The TARDIS allows the Doctor to travel anywhere in time and space. The familiar faces from the commentaries of the previous episodes in this series return to talk about the many places we’ve seen the Doctor and his companions go. (Sadly, we never saw Raxicoricofallipatorius as a destination in Doctor Who, so I didn’t get to hear a bunch of celebrities trying to pronounce it.)
Platform One (from “The End of the World”)—Described as a ‘shadenfreude hotel’, the Platform allows rich aliens to watch the Earth finally burn to death in the year 5 billion. This journey was very much a test for Rose, as it showed she could deal with the weird things that happen around the Doctor.
Starship UK (from “The Beast Below”)—In the future, because of the dying of the planet and overpopulation, the entire UK has taken to the stars. It turns out that the ship is “being supported by this kindly old savior”, a space whale that is carrying the entire nation on its back. The whale is a huuuge metaphor for the Doctor—”if you were very old, and very kind, and the last of your kind, you couldn’t bear to stand by and watch children cry.”
The Holographic Hotel (from “The God Complex”)—A hotel filled with nightmares, where the halls are policed by a minotaur and you will eventually find your worst fear hiding in a room. This episode makes a sort of weird statement about faith (both the religious sort and the faith-in-other-people secular sort), as it turns out that the hotel is actually a prison for the minotaur, who feeds on people’s beliefs and hopes; this means that the greater your faith, the more at-risk you are.
The Library (From “Silence in the Library”/”Forest of the Dead”)—Sign me up to visit the Library. Vashta Nerada aside, I’d love to go there. The Library takes up a whole planet and features every book ever written. Sadly, the Vashta Nerada, who infest the shadows, make it a less-than-ideal travel location, since they’ll eat you as soon as you step into the dark. This episode makes sure that you know that all those times you thought something was lurking in the dark, you were right.
The Byzantium (from “Time of the Angels”/”Flesh and Stone”)—Pretty much the last place anyone in the Whoniverse wants to be: a crashed spaceship full of Weeping Angels, next to a crack in time, in the middle of a cyborg forest. This episode made the Weeping Angels doubly scary, as it established that an image of an Angel was also an Angel.
Gallifrey (from “The End of Time”)—Although it was very exciting to see it again (it hadn’t been in the series since Classic Who, what with the Time War being time-locked and all that), the Doctor’s home planet of Gallifrey was not anything like most viewers expected. It looks like “a snowglobe full of downtown LA” and is “full of bitter old guys”, and shows that the Doctor’s reminisces about home are selective; he chooses to remember what the Time Lords were and not what they became.
The Impossible Planet (from “The Impossible Planet”/”The Satan Pit”)—A planet that, well, impossibly, is in perpetual orbit around a black hole (rather than being pulled into the black hole). It turns out to be a prison for the Devil himself, the bad thing from every religion ever, imprisoned there by the forces of light before time began (I smell a Supernatural crossover fanfic. Anyone?) It forces the at-best agnostic Doctor to, for a while, consider both the the idea of religion as well as the concept that he may have met an unbeatable foe. Ultimately the Devil is just another evil alien to him, and the worst that human imaginations could dream up cannot compete with the Doctor’s intellect and power.
The Trash Planet (from “The Doctor’s Wife”)—This planet is essentially the scrapyard at the end of the universe, except it’s actually sort of outside the universe. And the planet isn’t actually a planet, it’s a sentient being named House, who is sort of a dick. Yeah, this isn’t really a destination you want to hit up, since House likes to kill people in slow and torturous ways.
The Silurian City (from “The Hungry Earth”/”Cold Blood”)—You know that fear you sometimes think about, that there’s a highly advanced civilization of lizard people living inside the Earth? Yeah, this episode says that that’s real.
The 27 Planets Nebula in the Medusa Cascade (from “The Stolen Earth”/”Journey’s End”)—Another place that no one wants to be, as the Daleks are the ones who stole the planets and put the nebula together, and they plan to use it to destroy all of reality.
Satellite Five (from “The Long Game”/”Bad Wolf”/”The Parting of the Ways”)—A station orbiting above Earth, where we first see the world’s news being controlled by an alien known as the Jagrafess. After the Doctor and Rose defeat that particular threat, they return to find that the Satellite is now the hub of a dozen different reality television/game shows, where the stakes are apparently your life. In this situation, of course the Daleks are behind it, and are, again, controlling all of humanity through these broadcasts.
I did like this special, although a lot of the location discussions tended more toward discussions of the plots of the episodes set in those locations. Some of the other places I’d have liked to hear talked about were some of the past-Earth locations, like Pompeii and Venice, as well as Pete’s World, Utopia, New (x15) Earth, Midnight, and the Ood planet.
Did anyone else catch this special? What did you think?