The Satan Pit

Roots: There are lots and lots of influences, including HP Lovecraft, The Exorcist, Event Horizon, Alien and lots more. The Ood look an awful lot like the Pak'Ma'Ra from Babylon 5, the Grel from the Benny books, and the Mind Flayers from Dungeons and Dragons. The CGI Beast is based on the artwork of 2000AD artist Simon Bisley. Rose mentions Tesco. The separation of the Beast's mind and body is similar to The Sands of Time

Goofs: The Doctor's belief that life couldn't have existed before the universe contradicts Terminus, Slipback, Destiny of the Daleks, Millennial Rites, All Consuming Fire, and SynthespiansTM.

Why exactly does strategy 9 require 100% power? [perhaps it also requires draining all but auxiliary power
resources.]

The computer doesn't register Ood as proper lifeforms. Whose idea was that?

Given that the service ducts have open grills between them and the rest of the base, how can they be airless?

Why does Zack believe that they are the first humans to fall inside a black hole? Surely there would have been other humans examining black holes close up before who didn't come back.

The scene where Rose shoots out the window really doesn't work. Firstly, why does the rocket need a window made out of a material that can't resist a bolt gun? Surely a meteorite impact would be fatal if the material was that weak, unless the ship has energy shields. Secondly, all the air would have been sucked out along with Toby, so how would Zack have been able to speak? Thirdly it would surely be more effective to design the emergency shutter come down automatically rather than leaving it to a human struggling with sudden exposure to the vacuum to operate the controls. Fourthly, why didn't Rose just shoot Toby in the head?

Why does the rocket turn around when the gravity funnel collapses and again when the TARDIS grabs it? [It's a result of the interaction of the various gravity fields - the funnel's, the black hole's, the ship's, and the TARDIS's.]

How did the TARDIS get into the pit? It fell before the seal was opened.

Why does the Doctor only have time for one trip, given that the TARDIS can travel in time?

Continuity: Strategy 9 is a plan to gather the crew into a single part of the base, lock it down, and open the airlocks - killing whoever is outside. The oxygen field can be manipulated to create pockets of air in the service ducts - which were designed for robots.

The Doctor mentions that there are more religions than there are planets in the sky. He mentions the Arkavets, Orkology, Christianity, Pash Pash, New Judaism, San Klah, and the Church of the Tin Vagabond. The image of a horned beast turns up across the universe including on Earth, Draconia, Velcontanine, and Dæmos, as well as the Kaled god of war. Ida was brought up Neoclassic Congregational. They don't believe in the devil, merely the things that men do.

The Beast taunts the Doctor and the humans by playing on some of their biggest fears - including knowledge of their past. It claims that it was imprisoned by the disciples of the light before time, light, space, and matter, before the cataclysm, before this universe. It predicts that Rose will die in battle very soon.

The Doctor believes that no life could have existed before the universe. He reckons that he can survive a 30 foot drop. When asked about his religious beliefs, he appears unsure what he believes. He says that he keeps travelling in order to be proved wrong. He has a last message for Rose, which he believes that she'll know. He's seen fake gods, bad gods, demigods, and would-be gods. He says that if he believes in just one thing, it's Rose (c.f. The Curse of Fenric). He says that his people invented black holes (c.f. The Three Doctors, The Deadly Assassin, Arc of Infinity, Remembrance of the Daleks, and particularly The Infinity Doctors)

All sorts of viruses that could stop the Ood but which aren't on the base. They can be stopped by flipping the telepathic monitor to broadcast a flare which would knock all the Ood out.

Rose refuses to leave the Doctor behind, believing that he can't possibly be dead.

The bottom of the pit has an air cushion to support someone falling into the pit and has air at the bottom. The prison is rigged so that if the beast escapes, the planet will fall into the black hole and the destruction of its body will also destroy its mind.

The beast has a physical form that can't talk, and hasn't got the intelligent mind, which is what escaped into Toby.

The TARDIS is capable of towing a ship away from a black hole.

Links: Zach claims to represent the Torchwood Archive. The Beast mentions the Doctor being the killer of his own kind. The Doctor mentions Draconia (Frontier in Space, The Dark Path, Catastrophea), Dæmos (The Daemons) and the Kaleds (Genesis of the Daleks). The Doctor's claim that the Time Lords invented black holes may be a reference to a scene from The Infinity Doctors where Rassilon and Omega create the first ever black hole. The TARDIS tractor beam was previously seen in The Creature from the Pit and Delta and the Bannermen.

Extras: This story has an episode of Doctor Who Confidential. The BBC created a one-minute trailer called a "Tardisode" for each episode of series two, which was available to download on your mobile or watch at the BBC website. They also made a commentary track available online, and with the red button during the digital repeats. Neither of these are still available online.

Location: A sanctuary base on the planet Krop Tor orbiting black hole K37J5 in the drifts of the universe. The Doctor says that they are 500 years from Earth. The deaths are all dated as 43k2.1. According to Russell T Davies on the commentary track, earlier versions of the script placed the story in the 43rd century.

Future History: The Empire the humans come from includes Earth - which is where the crew have come from.

The Bottom Line: 'All I can see is the beast.' This is a strong second half which maintains the effective atmosphere and strong characterisation of the first half. The plot is reasonably strong, albeit with a few holes, and the death of Jefferson, in particular, is very moving. The Beast isn't as impressive as the first half might have promised, but then it was never going to be. Overall, it's a solid finish to the story.

Discontinuity Guide by Stephen Gray

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