Saturday, April 26, 2008

Review: Doctor Who, Episode 4.4, "The Sontaran Stratagem"

Each season of New Doctor Who has seen the return of a classic villain: Daleks in the first, Cybermen in the second, the Master in the third and now the Sontarans. The Sontarans were introduced in the 1973 Third Doctor serial, "The Time Warrior", and last appeared in the 1985 Sixth Doctor serial, "The Two Doctors".

This episode is the first half of a two part story written by Helen Raynor, responsible for last season's "Daleks in Manhattan" and "Evolution of the Daleks". Those episodes were decent but nothing special. I'm much more impressed by this one. It's a cracking good yarn with a lot of action and a lot of fan service. Douglas Mackinnon, who directed half of the episodes of Jekyll, handles all of the story's elements well and brings a cinematic feel to it. I'm looking forward to next week's conclusion.

Warning: spoilers below, please highlight the white space with your mouse to read them.

Donna's flying the TARDIS!

Martha's on the phone!

Martha and Donna are bonding! Yay!

OMG! Martha's engaged!

UNIT soldiers everywhere!

The UNIT commander is practically squeeing like a fanboy over meeting the Doctor.

The UNIT dating controversy is referenced. Even the Doctor's not quite sure about when it all took place.

Donna gets saluted, too! Yay!

Donna's grandfather is awesome.

The Medusa Cascade is mentioned again.

Oh no, now there's an evil clone of Martha on the loose.

The Sontarans describe the Doctor as a "face changer".

400 million cars around the world begin emitting poison gas and Donna's grandfather is trapped in one of them. Cliffhanger!

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