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"Burn with me."
The Doctor and Martha land the TARDIS aboard a spaceship, only to have the room they landed in rise to unbearable temperatures, trapping them aboard the ship, which is being pulled into a nearby sun. Martha and the Doctor have only forty-two minutes to save the ship, the crew, and themselves. Meanwhile, a member of the crew has contracted a mysterious illness. His body temperature rises to an impossible height just before he opens his burning-white eyes and absolutely fries a fellow crewmember to a scorch on the wall.
The only way to save the ship is to pass through a security system, which the crew inconveniently programmed while they were drunk, and decided that it would be a good idea to make it a series of obscure trivia questions. It's like the Pub Quiz from Hell. Martha phones her mum, her own Voice with an Internet Connection, and gets some answers... unaware that Mrs. Jones' phone is being tapped by the mysterious people from "The Lazarus Experiment", the ones with sinister music cues; they are revealed to be government agents working for Mr. Saxon.
Before Martha and the other guy make it to the finish, though, another crewmember gets infected with the mysterious burning illness and corners Martha and another crewmember in an escape pod. The Doctor freezes the infected crewman, but it is too late, and the escape pod has already been released. Martha and the crewman are falling into the sun, and the escape pod retrieval controls are on the outside of the ship... Fat lot of good they'll do there.
The Doctor dons a familiar orange spacesuit and saves Martha's ass, but as he's clinging to the side of the spaceship, he gets a very clear view of the sun -- and the sun gets a very clear view of him. Apparently the sun is alive, and it's angry. The Doctor, succumbing to the same possession by the sun that claimed the other two crew members, reveals that the only way the sun will let them go is if they return the stolen sun particles the ship has been using for fuel. Martha takes care of it and saves the day, because the Doctor's a bit preoccupied with going batshit insane.
- Chekhov's Gun: The mention near the beginning that the ship is running off illegal fusion scoop technology.
- Continuity Nod: As he's being put into stasis, the Doctor tries to tell Martha what happens to Time Lords who are near death, having obviously learnt from the confusion Rose went through way back when.
- The Doctor once again exhibits his ability to withstand extremely cold temperature, as he tells the crew to douse him in freezing liquid when he's possessed by the sun, telling them he'll survive.
- Convection, Schmonvection: Sort of, it's more radiant heat than convection. Apparently stars are only lethally hot when you actually touch them, and being ten minutes away just means sweating a lot.
- Dueling Movies: Or "Dueling Episode and Movie", as the basic plot of this episode shares a striking similarity with the plot of Danny Boyle's film Sunshine which came out a few months after the episode aired.
- This episode was even edited after filming to change the name of the ship to Pentallian - originally, it was "Icarus", the same as in Sunshine!
- Famous Last Words: "Kill me now."
- Foreshadowing: Mister Saxon sent people to listen to Martha's mother's phone.
- Glowing Eyes of Doom: The signature defining characteristic and weapon of those possessed by the sun. Used with terrifying effectiveness when the Doctor reveals his glowing eyes just before he forces them shut as the sun begins to possess him.
- The Heartless: The sun was essentially turned into this, driving it insane.
- "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight
- In the Style Of: The entire episode is in real time, complete with a handy timer describing how much time is left until
the ship crashes into the sunthe episode ends, just like a certain suspense show that moves forward in real time and has an ever-present timer.
- Meaningful Name: At least part of the device used to open the locked doors is appropriately branded "Icarus".
- Men Are the Expendable Gender: Averted. Only male crew members survive the episode.
- Real Time
- Redemption Equals Death
- Shout-Out: 42, in honour of the late Classic Who writer/producer Douglas Adams
- Space Whale Aesop: Remember kids, always check to make sure that the star you're using as a fuel source isn't sentient...
- Too Dumb to Live: Erina, griping about being asked to fetch tools to fix the ship while it's falling into the sun because of instrument failure.
- Tempting Fate: She also wishes she were dead, a wish the infected crew member is more than willing to grant.
- Unit Confusion: For American Whovians, it's a bit confusing at first to hear that Corwin's body temperature has "risen to 100˚"—that's only a mild fever for us in the States.
- Used Future
- Voice with an Internet Connection
- Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: The sun. Once its particles are returned, however, it lets everyone go without causing any further trouble.