"Burn with me."
It's "The Impossible Planet"
, In The Style Of 24
... IN SPACE!
The Doctor and Martha land the TARDIS aboard a spaceship, only to have the room they landed in rise to unbearable temperatures, trapping them aboard the ship, which is being pulled into a nearby sun. Martha and the Doctor have only forty-two minutes to save the ship, the crew and themselves. Meanwhile, a member of the crew has contracted a mysterious illness. His body temperature rises to an impossible height just before he opens his burning-white eyes and absolutely fries a fellow crew member to a scorch on the wall.
The only way to save the ship is to pass through a security system, which the crew inconveniently programmed while they were drunk, and decided that it would be a good idea to make it a series of obscure trivia questions. It's like the Pub Quiz from Hell. Martha phones her mum, her own Voice with an Internet Connection
, and gets some answers... unaware that Mrs Jones' phone is being tapped by the mysterious people from "The Lazarus Experiment"
, the ones with sinister music cues; they are revealed to be government agents working for Mr. Saxon.
Before Martha and the other guy make it to the finish, though, another crew member gets infected with the mysterious burning illness and corners Martha and another crew member in an escape pod. The Doctor freezes the infected crewman, but it is too late, and the escape pod has already been released. Martha and the crewman are falling into the sun, and the escape pod retrieval controls are on the outside of the ship... Fat lot of good they'll do there.
The Doctor dons a familiar orange spacesuit
and saves Martha's ass, but as he's clinging to the side of the spaceship he gets a very clear view of the sun — and the sun gets a very clear view of him. Apparently the sun is alive, and it's angry. The Doctor, succumbing to the same possession by the sun that claimed the other two crew members, reveals that the only way the sun will let them go is if they return the stolen sun particles the ship has been using for fuel. Martha takes care of it and saves the day, because the Doctor's a bit preoccupied with going batshit insane.
- Chekhov's Gun: The mention near the beginning that the ship is running off illegal fusion scoop technology.
- Continuity Nod:
- As he's being put into stasis, the Doctor tries to tell Martha what happens to Time Lords who are near death, having obviously learnt from the confusion Rose (as well as Ben, Polly, the Brigadier, Sarah, Tegan, Nyssa, Adric, Peri, Mel, and Grace) went through way back when.
- The Doctor once again exhibits his ability to withstand extremely cold temperature, as he tells the crew to douse him in freezing liquid when he's possessed by the sun, telling them he'll survive.
- The Doctor finally gives Martha the Magic Cell Phone upgrade and a key to the Tardis.
- Convection Schmonvection: As per "The End of the World", the one thing that stops everyone aboard from getting fried are heat shields.
- Famous Last Words: "Kill me now."
- Fantastic Aesop: Remember kids, always check to make sure that the star you're using as a fuel source isn't sentient...
- Foreshadowing: Mr. Saxon sent people to listen to Martha's mother's phone.
- Also marks the first appearance of Master's Leitmotif and the drumbeat.
- The Doctor being scared shitless and powerless underneath something he barely comprehends foreshadows "Midnight".
- Genius Loci: The Sun. And it's pissed.
- Glowing Eyes of Doom: The signature defining characteristic and weapon of those possessed by the sun. Used with terrifying effectiveness when the Doctor reveals his glowing eyes just before he forces them shut as the sun begins to possess him.
- The Heartless: The sun was essentially turned into this, driving it insane.
- Heroic BSOD: After all's said and done, Martha finds the Doctor staring into space. Foreshadows the even bigger one he has in "Midnight"...
- Homage: A sentient celestial body has its substance stolen for use as fuel. In revenge, it possesses the thieves, giving them Glowing Eyes Of Doom, and makes them kill others. It also starts drawing the ship towards it. The only way to avoid a collision is to jettison all the stolen material.
- "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: The Captain tries this with her (now former) husband. It works for a little bit — long enough for the Captain to jettison herself and her former husband into the sun.
- In The Style Of: The entire episode is in real time, complete with a handy timer describing how much time is left until the ship crashes into the sun, just like a certain suspense show that moves forward in real time and has an ever-present timer.
- Leitmotif: The aforementioned "The Master Vainglorious", which foreshadows the oncoming Saxon revelation. Also "All the Strange, Strange Creatures", the main action beat of Series 3, culminates in this episode; seeing as how it's one of the most dangerous adventures of the season. It simply owns the last fifteen minutes (thanks in no small part to the badass choir).
- Meaningful Name: At least part of the device used to open the locked doors is appropriately branded "Icarus".
- Men Are the Expendable Gender: Inverted. Only male crew members survive the episode.
- Motor Mouth: The Doctor during his explanation of happy primes.
- Oh, Crap: "Burn with me..." Dialed Up to Eleven near the end. "Burn with me, Martha.."
- Only Smart People May Pass: In theory, the pub-quiz style problems are trivia passwords set by the crew. Too bad several crew members have either rotated out or been killed, leaving the Doctor and Martha to figure out most of the answers.
- Real Time
- Redemption Equals Death: McDonnel atones for stealing the sun's energy by tossing herself and her infected husband into the sun.
- 42, in honour of the late Classic Who writer/producer Douglas Adams.
- It's also 24 flipped around, which is a more relevant reference (see In The Style Of above).
- After Martha asks the Doctor about Elvis and the Beatles, he says, "Here comes the sun"... which is a song by the Beatles. Suspiciously appropriate.
- Taking You with Me: How McDonnel ended up.
- Tempting Fate: Erina, annoyed with being the one asked to fetch tools, also wishes she were dead, a wish the infected crew member is more than willing to grant.
- Too Dumb to Live: Erina, griping about being asked to fetch tools to fix the ship while it's falling into the sun because of instrument failure.
- Used Future
- Voice with an Internet Connection