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Doctor Who 4.04 The Sontaran Stratagem

Less a review, more a series of disjointed paragraphs.

Can't complain too much about this one. Nothing spectacular, but a decent first half of the early-season two-parter. It might even be the best of them so far (the others being The Slitheen One, The Alt-Cyberman one and the Daleks one - something of a pattern here.)

Grammar pedantry FTW! Conditional tense indeed. Go Doctor. And geeking around a science lab. And a collection of really bad puns and bad jokes, which I have immediately blanked from my memory, but I recall there being at least one painful one. (Ah, "intruda window".)

When I was watching The Daleks recently (the One serial), Ian shouted "My legs! I can't move my legs!", to which I immediately went "Ooh, Rocky Horror reference!" (Dr Scott: "My vheels! I can't move my vheels!") and then "..Or the other way round, yes. Or a coincidence." And then we got it again tonight, more or less - "My legs! I can't feel my legs!" Could be a reference, could just be what you say when you can't feel your legs. I dunno.

Martha still kicks ass, and is working...with? around? against? UNIT - hurray. Not sure about the hair, but I like the uniform. And she's mildly embarrassed about her crush on the Doctor, and she warns Donna about what could happen to her family. And by the end of the episode, it's happening. To be fair, it's happening to everyone, but Donna's seeing it happen to her grandfather. I thought he was a bit twee in the first episode, but he was good here.

I know they needed a nice cliffhanger for them all, but how hard is it to SMASH A CAR WINDOW, godammit? Ten-year-olds round here manage it all the time. And I can't imagine Donna will be happy if Wilfred dies while Ten hangs about in the street looking worriedly at approaching gases.

There was even some subtlety in there from Raynor - they managed for once to SHOW the parallels between the Donna/Martha and the Rose/Sarah-Jane meetings, instead of having the Doctor TELL us about it at great length. Rose and Sarah-Jane were the two needy and possessive ones, they need the Doctor to make their lives feel complete. (I don't think Companion SJ was, but in School Reunion, she'd spent her whole life pining for him.) So when they met, there was tension and possessiveness and jealousy, and when they did bond it was by excluding him. Martha and Donna both know they can survive without him, and do it well. Neither of them sees him as a soulmate or a saviour, so despite his fears, it's all much more relaxed. But yeah, I'm impressed by the way Raynor managed to evoke Rose without actually mentioning her - it's a subtle way of keeping the arc going. (She didn't learn that on Torchwood, I'm sure.)

I haven't had any exposure to the Sontarans, and they didn't make that much impression on me. Short Judoon types who really didn't deserve the overly dramatic music that crescendoed every time one of them took off his helmet. They were nicely snitty, though.

I keep being distracted by re-used props and sets. It must be really obvious, because I don't usually notice this stuff. But look! Was that the corridor from Doomsday and about a dozen other eps? Was that the corridor in the police station in Torchwood? That was definitely a bit of the Cyberconverter they had Martha strapped to. Maybe the aliens share technology, who knows?

Can't really judge the whole of the plot until next week, I suppose. I haven't really got much of a sense of the plot yet. Did they tell us what the Sontarans are up to? I can't remember, already. Which is a bad sign, but whether for the show or my memory I'm not sure.



Apr. 27th, 2008 09:49 am (UTC)
It did feel a bit all over the place, yeah. We'll see if they manage to pull it together in the second half.

I didn't notice the Donna Becomes Drab until you mentioned it - it's not a good sign. But the Kid Genius annoyed me purely because I couldn't figure out what his accent was meant to be.
Apr. 27th, 2008 02:42 pm (UTC)
I can't remember his voice well enough, but he was definitely some brand of Nerdy Jewish Kid. :)


bad wolf
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