Review: Doctor Who – 4×5 – The Poison Sky

The clouds are lifting

Ah. Now that’s better. Finally, a decent two-parter and – miraculous though it might seem – one written by Helen Raynor at that.

After last week’s poorly paced but still reasonably good first part, I was expecting a lump of old rubbish for the second part, since that’s how it usually pans out. But hurroo, hurray, bar the occasional bit of dodgy dialogue, direction and acting, it was good.

The things to like were plentiful. The pacing was just about right, with only a few lulls. UNIT finally got its game on, turned out not to be a complete bunch of sillies and there was a decent battle scene. The Sontarans remained relatively bright all the way through. The Doctor had semi-cunning to cunning plans and build himself a little gizmo to save the day. Bernard Cribbins was great. And that’s really all that mattered.

Sure, sweet FA had all the acting skill of one of her action figures; some of the dialogue was so cringe-worthy, we’ll probably all wake up after having nightmares about it this week; Donna got marooned for no apparent reason and got reglegated to a Stargate SG-1 sub-plot; there were continuity references that no doubt confused all the nu-Whoers but had all the old guard orgasming; nerd academy was just horrifying and tedious; and the less said about the science the better. Oh yes. And "Sontar Ha". Really? Would you like to point out where your probic vent is for me, please…? This won’t hurt too much.

But all in all, very enjoyable, I thought. And there was, of course, the blink-and-you-missed cameo by Pipes, which was fun. Unless you missed it, that is.

Sweet Jesus. A consistently pretty good season. What’s wrong with the world? The quietness from the nu-Whoers of late makes me suspect that all this old school-style is not to their liking, though, which is a touch worrying.

Next week: it’s a Steven Moffat episode in which the Doctor turns out to have sired Buffy the vampire slayer. That’s got to be good, hasn’t it?

Continuity references
As well as references to the Brigadier, there was a reference to the Ecclescake episode The Empty Child, to the Valiant from last season, as well as the 50,000 year-old war with the Rutans (Horror of Fang Rock).

Other reviews
Rutan spies have published reviews of the episode elsewhere. Your mission: read and enjoy – Stuart’s, Stuart’s, and Kev’s. If anymore are intercepted, leave them below for interrogation later.

  • Next week, it’s a Stephen ‘Lazarus Experiment’ Greenhorn episode. The Moffat story is a two-parter towards the end of the season.
    It has got Georgia ‘actually the 5th Doctor’s daughter’ Moffett in it, though.

  • Oopsy. I could have sworn Moffat was doing Doctor’s Daughter. Oh well. Expectations have been suitably reduced…

  • I enjoyed it too, especially the exchange between the Doc and the Colonel when the Valiant turned up – Dr: that’s brilliant, Col: You getting a taste for it?, Dr: no, no…. I quite enjoy it when poxy little humans turn the tables on him, and that is EXACTLY the sort of thing the Brig did.
    Girls were both terminally useless this week, and Donna reverted to a Catherine Tate character after she’d bashed the Sontaran’s stupid little vent hole in, and it was all a bit adoring when the Doctor reappeared and Martha snuggled up to him. What would her fiance say about that, hmm?
    Next week has got to be good even without Stephen Moffat… it’s got Georgia Moffett (different spelling, but my maiden name so I’ll say hurrah for Moffat/Moffetts in any form!) And that trailer did look like fun…
    Is there something going on with the earth being used by all these monsters for cloning themselves? First the adipose baby factory, then those funny stone/fire things making the whole planet like them, now the Sontarans using us a clone world…

  • I have a review over on my blog, as well…

  • Watcha! Sorry I’m late – I will get around to a review before the next ep (and how excited am I about the rest of the series having gotten through this far with limited slips and negatives to report!)

  • Sock it to us, baby. But only when you’re ready, of course.

  • Http 404 be damned! I have posted a review at my place…