The Sontaran Stratagem (2008)

Well their back and for the first time in nearly 25 years. Doctor Who has had a tendancy in the past of putting all their eggs into one basket and by that I mean putting all the action into the first part and hoping that carries into the second part, they seemed to be learning their lesson in the last series. The Sonataran Stratagem features the return of Martha after her stint in Torchwood. The new and improved Martha seems a lot more confident and the scene where The Doctor sees Martha for the first time since 29.13 – Last of the Timelords was well written and well acted by the trio. I liked the comedy that Tennant added to the scene thinking that Donna and Martha were going to swabble over him like Rose and Sarah Jane did in 28.3 – School Reunion. It was well done though I didn’t quite like the ‘You hug him and you get a paper cut!’, it then lead well into the main action. The return of the most useless military organisation was also a welcome addition. It started so well showing them that they could be a force that was well organised and had soldiers that could actually take control of a situation but boy did that disappear quickly.

The Sontaran’s were really good in this story and it was quite interesting to see that Sontarans have goatees. The idea that Sonatrans are actually cloning people is something that has never been explored in Doctor Who before which is kind of weird when you think about it. The look of the Sontaran is quite nice as it is quite colourful compared to previous adventures the idea that they have some sort of lackey seemed quite unlike Sontaran behaviour but worked quite well in setting up the story. The cliffhanger was the most dramatic that has ever happened in Doctor Who (well probably the second after 29.11 – Utopia). Sontarans chanting made them seem more
menacing and made them fell more dominant.

David Tennant was on good form as the Doctor as usual, his scene with Donna when he thought she was leaving him and then he realised what was going on was amusing and added a bit of light relief. Catherine Tate was continuing to improve as Donna and her first meeting with Martha showed how far she has come since The Runaway Bride. Freema Agyeman’s return to the show was a welcome addition to the story and the Martha we see in this story is not only different from her time in Series 29 but even different from her Torchwood run. Its nice to see that the infatuations with the Doctor have all but gone. Bernard Cribbins who I think is one of the best casting decisions done by the BBC Wales team was brilliant as usual as Donna’s granddad, when he realised that the man that Donna had gone away with was the same man he saw at Christmas it seemed as if RTD had been planning this from the beginning (if we didn’t know what we learnt from the first DWC of the new series).

Whilst it isn’t the best episode of the series so far it is still a damn fine episode and makes me confident that The Poison Sky will make a fine second parter in what has been a strong start to the 30th season of Doctor Who.

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