The Sontaran Stratagem
The Doctor: Ross, just one question – if UNIT think that ATMOS is dodgy…
Ross: How come we’ve got it in the jeeps? Tell me about it. They’re fitted as standard on all government vehicles. Can’t get rid of them until we prove something’s wrong. Drives me around the bend.
The Doctor: Oh, nice one!
Ross: Timed that perfectly!
Episode star rating: ** (out of a possible five)
This episode featured much to enjoy and much to be perplexed by, and saw the return to Doctor Who of (after varying lengths of absence): UNIT; Martha; the Sontarans.
UNIT. They have been in the background in other recent episodes, but with the first Nu-Who episode in which they’re in the foreground, they were underwhelming. They are worried enough to have UNIT troops at the ATMOS factory, but not enough to remove the ATMOS from their jeeps? I’m not sure if it was intentional or not to portray UNIT as buffoons.
Martha. She had some nice scenes with Donna, though it seems that just as she was overshadowed by Owen’s storyline in “her” three Torchwood episodes, it looks like she will be overshadowed by her own clone in this two-parter.
The Sontarans. They were the best thing about the episode, in particular the most prominent Sontaran, General Staal. Christopher Ryan gave a note-perfect performance.
However intriguing the characters were, the plot just didn’t entertain, especially as the various plot contrivances featuring ATMOS accumulated, in particular: the Doctor not swiftly smashing the glass during the ATMOS-activation cliffhanger. Will the second episode of this story make more sense? I hope so.