I rewatched The Sontaran Stratagem last night with my wife, and saw a few additional things of interest that I thought I’d capture. Nothing earth-shaking or mind-changing, just some additional thoughts.
David Tennant did an even better job than I initially indicated, and a real demonstration of his growing mastery of the role of the Tenth Doctor is made when visiting young genius boy Rattagan. His enthusiasm for the experiments and then immediate shift into ominous yet caring questioner of all “things” out of place was really well done. I had mentioned previously to my wife when we saw the clone that it must have been a Sontaran clone machine, as the umbilical was feeding into the back of the neck – so hearing the Doctor actually mention the “probic vent” and take advantage of the weakness was pretty cool. The Doctor’s abilities with sports equipment like tennis and cricket balls really hearkens back to the Davison era, which makes sense if you saw Time Crash.
There really must be more to Rattagan than meets the eye, or at least I hope that there is. Obviously this is a brilliant but spoiled child, but what causes someone like that to betray their entire home planet? Is he really that devoid of morality, or is there more going on? Is he using the Sontarans as pawns (as others have done in the classic series), or is this just another example of an under-written accomplice? I hope it’s the former, but I fear for the latter.
I really do like Bernard Cribbins as Donna’s grandfather. While I find her mother somewhat irritiating (and I think that’s the point), her Grandfather is quite interesting. He is a nice mix of lovely old codger and conspiracy enthusiast – something I can relate to, as he reminds me (to an extent) of my own late Grandpa. I went back and checked Voyage of the Damned, and while I remembered him appearing I didn’t realize that the credits actually name him with the same character name as Donna’s grandfather, which was a nice touch. Kind of like the throwaway line in Smith and Jones where Martha mentions her “cousin” killed at Canary Wharf.
So my final analysis is that this episode was even better when watched again. I hope that The Poison Sky ends up being a worthy conclusion – so many of the 2-part episodes end up having weak endings.