And now, some thoughts, exclamations, interrogatives and other odd noises that I made while watching The Poison Sky:
The viewing public rolls its eyes and groans collectively as Donna's mum grabs an axe to break the car windscreen. I was saying to someone in the pub the other day that it would have been astounding if anything OTHER than this remarkably poor cliffhanger resolution had occurred.
Kirsty Wark is chosen to relay the bad news to the nation, so we all know it's Serious Business. And look, there's the same American newsreader that they always hire! She's still not very good at acting like an actual newsreader, which is ironic because this seems to be the only work she ever gets.
The Doctor and Donna arrive at the scene and Donna immediately goes off to sit in the TARDIS and cough. This begs the question of why they didn't take her mum and grandad to sit in the TARDIS too, but a) I suppose Donna hadn't anticipated how bad the gas would be and b) the plot requires Donna to be alone on the Sontaran station, not trying to calm her mother down from the obligatory it's-bigger-on-the-inside freakout.
Clone!Martha gives herself away with her bad acting lack of concern for her family and Invisible Boyfriend (TM). (Yeah, I do know we've seen him last series, but until we see him this series, he'll remain Invisible Boyfriend to me.)
Rattigan gets home to find his supposedly highly trained cryptofascist warriors having a weepy hug-filled love-in on the front lawn. Bet he wishes he'd put some harder questions on the application form. Or perhaps he could have hired the cast of The Apprentice instead, they've probably got the combination of cutthroat tactics and mindboggling stupidity that he requires.
Donna turns on the TARDIS telly, just in time for a MAJOR ROSE-FLASH! Is she trying to get a message through the Void? Or was she simply complaining about the Doctor's inability to buy an answering machine? Whatever the reason, Donna failed to spot anything amiss: perhaps she thought it was just a repeat on UKTV Gold.
Old-school shoutout for the Rutans! Didn't Amy Winehouse cover one of their songs recently? No, that was the Zutons, silly me.
The Doctor turns off the Sontaran war-chant choir in boredom. Guess they won't be getting his phone-in vote this week.
The cartoon clip was a bit of Tommy Zoom. I note with interest that both Tommy and the Tenth Doctor have remarkably similar hair AND a penchant for lurking in theatres:
"Some are calling this the End of Days." But Torchwood fans aren't, because that would be too confusing. It's surprisingly tough finding new names for the Apocalypse that haven't already been sci-fi'ed to death.
Donna has yet ANOTHER weepy family moment. Much as I love her grandad, it's all getting a bit repetitive, and feels very much like filler.
I giggled heartily at the lameness of Clone!Martha having a handy "WE CAN HAS ARMAGEDDON NAO, Y/N?" button on her phone.
Alas, poor Ross! We hardly knew ye! Never was so much fangurl lurve gushed out in a week over such a minor character. In fact, when the recap at the beginning of the episode showed him being introduced, I knew this was FORESHADOWING (TM) and that Ross (a.k.a. His Rossness, Rosster, or El Rosserino, if you're not into the whole brevity thing) was not long for this fictional world. Anyway, the Doctor is rightfully upset about it.
And another old-school shoutout for the Brig! Being stuck in Peru is clearly the new being stuck in the Himalayas.
It's a new OTP: Donna/mallet! The firm thwack of true love, it gets you in the neck every time.
"Are you my mummy?" Groanworthy but hey, we were all thinking the same thing.
Who'd have thought the Doctor would be pleased to see the Valiant again? Still, it's nice to see them bothering to use plot devices they've already got, rather than inventing new ones every time.
"Might as well wear a T-shirt saying 'Clone'. Although maybe not in front of Captain Jack." I was a mite confused by this line at first. (ETA: Then while I was wandering around my local supermarket later, the penny dropped. Gay men in identical tight t-shirts = clones, right?) Nevertheless, I also laughed at "You remember him, don't you?" - given that the Reverend Barrowman is on TV right before (The Kids Are All Right) and right after (I'd Do Anything) the show, the BBC are making it impossible NOT to remember him.
Martha meeting her clone managed to be a really weak scene from both sides, although the cheesy lines they were given really didn't help. The only bit that did work was when she took her engagement ring back.
Let's all stand outside and do MASSIVE HANDWAVING to make the gas go away! This is crucial because setting fire to an atmosphere and not killing everyone in the process is a plot development of quite astounding ridiculousness. But if we keep flapping, perhaps nobody will notice.
I laughed at the celebratory UNIT snogging on the front lines. This sort of thing never used to happen in the old days (much to the chagrin of several people on my flist, hem hem).
And then just as we're getting a goodbye from Martha, the TARDIS goes mental, Martha's still on board, and the Hand (TM) bubbles over! Whatever is going on?
In conclusion: a fairly predictable close to a somewhat lacklustre two-parter, with Donna mainly wasted and the Sontarans losing most of the interest they'd won from me in the first part by turning out ot be just another mob of one-dimensional thugs. Nonetheless, the crowd-teasing echoes of past events and future shadows kept the whole thing hanging together, just about.
NB: I didn't watch the trailer for next week, as per usual, so no spoilers please! I do, however, know the title of the week's episode, and have accordingly adjusted my expectations in a downward direction. Let's just take it as it comes...