Doctor Who: Season 4, Episode 5: The Sontaran Stratagem
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  • This episode acts as a bit of an inversion of school reunion as Martha and Donna get along swimmingly compared to Rose and Sarah Jane, who initially butted heads before putting aside their jealousies
  • What did work, however was the cliffhanger
  • It really does seem like a helpless situation, but I don't doubt that he'll find a way to gain the upper hand


    • by David Finniss

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      This episode features plenty of returns. The most obvious one being Martha, who calls the Doctor in to help her with a case she is working on. The other two are only noticeable if you are familiar with the franchise in its classic iteration. As I myself have recently started watching the old serials (haven’t liked them to be honest, but that’s besides the point), I was able to recognize UNIT as the military group that the Doctor worked with in some of his earlier incarnations.

      The villains themselves are also from the classic show, and rather popular from what I’ve read. Said villains are a race called the Sontarans, a soldier race that lives for war and battle. Much like the Daleks, I wasn’t sure how serious I was going to be able to take these guys. I mean, they do look a tad goofy, but they grew on me (get it? cause they’re short).

      I’m not sure why they’re so bent on taking over Earth. I mean, surely there are other galactic empires that they can go to war with for greater glory. You’d think that on the universal scale, we


      aren’t really that high a priority, and yet all of these races seem to go out of their way to give us crap.

      Their attack methods are a bit bizarre too. For all the talk about facing your enemy and fighting in honorable combat, they seem to be using a rather underhanded tactic in order to gain the upper hand (man, I am in the zone with the puns today). It is good strategy, I’ll grant you, but it doesn’t seem to be in keeping with the aforementioned honorable combat schtick.

      I did like seeing Martha again. It led to some nice moments and, while we haven’t gotten a multi-doctor episode since the relaunch (sans Time Crash), multi-companion episodes work pretty well too. This episode acts as a bit of an inversion of school reunion as Martha and Donna get along swimmingly compared to Rose and Sarah Jane, who initially butted heads before putting aside their jealousies.

      Sadly, whereas she spent all of season three being awesome and competent, here, she seems to have lost a step. Sure, she’s an official doctor now and is a high ranking member of UNIT, but she gets captured rather easily and panics in ...


      • a situation where I don’t really feel like she should have. If this were her first go around with aliens, sure, but she’s been in tight situations and remained stoic, why is this so bad? It’s not even like they’re hurting or threatening her. Honestly, the Sontarans were pretty kind all things considered.

        I did like the bit where Donna says that she’s going home and the Doctor interprets it as she intends on leaving without coming back. Donna pokes fun at him for being dumb, but it was a rather heartwarming moment when he started talking about how much she meant to him and how much he was going to miss her.

        I also liked the reunions that took place. You have the aforementioned Doctor and Martha reunion, which was well handled, you have Donna’s reunion with her grandfather, and the Doctor’s reunion with the same. It made for a nice callback and cemented that yes, this was the same guy that the Doctor ran into during “Voyage of the Damned” as opposed to some identical relative or something.

        There is some good banter here and there, but its not as prevalent as it was in

        other episodes. Tennant does play well off of just about everybody, but it still felt like a lot of characters didn’t have much to do.

        I’m not sure what the teenager millionaire’s deal is. I’m guessing he’s a clone, but I’m guessing that it will be explained in part 2. I have to say, it did look ridiculous for him to partake in that little dance that all the Sontarans did. They made it work; he did not.

        What did work, however was the cliffhanger. This show is rather good at those in general, but it seems like things are really bad this time. 400 million automobile weapons have been detonated, releasing a poison gas and there’s nothing the Doctor can do to stop one, let alone that many. It really does seem like a helpless situation, but I don’t doubt that he’ll find a way to gain the upper hand.

        I look forward to seeing how this plays out. I wasn’t sure about this episode, but I dug it. It wasn’t fantastic, but it was quite good and I’m interested in seeing how this scenario resolves itself, which is really the primary goal of a “part 1″ episode.




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