No surprise here. This time around Modern Recap-itulation finishes the David Tennant two-parter with a new set of HD-elicious caps for The Satan Pit. The ‘conventional wisdom’ regarding two-part stories in nu-Who is that the back half inevitably disappoints after all of the set-up from the front end. And while there is, of course, some truth to that, it is perhaps more accurate to say that part twos don’t resemble their corresponding part ones. That’s certainly the case here.
While Rose literally rallied the troops back at the base, and then got on all fours whilst her foursome dwindled to three, the Doctor gets paired off who Ida Scott and then takes the bigger leap to get some face-to-torso time with the Devil (with horns!–as they used to say in The Dæmons). Tennant also got some quality green-screen time to bloviate against the biggest of ‘big bads.’ He gave his facial muscles a real aerobic workout there.
Now the pairing off of different characters and then re-combining them is almost the very essence of drama, and classic Doctor Who was no slouch in this regard, but in nu-Who this is especially evident, more so we would argue in the Moffat than with RTD (The Time of Angels and Flesh and Stone is a great example of this). Inevitably this makes for a certain dissonance in storytelling. The Satan Pit handles this better than most and, as a result, still resonates well with fans a decade later.
It’s a black tie event the next time Modern Recap-itulation convenes. Dress appropriately.