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     Home »  The David Tennant Era »  S4 E4 The Sontaran Strategem [Spoilers]
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    S4 E4 The Sontaran Strategem [Spoilers] Views: 4064
     Saturday, April 26 2008 @ 05:12 PM EDT
    Another mixed bag for me this one. As I watched it, I felt that it was probably the strongest episode four (first of a two- parter) since the return of the series. However, by the end of the episode, I’d sort of changed my mind and I’m not sure if that has to do with the fact that it needs to be seen within the context of the whole story or whether the cliff-hanger was just so disappointingly lacklustre.
    Things I liked were: a nice mysterious beginning, the return of UNIT (now verging on the dangerously paramilitary but interesting nonetheless) and the Sontarans, of course (a great new look – interesting that they are all really short now and just so good to see an old enemy but more on them later).
    Things I loved: Donna (better and better and better – she is us. She reacts as we would. She called the Doctor a prawn, a dumbo and a big, fat outer-space dunce and he loves her for it; Super Temp, indeed – a great moment with all the brains running around getting nowhere while Donna gets straight to the heart of things) and Bernard Cribbins, some fantastic acting from him. The reunion between Gramps and Donna was extremely touching. Oh and the UNIT soldier that helped the Doctor – how about having a soldier as a companion in the future to add some new dynamic to the TARDIS?
    Things I wasn’t sure of : Martha – I had a real love-hate relationship with her last year but now, alongside Donna, it just sadly shows how her character didn’t work as well as it could have – even when she was abducted I found myself wanting to just move back to Donna to see what was happening to her character; The Sontarans: a little bit too Klingon-like for my liking and the opening at the back of their necks, I mean come on, wouldn’t a race such as them have figured out a way to protect themselves a little better in that area, and while we’re at it why on Earth do most Sontarans keep their helmets on all the time (except of course as a budget saving shortcut by the production team); and again the cliff-hanger – there was a cliff-hanger just waiting to happen with the Doctor trapped in the car and shooting into the river but instead we got what? Gramps trapped in the car and a bit of smoke in the street – very disappointing after such a promising start.
    Still, on the whole, quite a lot that I liked and I have a feeling that on the second viewing, I'll enjoy it much more.
    I will reserve judgement on the scoring until I’ve seen episode two.

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     Saturday, April 26 2008 @ 05:35 PM EDT

    Oh, the cliffhanger is the whole world at stake, the stakes have been raised from just the Doctor in jeopardy. This is the best treatment of the Sontarans yet.

    Lots of great lines. Liked the Sontarans using their most obvious technology, being a clone race, as a weapon. And their other technology has been advanced enough to be useful, but still keep key elements of their design from the classic series.

    Daleks don't accept apologies! YOU WILL BE EXTERMINATED!
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     Saturday, April 26 2008 @ 06:52 PM EDT
    [Quote  by:  tarashnat]This is the best treatment of the Sontarans yet.
    I agree, but what's that saying, really? The Sontarans were always pretty lame. Of all the enemies that have returned in the new series, this is the one I'm least interested in. I don't want to diminish what you're saying too much — Raynor's really thought out the Holmes creation and done a lot of very logical things with them (including especially the height thing) — but their war-for-war's-sake line has never really engaged me.

    What's interesting to me about this story is that it succeeds despite the Sontarans. Maybe it's because the secondary villain, Luke, has a sorta old-school Master-like quality. Maybe it's because the actual Atmos plan is fascinating. Now, it's somewhat derivative of the Autons use of plastic against humans, but in a way it's more terrifying. I mean, if ya can't trust your car, what can you trust?

    "I think of myself as ambitious in casting terms, and I know that Bonnie [Langford] has the potential to make the part totally unirritating . . ." — JNT, 1986
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     Saturday, April 26 2008 @ 06:59 PM EDT
    Personally, I think this episode would have been better as a Zygon story! Instead of having Martha cloned and the workers hypnotized, they could all have been Zygons. Also, the whole environmental aspect of the story (cars poisoning the air) would have blended nicely with the organic nature of the Zygons!

    That said, I did enjoy it! Martha is so much better as a mature character. Donna is improving (I really do love her character but I still have a few issues with Catherine Tate as an actress). For instance, I loved her little investigation into ATMOS and staff sickness records), it reminded me of Sarah Jane in her prime,using her initiative and helping out UNIT as a privileged outsider. The whole episode had an authentic UNIT feel and did remind me of classic UNIT stories!

    All in all, a great episode!

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     Saturday, April 26 2008 @ 07:15 PM EDT
    I generally judge a good Doctor Who episode on how much I can moan about it. In this instance, it was almost a perfect 45 minutes of Doctor Who!

    Okay, despite the UNIT boys wearing their berets wrong, I found it thoroughly entertaining! I’m not sure what Ryan Sampson was playing it, with that accent, but he played the kid-genius-you-just-want-to-slap, with perfection!

    It was a rather clever plot to be honest. Gone are the days where the aliens would just turn up from nowhere without any explanation of how they got there. This is a lot better.

    I hope next weeks’ will be just as good. I’ve normally panned Helen Raynor’s episodes, but she’s done a good job here! The effects where superb once again, it was nice to see the old Sontaran spaceships! And did anyone notice the ‘Turn Left’ references? You heard it here first, folks!

    The confidential was pretty good too, it was very informative! And can I just say – Helen Raynor – any chance I could take you out for a drink?

    Please check out my blog, as I attempt to watch and review EVERY Doctor Who episode!
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     Saturday, April 26 2008 @ 07:25 PM EDT
    I was actually happy to see Martha's return. Though it felt like they were putting her on backburner, it seems that it was necessary for this 1st part of story. The cloned plot element used was fantastic!

    As far as the cliffhanger went, it was done very well. Even though Donna's grand dad is trapped, so is the rest of planet at this stage. The episode was
    a 4/5 for me and the ending was strong. The suspense and characters were written better in this Helen Raynor story for the Sontarans than her Dalek 2-parter last series.

    "WOT?...WOT?" "WOT??????!!!!!" OUT!OUT!OUT!
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     Saturday, April 26 2008 @ 07:48 PM EDT
    Ok, I really liked this one, and it confirmed my suspicion that ATMOS was about terra-forming the Earth to suit another alien's liking. First, I thought ATMOS was simply a navigator system, but the name didn't ring that way. ATMOSphere, obviously had to do with doing something drastic to the Earth's atmosphere.

    Imagine how quick you can terraform a planet if you put the machinery to do so in every car on Earth.

    This isn't just about poisoning the humans, folks, it's about terra-forming the Earth for better use by the Sontarans.

    I really had little to complain about with this episode. I really like the new Sontarans. Looks-wise they're similar, and sound-wise, they're practically identical.

    For that matter, haven't we seen a "Staal" before?

    Looking forward to next week.

    But... oh... why couldn't Donna, the Doctor, or Donna's mom, think of picking up a rock and smashing a window?


    One solid hope is worth a cartload of uncertainties.
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     Saturday, April 26 2008 @ 07:57 PM EDT

    Quick post before Podshock starts.

    I enjoyed it and am glad it's a twp-parter - it just flew by.

    Cheers, daveac

    daveac on, TalkShoe, iTunes, LiveVideo, uStream, GE, Sci-Fi, DWO, DS & WTA, Dave C on WLP, cooperda on AVF, dac100 on YouTube & PB, dac on Tiscali
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     Saturday, April 26 2008 @ 10:45 PM EDT

    On the whole not bad, but I said that about part one of Helen Raynor's work last season (so I reserve judgement). The one most jaring thing to me was the montage, why is Donna allowed a montage after only being in 4 eps? Lets focus on giving the Doctor more character instead of wasting time on recaping the series on ep 4, makes no sense to me.


    I'm a Time Traveler, I point and laugh at archaeologist.
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     Saturday, April 26 2008 @ 10:55 PM EDT
    right off the bat - why didn't the doctor just tune the sonic screwdriver to the glass-breaking frequency to save Donna's grandpa????

    Anyway I thought this was pretty good - it's fun to see an old baddie who's not a cyberman and not a dalek and also not nearly as scary as I remember. I don't remember the Sontarans being quite so small & busty. I also thought it struck a good tone for younger viewers - a little less scary/intense than previous two-parters in my opinion, but still exciting albeit not edge-of-my-seat stuff. I don't remember the Sontarans having a Haka before but again, I think this was a nice "hook" for younger viewers, i.e. 8 year old boys.

    I thought the Doctor had a few nice lines ("I haven't got a commanding officer") and Donna as well (hug the doctor & get a papercut) ... but that said I really didn't care for Freema's performance this time - from the delivery of the "I'm bringing you back to earth" line - I can't place it exactly but something about her performance tonight just felt a bit flat to me. Sorry, Freema Frown

    More people dying in their cars - between this and Gridlock I'm starting to think somebody on the doctor who team is a carphobe like meSmile

    Overall I thought it was alright - I enjoyed it more than last week's Oodessy, har har.

    If Worzel Gummidge and the Third Doctor had a fist fight - who would win?
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     Saturday, April 26 2008 @ 11:31 PM EDT

    If one looks at the first four seasons of Tom Baker's run, the first bit of Doctor Who that I was exposed to in the late seventies, there is only one monster that appears more than once. The Sontarans appeared twice in this era and were prominently mentioned in on other story. So, during my first exposure to the show, the Sontarans were the main enemy. They invaded Gallifrey! Yes, sure, they were not well realized, and the stories to an adult have many flaws, but to a teenage boy, just the introduction of certain concepts was enough to get the imagination to run wild. The main purpose of science fiction is to look at the human condition through the prism of the future.

    I think this consumerism idea may actually be one of the season over-arching concepts. I like how the Sontarans are pissed that they weren't invited to the Time War. I like the addition of the militaristic/jingoistic banter and motivational .exercises to the Sontaran experience.

    I like the way that concern about global warming is the in that the Sontarans used to distribute their technology.

    @Magpie, I think the Doctor may be afraid to break the glass, as he may be worried about the effect that would have on the local concentration of gas, and if the gas is being released both inside and outside the car, would it really accomplish much?

    Daleks don't accept apologies! YOU WILL BE EXTERMINATED!
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     Saturday, April 26 2008 @ 11:48 PM EDT
    Turn left references? Is that a reference to McCoy's Dalek story? If not, then what?

    I found this much better than the first one and the third one this season. I liked it more than I thought I would especialy since I hated Helen Raynor's last two parter, the awful DALEKS IN MANHATTAN story. Martha is okay but her potential was sort of wasted and the actress is nice but not as strong as Tate, who was brilliant yet again. She's also very funny in this. Her reunion with Gramps was great. I also like the cliffhanger but it seems the Doc wasn't too worried about Gramps. And why can't anyone break a car window? That is what I suspect DOnna's mum is going into the house to get: a large hammer or something to break the window.

    I thought this hour or so was well done. One thing: ANOTHER BLOODY EARTH IN DANGER EPISODE. HOw can they justify having Earth in danger SOOOO much every story and no one really ...well, not h aving the entire blood Earth change in the entire DW universe...?

    Still, a very very enjoyable ep and I hope Donna stays for a long, long time. Keep Rose out and Keep Martha as a returning comp.

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     Saturday, April 26 2008 @ 11:48 PM EDT
    uhm, yeah. One more thing : am I the only one who wanted a retired Brigidier to appear if only briefly?

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     Saturday, April 26 2008 @ 11:49 PM EDT
    Question: WHY were the Sontarans invading Earth? For what reason?

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     Sunday, April 27 2008 @ 12:03 AM EDT
    [Quote  by:  Chase] Turn left references? Is that a reference to McCoy's Dalek story? If not, then what?

    [ spoiler ] There is an episode titled Turn Left later in the series. [ /spoiler ]

    Daleks don't accept apologies! YOU WILL BE EXTERMINATED!
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