Review of "The Poison Sky"
Episode written by Helen Raynor and directed by Douglas Mackinnon                              3 May 2008

The Doctor, with UNIT Colonel Mace, addresses the Sontarans.

by Monika Lewis

This episode measures up to the high standards of Doctor Who, making series four the most consistently entertaining of the series so far.  There are moments of great suspense as well as humor and character development, so that even the Doctor seems ready to sacrifice himself to save the Earth.  There is also heroism from the most unexpected characters, and references to the past acknowledging the Sontarans' war with the Rutans, where the Brigadier is (Sir Alistair is in Peru) and even a recollection of series 1's "The Empty Child," as the Doctor says, "Are you my mummy?" while they are wearing gas masks.  The Valiant also gets a redemption after its misuse by the Master in series 3, clearing away the toxic pollution temporarily around the factory occupied by UNIT, and defending the humans from the Sontarans.  Rose makes her second appearance in series four, seen on the TARDIS viewscreen shouting "Doctor!" when Donna is in the ship, about to watch the Doctor's message to the Sontarans.  As in previous episodes "The Poison Sky" writer Helen Raynor tackles social and environmental issues, in this case overdependence on cars for transportation and pollution.  Like the fourth seasons of most of the Star Trek spin-offs, this is the series where Doctor Who is becoming a more confident show in using references to the show's history and taking it in a more epic and spectacular direction. 



The next episode looks to examine the Doctor's character more than ever before, as he meets his daughter!  In "Fear Her" the Doctor famously said "I was a dad once," and of course he was traveling with his granddaughter Susan in the first episode "An Unearthly Child."  Perhaps "The Doctor's Daughter" will tell viewers more about his life on Gallifrey, which we saw some of when the Master returned in "The Sound of Drums."  In an inspired casting move, the woman in the story will be played by Georgia Moffett, the daughter of another actor to play the Doctor, Peter Davison.  After "Time Crash" lit up screens in November, another member of the family is set to appear in another potentially great episode of the series.