045 – The Sontaran Strategem and The Poison Sky

A familiar foe from the Doctor’s past returns: The Sontarans! We have fun discussing potatoes, the UN, and existential crises. Join us won’t you?
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This is the podcast that introduces a whole new generation to Doctor Who by watching an episode each week and discussing it from the perspective of a dad who’s seen it before, and two sons who haven’t.  

Welcome to Episode 43 covering Season 4 episodes 4 & 5: The Sontaran Stratagem & The Poison Sky

Super-short Recap

This is the one where the Doctor, Donna, and Rose, er, Martha invent the most violent recipe for baked potatoes ever. Remember when Martha left a phone with the Doctor? Well, it’s ringing and she says she’s bringing the Doctor back to Earth. She needed an expert on alien technology to help UNIT figure out what the deal is with these ATMOS car systems. They’re on half the cars on the planet, but something strange is happening.

Apparently, 52 people spread across 11 times zones all died at the same moment in an ATMOS car. Turns out, the ATMOS system is part of the Sontaran Strategem. They enlisted the help of supergenius meganerd, Luke Rattigan and are sontaraforming Earth as a new cloning planet for their army. Obviously, the Doctor won’t stand for this.

He develops a plan to turn Luke’s terraforming gizmo into a bomb to blow up the Sontaran ship. But he has to give them a choice: leave now, or be destroyed. Luke decides to take his place at the last second and blows up his once allies.

Earth is safe again and it’s time for Martha to say goodbye again, but the TARDIS suddenly takes off out of control. The end.

Production notes

  • Story # 192
  • Originally aired and April 26, & May 3 2008 to 7.06 & 6.53 million viewers
  • Written by: Helen Raynor – did Daleks in Manhattan/Evolution of the Daleks, also edited lots of episodes in the first 4 series
  • Directed by: Douglas McKinnon
  • Awards: none

Cast

  • Staal – Christopher Ryan
    • Played Kiv in 1986’s Mindwarp with Six
    • Will be back as Commander Stark in Pandorica Opens
  • Skorr & Skree – Dan Starkey
    • Will be back as Jask in next season’s The End of Time, Skarr in The Time of the Doctor, and a few other random roles, including on Sarah Jane Adventures
    • Most importantly, this is Strax!

Misc Trivia

  • The last two-parter that Helen Raynor wrote were also episodes 4 & 5!

Checklist

  • Baddie of the week
    • Sontarans
      • Talking baked potatoes who think that we look like pink weasels
      • Warrior race, a cloned race
      • Only weakness is on the back of their neck so they can never turn away from their enemies
      • Klingons of the Whoniverse? They relish battle, glory, and death
      • At war with the Rutans for 50,000 years
  • Well… count
    • Episode count – 4
      • Martha: I learnt from the best. Well…
      • Staal: How do you know all this? Well…
      • The old team back together, well, the new team
      • Sontarans are getting ready for war and well, you know, I’ve calibrated this for Sontaran air.
    • Running count – 46
  • I’m sorry
    • Episode count: 1
      • Donna says the Sontaran is going to kill her. I’m sorry, I know, I’m so sorry…
    • Running count 7+2
  • Allons-y! Count
    • Episode count: 0
      • But we got avanti
      • The wiki thinks this might’ve been him trying to trip up the Martha clone
    • Running count: 9
  • What? Count
    • Episode count: 1
    • TARDIS took off on its own
    • Running count: 5
  • Oi!
    • Episode count: 1
      • Oi, you lot…
    • Running count: 3
  • Time War
    • The greatest war ever, and the Sontarans weren’t allowed to be a part of it
    • Legends say that the Doctor was part of the last great Time War
  • Jiberty Jaberty
    • Ionizing nano-membrane carbon dioxide converter
  • Jiggery Pokery
    • Sonic –
      • Used it metal-detector style to find something (did he know he was looking for Martha?)

Who’s Who?

  • Who was Rose
    • She showed up on the TARDIS monitor
    • Apparently this little clip was added at the last minute by Russell T.
  • Who was Martha?
    • Martha ended up on Torchwood for a bit
    • She’s engaged to a Doctor who disappears off to strange places!
    • She’s got to stay behind and work from the inside and hopefully change UNIT
  • Who is Donna?
    • Her history as a temp helped her crack the secret of the Atmos factory
    • Donna got a big sappy goodbye speech from the Doctor!
    • There was an interesting montage that Donna saw in flashback of “all her adventures” even though she’s been on like 3 trips prior to this!
    • She got a key!
    • Dona nobis pacem – Grant us peace
  • Who is Wilf?
    • He met the Doctor finally, again…
    • Remember, he missed the Doctor at Donna’s wedding because he had the flu…
    • He wants Donna to go with the Doctor and then come back and tell him all about it!
  • Who is The Doctor?
  • He doesn’t like saluting or “sir’s”
    • Though Donna doesn’t mind them
  • He doesn’t like guns
    • People with guns are usually the enemy in my book.
  • Would love to go to the “hothouse for geniuses.” He gets lonely
  • Martha: You know the Doctor, he’s wonderful, he’s brilliant, but he’s like fire: stand too close and people get burnt.
  • He really geeks out at the Rattigan Academy.
  • He’s a grammar cop? “If only that WERE possible.”
  • He really connects with Rattigan as a clever person all alone
  • Apparently, the poison wasn’t all that poisonous to him
  • He can taste the residue of teleportation
    • Like he did with the doodle monster
  • He says he earned the authority to speak on behalf of earth a long time ago
  • He couldn’t set the bomb on a delay because he had to give the Sontarans a choice

Other stuff we noticed

  • The Valiant makes another appearance. This was the ship that Harold Saxon aka The Master built and where mankind first met the Toclafane
  • They assumed North Korea has nukes
  • Are you my mummy?
  • The ATMOS system is one second out of sync in a temporal pocket. We’ll see this again.

Classic Who Connection

  • Jared discusses the Sontarans and UNIT
  • UNIT was originally the United Nations Intelligence Taskforce but the actual UN asked them to change it. It now stands for Unified Intelligence Taskforce.

Overall impressions

  • Overall rating out of 10 –
    • Austin – 6 Martha clones
    • Corbin – 7 potatoes
    • Tripp – 8.7 duplication devices
    • Jared – 8.5 Brigadiers
  • Creep Level – out of 500
    • Austin – 175
    • Corbin – 155
    • Tripp – 168
    • Jared – 150

Let’s talk about existential crises

  • Seeing your clone die

Listener Input

  • “Hold my beer!” was a big hit

The Game Plan

  • Our next Timey Wimey episode is in a few weeks and will cover Harry Potter: The Prisoner Azkaban.
  • We’ll be covering the movie, not the book.
  • You can get your copy at Amazon. If you use these links, your experience won’t change at all but you’ll be helping to support Noobs and the Whovian.

Next Time…

Join us next time as we discuss season 4 episode 6: The Doctor’s Daughter.

Closing

Noobs and the Whovian is a production of Master Closet Studios, where it’s always smaller on the inside. Your Senior Producer is Austin Reason. Our Audio Engineer is Tripp Reason. Corbin Reason is our Production Editor. Special thanks to tardis.wikia.com for the trivia and Jared for the Classic Who Connection.

You can find us at facebook.com/noobsandthewhovian and email us at noobsandthewhovian@gmail.com. Please subscribe and leave a rating wherever you found us, and share us with a friend not because we’re a great show but because we watch one.

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