Note: Since this was a two-parter, Jamie Kelwick reviews
two episodes as one article.)
to the T.A.R.D.I.S, the Doctor receives a phone call from
the newest agent at UNIT, Martha Jones. She asks the Time
Lord to return to Earth to help in her investigation into
a new technology called ATMOS. Invented by young genius
Luke Rattigan, the system reduces car exhaust omissions
to zero and also includes GPS tracking, but UNIT members
think that alien technology might be involved. When the
Doctor takes over the investigation, he discovers that UNIT's
suspicions are indeed correct. It turns out that the culprits
behind this technology are old enemies of the Doctor that
could bring complete devastation to the Earth. The Sontarans
will never surrender and fight until they or their enemy
are defeated, but the Doctor has to figure out what their
Sontarans return to the Doctor Who universe to
cause havoc on Earth. First appearing back in 1973 in the
serial ‘The Time Warrior,’ the Sontarans made
further appearances in ‘The Sontaran Experiment,'
‘The Invasion of Time’ and their last original
series show, ‘The Two Doctors’ back in 1985.
Russell T. Davies gives the strangely fearsome warriors
a much-heralded return in the first two-parter of the new
season. They are a warrior race of clones, formidable opponents,
never surrendering and invading without remorse but as a
few characters comment, they are short on stature and potato-like
place back on Earth, the two shows also see the return of
UNIT (Unified Intelligence Taskforce) for its first team
up with the Doctor since the restart of this classic series.
Sadly, the Brigadier does not return, though a line of dialogue
does allow for a future possibility.
is all down to UNIT's latest recruit, acknowledged in Torchwood,
Martha Jones. This means a welcome return for Freema Agyeman.
After being replaced by Donna Noble (Catherine Tate) at
the end of the last season, Martha has gone on to guest
in Torchwood, on which she will return next season
as a regular. However, she has been sadly missed from the
newly qualified doctor and officer for UNIT, Martha is in
charge of the investigation into the worldwide biggest selling
piece of technology ATMOS. Sure that it is alien technology,
Martha rings the Doctor and asks him for a second opinion.
most Doctor Who two-parters, this is action-packed
and works in the same way as the reintroduction of the ‘Cybermen’
two seasons ago by going for all action mixed with a bit
of investigation. ‘The Sontaran Stratagem’ introduces
the investigation properties of the adventure, as we discover
what ATMOS is, its inventor Luke Rattigan's (Ryan Sampson)
involvement and the Sontaran’s master plan. The second
episode ‘The Poison Sky’, is all out action
as the Sontarans reveal their plan for Earth and the fight
begins. But of course, the Doctor won’t let it happen.
in with the action may be a few drops of social commentary,
as ATMOS definitely relates to global warming -- the second
episode title might be a hint -- though you might call it
more of a soup kitchen than greenhouse effect. On-line,
some have wondered if the reference to disappearing bees
ties in to the overall season arc (and the musing does return
later), but that, too, is a real-world occurrence spilling
into our Doctor Who goodness.
good performances from Catherine Tate as Donna, the always
excellent Bernard Cribbins as Wilfred Mott and Christopher
Ryan as General Staal, this is another fine two parter from
Russell T. Davies and his creative team.
side-note: Why do so many alien races want to use Earth as
a nursery? That's more perplexing than the disappearing bees...)