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Cult Review

S04E03: 'Planet of the Ood'

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S04E03: 'Planet of the Ood'
Released on Saturday, Apr 19 2008

Doctor Who can occasionally transcend the properties of a mere family television show to reach out and give viewers a poignant, beautiful epiphany and greater sense of the world they inhabit.

'Planet of the Ood' contained several such moments towards the end of the story, but none as moving as the simple, stark imagery of Donna tearfully observing the unprocessed Ood in their cage, clutching onto their secondary brains and singing their 'Song of Captivity'.

Harking back to the touching hymn in last season's 'Gridlock', the scene boldly evoked the atrocities of concentration camps during the Holocaust and the spiritual solidarity that transcended the crushing environment. It all exemplifies just how powerful and emotive Doctor Who can be when writing, direction and performance are all harmonious and complete their own Ood-like circle.

Tim McInnerny was impressive as the vain Mr Halpen and gave him enough psychological layers to ensure that he was no one-dimensional villain. In particular, his commendation to his loyal Ood servant during the 'red-eyed' Ood breakout denoted a sense of militarial honour and decency lurking beneath his rapidly-receding bonce. "Faithful to the last," he proudly proclaimed, with a surprising sense of humbleness. If only he knew what his slave was feeding him all along!

Many eyes are still focussing on Catherine Tate's performance as Donna, looking for flaws to dissect. Such a high profile star is bound to come under intense scrutiny, but she has been largely impressive and conveyed the emotional humanity of Donna particularly well in both Pompeii and the Ood's terrain. However, one couldn't help but be slightly 'bovvered' when she came out with the following cringeworthy line, delivered in overblown sketch show style: "Why do you say Miss? Do I look single?"

Overall though, 'Planet of the Ood' is an extremely impressive, contemplative examination of the abhorrent nature of humanity when there's a buck to be made. One final thought: The treatment of the Ood 'livestock' appals The Doctor, but he didn't have too many concerns when tucking into a turkey over at Jackie Tyler's house on Christmas Day, did he? Come on Doc, don't be a hypocrite and go veggie!

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