I loved this episode — the backstory of the new characters was fantastic. I am a fan of spacecapes and space travel — this is why I loved the film, Avatar. As an artist, I spend a lot of my daydreams imagining what other planets would look like. Space is the final frontier, and the humans encountered by the Doctor and Rose were really stretching themselves to the limit. The thought of an ‘impossible planet’ opened many doors in my imagination and I yearned to be there with the Doctor and Rose. Black holes are frightening because we don’t know what’s on the other side, but because of the impossible state of the planet, the protagonists were able to see one up close.

The episode began with a ‘confrontation’ that really turned out to be a misunderstood offer of hospitality. I found this really funny, because I too thought that the Ood would feed on the humans. I think the story was able to convey the problem of the Ood, because the humans took them for granted. Slavery has worked this way in history — the oppressors take their victims for granted, and even the victims tend not to question their status quo or hope for better lives. The crew of the ship kept working the Ood, who appeared happy and complacent, so they did not worry about their feelings. This contradiction revealed the issue about slavery.

The Beast sent chills down my spine because it was an unseen and unknown entity. Even the possessed Toby was simply channeling the Beast. The writers did well to pick the name, ‘The Beast’ rather than something more blatant, like ‘Satan’ or ‘Lucifer’. The choice leaves the viewers wondering what on earth is so ‘beastly’ about this Beast, and what he possibly looks like. The term has many meanings and symbolisms, and but the overall feel I gained was something ancient and feral. I mean ancient in the sense the fear of this Beast was coded into our ancestors’ DNA.

The whole setting added to the mystery surrounding the Beast, because the humans were isolated from the rest of society on the planet, and they were relying on the help of a herd of beings that could possibly turn on them any minute. I like how the viewers were left to guess whether or not the Ood would commit mutiny. I also think that the vagueness of the Beast heightened the intrigue because unlike other monsters (Dalek, Cyberman), the powers of the Beast remained vague and appeared limitless.

The episode ended on a great cliffhanger because it didn’t offer a glimpse of any monster clawing out of the hole in the ground. This is what made me grab my copy of the second part, just so I could finally figure out what this Beast was. Also, the Ood mutiny was quite intriguing, and I was wondering whether or not the Ood woul reveal any secret powers. There was also the problem of Rose being separated from the Doctor, so I knew that each character was really on his or her own. All in all, it was  a delicious episode.

 

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