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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Doctor Who: "The Poison Sky"

Illustration for article titled Doctor Who: "The Poison Sky"
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Illustration for article titled Doctor Who: "The Poison Sky"

And so we reach the end of the four-and-a-half-hour-long Sontaran storyline. No? Did it just feel that way? Maybe it was the break for Memorial Day that made this seem more protracted than it ought to have felt but I don't think so. It played like a two-parter begging to be a one-parter. There's nothing bad here but if this were the show week-in and week-out I don't know if it would have generated the interest it has or if I would be so geeked to watch it.

I'm at a loss as to how to expand on last week's observations since they all pretty much apply to this one. I will say that this is one of the few Davies-era episodes that could have passed for an old-school episode, or at least what little I saw of old-school Who years ago, which was mostly The Doctor barking orders in front of control panels while a handful of aliens threatened the Earth in dramatically lighted spaceship sets. I will note a couple of things: Tennant seemed to sense he was in the middle of weaker material and played the part to the hilt by way of compensation. If he bugged his eyes out any more he'd need medical attention. And the near-final moment when he planned to sacrifice himself and take lives–a repulsive notion to him–again touched on the Time Lord realpolitick theme that keeps cropping up.

But, in the end, the day was saved, the threat abated, and we moved on to hopefully more consequential episodes.

So instead of Doctor Who present let's talk a bit about Doctor Who future. Steven Moffat has been named as Russell T. Davies replacement as showrunner and I can't imagine anyone out there in fandom has a problem with that. A lifelong fan, Moffat penned the "The Empty Child" and "The Doctor Dances," the two-parter to which all other Doctor Who two-parters aspire. He also wrote the scary "Blink" and "The Girl In The Fireplace," the great episode in which The Doctor befriends Madame De Pompadour. Moffat's first season will air in 2010. Other rumors, via the Who obsessive comics industry gossip columnist Rich Johnston's Lying In The Gutters: At least one episode written by Neil Gaiman. Yay. Also, Johnston suggests that Rob Shearman, who wrote the terrific "Dalek" episode, may be back. And he floats a number of possible Tennant replacements, none of whom I recognize.

Okay, sorry to not have that much to contribute to this week's episode. But next week promises at least one juicy revelation. It's right there in the title: "The Doctor's Daughter"

Grade: B

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