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Doctor Who 4[XXX].5: The Poison Sky

May 3rd, 2008 (07:08 pm)
current mood: well jaffa-caked

I'm sorry to say that this week's episode again left me largely unmoved. No doubt others on the internet are even now saying that yes, it made more sense than Evolution of the Daleks. However, as a piece of Doctor Who, for all the Doctor's disapproval of guns, this one relied too much on bangs and flashes and space guns and starships for my taste. I'd half expected, once the Rutans were mentioned, that one of the Rattigan students would turn out to be one, with Earth ultimately being saved by accident. The cliffhanger was resolved in the most predictable way; RTD has just appeared on Confidential> being very pleased by this.

I can't remember what happened to the two Sontaran-controlled privates - their story deserved an end. There will be tears all over the world as Ross Jenkins is shot; but cheers as the Doctor's wish that the Brigadier was around was met by the news that "Sir Alistair" was stuck in Peru. (Makes a change from Geneva.)

Unfortunately that Sontaran haka was back again, this time set up to make the Sontarans look stupid and the Doctor, smug. I'm still not convinced by the Doctor and Luke as flipsides of each other, which Helen Raynor confirmed she was setting up on Confidential.

I have to say that I was more thrilled by the cliffhanger out into The Doctor's Daughter; and of course that brief half-second of Rose calling to the Doctor on the scanner. I'm looking forward to meeting Jenny next week.


Posted by: gervase_fen (gervase_fen)
Posted at: May 3rd, 2008 06:45 pm (UTC)

The highlight of the episode for me was Donna's sabotage mission on the Sontaran ship. I thought Catherine Tate sold how out of her depth Donna felt incredibly well, and really, for those scenes alone, I was invested in the character and felt trepidation on her behalf - the rest of the episode didn't involve me that much.

Edited at 2008-05-03 06:48 pm (UTC)

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: May 3rd, 2008 06:48 pm (UTC)

You know, I was just thinking that I should acknowledge that sequence as being the most successful part of the episode... there was just so much that didn't work in the way it ought to have done.

Posted by: muuranker (muuranker)
Posted at: May 3rd, 2008 07:18 pm (UTC)

I thought it worked well too: Donna's technophobia to closing her eyes as the Sontarans - only a slight niggle as to why Donna didn't call directory enquiries or even look at the address book (she looks like a woman whose used a mobile, even if she hasn't put a new fuse in a plug). On the other hand, it is perfectly clear why the Doctor didn't phone Donna. He's a bloke.

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: May 3rd, 2008 07:49 pm (UTC)

I'd not thought of the phone issue that way...

Posted by: Polly (jane_somebody)
Posted at: May 3rd, 2008 07:36 pm (UTC)

The two Sontaran-controlled privates were seen coming up to one of the Sontarans in the factory, and saying "reporting for duty", during the sequence when the Sontarans are mowing down the retreating UNIT soldiers. As the camera moves on following the Sontaran, we see him turn back and let off a couple of shots, so I think we have to assume they met the predictable end. Personally, I found this sufficient and appropriately understated.

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: May 3rd, 2008 07:42 pm (UTC)

Thanks - I missed that.

Posted by: Penny Paperbrain (pennypaperbrain)
Posted at: May 4th, 2008 08:46 am (UTC)

I didn't like that nearly as much as the first half. After his exchange with the Doctor, which I really liked, Luke turned into a standard 'clever people are all unstable wimps really' stereotype.

And Ponder threw a cushion at the telly shouting 'Haven't we done Buffy enough?!' when the trailer came on. I can see what he means... but I guess this is as close as we're going to get to the Doctor regenerating into a female body, which of course what I'd want to see (and which Ponder agrees would have been interesting).

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: May 4th, 2008 09:38 am (UTC)

Oh, rather Jenny than Buffy, on the strength of last night's trailer, I think... and, seriously, I think that only a minority of Doctor Who's audience will have seen Buffy, or at least not so much that they will be over-familiar with it and be irritated by the reference.

Posted by: daniel_saunders (daniel_saunders)
Posted at: May 4th, 2008 02:54 pm (UTC)
Doctor Who

I wasn't particularly impressed by this either, although I still prefer it to most of last year's output.

RTD has just appeared on Confidential> being very pleased by this.

What did he say? And did he say he brought back the Sontarans "because they always come back, that's what Sontarans do" which was basically his reasoning for bringing back the Daleks, the Cybermen and (I think) the Master.

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: May 4th, 2008 11:23 pm (UTC)

He didn't quite say that, though he did say that the Sontarans had been brought back as part of the same programme of reviving the monsters from the old series.

Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: May 4th, 2008 07:18 pm (UTC)

I'm surprised no-onje has yet commented on the absolute low-point of the episode, the burning sky, which was a) deus ex machina, b) scientifically not dodgy but almost literally fatally worng - as survivors of the WW2 firestroms and major forest fires will testify!
Had it been only one of these (a or b), or had the rest of the episode been any good (see other people's comments above), this may have been bearable, but as it is, I am worried, both on scientific and a dramatic level. :-(


To say at least *some*thing nice: I did like the various internal references (e.g. "are you my Mummy").)

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: May 4th, 2008 11:24 pm (UTC)

Yes, I liked "are you my mummy?" too - which would have pleased a lot of children - and I thought the burning sky was dubious as well. The whole thing seemed dramatically weak.

Posted by: helflaed (helflaed)
Posted at: May 5th, 2008 09:28 pm (UTC)

Am I the only person who found the smily perkiness of his daughter distinctly scary??

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: May 5th, 2008 10:09 pm (UTC)

She certainly seems to place a greater emphasis on physical solutions to problems than the Doctor...

Posted by: helflaed (helflaed)
Posted at: May 5th, 2008 10:15 pm (UTC)

Yes- but that smile.....