Doctor Who
The Impossible Planet (1)

Episode Report Card
Jacob Clifton: A | 2 USERS: A+
YOU GRADE IT
When You Were Young

A whirring sound starts; Ida's immensely proud of whatever she's going to show them. She's an adventurer. "Brace yourselves," Zach cautions. "The sight of it sends some people mad." The room is flooded with orange light as the ceiling opens up, great shutters clanking back, revealing a black hole right above them. The Doctor and Rose stand, fascinated, watching the light being sucked into it. Rose -- whose mascara could give any old astronomical anomaly a run for its money this week -- gasps: "That's a black hole." The Doctor declares it impossible, and Zach smiles: "I did warn you." The Doctor refuses to believe any of this, even as Ida's explaining that they're in orbit under the black hole; the Doctor keeps repeating that they can't be. Violent denial of the impossible, all of a sudden. Ida likes it: "This lump of rock is suspended in perpetual geostationary orbit around that black hole without falling in. Discuss." Rose tries to clarify that this is a bad thing, and the Doctor's face goes nuts: "That doesn't cover it. A black hole's a dead star. It collapses in on itself, in and in and in until the matter's so dense and tight it starts to pull everything else in, too. Nothing in the universe can escape it. Light, gravity. Time, everything. Just gets pulled inside and crushed." Scary, especially that last. (Also, unless you really enjoy cognitive dissonance, let this show tell you what black holes are like, and forget what you know for the next hour; the story has its own references and correspondences and resonances that make more sense without you muckin' about in its science.) "So they can't be in orbit," Rose concludes. "We should be pulled right in." The Doctor agrees: "We should be dead." And yet. "Here we are," grins Ida, in love with the black hole. "Beyond the laws of physics. Welcome on board!" Rose points up at the clouds speeding toward and spinning into the black hole: "If there's no atmosphere out there, what's that?" It's matter turning into nothing; light being caught; time being frozen. "Stars breaking up. Gas clouds. We have whole solar systems being ripped apart above our heads before falling into that thing." So a bit worse than a storm then. Ida looks at Rose: "Just a bit." They nod: just a bit, yeah. The base shakes a bit more.

The camera speeds over the impossible planet's rocky, ruined surface, across the sprawling base. The black hole sucks in everything around the planet, leaving the planet untouched. No TARDIS in your heart, a black hole above you, a pit beneath you; three things that are all the same thing: Victoria's Secret. Walls between you and everybody else; walls in the language itself. The translation error of fear and hatred. Cosmic loneliness; a singularity of no communication and no escape. This is terrible fucking idea.

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Doctor Who

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