Creators and Cast:
- Written by Chris Chibnall
- Directed by Graeme Harper
- Episode Cast:
- David Tennant ... The Doctor
- Freema Agyeman ... Martha Jones
- Michelle Collins ... Kath McDonnell
- Adjoa Andoh ... Francine Jones
- William Ash ... Riley Vashtee
- Anthony Flanagan ... Orin Scannell
- Matthew Chambers ... Hal Korwin
- Gary Powell ... Dev Ashton
- Vinette Robinson ... Abi Lerner
- Rebecca Oldfield ... Erina Lessak
- Elize du Toit ... Sinister Woman
In a distant galaxy, a spaceship hurtles out of control towards a boiling sun with the Doctor and Martha trapped on board. They have only 42 minutes to uncover the saboteurs, but, with a mysterious force starting to possess the ship's crew, the Doctor is running out of time.
Martha's faith in the Doctor's ability to save her is sorely tested; she seems to be feverishly trying to convince herself as her pod falls into a sun, so when he comes through we know her faith will be absolute. Her chemistry with Riley is a different trial, since she knows rationally she cannot be with the Doctor. Delightfully, Erina's sarcastic complaint "kill me now" is followed by her getting her wish. EastEnders vet Michelle Collins makes a good impression as McDonnell (appropriate after having Coronation Street vet Thelma Barlow last time). Martha gets a TARDIS key.
Doctor Backstory Revelation:
The Doctor can't remember whether Elvis or the Beatles had more number ones. (Once again early rock and roll is referred to as "classical music," as in the First Doctor story "The Chase.")
Fun Guest Alien Factoid:
The sun-creature is more interested in picking off the crew than in what it supposedly wants, which is the release of the stolen solar material. Maybe it's just a psychopath.
Season 3 Mister Saxon Reference:
Mr. Saxon traces Martha's supercellphone "phone-a-friend" call to her mother and sends agents to monitor Francine's communications with her daughter, following up on her having bought Saxon's warning that the Doctor is dangerous. The episode ending notes that it is election day, foreshadowing Saxon's rise to political power later in the season.
Bottom Line: Worth Watching?:
This episode feels very much like a sequel to season 2's "The Impossible Planet"/"The Satan Pit," which is not a bad thing: the focused, claustrophobic peril of the earlier episodes is heightened by the urgency of the plight in this one, making it an excellent one-off without any need for surrounding story arcs.