Recap / Doctor Who S17 E3 "The Creature from the Pit"

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/lalla_pit_7128.jpg
Poor soul... She goes through the trouble of regenerating and is still made the Damsel in Distress...
"Well, to be fair I did have a couple of gadgets which he probably didn't, like a teaspoon and an open mind."
The Doctor explains how he learned more about the egg in minutes than local scientists did in years.

The one where the Doctor massages a penis monster.

The TARDIS follows a distress signal to the planet Chloris, where the Doctor and Romana investigate what appears to be the shattered remains of an enormous metal egg. (The Doctor's technique largely involves listening to the sound made when he taps it with a teaspoon.) They are captured by guards and taken to see the local dictator, Lady Adrasta, who owns the mine that is the planet's only source of metal. Adrasta is impressed by how much the Doctor has figured out about the egg, and wants him to work for her; the alternative is to be thrown into the Pit, an abandoned mine working inhabited by a mysterious Creature that kills all who come near.

The Doctor being the Doctor, he jumps into the pit with both feet, and soon meets the Creature. It can't talk, so the Doctor resorts to cuddling with it and extensively putting his mouth on its... large bits that stick out. Once the Creature manipulates some local beardy men into retrieving its communicator, it's able to use the Doctor's own voice to speak, and the Doctor discovers that it is in fact an alien ambassador from the planet Tythonus, whose spacecraft was the egg investigated earlier. Tythonus has lots of metal but not much vegetation, and the ambassador had hoped to organise a trade, and was thrown into the pit for his trouble — Adrasta's stranglehold on metal production is keeping her in power.

The Doctor helps the ambassador to escape, and in return the ambassador helps the Doctor to divert the neutron star that the Tythonians have aimed at Chloris in retaliation. Adrasta is killed by the ambassador, and a trading contract is drawn up.


Tropes

  • All There in the Manual: In the novelisation, cutaway scenes explain Chloris from the perspective of the ex-miners-turned-bandits.
    • Adrasta's first meeting with Erato is featured.
    • The novelisation details how Tythonians have sex.
    • How Erato gets out of the pit is elaborated on.
  • Astrologer: Organon was an itinerrant Court Astrologer, until Lady Adrasta threw him down the pit.
  • Aside Glance: The Doctor forces Lady Adrasta's hand onto Erato's larynx machine and the creature starts speaking through her. As she goes through her Villainous Breakdown, we can see the Doctor lurking at the edge of the shot, looking straight at the camera out of the corner of his eye and smirking.
  • Big "NO!": Adrasta at the pt. 3 cliffhanger.
  • Continuity Nod: A number of the Doctor's old costumes appear on the TARDIS hatstand. His coats from "The Seeds of Doom" and "The Talons of Weng-Chiang" are two of these.
  • Corpsing: During the scene where the Doctor has to approach a monster that looks like a giant green penis and scrotum and "communicate" with it, Tom Baker, normally very good at keeping a straight face during such things, is clearly about to crack up and even has to hide his smile with his hand at one point.
  • Curse of Babel: The titular creature is presented as a villain until we find that it just lacks a speech synthesizer.
  • Distress Call: What kicks off the episode is the Doctor responding to one of these.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: There's a running joke about the straightforwardness with which Adrasta names things: There's a creature, which is called "the Creature", in a pit, which is called "the Pit", and also a place that's an automatic death sentence for anybody found there, which is called "the Place of Death".
  • Expy: Torvin was clearly modeled on Fagin.
  • Famous Last Words
    Bandit Leader: (after being stabbed) "Tempered steel...is that really...tempered steel?"
  • Foreshadowing: The Doctor claims a ball of string Romana finds in the TARDIS helped Theseus and Ariadne out of the Minotaur's maze. This may have been foreshadowing "The Horns of Nimon".
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar:
    • The monster in this one has a terribly Unfortunate Character Design that has to be seen to be believed, and resembles a giant, warty green cock-and-balls. The costume department claims it was unintentional, but the scripted innuendo and its Meaningful Name - "Erato" - a few letters away from "erotic" and the name of the Muse of pornography - is enough to make a case that it wasn't. They didn't quite get away with it - the creature had to have its appendage altered between episodes. Tom Baker, for his part, has a lovely time rubbing his mouth and licking his lips a lot while talking to it. There is one particular scene where he greets it by moaning, "you have beautiful skin..." before moving in to caress its 'body', sighing his dialogue and rubbing his cheek against it. Then he takes its appendage in his hands, rubs his hands up and down it, puts the end of it in his mouth, and mimes blowing and sucking. Later the Doctor actually allows Erato to use his throat (the creature needs to use other people's larynxes to talk), which Tom Baker decides to play as if he's allowing Erato to do something quite intimate, cuddling up to Erato's side and gesturing towards his throat with his hands.
    • The Doctor gets put in the stocks by a villain who takes the opportunity to stroke and admire the Doctor's nose while he's powerless to resist.
    • Romana makes at least one BDSM joke about her relationship with the Doctor.
    • Forget her relationship with the Doctor; Romana spends half the serial being tied up, interrogated, slapped across the face and claimed as a 'handmaiden' by a woman in red-and-black leather who calls her "my dear" and seems to enjoy manhandling her whenever possible.
  • Heel–Face Turn: The Huntsman spends most of the story leading his wolfweeds on Adrasta's behalf. When he learns the truth, however, he becomes the first of his people to turn against her and refuses to turn the wolfweeds on the Doctor.
  • Lady Land: Chloris is a matriarchy, although under Lady Adrasta it's somewhat autocratic in general.
  • Meaningful Name: The Creature in the Pit is called Erato, which means "sexually desired" and is the name of the muse of erotic poetry in Greek mythology. In the story, Erato is a force of love and creativity. And, more prosaically, it looks like a giant cock and balls and Tom Baker's acting exploits this for all it is worth.
  • Metal Poor Planet: The story takes place on the planet Chloris which has an over-abundance of plant life and virtually no metal; the local dictator's power comes from having control of the only mine.
  • Only Electric Sheep Are Cheap: In an inorganic variant, the bandit chieftain waxes rhapsodic about the amazing treasures his group has stolen: precious items of iron, zinc, and even nickel! Needless to say, this scene takes place on a metal-poor planet, where only members of the elite can boast such prizes.
  • Phony Psychic: Organon
  • Plant Aliens: The mobile, carnivorous wolf-weeds.
  • Shout-Out: Two character names were inspired by Greek Mythology:
    • Lady Adrasta was inspired by Andromeda, who attracted a sea monster which plagued her homeland.
    • Erato was one of a group of goddesses called the Muses, specifically the Muse of erotic poetry; significantly, her name means “lovely”.
    • The story's setting, Chloris, came from “chlorophyll”, the green pigment found in most vegetation.
  • Sickly Green Glow: The Creature; more or less justified by its Bizarre Alien Biology
  • Single-Biome Planet: The jungle world of Chloris
  • Specific Situation Books: While trying to climb out of the Pit, the Doctor produces a book from his pocket called Everest in Easy Stages. Sadly, it's in Tibetan, so he produces another book called Teach Yourself Tibetan.
  • Stellar Name: "Adrasta" is one letter off "ad astra", Latin for "to the stars" (as in "Ad astra per aspera", "A rough road leads to the stars", the state motto of Kansas).
  • Terms of Endangerment: Adrasta rarely misses a chance to call Romana "my dear", usually while simultaneously holding a sword to her throat. Or slapping her across the face. And occasionally while she's tied to a chair. Or all three.
  • Western Zodiac: In Space! Organon's astrology. The Doctor, when asked what sign he was born under, replies that he was born under a sign bearing the logo of the Gallifreyan Maternity Service.
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle: Lady Adrasta is killed with about 20 minutes to go, seemingly leaving the Doctor to simply arrange a treaty between Chloris and Tythonus. Then the Tythonians decide to destroy Chloris in retribution for her actions and various minor villains get in the way of the Doctor trying to stop them.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Recap/DoctorWhoS17E3TheCreatureFromThePit