Okay. I just finished watching “The Satan Pit,” the conclusion of the Matt Jones two-parter that began with “The Impossible Planet.” I reviewed it last week, stating that hopefully the quality in part two would be better. Instead of pulling a bad part one into a good part two (“Bad Wolf”/”Parting Of The Ways”), this was a case of a bad part one leading into a really bad part two. The saddest part is that while Christopher Eccelston struggled with his part as the Doctor last season, I believe this episode (along with a few episodes this season) would have been a great showcase for his ability given its dark tone. Of course the script had a bit too much cheese for his taste and was probably one of the reasons he left in the first place.
The plot continues with Rose (Billie Piper) and the remaining members of the base crew retaining control of the base from the Ood. Meanwhile, The Doctor (David Tennant) and Ida (Clarie Rushbrook) are deep inside the planet of where the base sits – with a rather huge pit which had just opened its doors last week. Of course Rose and company got to play Scooby Doo and run around corridors until they found a solution; The Doctor, on the other hand, wants to know what’s in the pit. After using the now-cut elevator cable that would lead them to the surface to go down the pit via Ida, The Doctor disables the cable so that he can fall the rest of the way down. The rest of it is pretty simple – he meets the devil, Rose and company escape, Toby inhabits the soul of Satan again and gets killed, and The Doctor retrieves the TARDIS, which he happened to discover in the hole just in time to save the crew and Rose from being pulled into the black hole.
In addition to feeling cheesy, the episode felt too “alright,” as if things were going to be fine already. That’s how I especially felt when The Doctor encountered Satan, who was chained up and merely grunting. Considering this was going to be a one-sided argument, the Doc began to think out loud determining the mystery of the two vases and why the devil was chained up. Of course he smashes the vases and kills the body of the devil while finding the TARDIS – in other words, things went “alright.”
It didn’t help that besides Toby (Will Throp), none of the supporting characters had any real chemistry with each other or the Doctor and Rose. This made me all the more willing to have them all knocked off aside from Toby, which would have made a more depressing ending for Rose if she found that he was going to have to die still being possessed by the devil himself.
The Ood also served no purpose but to chase everyone on the base and say as few words as possible. The producers would have been better sticking the Daleks or Cybermen in this adventure as they can do just a bit more than shoot strobe lights at people. Perhaps in the next series, we can work on monsters that have no legs and that aren’t human, and maybe force the Doctor to learn a different language.
This two-parter felt like the 1996 TV movie in quality, which Fox would have been fine with. Having said that, I would much prefer that the series try to stay away from the plots of Matt Jones and steer towards the brilliance of writers like Steven Moffat, who wrote “The Girl In The Fireplace.” I would hate to see the reaction of the Sci-Fi Channel viewers when they end up with Series Two and almost every single episode gives them a reason to turn it off.Powered by Sidelines