Tenth Doctor: The Sontaran Strategem/The Poison Sky (Dual Review)

sontaran-strategem

Writer: Helen Raynor

Director: Douglas McKinnon

Producer: Susie Liggat

Companion: Donna Noble (Catherine Tate), Martha Jones (Freema Agyeman)

Summary: Martha calls the Doctor back to Earth. She now works with UNIT on Operation Blue Sky. A new kind of car has been made, programmed with a GPS and fuel efficiency program dubbed ATMOS. It’s marketed as a car that will reduce pollution. In reality, the cars have been programmed by a college student who is in league with the Sontarans. This is the episode that brought back two concepts from the Classic period: The Sontarans and UNIT.

Review: The revival brought back many of the Doctor’s greatest foes: The Daleks, the Cybermen, and the Master. While the Sontarans were good foes in their earliest stories (especially in their first appearance, “The Time Warrior”), my biggest problem was how horrible the aliens looked. In fact, as Classic Who’s budget decreased, the Sontarans suffered more and more because it could not make them look good. If there was any monster that needed better effects, it was the Sontarans. This story fixes all the flaws of those old stories.  These Sontarans are no longer the products of bad make-up. They are menacing and bloodthirsty. They no longer have their endless war with the Rutans. Now they love war period, regardless of who they’re fighting. (Removing the Rutans was a good idea, as we only saw them in one story, “Horror of Fang Rock”, which didn’t even have Sontarans to fight them!)

Donna Noble shines in this episode. Her knowledge of office politics actually comes in handy. I also like that scene where she throws a slipper right at the Sontaran’s weak point. Kudos to the writers for remembering that Achilles’ heel.

All in all, a huge improvement over Helen Raynor’s debacle that was “Evolution of the Daleks”.

Overall Review: 10/10

Continuity: The Sontarans use the same batons they used in “The Two Doctors” On her way home, Donna has flashbacks from “Partners in Crime”, “Fires of Pompeii” and Planet of the Ood.” Sylvia recognizes the Doctor, as they met in “The Runaway Bride”. Martha is now engaged to Tom, who she met in “Last of the Time Lord”. This story takes place after her guest appearances in Torchwood. The Doctor imitates the Empty Child and Henry von Statten.

 

 

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