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October 14, 2015

Doctor Who: Planet of the Ood

by Brad Trechak, posted May 10th 2008 11:23AM

Doctor Who(S04E04) The Ood return.The race was seen two years ago in the two-parter "The Impossible Planet" and "The Satan Pit" as a servant race. In this episode, we learn exactly why they're so good at being servile. Here's a hint: it's not by choice.

Arriving on the planet known as the Ood-Sphere in the year 4126, the Doctor and Donna find the planet's Ood-production factory which prepares them for shipping throughout the three human-occupied galaxies.

Russell T. Davies had this episode made to go further into the characterization of the Ood. The central theme of the episode was slavery, and we soon learn that, unlike the Dish of the Day, the Ood have no interest in being slaves. It's only after they get their secondary, external brain removed that they become subservient.

Making a guest appearance as CEO Klineman Halpen (the shippers of the Ood) is a familiar face to Britcom lovers, Tim "Captain Darling" McInnerny. He plays exactly the sort of self-justifying evil bastard that you'd think would run such a company. Doctor Who, under Davies' rule, has been quite anti-corporate.

The callbacks to the original series continue. The Ood are reminiscent of The Sensorites, an alien race from William Hartnell's time as the Doctor in the 60's. They even lived on the "Sense-Sphere", which is similar in name of the "Ood-Sphere" and is located in the same solar system. The Ood and the Sensorites even have a similar look and similar telepathic abilities. The Doctor even mentions in the beginning that he's been to that solar system before.

The use of the grant Ood-brain at the end seemed a callback to the abysmal Sylvester McCoy episode "Time and the Rani", but I think that was unintentional.

It's interesting how the Ood's red-eye phase was used here. Last year, it was influenced by the beast in the pit (Satan, Sutekh, or whatever he was called). This year it's an effect from getting half-lobotomized. I liked how the Doctor felt he owed the Ood because of his failure to save a bunch of them last season.

Overall, the show has been acknowledging its history more this season than it ever has before. It would really be impressive if they acknowledged the 1996 television movie, but that could be too much to ask.

Donna remained her usual vocal self and remains my favorite companion ever. "You've got a box and he's got a Ferrari." It was also touching how she shed a tear when the Doctor allowed her to hear the telepathic Ood-song.

David Tennant abandoned the tie of his outfit this week, making him look even more hipster than usual. It's an amazing evolution of the character from the hippie Tom Baker.

The Ood also give an ominous warning to the Doctor about his song ending. Considering that early reports indicate that David Tennant will be on through the specials that are being broadcast next year, it is uncertain how that would translate. My guess is that David Tennant will still die/regenerate at the end of the season and the four specials (including the Christmas special) will be "filler" from the times he travelled alone between seasons. But that's just me.

The missing planets arc continues in this episode. The missing bees also got mentioned (they were mentioned by Donna in the first episode this season and therefore it must be presumed as part of the season's arc). There also seems to be a subtle arc about people telling stories about the Doctor ( The reporter in the first episode, The Doctor's warning to Caecilius' wife, The Ood Song about Doctor-Donna). This is just hypothesis, but maybe someone is trying to change history and create a universe without the Doctor?

This is just an observation, but why did the Doctor and Donna get an Ood-song and the guy who spent 10 years of his life infiltrating the company to free the Ood-brain got merely to be brain-food? Truly the universe is unfair.

Next week: another evil alien race from the classic series returns. Awesome.

Would you like to see the Ood again on Doctor Who?
Yes, they're an interesting race.128 (60.1%)
No, they're done.85 (39.9%)

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"The Ood also give an ominous warning to the Doctor about his song ending."

I took this as meaning his song of sorrow for Rose will be ending (we heard a music cue that goes all the way back to the episode where Rose absorbs the time vortex thingy from the TARDIS resulting in Eccleston's regeneration. Just hoping there will be closure, since we've seen Rose already this season.

May 12 2008 at 7:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
mj green

I like Donna. A little brash, mouthy, just what the good Doctor needs. And I heard, spoiler....that Rose, Sarah Jane and (gag) Martha will join in for at least one episode together. Won't that be a hoot?

May 10 2008 at 5:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to mj green's comment

So no one likes Martha? Good to know.

I really hope Martha doesn't come back full time, god help us.

May 10 2008 at 6:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Shut yo' mouth. I LOVE Martha.

Then again I love all the companions. They're all different enough that it brings out differents sides to Tennant's Doctor.

And yes to that rumor! I would love for all the companions to be in one episode. I didn't even think of adding Sarah Jane Smith. But why not? That episode needs to be epic. Heh.

May 11 2008 at 12:20 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
John Stewart

David Tennant is the reason for the one-year hiatus for Doctor Who in 2009, of which only Bank Holiday specials will air. David Tennant will reprise the role of The Doctor in 2010 when the fifth series begins.

May 10 2008 at 4:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I just can't enjoy this season at all with Catherine Tate as the Doctor's Companion. She is just truly irritating with her screeching reactions and her over the top acting. She is by far the worst of the Doctor's companion's of the new series and is trying to become the worst for the entire Doctor Who universe. Please someone tell me when she will be replaced so I can start enjoying the show again. Catherine Tate is a good actress and I really enjoyed her comedy show but she is ruining Doctor Who this series.

May 10 2008 at 3:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I really like David Tennant as the Doctor, and the rumour is...


That at least one of the specials is a multi-doctor story! My money's on Chris Eccleston and Peter Davidson (who has already appeared recently)

May 10 2008 at 2:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
mj green

I'm sorry, but this is the best Doctor since Mr. Baker. He has a child like sense of adventure, but can turn cold blooded in an instant. I couldn't stand the last Doctor, because he just was too unfeeling. (He was great on Heroes, though.) I hope he stays awhile.

May 10 2008 at 1:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The Ood are a fine race, but that was a good end to their story.

And while watching "The Sarah Jane Chronicles" last night it's very clear that The Doctor goes missing or something. It seems to be going that way, however I don't see why that would change doctors.

May 10 2008 at 12:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Brad Trechak

Thank you for pointing that out, Stephen. I have altered the post to "two years ago" rather than "last year" for the previous Ood episodes.

May 10 2008 at 12:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

"It's interesting how the Ood's red-eye phase was used here. Last year, it was influenced by the beast in the pit (Satan, Sutekh, or whatever he was called). This year it's an effect from getting half-lobotomized."

No it wasn't. The assistant had turned down the telepathic block to it's lowest level, allowing some telepathic connection to the shared mind which turned them violent.

I hope they kill Tennant off sooner rather than later. He is too goofy. He has surpassed Peter Davidson as the worst Doctor.

May 10 2008 at 12:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Stephen Prescott

so you're guessing they are going to introduce a new doctor at the end of the series by having 10 regenerate and then we're going to go back to following 10 for the next 4 specials. then we're going to start following 11. um, i can't see that happening. especially since tennant has hinted that he wants to be on board for series 5 but that they haven't started discussing it yet.

oh and "the impossible planet" and "the satan pit" were not last year, they were the year before. series 2 with rose not 3 with martha.

May 10 2008 at 11:58 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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