Rather predictably, it's time for some thoughts on The Sontaran Strategem:
Genius Spod Boy (or Rattigan, to give him his proper name) reminded me of Adam Mitchell, but with a personality, a wobbly American accent, and a gang of cryptofascist hoodies in unflattering sportwear. He is, of course, missing the porthole in his head, but that's probably a good thing: there'll be plenty of people with vulnerable holes in their anatomy later in this episode...
It's Martha, and she's working the no-nonsense-hardwoman look to let us know that she means business. I must admit, I was rather underwhelmed by the prospect of her return, mainly since we've seen her very recently on Torchwood, where she seemed out of place and didn't have much to do other than wear nice little jackets. Still, she's wearing yet another one here.
I note that the identity of Martha's boyfriend was revealed in passing on the Torchwood website some time ago: see the most recent message from Martha in Jack's inbox (please note: that's NOT the same thing as his tourist's entrance...). Are we going to see Tom Milligan in person at some point? I find it rather hard to care about their relationship until I see it in action: at the moment, it smacks of dramatic shorthand for "Martha is over the Doctor now, honest". Ambivalent as I am about Martha, she deserves better than "my engagement iz pastede on yay".
When they did the UNIT dating gag, I played a loud rimshot on my imaginary drumkit. Even funnier than that, however, was Donna demanding the respect from the military that she so clearly deserves.
The Sontarans may not have sex, but they've certainly got more pecs than ever before. Shame their helmets make them look like Metal Mickey, though.
When the Doctor has a go at the military for being EVIL and guns for being BAD, Martha quite rightly points out that it was him who got her a job with this oppressive gun-toting organization in the first place. (At which point I half-expected him to say "It was the Torchwood writers! They MADE me write you a reference!") Nonetheless, I do wonder whether the obvious shift in his attitude towards UNIT will be ever be properly discussed, even with something like "The Time War turned me right off this sort of thing". Or maybe they'll just try to have their action-packed cake and eat it, as per.
Meanwhile, Donna demonstrates how elite office skills can in fact help to save the world. (Don't tell Captain Jack, or he'll get overexcited.) Mind you, one wonders whether the people in the personnel office were hypnotised too, and if they were, why did they start the file in the first place? Or was the factory run by non-hypnotised people, and they were then hypnotised later? Am I overthinking this?
I groaned rather loudly at the Doctor's meaningful goodbye to Donna due to hopeless misunderstanding. Yet another big black mark on his Sensitive Right-On Guy scorecard.
I laughed more than I ought to at Martha getting a lengthy flash of Polish nipples. I blame livii and her obsession healthy interest in Hex and his prominent attributes...
Donna's flashbacks were a bit unnecessary: we have been watching for the last three weeks, after all. But awww, her reunion with her grandad was still a lump-in-the-throat moment. Bless Bernard Cribbins!
"Don't call Ross a grunt. He's nice! We like Ross." Oh yes, we certainly do! I bet he'll grow up lovely in a few years, even if he does look a bit like a pink weasel now (and anyway, Ten calling anyone a weasel brings to mind a phrase involving pots and kettles).
So we're surrendering in the name of the Unified Intelligence Taskforce now, are we? Well, the UN did demand it, and what the UN wants, the UN gets. Mind you, I see they sneaked in a reference to United Nations funding earlier in the episode, possibly out of cheekiness. I hope this doesn't cause a diplomatic incident.
The chief Sontaran has a soul patch! Although perhaps it's a bit big for a soul patch, but it's a bit small for a goatee. I suspect the size of his magic wand is also an attempt to compensate for something...
You'd think the Sontarans would put a protective cage over their probic vent, wouldn't you? But then again, maybe all the other Sontarans would take the piss and call them utterly wet and weedy.
When in doubt, tie Martha to a table AGAIN (cf. Reset).
"The finest war in history and we weren't allowed to be part of it." Poor Sontarans, that must have been so disappointing for them. I imagine them hanging around an intergalactic bus shelter, sulking a lot and claiming that Daleks are LAME and that they didn't want to join in anyway, so NYEH.
Those clever Sontaran inventors have come up with a fabulous new product: Wet!Naked!Martha in a jacuzzi! Just add pea soup for instant kinkiness! I imagine the action figure playset will be in the shops for Christmas.
I can't have been the only one giggling over the fact that the Doctor and Ross's explosive jeep action led to a disappointingly small bang...
Rattigan gets into the groove, dancing and singing along with his new Sontaran buddies. I bet he had a secret webcam running somewhere, so he could upload it all to YouTube later. But what's the betting that his new friends end up leaving him out of their games, just like they themselves got left out of the Time War? Still, you've got to dig an alien race who like a good football chant.
Conclusion: a rather patchy episode, with a few decent parts (Donna, Donna's grandad, and surprisingly, the Sontarans, whom I found more engaging than I expected), but with a padded-out feel (especially in the everyone-gets-gassed scene at the end, which seemed to go on and on) and several aspects that I can't judge until I see how they pan out in episode 2 (Rattigan and his academy, evil Clone!Martha, the rest of the UNIT stuff). I guess I'll just have to tune in next week and see what happens...