Episode 4 – The Sontaran Stratagem

This episode started brilliantly and showed what a fantastic and likeable companion Donna Noble was. To see her fly the TARDIS, along with her and the Doctor’s reactions was hilarious and it was great to see her bond well with Martha when they met too. Not all of the Doctor’s previous companions would be so welcoming to someone who used to travel with him (Rose in School Reunion), so seeing Donna and Martha enjoy a good chemistry was entertaining and refreshing. This was of Donna’s quirky and funny episodes overall. She displayed what a bold and humourous character she was when she demaned a salute from Colonel Mace. Not many humans would have the gumption to do that. I don’t think anyone can claim this is a classic two parter, however it still has its moments. The scene where the two UNIT soldiers first encounter the clone banging on its box and then met the Sontaran was great. Having control of all of the cars and releasing poisonous gas was a good concept, I’ll talk about that more in the review of the second part. Seeing the journalist lose control of her car and be driven into the water to her death was a dark and nightmarish scenario, a good idea from Helen Raynor. However when the Doctor and Ross were heading to a similar end, I didn’t understand how the SatNav was programmed to do the opposite of what it was told. It seemed the Sontarans had complete control over the cars so I didn’t really grasp how that was a valid escape for the Doctor. Not a lot really happened in this first part, but the script kept it entertaining with some great dialogue. The cliffhanger of Wilf stuck in his car and the planet becoming engulfed in the gas was a good strong ending to a solid first part. 7/10

Episode 5 – THE POISON SKY

One of the most satisfying scenes of the series was Donna’s mum smashing her car’s windscreen with an axe to rescue Wilf. It was a superb resolution to the previous episode’s cliffhanger. I really started to love Wilf’s character in this episode. It was clear that although he wasn’t experiencing it himself, he was still ecstatic that his granddaughter was travelling to unbelievable places and it was great to see his joy at that. A lot of people dislike this episode because the Sontaran’s weren’t really done justice by hiding away in their spaceship and trying to gas the human race. I do understand that view, I don’t see why the Sontarans couldn’t have taken the world by force, however there was still what felt like a huge worldwide threat from the gas. Perhaps the gas could’ve been saved for another villain, but what did happen still led to a good and intense story. The motive to create a planet to clone new Sontarans was valid and we did see the Sontarans in great form, ruthlessly wiping out a lot of UNIT. It’s just a shame we didn’t see more of that. There were a few questionable moments. I don’t get how the Doctor could’ve just teleported the TARDIS back to Earth when he didn’t know its exact location. It felt as though Helen Raynor couldn’t think of a way to retrieve it. Secondly, when the Doctor used the atmospheric converter, he “ignited” the atmosphere. We saw fire cover the planet in a stunning use of CGI towards the end of the episode, so why did the Valiant for example, and other objects in the sky not catch fire? We even saw the top of some buildings engulfed in the flames, so if it was hot enough to get rid of the gas, it surely should’ve taken everything else in its way. Apart from that it was another good part to an overall enjoyable story. It was great to see Martha stay on for one more episode at the end as the TARDIS took off. 7/10

Episode 6 – THE DOCTOR’S DAUGHTER

Let’s be honest, this episode was a bit of a let down. Normally I would say it’s unfair to judge an episode against its title, but with such an alluring one, it’s hard to say this episode was anything else but underwhelming and the low point of series four. An engineered daughter was disappointing, even though she was a charismatic character. The script had nothing to it. There was a war between two races that’d been going on for “generations”. Stephen Greenhorn tried to be clever and revealed the war between the humans and Hath had only been going on for a week. This was utterly pointless and added absolutely nothing to the plot. I didn’t like Martha getting split up from the Doctor either, again it added nothing to the story and took away what could’ve been some extra memorable scenes between her, the Doctor and Donna. What I did like about the episode was the rage the Doctor displayed when he heard genocide was on the cards. We found out more about the Time War and the Doctor expressed his emotions about losing all of his family for one of the first times and it was great to see. His line to Jenny: ” You’re an echo, a Time Lord is so much more” showed the pride he had in his race. It also showed some arrogance as he didn’t want to be seen as an equal to her and because he’d been through so much in the Time War, he seemed to consider himself some sort of God. This was a new aspect I really liked and it was explored in greater detail in The Waters of Mars. However this episode, as I said was all a bit meaningless and that’s exactly what the ending was too. The Source was in fact not a weapon so made the war redundant. Jenny’s unexplained revival was simply fan bait, and that’s been proven as she’s so far not returned to the show. If she was going to come back to life, it should’ve been explained how she did it. It’s an episode that promised a lot, had some intriguing aspects, but delivered very little. 5/10

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