episode 2.9

Okay, I’m finally out from behind the sofa, and I just have to say that I love this episode. The music just gets me. The whole episode takes The Doctor places that you don’t normally see him go. Oh, heck. Let’s just get to the discussion, eh?

Episode: The Satan Pit (part 2 of 2) by Matt Jones
Rating (1 to 5): 4.9
Baddie: The Beast, The Possessed Ood, and Possessed Toby
Rose is trapped: on the Impossible Planet, and then in the rocket.
The Doctor is trapped: ten miles inside the Impossible Planet, and then in the pit.
The Doctor enjoys: humans. They are amazing.
The Doctor dislikes: standing still, expressing his emotions, and introspection (or so it seems).
Doctor-y Strangeness: His decision to fall.
Scary Stuff: The Beast and all of the possessed folks. The idea of being sucked into a black hole.
Does someone local help out? The remains of the crew get Rose off of the station.
What we learn: The Doctor believes in Rose. Toby has been dead since The Beast told him not to turn around, and he did. The Sanctuary Base crew is from Torchwood. The Doctor’s people may have invented black holes.
My Favorite Bits: The music. The return of The Doctor’s theme. The Doctor’s pit speech. “If I believe in one thing, just one thing, I believe in her.” The biggest hug yet.

Observations and musings:

This episode continues to push The Doctor into things that he normally avoids. He can’t just stand still. He has to keep on moving. So, he jumps into the pit. And yet, The Doctor must face the question of what he believes. Hanging in the pit in a rare moment of introspection, he pauses and thinks about what he believes. He even asks Ida what she believes, and he so rarely bothers to ask anyone something like that. He decides that he believes he hasn’t seen everything, and he travels to be proved wrong. Mind you, when it looks like he might be proved wrong he still tries to look the other way. The concept of “before time” is just plain anathema to him. It doesn’t fit his rules. Faced with being pushed completely out of his comfort zone, he decides that there is one thing in the universe that he believes in. He believes in Rose. Yet, hanging by a cable in the darkness, deciding to just fall and see what happens with his theme re-appearing for the first time this season, he can’t even leave a message telling Rose how he feels. He only manages, “Tell her. Oh, she knows.” Even earlier, he says, “I’ll get back. Rose is up there.” The Doctor seems to only express his feelings obliquely. Except, that is, for his feeling of being old, for all that he currently looks young. I would also note that The Doctor’s self-destructive streak appears to have returned. He decides to fall into a possibly bottomless pit, for goodness sake.

When Rose is stuck in the base without The Doctor, and the crew panicking around her, she just takes over. She has a goal. Defeat the opposition, in this case the Ood, and then figure out a way to get back to The Doctor. The best part is that everyone just accepts her as the person in charge. Her character just continues to evolve. Even when her heart is breaking, because she’s being told he’s dead, she still decides to wait for The Doctor. She knows he can’t be dead. She has courage and determination, and she just can’t leave him. Rose, it appears, is much more able to express her emotions than The Doctor.

The music in this episode is nearly perfect. There are only two points where the “triumphant” air of the music seem to overpower the action. That’s the real reason that I gave the episode a 4.9 instead of a 5. (Okay, that and I happen to know that I’ll be forced to give out a 5 later in the season.) This music just added so many extra levels to an already emotionally charged episode. The voice of The Beast is played by Gabriel Woolf in this episode. Gabriel Woolf played “Sutekh” in the Fourth Doctor episode “Pyramids of Mars” back in 1975. Russell T. Davies (the ultimate Doctor Who fanboy) was so right to cast him. His voice is just perfect. All of The Beast’s half truths are very clever. He calls The Doctor “the killer of his own kind,” and The Doctor barely blinks in response. That’s only half of the story. The Beast makes it sound like The Doctor set out to do it for rather a different reason than we know he did. Rose is so far from being merely “the lost girl so far away from home” by now. The Doctor and Rose end up saving the day together. The Doctor deals with the body of The Beast, and he trusts Rose to deal with the mind, even if it means that they both die in the attempt. The Doctor knows what he has to do. Even all on her own in the rocket, Rose figures out that there is a problem (before it becomes obvious), and she does what she has to. What a team they have become. How long have they really been traveling together, do you think? In this two-parter’s mention of Torchwood we discover that the Sanctuary Base’s crew is there representing the “Torchwood Archive.” I wonder how Torchwood has changed in all of that time. Could it be that the original captain would have recognized The Doctor?

Well, I guess that’s it for this week. Next up is, “Love and Monsters.”

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About the Author

Whochick is a huge Doctor Who fan. She loves the show so much that she not only co-authors a blog on the topic, but also a podcast that you should listen to. Whochick resides in California with her husband (the Shadow Architect), and occasionally refers to herself in the third person.

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