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DWSmart or What - tenfeethigh
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The Sontaran Strategy Review

I'm not quite sure what to think about this episode. On the one hand, there are some parts which shine but the rest of it doesn't really sparkle much. Frankly, I'm not sure why they keep asking Helen Raynor to write action two-parters when they don't really work, but I'm getting ahead of myself. And I'm warning everyone right now, I'm a Martha fan! ;)

The intro is pretty standard (what accent is Luke Rattigan supposed to have? I'm seriously interested in this), though nicely lit. The sat-nav as murder device is a genuinely chilling idea, worthy of Steven Moffat, even if I say so myself. Shame that this great build-up is ruined by what must be one of the cheesiest intros ever in all Who, Old or New. I mean, come on: Rose gets a highly powerful silent shot, Martha gets bad dialogue. Never has the Rose favouritism been more apparent to me. (No, I don't hate Rose, but I do hate how the Powers That Be make her out to the BEST COMPANION EVER.) Donna flying the TARDIS is great, the Doctor's anxious and aborted protective gestures are even better. I really wish they'd let David do more 'silent' acting, he can speak with one gesture if he chooses. I loved the awkwardness between the Doctor and Martha, which melted away, and then the Doctor completely misreading Donna and Martha, who then start ganging up on him in the way women always do. *lol* (Note that with the return of Martha, Ten's back in his blue suit, not the brown one he was in with Donna.)

"She's engaged, you prawn."

TOM MILLIGAN!!!

*ahem*

The Doctor seems a bit put out about Martha being engaged - ha! Tom is "strong". And Martha seems to like that if her expression is anything to go by. I expect a lot of kinky stories from this snippet, M/M fans. Get writing! Donna is superb and the Doctor is completely at sea. So then we get to see UNIT and how efficient they are, Martha updates all non-Torchwood viewers on how she started working for them - yeah, I'd say she has "experience in the field" all right. I'm liking Colonel Mace because he's so typically British Army. I also think "homespun" is actually a compliment from the way the Doctor says it, he's not too fond of humans having technology they think they can handle. I also think Donna makes the Guantanamo Bay comparison just to point out that she's not impressed by UNIT and she's someone to be reckoned with, then tops it off with the demand for a salute. She also make the remark before she finds out exactly what's going on, so I think it's in character for her to be making assumptions.

"That's why I thought we needed an expert.

"Really? Who'd you get?"

*crickets*

"Oh right, me, yes..."

Raynor writes clueless!Doctor very well, and I love Martha's little affectionate headshake, you can just see her thinking that he hasn't changed. Then we have the first mention of humans being used as weapons, which I think is what the stratagem is about. Staal later talks about having new "soldiers". The Sontarans are pressganging humans into their never-ending war! I'm sure someone else has realised this by now but I thought I'd state it anyway.

Meanwhile, the obligatory red-shirts (should that be redcaps?) get taken by the enemy. Now we have the first howler of the episode in my opinion: "We can do this the easy way... or the hard way." AARGH, these aren't brainless soldiers, they're UNIT. They are supposed to have some intelligence. If this is supposed to be some sort of commentary on military torture or whatnot, it falls as flat as a pancake. And then even worse: "Is there someone in there?" I literally howled in disbelief when he said this. When you see a strange container that may or may not be alien and hear banging on the lid, you don't ask if anyone is in there! Raynor, these men are suppose to be the best of the best! I do approve of them trying to help whoever is in there, though, and the clone is very spooky (spookier than the Autons).

The Doctor and Martha have a fight over the Doctor's rudeness (nice of him to insinuate that she'd become the enemy). Good to see Martha standing up to him again. Even if she missed a perfect opportunity to upbraid him when he said that people with guns were usually the enemy by saying, "And what about Jack? You know, Jack, the pretty boy who likes to wave his gun around? I didn't see you being all snotty with him!" Please tell me I'm not the only one who thought of Jack. And yes, Ten, if you want to put it like that, it is your fault that she had to walk over the world, because you're the one who gave the Master the opportunity to become Prime Minister, remember? I love Martha's speech about being the one who remains behind and tries to change things from the inside. It's a nice reminder that the Doctor can't always take the moral high ground (especially this Doctor). And more of the awesome "Super Temp" Donna Noble. :D Looking at the sick days folder is a stroke of genius similar to her thoughts on the Ood evolution. And Martha pays her a compliment and Donna takes it. I am loving this civil relationship.

If Rattigan's supposed to be American, how come he went to a primary school? *sigh*
Correct me if I'm wrong, but they're called elementary schools over there, correct? But the Doctor seems rather sympathetic than otherwise (along with an self-ego stroke).

Martha warning Donna about the negative side of travelling with the Doctor, what a lovely, poignant scene and so different from School Reunion. You can see them both reflecting on the implications: Martha thinking about what her family went through, Donna on what her family might go through. I like the comparison to fire, it goes back to The Family of Blood and how Thomas described the Doctor: fire and ice and rage.

I think the Doctor might just be starting to warm to Mace, but then we have the wonderful "farewell" scene to Donna. "You DUM-BO." Raynor is so good at wrong-footing the audience, I really wish that she didn't have to focus on moving the plot along. *sigh*

Nice glimpse of Martha as a fully fledged doctor, harking back to Smith and Jones. Shame that she has to get taken prisoner again, I'm not surprised that Freema questioned it.
I like the scene of Donna walking silently down the street, thinking about what's happened to her, but it's only been three episodes. Of course, she did have to watch Pompeii being destroyed. Why do all the mothers have to be annoying and nagging? Yes, mothers can be annoying, yes, they often nag, but that doesn't mean they have no redeeming features. I do love Wilf, though. Wilf is fantastic. Why do they have a new mortgage?

Ross: not only cute but also witty. Jack would snap him up in an instant, good thing he isn't there. *lol*

Rattigan: what a grumpy sod. I do like the duel of words between him and the Doctor, Ten doesn't often get challenged in this way now that the Time Lords are all gone. Of course, it doesn't help that David's so tall, so it looks like the Doctor is bullying Rattigan. Even if Rattigan is a baddie, the Doctor is supposed to be above all that. But moving on... Poor David has to rattle off massive plot exposition for all the people who either don't know or don't remember what a Sontaran is and then more crash-bang-whallop. Martha Clone is now in place to cause havoc and the Doctor meets Wilf again, with hilarious reaction from Donna. Well, if you didn't tell him what the man looked like, how was he supposed to tell you that he'd seen him? :P I do like the last shot of the Doctor lost in gas, and totally at a loss to what he's going to do. :)

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