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05 May 2008 @ 07:35 am
Doctor Who: The Poison Sky  
This review bought to you courtesy of jet lag.

If you've seen Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow you will know that, in the grand tradition of afternoon serials, each segment makes sense beside its neighbour but that the narrative thread of the whole makes no sense whatsoever. So the reason you are running from place B to place C makes sense but not given the reason you ran from place A to place B in the first place. The Poison Sky was a bit like this. It had a lot of nice, internally coherent pieces but put them together and the whole house of cards collapses.

I could probably write several paragraphs pointing out ways the plot doesn't fit together but I will content myself with: the Doctor actually had no sort of plan, at all. He didn't actually achieve anything until UNIT ignored him and started shooting Sontarans. That whole thing with the teleport was simply to get into the Rattigan Institute? like requisitioning a bicycle, or a car without ATMOS wouldn't have been simpler, less risky and more reliable?... all to get a deus ex machina which didn't even have the benefit of foreshadowing.

So plotwise The Poison Sky exists entirely as a bunch of set pieces loosely strung together. However it does have merits. Unlike Evolution of the Daleks (also by Helen Raynor), it wasn't let down by pacing and special effects issues and so the plot incoherence was less exposed. It had nice touches such as Donna's Mum with the axe and UNIT finally standing up to the Doctor's pompous moralising and general negativity. It was also good to see Luke Rattigan fleshed out a bit more, although "it's hard being bright" still seems a little thin as an excuse for global annihilation. But I wanted to see more of Bernard Cribbins; and the proto-companion, Ross, of last week met his predictable end without any more screen time demonstrating that he really was nothing more than a cipher meant to put a sympathetic face on the UNIT soldiers.

In summary, while not a disaster The Poison Sky didn't really meet the expectations built up by The Sontaran Strategem.