Wednesday, February 3, 2010

10th Doctor - Planet of the Ood (i)

Serial 402 – Planet of the Odd
An Alternate Program Guide by Ewen Campion Clarke
From An Entry In The EC Unauthorized Guide O' Only the Ood Die Young

"YOA's Discontinuity Guides - Inaccurate But Caring."

Serial 402 – Planet of the Odd -

Ah, the 42nd Century – a time of excitement, wonder and rather unfashionable plastic surgery addictions. The Second Great and Bountiful Human Empire covers three whole galaxies under the kinky jackbooted heel of the Special Space Security Sex Service (or the SSSSS). Following the mysterious disappearance of Magic Chin, Security Guard of the Solar System, after his sex holiday on the planet Kipple, mankind has become insular and backward and refuses to import supplies, technology or pornography from the outer galaxies.

Suffering the greatest financial crisis since... well... since the last one, the human race has found a cheap and disposable replacement to machinery: slaves! Yes, slavery is the new economic miracle and this time no whinging lefties are complaining because the slaves aren’t actually human beings but a race of tendrilled grey-skinned telepathic humanoids with facial tentacles who look like they’re permanently vomiting up lots of spaghetti.

Yes, the Pak’Ma’Ra from Babylon Five!

Sorry! The Illithid Mind Flayers from Dungeons and Dragons!

SORRY! The Ood. I meant the Ood. Yes, they came from a distant world, they voyaged across the stars, they came, they saw, and then they asked where the vacuum cleaner was! The Ood perform all sorts of tasks, cooking, cleaning, mining, and lets just say their naughty tentacles can do all SORTS of cool shit if you’re a perverted enough deviant.

Alas, for some reason the Ood aren’t selling as well as they used to. Is it because of their creepy lack of personality? The inherent cruelty of their confinement? Is it that when people come home from the pub to find Cthulu doing the washing up caused them to freak the hell out?

It is THESE questions that so vex Mr. Jed Bartlett of Ood Operations, the largest Ood-supplying organization in the galaxy. In fact, it’s the ONLY Ood-supplying organization in the galaxy, which means they have no competition and thus having 99% Off Sale suggests the company is in very deep smegola indeed.

In desperation, Bartlett starts a brand new advertising campaign for the faster, better, stronger, ideal-for-Christmas, Generation X-17d Ood. "Ood With Bigger Balls" is their new slogan, though "FOR GOD’S SAKE, BUY ONE YOU SELFISH BASTARDS!" is under consideration.

Luckily, Bartlett soon discovers exactly what it is that is preventing the Ood from becoming the perfect house servant and/or family pet: their tendency to go absolutely insane and slaughter people by electrocuting them with their cybernetic communications orbs.

So, next time YOU order your domestic Omega IV Ood to pick up that pencil that’s right in front of you, remember: it could be fatal.

Parte the First

With all that tedious back story out of the way, we can get down to business. Setting the TARDIS coordinates to random, the Doctor takes Donna to her first alien world, a completely different planet in a whole new solar system... and arrive in a quarry covered in snow.

Despite all the eulogizing the Doctor provides, Donna is more interested in not dying of exposure and fanboys and girls across the globe sigh as she covers up her formidable cleavage with a sensible coat and parka. Damn.

After wandering around for a bit admiring the snow, the ice, the third moon, the rocket ships soaring over head and then trip over corpses half-buried in the snow of Ood that have been shot dead. The gentle creatures reminds Donna of her cat... until one of them starts snarling, its eyes glowing red and tries to kill them. Donna headbutts it to death and challenges any other Ood if they want to take her on?!

After an awkward pause, the Doctor muses he has met the Ood before on numerous occasions and oddly enough each and every time they ended up getting possessed by evil forces – living suns, ancient talismans, standing stones, Chris Evans pretending to be the Devil... In fact, the Time Lord wonders how they ever got the reputation for being benign in the first place. "These creatures clearly have the greatest public relations department in all of time and space!" the Doctor concludes.

Finally twigging this alien planet is the Odd Sphere (conveniently located between the Vog Sphere and the Sense Sphere in "Bartholomew’s Planetary Gazetteer") the Doctor and Donna decide they shall find the ruler of the evil Ood Regime and kill every last one of the pricks!

Their righteous zeal is slightly undermined however when, just over the hill is the vast industrial Ood Operations Complex where the tentacle-headed freaks are being paraded around and whipped for the sadistic enjoyment of the psychologically-unhinged security chief Kess. It seems that the Ood are nothing more than pathetic and weak slaves!

Which, you know, takes a hell of a lot of the fun out of wiping out their entire species. It’s a real buzz-kill.

The owner of this industrial estate, Mr. Percy Hapless, arrives to take over from the late Jed Bartlett and starts by cutting off his pension that was being used to support Bartlett’s family. His credentials as a corrupt and selfish wanker established, Percy knocks back hair tonic from his assistant Ood Sigma. Completely pissed, Percy starts to sexually harass Odd Sigma, just to reinforce that he’s pure evil.

Just in case it’s not completely obvious which side we should be rooting for here, Kess announces he’s bored and then forces a baby Ood to eat soap until it’s foaming at the tendrils. Declaring the baby Ood "rabid", Kess uses it for machine gun target practice while laughing uncontrollably for five very long minutes.

Sales Rep and Token Ethnic Minority Solana meanwhile leads a group of potential clients around the complex, to discuss business deals regarding the Ood, joke about how cool slavery is, and point and laugh at the cruel humiliations all the Ood ritually undergo. So lost are the guests in their sick viciousness, they don’t notice the Doctor and Donna tag along as representations of NobleCorp PLC Intergalactic.

In his office, Percy wonders if the hair tonic is making his hair grow back, before laughing and mocking Ood Sigma for not being the right species to have follicles on its skull. Then he kicks Ood Sigma in the arse repeatedly for the sheer hell of it.

In the recreation suite, Donna decides to flirt with one of the Ood since she’s not only desperate to get married but thinks all those tentacles could please a lady if you get my drift. You don’t? Oh, well, it’ll make sense once you grow up. Possibly.

Donna asks one of the Ood servants if there are any Ood who are free to roam, but it insists they are bred to serve. They want whatever their masters want, and they don’t want to be free without some ginger loving. Er, apparently. Anyway, Donna is eager to buy as many Ood as she can until, unable to bear any more social embarrassment, the Doctor drags her out of the room and head off.

As they do so the strange force possesses another Ood, causing it to sprout a pink Mohawk and ordering all humans to "swivel on my translator globe, ya great fat ponces!"

It seems that the plague affecting the Ood has mutated – they’re not just becoming rebellious, they’re actually going punk! Singing 'Up the Junction' by Squeeze, it runs off to cause panic, confusion and destruction... and gets about a metre before being riddled by bullets and falling dead to the ground.

The drunken Percy – now not even PRETENDING his 'hair tonic' is anything other than Absolut Vodka – stumbles towards the not-at-all-ominously-named Warehouse 15 that contains the true power of the Ood, which has been controlled and dormant for several centuries. True the chances of the entity rebelling are infinitesimally small, but it gives Percy the opportunity to urinate on it from a great height. He then makes Ood Sigma crawl on his hands and knees and shouts "WHO’S YER DADDY? WHO’S YER DADDY?!?"

Did I mention that Percy is evil?

Still looking for the lavatory, the Doctor and Donna find themselves in one of those warehouses that seem to be designed and built solely to mirror that final shot from 'Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark', you know the one with all those hundreds of metal shipping containers? Anyway, these strongboxes are crammed full of Ood which is not merely pointlessly cruel but shockingly unhygienic.

Just in case we don’t feel sorry for the squid-headed gits, the Ood give a long speech about how none of the crates are locked, they don’t attempt to escape, because they have nowhere to go. Awwwwwww. The future sucks, huh?

Commander Kess wanders by and, since his staff nickname is "Mr. Insane Killing Machine", the good-old-fashioned psychopath decides that rather than arrest the intruders he should kill them all with a giant Test-Your-Skills claw-like device he conveniently has to hand.

On the verge of orgasm throughout, Kess chases the Doctor around the warehouse with the giant metal grabber in a blatant piece of CGI padding while the Ood in the myriad transportation caskets do a cover of "I Fought The Law And The Law Won!"

Finally, it’s time for a cliffhanger so some random guards capture Donna and throw her into container and lock the door. Typically this is the exact moment the Ood within become possessed with rabid bloodlust fever and their eyes blaze with pure evil...

Parte the Second

Luckily for the Doctor and Donna, incredibly contrived cliffhangers have incredibly contrived solutions and Solana luckily arrives at the exact moment to remind everyone the regulars need to be kept alive for contractual reasons and they need to be dragged before Percy for the plot to progress in any meaningful way.

The murderous Kess takes out his frustrations on the Ood, and is totally taken aback when the Ood actually fight back for once and begin murdering every single humanoid unlucky enough to get in their way. This apocalyptic uprising leads to lots of scenes with the Ood zapping people or being perforated by machine gunfire, so let’s just take it as read and get back onto the ongoing plot.

The Doctor and Donna guilt-trip Solana to help them overthrow this evil dictatorship and free the cute, sweet and only-occasionally-genocidal Ood. Solana agrees on the condition they meet her current pay packet, and when they can’t she decides to send them to the blood-encrusted Ood Conversation Centre. The one with the graffiti saying "AUSCHWITZ WAS FOR AMATEURS!" out the front.

Rather disappointingly, the OCC contains nothing but a few cages of natural born Ood singing "Sixteen Tons" by Hank Thompson – a true song of captivity. These Ood have yet to have their secondary brain hacked off with a blunt penknife and replaced with the translator globe, leaving them soul-destroyed mindless slaves.

By now, Donna’s gotten completely and utterly sick of these continual displays of what crimes humanity is capable of in the name of progress and suspects the Doctor brought her to the Ood Sphere deliberately so he could get a quick sense of moral superiority.

The Doctor denies this. Unconvincingly.

Outside, Percy has a cunning plan to defeat the red-eyed Ood in the warehouse – flood the entire place with nerve gas, just in case the squiddy freaks have Foot & Mouth disease as well. Kess rasps "GOD BLESS YOU SIR!" as he’s waited years to set off the gas canisters.

Alas his enthusiasm costs him dearly. He is so focused on setting up this Bond-style death trap he doesn’t notice the Ood creeping up on him until it’s too late. They beat the undying crap out of him, steal his oxygen mask and lock him in the warehouse to be drowned in the very toxic fumes he would have used on him. OH, THE BITTER IRONY!

The Ood decide it’s time to open a can of whupass on mankind and every Ood on the planet gets a murderous bloodshot look in their eye and Bow Wow Wow’s "I Want Candy" on their, um, equivalent to lips. Soon, every human in the complex is getting electrocuted, like Jude Law doing his "Alfie Remake" impression in the business visitor lounge. Sonala is also slaughtered in a moment of instant karma.

Realizing the story is rapidly running out of speaking parts, Percy decides it’s time to get the hell out of there. But, because – and forgive me if this plot point has not received the emphasis it properly deserved – he is EVIL, he handcuffs the Doctor and Donna to his executive coffee machine, leaving them to be killed by the swarming armies of the Ood as they rise up against their enslavers.

The Doctor laughs and assures Donna that he’s been in far more dangerous and serious predicaments than this, but when she asks for more information on these events, the Doctor starts to whimper uncontrollably and wishes Arthur the Wonder Horse was here to save them.

The Ood enter and advance on them, ready to kill, but stop when Donna cunningly points out they have a cast iron alibi when the Ood were enslaved – she and the Doctor were visiting a bowling alley and met Ally Sheedy, the Goth chick from "The Breakfast Club", tried and failed to get her autograph, were accosted by five scientologists with free personality tests, then caught the wrong bus home and arrived south of Castle Rock and, anyway, the Ood were enslaved by a guy called Gary Bushwell who was missing his left index finger.

Since the Ood have evolved to be incredible trusting, what with carrying their own brains around in their hands all day, the Ood completely buy Donna’s story and release the pair of them.

Unable to believe their luck and ever-so-slightly hysterical from their narrow escape, the Doctor and Donna giggle nervously and wander through the battlefield outside between the rebelling Ood and the chainsaw-wielding human guards. They arrive at Warehouse 15 and laugh hysterically when they see the secret power source of the entire Ood Oligarchy is...


This is the third element of the Ood gestalt and bloody weird it is too. Percy hurls a random lab-coated technician onto the brain and finally drinks so much vodka that his very DNA goes tee-total in a moving sequence that basically involves Percy ripping off an unconvincing rubber mask to reveal he was an Ood the whole time!

Ood Sigma, unfazed by this mind-boggling development, shuts down the static barrier around the giant brain and keeps the Ood’s musical tastes so dull and limited. With the circle broken at last, the Ood are freed. The conflict outside stops and the liberated Ood hold their hands to the sky, singing a tuneless song of freedom – one that even Donna can hear... "Ever Fallen In Love" by the Buzzcocks!

Some time later, the Doctor and Donna stand beside the TARDIS, ready to leave while the Ood happily murder the greatest hits of Girls Aloud – songs that will have been heard around the entire empire, and as a result the Ood will all return home to complain about the bloody music.

As thanks for saving his species Ood Sigma offers the Doctor and Donna a place in the song as well, but they decline and together they depart in the TARDIS – leaving the happy Ood to live in a Winter Hippy Paradise for ever more.

The moment after they’re gone, Ood Sigma drops his hands, turns to face the others and takes a deep breath.

"What a fucking LIBERTY!" he grumbles.

Next Time...
"Doctor, it’s Martha... I’m STILL horny!"
"Yesterday people died in identical circumstances right across the world in eleven different time zones."
"I just thought it was worth mentioning, that’s all."
"And you think ATMOS is an acronym?"
"It’s our job to investigate that possibility."
"Jings, you UNIT people take cryptic crosswords seriously!"
"What is in this soufflé?"
"We have a Michelin restaurant reviewer!"
"Operation Bowie Reference is underway!"
"Is that what you did to her? Made her a regular in Touchwood?"
"Snotaran! Squeegasm!"
...The Snotaran Stratagem...

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