‘PLANET OF THE OOD’
Please feel free to comment on my review.
“The Circle Must Be Broken!” with the Ood
‘Planet of the Ood’ is one of my favourite ‘Doctor Who’ episodes from the new series. Simply because…I love the Ood in this and I am very glad they got a good serving compared to last time.
It’s a brilliantly written episode by Keith Temple, who reinvented the Ood for the new series. It’s also brilliantly directed by Graeme Harper, who I’ve had the pleasure of meeting at conventions.
I saw Graeme and Keith during an interactive panel at the ‘Regenerations 2010’ convention in Swansea, September 2010. I also had the pleasure to get directed by Graeme during that panel.
I had a two script pages of ‘Planet of the Ood’ signed by Graeme Harper, when we did the interactive panel. I keep those script pages and I hope Graeme will direct another ‘Doctor Who’.
The story portrays the Ood in a more positive light and allows us to embrace them better as an alien race. The Ood make their first appearance for ‘The Impossible Planet’/’The Satan Pit’ story.
Unfortunately, they were possessed by the Beast and weren’t given a good treatment in the story. This time however, we get to learn more about the Ood and the truth about their origins.
The Doctor and Donna visit the planet Ood-Sphere, where it’s freezing cold and covered in snow. They also make reference to the Sense-Sphere from ‘The Sensorites’ with the Ood in this.
Seeing how Ood Operations market their Ood products, the Doctor and Donna also discover the Ood are being ill-treated as slaves. They also find that a certain part of the Ood has been cut off.
This is in connection to the ‘translators’ that the Ood have switched onto them. Soon the Ood go red-eyed and start out a revolution, killing many humans on sight at the Ood Operations facility.
I enjoyed the Doctor and Donna’s adventure in this episode. I loved it when Donna’s thrilled about visiting another alien planet in the TARDIS before she goes outside to find it freezing cold.
Donna goes back inside the TARDIS to fetch a coat without the Doctor noticing, which I found amusing. I also enjoyed it when the Doctor and Donna bluff their way into Ood Operations itself.
At first, Donna is shocked at seeing the Ood in their appearance. But she grows sympathetic as one of them dies. Donna is shocked humanity still has slaves in the future, despite being in 4126.
I liked it when the Doctor and Donna discover the unprocessed Ood and learn the truth about what the company is doing. Donna is horrified by what she sees, as she soon wants to go home.
I enjoyed the chase scene with the Doctor being attacked by a huge crane. David Tennant gets to have really good action scene with his Doctor and it doesn’t get more action packed than this.
The Doctor and Donna also do a lot of running when they’re escaping guards or in the middle of a gun battle between Ood and security forces. The Doctor takes the moral stance in the episode.
In this, the Doctor puts the Ood on top of his list and defies humanity on what they’re doing. This is different compared to last time when he encountered the Ood, since he left them to die.
There’s an intense scene when the Doctor and Donna are handcuffed and a group of red-eyed Ood come towards them about to kill. Terrified, they call out to them, “Doctor, Donna, friends!”
Fortunately, the unprocessed Ood make contact with the red-eyed Ood and the Doctor and Donna are safe. I found that a thrilling scene and I was relieved when the red-eye Ood stopped.
Tim McInnerny guest stars as the villainous Kilneman Halpen. I’ve seen Tim in the live-action ‘101 Dalmatians’ films as well as ‘Blackadder’ and ‘Johnny English Reborn’ with Rowan Atkinson.
Halpen is a businessman who’s under a lot of stress and doesn’t treat the Ood as equals. He uses hair tonic to get his hair to grow back as well as have his own Ood Sigma serving him like a valet.
There are some really gruesome scenes where Halpen turns into…well I’ll let you find out for yourself. It gave me a big shock when I first saw it as it also gave Donna a shock, open-mouthed.
The episode’s guest cast also includes Ayesha Dharker (from ‘Coronation Street’) as Solana Mercurio and Roger Griffiths as Commander Kess. And there’s also Adrian Rawlins as Dr. Ryder.
The Ood are the main stars of the story. Silas Carson voices the Ood again, making them disturbingly polite and silky as they were in the previous tale. The Ood are very good in this tale.
The main Ood is Ood Sigma, who works for Halpen. He seems patient, benevolent and doesn’t seem affected by the red-eye like his Ood brothers are. The truth about him was very intriguing.
I also liked the songs the Ood such as the ‘Songs of Captivity and Freedom’. There are real choirs singing these songs and they really touch you at the heartstrings as it brought me close to tears.
‘Planet of the Ood’ is definitely one of my favourite episodes from ‘Doctor Who’. It’s full of ideas, excitement and adventure and has made me love the Ood more through this very good offering.
The DVD special features on this episode are as follows. On Disc 2 of ‘The Complete Series 4’, there’s a commentary with Roger Griffiths and director Graeme Harper. There are also deleted scenes and BBC trailers for ‘Partners In Crime’, ‘The Fires of Pompeii’ and ‘Planet of the Ood’.
On Disc 6, there’s the ‘Doctor Who Confidential’ episode ‘Oods and Ends’.
The first three episodes of Series 4 of ‘Doctor Who’ are definitely enjoyable and start the season well. David Tennant and Catherine Tate are absolutely brilliant in these episodes and I enjoyed the camaraderie they shared. I was looking forward to watching more of the Doctor and Donna!
‘Planet of the Ood’ rating – 10/10
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