The Impossible Planet
3 June 2006
||Julie Garner and Phil Colinson
In a shining white office an official-looking woman consults a man called Captain Walker, explaining a planet has been located holding a powerful power-source capable of preventing the world from being sucked into a black hole. If he has go and retrieve it he will have saved the empire.
She shows him a series of artefacts that led them to find the planet, including an ancient book of strange symbols apparently detailing the planet’ myths. Walker asks to know more about them but the woman dismisses them, telling him he can overcome them as he is a big strong man with a top ship and a top crew. She bids him goodbye and good luck and as he goes he passes a slave creature holding a translation orb.
It watches him go before claiming the beast shall rise from the pit
Gabriel Woolf, who voices The Beast in this story, also voiced Sutekh in Pyramids of Mars. Sutekh was explicitly linked in that story not only to his more common Egyptian name Set, but also to Satan. The Impossible Planet also explicitly links The Beast to Satan, but not yet to Sutekh.
The Tenth Doctor has, three times before, come up against evil, god-like creatures from Earth mythology – Azal the Dæmon in The Dæmons, Sutekh the Destroyer in Pyramids of Mars and Fenric in The Curse of Fenric. In the first two cases, they turned out to be aliens whose impact on human history had generated the legends of evil gods, or creatures with powers rivaling gods. Azal’s role in generating these legends is portrayed as being almost accidental, while Sutekh is implied to have been a little closer to his myth. Fenric’s true nature and relationship to his Norse mythology is vaguer.
The Tenth Doctor explicitly refers to other cultures who equate a horned beast with ultimate evil, including three from the Original Series: Draconia (Frontier in Space), Dæmos (The Dæmons) and the Kaleds (Genesis of the Daleks). Dæmos is a particularly interesting case since the Dæmons themselves resemble and inspired Earth’s legends of the horned beast, both as a pagan god and as the Devil (The Daemons). This layered reference is apparently deliberate.
There is no Torchwood reference in The Impossible Planet, but the expedition is said to represent the Torchwood Archive in The Satan Pit.
The Doctor claims that Time Lords invented black holes. Original Series continuity established that the Time Lords engineered both supernovas (The Three Doctors) and black holes (The Deadly Assassin) as part of their search for an energy source for time travel, but this is the first time it’s been suggested that black holes are not also natural phenonmena.
The Doctor’s profession of faith in Rose is similar to statements he made about Ace (The Curse of Fenric).
The Doctor remembers promising Jackie he would always bring Rose home, which occurred in World War Three.
Rose remembers being a dinner lady in School Reunion.
The creature in the pit taunts the Tenth Doctor by reminding him of the death of the Time Lords at his hands, as revealed in The End of the World and The Parting of the Ways.
Abaddon, a creature similar to The Beast appears in the Torchwood episode End of Days.
The scriptures of the Veltino describe the planet as Krop Tor – “the bitter pill”.
The Tenth Doctor states TARDISes are grown, rather than built.
Zachary mentions the Blazen Scale.