Sunday, August 24, 2014

Doctor Who--"The Poison Sky"

In a continuation of what I said last week, Doctor Who two part episodes often suffer from a lot of build up in the first episode with little else to show for it until the pay off second part. Often, the plot elements established in the first part are clumsily resolved in the second. ’The Poison Sly” was no exception. The overall plot of the Sontarans poisoning Earth’s atmosphere for some mysterious purpose was great, but the cloning of Martha and the machinations of boy genius Luke Rattigan went no where. They both could have been written out with very little consequence to the story. In fact, I suspect Rattigan’s Adric like sacrifice at the end was thrown in as a way to justify his subplot.

The Sontarans are not solely poisoning the human race. They are changing the atmosphere to turn Earth into a breeding camp for new Sontarans. Their war with the Rutans appears to be going badly. UNIT engages the Sontarans on several levels, but like the Doctor warned, they get slaughtered. Even a last ditch nuclear strike (aided by North Korea, no less.) is halted by the aliens. It is only when Rattigan discovers they never intended to let him colonize a new planet with gifted students from his special school they are ultimately defeated. Rattigan sacrifices himself un order to end the threat and keep the Doctor dying himself in the effort.

The doctor realized Martha was a clone the entire time. Other than holding back the launch codes for the nuclear weapons, which the Doctor said would barely scratch the Sontaran ship anyway, what was she there for? Rattigan did not need to be a character, either. A throw away line could have acknowledged who created ATMOS. The doctor neeed the atmospheric converer the kid invented in order to dispel the gas, but I think that could have been introduced some other way.

Despite my complaints, it was a decent episode. Martha did not have much to do here, but Donna is quickly coming into her own. She manages to sneak around the Sontaran ship after the TARDIS is stolen in a more believable manner than how 19 year old Rose used to take to such circumstances like a fish to water. Speaking of rose, we caught a glimpse of her on a TARDIS monitor. Only Donna was in the TARDISat the time, so it meant nothing to her, but was it old or was rose trying to communicate with the Doctor?

It was never said, but one has to wonder if the Sontarans needed a breeding planet because their’s has disappeared like two other alien planets thus far this season? Cloning appears to be an emerging theme as well. The Sontarans are clones. Martha was cloned. Next week episode featrues a “daughter” cloned from the Doctor’s DNA. Could this be hinting at another element of the season finale? Who else could be a clone?

Rating: *** (out of 5)

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