Tag Archives: Sontarans

The Poison Sky

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The conclusion of the current two part Doctor Who story – The Poison Sky – proved to be just as enjoyable as the first. Chief amongst the spectacular moments was the first time on screen we’ve seen Sontarans in battle – in the original series more often than not we only ever saw one or two of the creatures at any one time. This time, although the humans later fought back, initially they were totally outgunned – as Sontaran Commander Skorr is heard to say at one point, “This isn’t war, this is sport!â€?

Needless to say the Doctor defeated the attack on the Earth by using the terra-forming equipment that was mentioned only in passing in episode one to ignite the Sontaran gas that was polluting the atmosphere. However, in the end it was former Sontaran ally Rattigan who pushed the button that destroyed the Sontaran battle cruiser.

The episode was full of references to both old and new Doctor Who – it seems that now there is enough of the new series to allow writers to reference other stories, the production team are a lot less afraid to reference classic elements. For example the Brigadier is mentioned at one point (referred to as “Sir Alastairâ€?), when the Doctor bemoans the fact he has to deal with Colonel Mace and that the Brigadier would be better. Amongst the more amusing moments, when asked to put on a gas mask, the Doctor references The Empty Child when he says “Are you my mummy?â€? The other significant reference, which is definitely a blink-and-you-miss-it moment, was the brief appearance of Rose on the TARDIS view-screen – definitely something that will be explained later on in the series, and certainly related to her earlier appearance in Partners in Crime.

The conclusion of the episode was also a bit of a cliff-hanger, providing the reason that Martha, who had been saying throughout both preceding episodes that she wanted to stay on Earth, ends up travelling in the TARDIS again, as just as they are finishing their good-byes the TARDIS is gripped by an unknown force that sends it travelling across the universe. The big clue being that the jar containing the Doctor’s hand bubbling furiously, much as it has done at key moments in previous episodes. We then get a tantalising glimpse of what is to come in The Doctor’s Daughter next week.

The episode next week certainly has got the fans speculating due to the title, but the production team are being typically vague in what they have given away. We have been told that it is the Doctor’s daughter, but not much else – whether it will tie in to the only other relation that has been seen, the Doctor’s granddaughter Susan, and maybe gives an explanation as to why the Doctor and Susan were travelling together remains to be seen. Of course the other, totally deliberate piece of casting is that the part of the Doctor’s daughter herself is played by Georgia Moffett, daughter of Peter Davison who played the fifth Doctor.

The Sontaran Stratagem

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Last night, The Sontaran Stratagem marked the return of another of the classic Doctor Who monsters brought back for the new series – this time being one of Russell T’s acknowledged favourites, the Sontarans. Much as with the other returning monsters the advances in prosthetic effects, and the much increased budget for the new show have made a big improvement, so rather than the rather scruffy costumes from the monsters last appearance back in The Two Doctor’s this time there really did seem to be a vast army of cloned warriors ready to take over the planet. The same can also be said of this episode’s other returnee – UNIT (now renamed the Unified Intelligence Taskforce to remove the United Nations references) who unlike the fairly small contingent of troops that used to be seen onscreen in the past rolled up with a much increased number of troops giving a much more convincing army unit.

In many ways this episode was a classic Doctor Who/UNIT set-up, with a less than enthusiastic Doctor placed against Colonel Mace filling the familiar place in proceedings that in times gone by would have been occupied by Nick Courtney as the Brigadier. In much the same way Mace and the Doctor frustrate each other as the one tries to run his military organisation remaining sceptical to what is going on whilst the Doctor in familiar fashion appears like a whirlwind through a well organised plan. As at the end of this first episode of the two-parter the bulk of UNIT have yet to come face to face with the Sontarans, but I’m sure amongst the raft of other in-jokes that we can expect Mace to be ordering his troops to fire “Five rounds, rapidâ€? at the small chaps in the blue armour!

At this point in the proceedings, the actual the Sontaran plan is still unclear. The episode opened with an undercover reporter being thrown out of a school for the gifted, run by Luke Rattigan, a gifted child prodigy and millionaire. Amongst other things, his organisation has developed the ATMOS system, that cleans all carbon from car exhaust fumes, and also provides satellite navigation. The reporter, driving away tries to turn off the system, but can’t, discovering too late that it can also take over full control of her car as it plunges her into a river. The the Sontarans are providing Rattigan with assistance to produce these new devices – as we discover at the climax of the episode the ATMOS system also is the key to the Sontaran invasion plan, producing poisonous gas from installations in millions of cars across the globe. They also have the ability to clone humans – at one point cloning Martha Jones who also makes a return appearance in this episode. Previous Sontaran episodes have highlighted the strategic importance of the Earth in the ongoing war with the Rutans, so perhaps this will become more clear next week.

Unlike the new Cybermen for example, the Sontarans are very much an updating of the creature, rather than a reboot, so there are still the humorous elements of the creatures that go right back to Robert Holmes original ideas where we get a great build up of military bluster from General Staal, before the Doctor briefly incapacitates him using a squash ball to injure the probic vent on the back of the General’s neck. Much as before the creatures singular military focus is actually shown to be a weakness at times, perhaps paralleled by the same limitations with regards to UNIT operating through a military view.

The next episode preview of course doesn’t give much away. Certainly it looks as though UNIT and the Sontarans are going to meet face to face. It’s probably fairly certain who will ultimately win – but at what cost? New Doctor Who has always shown the personal impacts of life with the Doctor on those left behind, and with the comments that Martha makes at one point I can’t help thinking that some of that may be coming the way of Donna and her family.

New Series Countdown

After weeks of only having shaky in-cinema recordings of the preview trailer, the BBC have posted a copy of the Doctor Who Season 4 trailer to YouTube – less than two weeks to go now, April 5th is the date for the diary.

There is a brief glimpse of the Sontarans fighting UNIT soldiers, giant wasps for all the insect-phobic, a nice shot of what looks like an ice planet, lots of running, explosions, a very wet looking Martha, and Rose appearing right at the end.

The Daleks don’t appear in the main trailer, but instead they get their own teaser trailer, alongside similar trailers for the Sontarans and the Ood – the three big recurring monsters for the season.

Expect more gratuitous Doctor Who postings to come over the next couple of weeks. 😀