Published on April 21st, 2008 | by Brian A Terranova
Planet of the Ood
Once upon a time the Ood walked the hallways of Doctor Who. They were a peaceful race of aliens who wanted to serve our every need. It made them happy. They first walked with the hearts of happy servants, then things changed and they walked with the heart of darkness as they began to kill all in their path.
But they couldn’t help themselves, they were not in control of their minds. Happy slaves or controlled murderers, either way you look at it the Ood were just as much the victim as those that they executed.
That much seemed obvious even from their first outing in Doctor Who (The Impossible Planet) where we heard the first mention of Ood rights activists (Friends of the Ood) wanting to see them be free from their servitude, or more so, their slavery.
They needed help. They needed to be free. They needed to be saved. At the very end of the story fans everywhere cried out in disgust as the Doctor used the TARDIS to go back and save Ida Scott, one person, one human, over a group of dozens of helpless Ood. The Doctor abandoned them. Maybe there wasn’t time for the Doctor to go back for two trips the way he claimed, or maybe the writer never considered the fact that the Ood was just as much in need of a rescue, whatever the reason the events of that day have weighed heavily on the Doctor’s hearts.
Which brings us to the events of Planet of the Ood.
By chance the Doctor is given a second chance to help the Ood and in some small way make up for his inability to save them when they first met. As the title would suggest we are on the Ood’s strange home planet, the world where they evolved – another alien planet for new Who and another one dominated by humans and their structures and technology.
I applaud the new series for getting out in the universe a bit more, but I do find it sad that we can’t see what these planets would be like without a huge human influence. Still it was nice to see it snow, I like snow and a planet full of it seems like a fun trip in the TARDIS.
Sadly I can’t say that the Ood were enjoying their stay on their human occupied world very much, nor would it seem was Donna. Catherine Tate continues to impress as the Doctor’s new best friend, showing a range of emotion in this episode that would rival any of the series’ previous stars.
When Donna first met the Doctor she knew she didn’t want to travel with him. She felt she was not up the task and it took her some time before she realized what she was missing. However, when she found out what was happening to the Ood all those years she suddenly decided that the universe was not the place of wonder that she thought it was. She didn’t want to be out in it anymore.
Maybe Donna is prone to these moments of snap decisions, or maybe she has the biggest heart we’ve seen in a new companion this series so far. I feel we may be in for a very good run this year.
The nods to the past series of Doctor Who (stemming all the way back to the first great man himself, William Hartnell) are moments that make this old-time fan smile. The two series are one and it is clear that the team behind Doctor Who 2008 know this and are telling us so. It’s times like this that make me sad to know that next year they’ll be packing all of that happiness into just 3 specials.
Enough of that, back to the story at hand.
Planet of the Ood was another analysis of humanity’s dark side. Try as we might it seems that we can never get rid greedy side of humanity that will do anything, no matter what the cost to others lives, just make a buck.
David Tennant as the Doctor came to the defense of the Ood just as he has done for countless other humans and alien races before. He did this with the same energetic and flawless performance that he has always graced out screens with, and still, despite all his good doings, I fear that the Doctor will never find peace. The lives of the Ood lost on the Sanctuary Base 5 will always be a black mark on his soul and they can only add to all the sorrows that drive the Doctor to do what he does.
While the Doctor may never recover I’m sure the Ood and the fans will applaud both him and the production team behind this adventure, for giving us this adventure.