Detail Catalog Three: This Contradiction



Hi everyone. This is Danny Bartok, from the series two story “The Impossible Planet/The Satan Pit.” He himself does not count, for me, as a detail, since he’s a fully fledged side character who takes up lots of screentime and has a name. Today’s detail is all about his role in the story though, so there he is as the header picture. 

“The Impossible Planet/The Satan Pit” is full of little underloved moments: the Doctor and Ida discussing religion, Rose urging the Doctor to get a mortgage, the Oods serving gross space station food, and the skin-writing is just horror at its best. But what Danny does is my favorite detail from this story, because it says so much about the human condition in so little. It’s a constant hum in the background of this story that gives the sub-theme of slavery—quietly pulsing away beneath the main theme of belief—the touch of realism that stings. And here it is, in two sentences:

Danny Bartok’s official role is the Ethics Committee. Danny Bartok’s actual role is overseer of the slaves.

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This is a big part of the reason I really, really love these episodes.