In Doctor Who the Ood use their translation devices to kill people through electrocution. However it is shown in the Planet of the Ood that a corporation install the translations balls for them. It doesn't make sense for them to equip these pacified people with a weapon. So how are the Ood using it as one?

2 Answers 2


Here is my take on it, though Myrddin makes very good points about the unexpected use of non-weapon items as weapons (which is why anyone who's ever worked inside a prison building knows you aren't allowed to bring in ANYTHING unless it is specifically related to the job you're doing and cleared by the management) and the Ood's history as pacifists, thus making their rebellion all the more unexpected.

Keep in mind that the Ood normally had another brain attached where the translator ball is installed, so there is clearly a path for neural activity here... on top of that, the Ood are very much a psychic/telepathic race. It is not unreasonable then to think that they might be able to send a large psychic blast down the translator ball's wiring (which obviously is designed to interact with brain-waves of some sort). This then would give them the ability to attack people with a "psychic attack" as one might see in Star Trek or Warhammer 40,000.

If this is the case, then the "lightning" shown in the shows would simply be the way for them to make a psychic attack visible to the audience and "look cool", instead of them simply touching the person and then they fall over brain-fried - not as dramatic.

  • Follow up then: they are described as having low level telepathy, but when they go red eye show higher levels, does that mean they are naturally powerful telepaths and the conversion process suppresses it to safe levels?
    – Ashterothi
    Feb 22, 2012 at 20:30
  • That's an interesting point. It's certainly quite possible. Also keep in mind low level is not necessarily the same as low power, depending on what facet you are measuring. For example, taking electricity again: you can have a very low voltage be deadly, and a very high voltage barely raise the hairs on your arm. I'm not sure this is the best link, but it kinda touches the concept. Could be the same thing with psychic fields.
    – eidylon
    Feb 22, 2012 at 21:30
  • @Pyrodante maybe they were on red eye
    – Xantec
    Feb 22, 2012 at 21:34

It's a sci-fi shiv. An unanticipated use of normally non-weapon technology. I suspect, since the Ood had never rebelled, that they also didn't worry overmuch about what other uses their equipment could be put to.

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