Thursday, 20 August 2009

Doctor Who: The Poison Sky (2)

Doctor: 'Are you my Mummy?'

For all this season's faults, I couldn't take my eyes off Tennant tonight. His first season in charge was a patchy affair—the scripts alternated between brilliant and cack with tedious regularity—but at this juncture, he's in serious danger of toppling Tom Baker as my favourite Doctor. The dialogue was perfect, his delivery sublime. He totally inhabits the role now.

Initially, I thought the ATMOS storyline a little weak, but once the Doctor had uncovered the Sontaran's fiendish agenda, the story suddenly took on a life of its own. I'm not sure how setting fire to the atmosphere didn't frazzle the earth's surface and everyone on it, nor how it didn't burn up the oxygen, but seeing the sky aflame was undeniably spectacular. It provided the Mill with a welcome opportunity to stretch their visual effects muscles, and they delivered—so we can forgive the sheer unlikeliness of it all.

Thankfully, Donna's mum, Sylvia, softened her act tonight. It's been painful to watch her constant griping at Donna. She can't conceive for one moment that Donna could actually be a useful member of society—which makes it all the more frustrating that Donna can't tell her about her new life. Maybe then Sylvia could be proud of her daughter. In the end, at least she got to tell Donna how she felt—it's just a shame the world almost had to end for her to say it.

As per usual, the scenes between Wilfred and Donna stole the show. How can Wilfred deny Donna a life amongst the stars when he's spent his whole life staring out into space, dreaming the same dream? At least he can live vicariously through his granddaughter now. I really can't say enough good things about Cribbins. Despite Wilf being a relatively small role, the character's so perfectly drawn and acted, it feels as though we've known him forever. I'm stoked that he'll be returning for Tennant's last hurrah.

As seems to be the norm these days, UNIT taking control of the situation almost ended in the world exploding. People like Colonel Mace shouldn't be left in charge of the TV remote—I've never known a man exude less confidence. Unfortunately, people had to die before he started to respect the Doctor's authority. Poor Ross. Poor UNIT. Massacred because of having an idiot in charge. The Doctor was right, though—shame the Brigadier wasn't on hand. Now there was a man you could rely on.

And Luke finally got his comeuppance tonight. He's not been the most likeable of characters—narcissists rarely are, unless, of course, they're quick witted, funny and handsome. (Like Captain Jack.) I found it hard to get a firm handle on Luke. Did he kill the Sontarans as an act of redemption, or simply because he was pissed off at their betrayal? Whatever his reasons, he saved the Doctor's life, which led to a great closing scene, with Martha on the Doctor's arm and Donna slapping him. That was so Donna. Great writing. Great reactions. Average story.

Other Thoughts:

—The Rutan's were briefly referred to this episode. They were last mentioned in 'The Two Doctors'.

—The Doctor saying 'Are you my Mummy' was a reference to the season one episode 'The Empty Child'.

—Rose appears briefly on the TARDIS' screen. The scene, according to a later commentary, was a deleted scene from 'Midnight'. As such, this is the first episode to feature all three companions in the same episode.


Colonel: 'My god, they're like trolls.'
Doctor: 'Yeah. Loving the diplomacy, mate.'

Staal: 'You impugn my honour, sir.'
Doctor: 'Yeah, I'm really glad you didn't say belittle, cos' then I'd have had a field day.'

Staal: 'The planet is going nuclear! I admire them; the bravery of idiots is bravery nonetheless!'

Martha: 'When did you know?'
Doctor: 'About you? Right from the start. Reduced iris contraction, slight thinning of the hair follicles on the left temple, and frankly, you smell. You might as well have worn a T-shirt saying 'clone'. Although maybe not in front of Captain Jack.'

Sontarans: 'Sontar-ha! Sontar-ha! Sontar-ha!'
Luke: 'Sontar, ha!'

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