Doctor Who: Season 4, Episode 6: The Poison Sky  » TV  »
3.5
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  • Wilfred even flat out says that there's nothing one man can do to solve a problem on this scale
  • They just have a way about them that makes them interesting to watch and while the story had potential, it didn't wow me
  • I think the writer was going for a message about the dangers of car emissions, but at the same time, it was green technology that led to this crisis in the first place, so it's a bit conflicted


    • by David Finniss

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      Things are looking grim for the Doctor, what with the entire planet being covered in a toxic gas. Fortunately, while the gas is toxic, it’s not quite lethal yet, giving everyone time to come up with a plan to stop the Sontaran’s scheme.

      As big as this episode was trying to be, it didn’t grab me the way I hoped it would. Wilfred even flat out says that there’s nothing one man can do to solve a problem on this scale. Of course, the Doctor proves him wrong as he deals with this sort of thing all the time, but at least they were trying.

      The Doctor’s pacifistic streak comes through in spades here as he chides anyone for using guns and makes a point to insist not to engage the Sontarans in combat as they would lose. Granted, that was the case when they found a way to sabotage our weapons, but once UNIT got them back in working order, I’d say that they worked rather well.

      I do find it odd that the Sontaran troops were mocking the troops for running away when they had no real means to fight back. I mean, you can’t exactly engage in


      hand to hand combat with someone wielding a laser rifle. Even the Doctor points out the inconsistency with the Sontarans using underhanded schemes when they live for honorable combat with a worthy opponent.

      It turns out Luke Rattigan, the boy genius who allied himself with the Sontarans wasn’t a clone, just a patsy who they used in order to assemble and distribute the ATMOS tech. You almost feel bad for the kid as he did have high hopes and he was loyal to the Sontarans, but as is expected with villains, they betray him once he is no longer of use to them.

      I did rather like the continuity nods, such as the return of the airship (which still reminded me of the helicarrier from Marvel Comics’ SHIELD), the Doctor asking “are you my mummy?” after putting on a gas mask, and even the nod to the Brigadier, a recurring character from the classic serials. There’s also a blink and you’ll miss it cameo by the first of the Doctor’s three companions. It helps set up whatever arc they’re building, but it also allows all three of his companions to appear in the episode. I thought it was ...


      • pretty cool.

        I’m not sure how well that whole “ignite the gas” plan would’ve worked. They show it like being a cloud in the sky, but clearly particles were down near ground level as people were choking on it. Wouldn’t that have set everything on fire? More than that, why didn’t the stuff that the flames hit actually explode. Buildings, as well as the aforementioned airship, get hit by the blast, but emerge unscathed. How did that work?

        Where this episode really caught me by surprise was the ending. It seemed like it was setting up another good-bye for Martha. Donna invites her to come along, but she declines, saying that she has a life now and while she misses life with the Doctor, she won’t turn her back on her family. Just then, the TARDIS kicks into gear and seems to transport them somewhere without provocation. Despite the fact that this was only a 2 part episode, it made for quite a cliffhanger ending and I’m eager to see what happens on that front.

        I still like the Sontarans as villains. They just have a way about them that makes them interesting to watch and

        while the story had potential, it didn’t wow me. There’s a bit of a mixed environmental message here. I think the writer was going for a message about the dangers of car emissions, but at the same time, it was “green technology” that led to this crisis in the first place, so it’s a bit conflicted. I wouldn’t have thought anything of it, but at the end of the episode, Donna’s mother comments on how great it is that everyone is riding their bikes instead of driving.

        Speaking of Donna’s mother, I can’t say I’m too fond of her. I don’t know why this show insists on making the companion’s mothers so unlikable. Jackie was OK, but that’s about it. I get that they’re concerned, but any pathos you might get from that gets outweighed by their generally poor attitudes and demeanors.

        This episode was OK, but it didn’t really blow me away. As said, there was potential, but it didn’t have that “wow” factor that a lot of the other episodes have. It’s not a bad way to spend 40 minutes, but I wouldn’t rank this as one of my favorites either.




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