Recap: Doctor Who S28 E9 "The Satan Pit"
Satan's gonna scare the hell
"But I've seen a lot of this universe. I've seen fake gods and bad gods and demigods and would-be gods. And out of all that, out of that whole pantheon, if I believe in one thing, just one thing... I believe in her.""The Impossible Planet"
— The Doctor
's cliffhanger leaves the Doctor stuck at the bottom of a very deep hole, and Rose stuck at the top surrounded by murderous Ood. The Doctor decides that if he can't go up, he might as well go down. The Beast possessing
the Ood starts to telepathically taunt the group, bringing out their fears, doubts and guilt. The Doctor tries to get the others to ignore the Beast... Until the Beast starts talking about killing his own race off in the Time War. Before the transmission cuts off he announces that he'll be free. The crew is now forced to go through the ventilation to escape the Ood, to get to the main gate.
The Doctor gets to the bottom and finds the Beast
himself and sees its real face. However, he notes, based on his unintelligible grunting, that The Beast is quite literally a shell of his former self
... with his consciousness possessing Toby and the Ood
. The Doctor realises the planet was set up as a trap that will stop the Beast from ever escaping; if some schmo ever does break the urn that keeps him chained there, the black hole will promptly consume him (and the unlucky schmo
Back on the base, Rose and the other members of the group manage to make it out alive, save head of security Mr Jefferson, who dies defending the group
from the Ood. The group are finally calling it quits and decide to leave, although the others have to drug Rose as she wants to stay where the Doctor is. Meanwhile, the Beast, aware that forcing his entrapment could mean certain death for Rose
at his presumed victory. Until the Doctor goes through with his bluff and breaks the urn.
On the ship, Toby who has been acting not only strange
, reveals himself as the Beast
, declaring that he cannot die and will escape
... In response, Rose shoots the window with a nail gun and opens the seat belt so Beast!Toby will be sucked into space...
The Doctor conveniently finds the TARDIS
behind him and saves Ida as well as Rose and the remaining crew members by towing the spaceship from the black hole with his own TARDIS! The group wonders what the hell the Beast truly was, but the Doctor seems unwilling to answer, and says whatever it was, it's now gone...
Meanwhile, Rose herself is curious as to what the Beast meant by saying she will die in battle, but the Doctor assures her he was wrong. As the TARDIS disappears the captain of the expedition starts reading out the names of the deceased in the mission, including the Ood, as they return home.
- Actor Allusion: Mr. Jefferson (played by Danny Webb, who appeared in Alien³) appreciates the reference to air-vent escapes.
- Air-Vent Passageway: When Rose hears about the maintenance shafts, she's the first to point this out, getting an "I appreciate the reference" from Mr. Jefferson. Unfortunately, they were designed for maintenance robots instead of people, so captain Zach has to remotely fill them with air section-by-section.
- All of Them:
- Danny's reply when asked how many Ood have gone berserk.
- The Beast's reply when the Doctor asks which specific religion's devil it's supposed to be.
- Arc Words: Zach mentions that his team represents the Torchwood archive.
- As Long as There Is Evil: The Beast's big "I won't die" speech involves the usual "darkness in the hearts of man" stuff.
- Badass Boast: The Beast's "I will never die" lines and others.
- Better to Die Than Be Killed: Mr. Jefferson politely asks the Captain to asphyxiate him and give the others oxygen, figuring that it'd be more pleasant than dying to an Ood.
- Big Red Devil: With a scary face. It looks kind of like Eddie.
- Body Surf: The Beast to the Ood and Toby.
- Call Back: "Regret to inform, sir, I was a bit slow." as Jefferson gets trapped behind a sealed door in the air vent. This is close to what Rose said when she was in the same situation.
- Chekhov's Gun: A bolt gun with exactly one shot to kill exactly one target.
- The Dead Have Names: Since the Ood were treated as livestock rather than people, they don't have individual names, but Zach lists them all "with honours", one by one, when reciting the death toll.
- The Devil: The Beast claims to be this but the Doctor doesn't buy it.
- Devil but No God: Averted. The Doctor isn't convinced he's literally Satan but he is scary and in any case, there's a reason he's been imprisoned in a pit for all eternity, and the Beast himself references God and the Disciples of the Light.
- The Devil Is a Loser: When the Doctor confronts the Beast in its prison, he finds a giant towering red-horned monstrosity that roars at him and shoots fire. He realizes this Beast is just that... a simple beast, with its spirit and sentience gone elsewhere. The physical body of the Beast suddenly becomes a lot less scary.
- Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: The Doctor is well known for challenging "gods" and other "demons", as he himself noted, but this one is special because he claimed to be from "before time". It seems less The Bible and more of H.P. Lovecraft.
- Doing in the Wizard : In contrast to the series' tendencies to offer a (quasi-)scientific explanation for various supernatural or mythological phenomena. While the Doctor clearly doesn't believe that the Beast is the actual Devil of mythology, he gets quite cagey when pressed on what he thinks it actually was and can't dismiss it with a scientific explanation as easily as he normally would.
- Dug Too Deep: Inverted. The TARDIS is in the very bottom of the pit.
- Dwindling Party: The Team dies one by one as they attempt to stop the Ood uprising.
- Dying Alone: Ida asks the Doctor to come back up from the Pit because she doesn't want to do this.
- Dying as Yourself: Just as the base heads into the black hole, and after Rose kills the devil, we get one shot of several Ood laying about in the corridors, their eyes back to their usual colour, just looking utterly confused.
- Eldritch Abomination: Deep space where the laws of physics behave strangely and there's a creature "from before time" that can drive people to madness... textbook example.
- Empty Shell: The Beast's body is empty of intelligence. However, there's probably still a connection, as when Toby makes his escape, the Beast's body begins laughing maniacally.
- Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: The Beast underestimates the Doctor's drive at saving the universe, especially when it believes the Doctor won't risk losing Rose in the process.
- Evil Plan: The Beast wants to escape and do evil elsewhere.
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin: The title; a pit with something claiming to be Satan inside.
- Face Death with Dignity:
Mr Jefferson: Might I ask, sir, if you can't add oxygen to this area, could you expedite its removal?
- First Name Basis: Zach starts calling Mr Jefferson "John" when things get really tense.
- Flip Personality: Toby. When he's possessed, his eyes turn red, his body is covered in arcane writing and he shouts imprecations in a gravelly voice. However, the times when he appears and acts normally are actually a ruse.
- Forbidden Fruit / Schmuck Bait: Discussed. In spite of the danger, part of Ida still really wants to know what's in the Pit. The Doctor admits that he'd go too, but suggests the Beast is counting on that mad human impulse. It ends up a moot point after the cable snaps, as going in the Pit is the only thing they can do.
- Foreshadowing: The Beast's claim that Rose will die in battle. A statement that disturbs her and leads her to ask the Doctor about it, who quickly dismisses it, saying that the Beast was lying.
- Ghost Planet: People used to live here. They left drawings and writing, but they're long since gone.
- God Is Good / Saintly Church: The "Disciples of Light" are responsible for imprisoning the Beast and the Beast itself is fond of religious imagery, so a religious group of some sort opposed him and likely worshipped something the opposite of what it claims to be.
- Gotta Get Your Head Together: All the Ood hold their head in their hands when victim of the psychic backlash that neutralize them.
- Human Notepad / Mark of the Beast: Toby
- I Uh You Too: The Doctor does a one-sided version of this whilst descending down the pit.
The Doctor: Listen, tell Rose... (pauses and shrugs) Oh, she knows...
- Lovecraft Lite: When the Doctor confronts the Beast in his pit, the thing is trapped. He insults it, ignores it for a logic puzzle, then tosses it into a black hole. This is not an unstoppable Lovecraftian horror.
- Male Gaze
Rose: (shuffling behind Danny) Not your best angle, Danny.
Danny: Oi, stop it.
Toby: (behind Rose) Mine could be worse.
- A Man Is Not a Virgin: Averted with Toby. The Beast taunts him about his virginity.
- Multi-Take Cut: During the "if I believe in one thing" speech.
- Noodle Incident: The Beast freaks out the crew by referencing various events in their own past not seen by the viewer. "The scientist, still running from daddy... The little boy who lied..."
- One Myth to Explain Them All: This is what the Beast claims he is; the truth behind every devil myth in every religion and story.
- Pre-Mortem One-Liner: Rose, in one of the most bizarrely accurate uses of "Go to Hell" in show history.
- Psychotic Smirk: Toby, believing that the Beast's mind has escaped the planet in him. It's noticed, but no-one on-board thinks too much of it.
- Reality Subtext: The reason for Rose's big puppy-dog eyes in the last scene? It's because that's Billie Piper's last scene of the series. Both her and David Tennant were having a hard time making it through the scene.
- Red Shirt: The other security officer, who's quickly killed by an Ood. She doesn't even get a name.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: The Beast uses this on everyone in the base. When trying to rally the humans and inspire them to resist the Beast, however, the Doctor points out that it's ominous, sinister deconstruction of them is in fact simply playing on very basic, vague and ill-defined fears that could apply to anyone, and counters them with a "Reasons You're Actually Really Awesome" Speech:
Danny: But that's how the Devil works!
The Doctor: Or, a good psychologist.
- Red Eyes, Take Warning:
- Rousing Speech: After the Beast has Rose and most of the crew panicking, the Doctor does his best to rally him. The Beast clearly thinks it's working, as it responds by snapping the lift cable and isolating him.
- Satan: Again, what the Beast claims to be.
- Sealed Evil in a Can: A being known only as "the Beast" (who claims to be Satan) is so powerful it was sealed miles underground the surface of a planet precariously orbiting a black hole, meaning that any attempt to escape would send the Beast and the planet to fall into it. These Disciples of the Light guys really didn't want this thing to escape.
- That's an Order: When Ida hesitates to come back up, Zach retorts "Okay, that was an order."
- Time Abyss: The Beast claims to be older than the universe itself. The Doctor, a Time Lord, finds this hardest to swallow.
- Villainous Breakdown: The Beast, in Toby's body, goes ballistic and starts shouting his "I can't die" speech, when the Doctor destroys the mechanism keeping the planet from falling in the black hole.
- What Measure Is a Non-Human?: While this trope is played straight for most of the serial, it is ultimately defied, as the captain lists the names of all 50 Ood individually among the deceased, including "with honours" after each name.
- You Are Better Than You Think You Are: Offered by the Doctor as a rebuttal to the Beast's "The Reason You Suck" Speech:
"Okay, but what makes his version of the truth any better than mine, hmmm? 'Cause I'll tell you what I can see; humans. Brilliant humans, humans who can travel all the way across space, flying in a tiny rocket right into the orbit of a black hole! Just for the sake of discovery! That's amazing. D'you hear me? Amazing! All of you! The captain, his officer, his elder, his juniors, his friends! All with one advantage; the Beast is alone. We are not."
- You Cannot Kill an Idea: Referenced by the Doctor when he monologues to the mindless Beast and realizes the Beast is trying to send his mind out inside someone. While the mind may not be as powerful as it would be inside the Beast, the Doctor knows it could easily spread the idea of EVIL throughout the universe and how hard it is to defeat any idea.