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November 27, 2014

Doctor Who: The Poison Sky

by Brad Trechak, posted May 30th 2008 11:29PM
Doctor Who(S04E05) When we last left our intrepid Time Lord, the Sontarans had released poison gas from every car fitted with their ATMOS device. Donna Noble's grandfather, Wilfred Mott, was trapped in one of those cars and suffocating on the gas while the Doctor and Donna looked on in horror as every car on the street released deadly clouds of smoke. And now, part two...

This was a good, if predictable, episode. Helen Raynor's script was definitely a step up from her Dalek story from last year. Obviously the Sontarans were going to be all blown up at the end (it's not their name on the marquee) and it seemed pretty likely Luke Rattigan would have a hand in it. It wasn't so much the familiar story with the familiar villains as the modern take on a standard Doctor Who plot, particularly their treatment of U.N.I.T.

When they mentioned that the Brigadier was "stranded in Peru," it was a little disappointing . It would have been nice to see Nicholas Courtney again. They even gave him a knighthood. Still, isn't the character a little old now to even be involved in the military (the actor is now 78)? Unless something happened that we weren't informed about and he suddenly became young again. I was actually hoping the Brigadier was the "very strange man" that Captain Jack said ran the Torchwood Two office in the premiere of Torchwood.

It was good that the Rutans were mentioned in the show, which distinguishes the Sontarans from other alien nemeses. It's the two races' pathological hatred of each other that is the center of their motivation. Races such as the Daleks and Cyberman only want to destroy anything not like them.

It would be nice to see the Rutans in the new series (They've appeared in the classic series. They're single-celled Sontarans reproduce asexually and so far have shown no female versions of their species. If you're wondering what an all-male society would be like, the Sontarans could be a good representation: organisms that also reproduce asexually with great speed and in large quantity, hence the Sontaran need for cloning). It would even be better if they are shown at the same time as the Sontarans (which was never done in the original series) so we could see their hatred at work. It would make for an interesting dynamic.

There were quite a few callbacks in this episode. The Doctor's line, "Are you my mummy?," after he put on the gas mask was also amusing. It was a nice callback to the brilliant first season two-parter "The Empty Child" and "The Doctor Dances." We also got to see the Valiant again, which was the predominate setting for last year's three-part Master story. The ship was also fitted with a small version of the Torchwood weapon from "The Christmas Invasion." At the end of the episode, we got to see the Doctor's severed hand which got lopped off in the same episode.

We also saw a glimpse of Rose on the monitor mouthing the word "Doctor." Foreshadowing if ever there was.

Like a myriad of episodes from the classic run, this episode was a slaughterfest. U.N.I.T. better have an excellent life insurance policy.

Now that it's been established that the sonic screwdriver can't work against deadlock seals, everyone has a deadlock seal. News of an exploitative weakness travels fast.

If the Doctor got rid of the poison gas by burning it in the atmosphere, why didn't anything flammable catch on fire? If the Doctor is so smart, why didn't he think of taking an axe to the window to get Wilfred out of the car? I guess he was thinking too much of the big picture and forgot the details.

On a final note, if you're reading this, than I'm fairly certain you're as excited about Steven Moffat taking over the showrunner role as I am. Of the current writers, he's the best person for the job, being the closest modern equivalent to the classic Doctor Who writer Robert Holmes. The future of Who looks bright.

Would you like to see the Sontarans again in a future episode?
Yes, they were cool.129 (71.7%)
No, make new aliens instead.51 (28.3%)

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Chuck

Anybody hope that one day we'll see a companion that doesn't have mommy issues?

June 02 2008 at 12:36 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
justin knox

What bothered me about the episode was the last third with Tennant shouting and baring his teeth multiple times. I thought I was going to fall in! C'mon, Tennant is a better actor than this, or the director must think that panic behavior is a replacement for real excitement.

May 31 2008 at 7:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
metz

Katherine Tate is not growing on me and I'm also getting tired of seeing her say goodbye to gramps every episode. It's time to move away from modern earth for some complete shows and start spending some episodes on new planets.

I was sort of hoping that Rattigan would join on for a while and give us a Turlough character. Someone we could all not like instead of arguing about which female companion we like the least :-) (Donna, Donna, Donna)

May 31 2008 at 3:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Oreo

I can't stand Martha. I hope she is coming along just to be killed off.

And I loved when The Doctor throw the gun to the floor and went "Enough with these guns" or whatever he said. It was perfect for the character, even through I love my guns.

May 31 2008 at 9:46 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Oreo's comment
Ryan

Heh. I can never get used to people not liking Martha. It's all good though. Different strokes...

As for the gun thing, yeah it was totally in-character but he was just so heavy handed with the whole anti-gun thing throughout these past two episodes that it was overkill.

May 31 2008 at 10:03 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Oreo

I agree Ryan, the line was delivered perfectly, but it is getting to preaching. Don't use guns to kill people, use knifes or knives instead.

And I liked Martha when she was in the hospital on the Moon, but as the series went on I liked her less and less. Donna is the opposite, as the season goes on I like her more and more.

May 31 2008 at 2:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Claire

oh so that was Rose, i couldn't tell if i imagined it or not. i have to say i love martha and donna. both are brilliant. especially when martha demanded to be taken home and donna hit the doctor for almost dying.

enough with that, who else is ready for next week? i am so excited. for those who don't want spoilers don't wikipedia Doctor Who for the next week.

May 31 2008 at 12:13 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Ryan

Yay this episode had all of the companions together! Okay minus Sarah Jane and Rose appeared for like two seconds. But still! I'm not being picky.

This episode felt quite epic. Usually Doctor Who is not epic unless it's the Christmas episode or finale. So it felt weird, but awesome weird. And great ending with the door keeping Martha in the Tardis. Yay for more Martha!

May 30 2008 at 11:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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