Doctor Who

Season 4 Episode 5

The Poison Sky (2)

Aired Saturday 8:00 PM May 03, 2008 on BBC America
out of 10
User Rating
417 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Location: Earth
Date: 2009
Enemies: The Sontarans
The Sontarans continue their evil plot and begin to "choke" the Earth. The Doctor and Donna, now teamed with Martha have to stop them! Can they save Earth before it's too late?

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  • The Poison Sky

    The Poison Sky was a superb follow up to the previous episode and I really enjoyed watching. The story was intriguing and it was awesome to see the Sontarans enact their deadly plans. It was awesome watching Martha work with Donna and The Doctor. I liked how the story unfolded and the special effects in the space scenes were cool. The alien costumes were also pretty awesome. I liked how every thing played out and the ending was funny and outstanding! I look forward to watching the next episode!!!!!!!moreless
  • Part 2 and it's looking good...and by "it" I don't mean Martha...she's still as ugly as a dog turd covered in chipmunk crap...

    Here we are. Part 2 of the 22 year later return of the Sontarans. The first part was extremely entertaining and had only a few minor letdowns. This week, however, we have much of the same.

    The cliffhangers are all resolved within the first 5 minutes, as they should be, and we kick into overdrive with the second part as the Doctor attempts to save the world from the poisonous gas unleashed by the Sontarans. And that's about it. There's not much else to it.

    We're given an "emotional" scene between Martha and her "evil" clone, which saps all drama from the episode with it's sheer rubbishness. We have the usual arrogant prick General who can't take the Doctor's advice. And we've got annoying kid with crappy American accent. But that's it for the bad.

    On the good, we've got a near tearjerking scene with Bernard Cribbins, whom I love. As well as that we've got an interesting cliffhanger, a decent twist involving the annoying American kid, and some decent jokes - especially the references to "Are you my mummy" and the Brigadier.

    And we have a blink or you'll miss it Rose moment. When the Doctor sends his message to the Sontarans/Donna, Rose flashes on the TARDIS screen for just a moment, a look of terror on her face as she screams "Doctor" mutely and then gets cut off. Interesting stuff.

    Overall, a decent second part. It does the opposite of what most 2-parters this early in a season do. It doesn't better the first part, instead it stays pretty much the same. The trailer for next week's episode looked good, but I do have a twitch of anger everytime I hear the phrase "Doctor's daughter". And Martha's back next week...ugh!

    Part 2: 8/10

    Overall storyline: 8/10moreless
  • A dim ending to what I thought was a good start

    Alright this is going to be simple. The ending was absolutley crap! The kid blows up the ship which saves the Doctors life.Crap! Seriously this is one of the worst two parters ever. The first part had alot of hope and potential to make a good second part. But they failed. Ok good points. Donna was a great part once again and Martha didn't do bad. In fact most of the actors did allright it was just a bad script. Bad points. There are way to many of these. The clone bit was a complete waste of time. I just went to get a biscuit and I had missed nothing at all! Why do the sontarons try to kill everyone. And whats the point of fighting back! The army was a pointless part the cloning was pointless and that guy was pointless. This is the worst episode of the season so far. I have heard Midnight is meant to be appauling but I haven't seen it yet. Still could be the worst episode joint with 42.moreless
  • Disappointing but still good

    A good setup wasted in my opinion. The Sontarans ultimately proved not to be as dangerous as percieved. Their plan within a plan though was quite intelligent and interesting.

    Some of the effects of the Sontaran space cruiser were excellent. Locations were more or less as the previous episode and fairly mundane. Infact all the present or near present day locations just fail to inspire.

    The first act picks up from where the last episode finished, and does a decent job, but the build up to the finale is just poor and lose perspective. Alot of the scenes have been done before in a different guise. I dont doubt that youll be going through the motions as you wait for the inevitable Dr. Earth saving finale.

    Even Bernand Cribbins almost dying doesnt really bridge the gap to the intensity level it should have been at!

    That aside, its a fairly watchable episode, that will have the younger generation coo-ing at the Dr's efforts to save the planet.

    There have been better stories even this season, and Im sure there will be more to come

    Lastly I just want to say something positive about Tate. Welldone to her for actually toning down the character/acting when it was needed to just support Martha and the Dr. in this episode. Its made me change my mind about her inclusion in this series! Hopefully, youll get more chances to shine!moreless
  • The sontarans are choking the earth

    The sontarans have revealed their plan. They are using their poisonous gas inside the Atmos cars to choke the earth and the gas will help their clones arise! The Sontarans capture the doctors tardis with donna inside (donna got her own tardis key) and the doctor instructs donna to get off the ship with the doctors expertise. Luke Rattigan finds out everything the sontarans promised him were lies and he escapes with the teleporter. The doctor finds out the truth about marthas clone and saves martha. The doctor purifies the sky on earth by burning it and goes to the sontaran to do the same, but luke swaps places with the doctor at the last minute.moreless
Ryan Sampson

Ryan Sampson

Luke Rattigan

Guest Star

Christopher Ryan

Christopher Ryan

General Staal

Guest Star

Rupert Holliday-Evans

Rupert Holliday-Evans

Colonel Mace

Guest Star

Bernard Cribbins

Bernard Cribbins

Wilfred Mott

Recurring Role

Jacqueline King

Jacqueline King

Sylvia Noble

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (8)

    • General Staal tells the the Doctor "You impugn my honor." This is similar to what Stike said to the Second Doctor in The Two Doctors: "you are not a Sontaran, so you cannot impugn my honor."

    • Despite General Staal's comments in the previous episode about the thin fabric and exposed skin of the UNIT troops, Sontaran battle armor surprisingly offers little protection against the UNIT weapons. One would think that a race that has been at war for millenia would be better protected.

    • Just before Donna first sees the Doctor on the video screen in the TARDIS, Rose can briefly be seen on the screen. She appears to be silently calling out to the Doctor and/or Donna.

    • Lachele Carl (the American news reporter) has previously appeared in Aliens of London, World War Three, The Christmas Invasion and The Sound Of Drums in the same role.

    • The Sontaran enemies, the Rutan, are mentioned but not seen. The Rutans are from Ruta 3 and look like blobby green jellyfish. They have the ability to shape-shift and mimic creatures they have killed.

      The Rutan's were first talked about as being the eternal enemy of the Sontarans in 1973's The Time Warrior. There first and last appearance however was in the 1977 serial Horror at Fang Rock.

    • One of the news reporters says that people are calling the event the "End of Days", this was the title of the last episode of the first series of Doctor Who spin-off, Torchwood.

    • This episode reveals that the Doctor kept his old hand in the jar last seen in the episode Last of the Timelords.

    • The Valliant, the airborne aircraft carrier, controlled by UNIT was previously seen in the series 3 final The Sound of Drums and The Last of the Time Lords.

  • QUOTES (30)

    • Donna: (To The Doctor just after he saves her) Have I ever told you how much I hate you?!

    • The Doctor: Now, does anyone know what this gas is yet?
      Martha Clone: We're working on it.
      Captain Price: It's harmful, but not lethal until it reaches eighty percent density. We're having the first reports of deaths from the centre of Tokyo city.
      The Doctor: And who are you?
      Captain Price: (saluting) Captain Marian Price, sir.
      The Doctor: Oh, put your hand down. Don't salute.
      Colonel Mace: Jodrell Bank's traced the signal, Doctor, coming from five thousand miles above the Earth. We're guessing that's what triggered the car.
      The Doctor: The Sontaran ship.
      Colonel Mace: NATO's gone to def-con one. We're preparing a strike.
      The Doctor: You can't do that! Nuclear missiles won't even scratch the surface. Let me talk to the Sontarans.
      Colonel Mace: You are not authorised to speak on behalf of the Earth.
      The Doctor: Oh, I've got that authority; I earned that a long time ago. (Accesses the communications array with the Sonic Screwdriver) Calling the Sontaran command ship under jurisdiction two of the intergalactic rules of engagement, this is the Doctor.
      Donna: (watching from inside the TARDIS, Rose briefly appears on the screen, unseen) Doctor I'm here, can you hear me?
      General Staal: So, Doctor, breathing your last?
      Colonel Mace: My God, they're like trolls.
      The Doctor: Yeah, lovely bit of diplomacy that, thanks. So General Staal, since when did you lot become cowards?
      General Staal: How dare you!
      Colonel Mace: Oh, and that's diplomacy?

    • Donna: You gonna come with us? We're not exactly short of space.
      Martha: Oh, I have missed all this, you know. I'm good here, back at home, and I'm better for having been away. (Showing her engagement ring) Besides, someone needs me. Never mind the universe, I've got a great big world of my own now.
      (As Martha turns to leave, the TARDIS doors slam shut and it takes off)

    • Wilf: I won't tell her. Best not. Just keep this our little secret, eh?
      Donna: Yeah.
      Wilf: Now you go with him, that wonderful Doctor, you go and see the stars. Then bring a bit of them back for your old Gramps.

    • Colonel Mace: Attention all troops! The Sontarans might think of us as primitive, as does every passing species with an axe to grind. They make a mockery of our weapons, our soldiers, our ideals. But no more. From this point on, it stops. From this point on, the people of Earth fight back and we show them. We show the warriors of Sontar what the human race can do.

    • Donna: What's happened, where are you?
      The Doctor: Still on Earth, but don't worry. I've got my secret weapon.
      Donna: What's that?
      The Doctor: You.
      Donna: Oh. Somehow that's not making me happy. Can't you just zap us down to Earth with that remote thing?
      The Doctor: Yeah, I haven't got a remote though, but I really should but I need you on that ship. That's why I made them move the TARDIS. I'm sorry, but you've got to go outside.
      Donna: But there are Sontarons out there.
      The Doctor: Sontarans, but they'll be on battle stations about now so they don't exactly walk about having coffee. I can talk you through it.
      Donna: But what if they find me?
      The Doctor: I know, and I wouldn't ask, but there's nothing else I can do. The planet is choking, Donna.
      Donna: What do you need me to do?
      The Doctor: The Sontarans are inside the factory. That means they've got a teleport link with the ship but they've deadlocked it. I need you to reopen the link.
      Donna: But I can't even mend a fuse!
      The Doctor: Donna, stop talking about yourself like that. You can do this, I promise.

    • General Staal: Upon arrival on board this ship, your students would have been shot down. Perhaps they were more clever than you thought.
      Luke Rattigan: You promised…
      General Staal: There was no planetfall. Castor 36, indeed. We only needed you for the installation of the ATMOS system.
      Luke Rattigan: No, but I'm on your side. I did everything you wanted! And it's not ATMOS system, that's a tautology, it's just ATMOS!
      General Staal: Execute him!
      (Luke escapes via the teleport)

    • General Staal: The planet is going nuclear! I admire them. The bravery of idiots is bravery nonetheless.

    • Martha Clone: Carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxides but ten percent unidentified. Some sort of artificial heavy element we can't trace. You ever seen anything like it?
      The Doctor: Must be something the Sontarans invented. It isn't just poison. They need this gas for something else.

    • (Alone in the TARDIS, Donna calls her family)
      Sylvia: Your granddad's sealing us in. He's sealing the windows. Our own house and we're being sealed in. All those things they said about pollution and ozone and carbon, they're really happening, aren't they?
      Donna: There's people working on it, mum. They're gonna fix it, I promise.
      Sylvia: Oh, like you'd know, you're so clever.
      Donna: Oh, don't start. Please don't.
      Sylvia: (starting to cry) I'm sorry. I wish you were here.
      Wilf: Look, come on, Sylvia, that doesn't help. (taking the phone from Sylvia) Donna, where are you.?
      Donna: (looking around the TARDIS) It's sort of hard to say. You alright?
      Wilf: Yeah, fighting fit, yeah. Is he with you, the Doctor?
      Sylvia: Oh, the Doctor.
      Donna: No. I'm all on my own.
      Wilf: Look, you promised he was going to look after you.
      Donna: He will, Gramps. There's something he needs me to do, I just don't know what.
      Wilf: I mean, the whole place is covered. The whole of London, they're saying, the whole world. It's the scale of it, Donna. I mean, how can one man stop all that?
      Donna: Trust me, he can do it.
      Wilf: Yeah, well, if he doesn't, you tell him he'll have to answer to me.

    • Kirsty Wark: The United Nations has issued a directive worldwide, telling urban populations to stay indoors. Those in rural areas are being ordered to stay away from all major cities. There are reports from every country in Europe of thousands of people walking across country to escape, and on the eastern seaboard of America, it's said to be reminiscent of Dunkirk with boats taking refugees out into the Atlantic.
      US Newsreader: With the freeways blocked by ATMOS cars, populations of major cities are now walking across open country to escape the fumes. It is being likened to a Biblical plague. Some are calling this the end of days.

    • Luke Rattigan: I did this for you! Don't you see? We've spent all our lives excluded, the clever ones. They laughed at us and brought us down, those ordinary people out there, those… cattle. This is out chance to leave them behind!
      Male Student: You mean you want them dead?
      Luke Rattigan: And I chose you to survive! With planetfall, we can start again. We can build and breed. We can prosper. We can do anything!
      Female Student: We're going to breed?!?
      Luke Rattigan: I've designed a mating programme. I planned the whole thing.
      Female Student: Well then, shoot me!

    • General Staal: Behold! We are the first Sontarans in history to capture a TARDIS.
      The Doctor: Well, as prizes go, that's… noble. As they say in Latin, dona nobis pacem.
      Donna: (on board the TARDIS) That's me! I'm here!
      The Doctor: But did you never wonder about its design? It's a phone box. It contains a phone, a telephonic device for communication. It's kind of symbolic. Like, if only we could communicate, you and I.

    • General Staal: Doctor, you impugn my honour!
      The Doctor: Yeah, I'm really glad you didn't say belittle, 'cause then I'd have a field day… but poison gas? That's the weapon of a coward and you know it. Staal, you can blast this planet out of the sky and yet you're sitting up above watching it die. Where's the fight in that? Where's the honour? Or… are you lot planning something else? 'Cause this isn't normal Sontaran warfare. What are you lot up to?
      General Staal: A general would be unwise to reveal his strategy to the opposing forces.
      The Doctor: Ah, the war's not going so well then. Losing, are we?
      General Staal: Such a suggestion is impossible!

    • Martha Clone: (off the Doctor's look) What?
      The Doctor: I was just wondering, have you phoned your family to tell them?
      Martha Clone: No, what for?
      The Doctor: The gas. Tell them to stay inside.
      Martha Clone: Of course I will. Yeah, but what about Donna? I mean, where's she?
      The Doctor: Oh, she's gone home. She's not like you. She's not a soldier. Right, so… avanti!

    • The Doctor: Whatever you do, Colonel Mace, do not engage the Sontarans in battle. There's nothing they like better than a war. Just leave this to me.
      Colonel Mace: And what are you going to do?
      The Doctor: I've got the TARDIS, I'm going to get aboard their ship.

    • Luke Rattigan: This is it, isn't it? Oh, man, this is war!
      General Staal: And how does it feel, boy?
      Luke Rattigan: Magnificent.

    • The Doctor: Donna, you coming?
      Donna: Yeah.
      Sylvia: Donna, don't go! Look what happens every time that Doctor appears. Stay with us, please.
      Wilf: You go, my darling.
      Sylvia: Dad!
      Wilf: Don't listen to her. You go with the Doctor. That's my girl.

    • (Sylvia has saved Wilf by smashing the car window through with an axe)
      Donna: I can't believe you've got an axe!
      Sylvia: Burglars!

    • (as Martha's clone is dying)
      Martha Clone: In your mind you've got so many plans, there's so much you wanna do.
      Martha: And I will. Never do tomorrow what you can do today, my Mum says, coz...
      Martha Clone: ...coz you never know how long you've got.

    • Donna: God, the air's disgusting.
      Doctor: It's not so bad for me, go on, get inside the TARDIS. Oh, (Holds out a key) never given you a key. Keep that, go on. That's yours. Quite a big moment really.
      Donna: Yeah, maybe we can get sentimental after the world's finished choking to death.
      The Doctor: Good idea
      Donna: Where are you going?
      The Doctor: To stop a war!

    • (The Doctor is heading to the Sontarans ship with Luke's device in order to stop them. Knowing that he could be killed, his companions beg him not to risk his life.
      Martha: Just send that thing up on it's own, I don't know, put it on a delay.
      The Doctor: I can't.
      Donna: Why not?
      The Doctor: (regarding the Sontarans): I've got to give them a choice.

    • (The Doctor turns to see that Martha's clone has a gun directed at him).
      The Doctor: Am I supposed to be impressed?
      Martha's Clone: (smugly): Wish you carried a gun now?
      The Doctor: Not at all.

    • The Doctor: (to Martha's Clone): I'm stuck on earth like a ordinary person. Like a human. How rubbish is that? Sorry no offence, but come on.

    • The Doctor: The war between the Sontarans and the Rutans, it's been raging far out in the stars for fifty thousand years. Fifty thousand years, of bloodshed. And for what?
      General Staal: For victory! Sontar ha! Sontar ha! (Other Sontarans start chanting too)
      The Doctor: Give me a break. (He cuts the transmission, cutting to a cartoon)

    • (In the Sontaran Mothership. The Doctor is holding the atmopheric detonator)
      Sontarans: (chanting) Sontar Ha! Sontar Ha! Sontar Ha!
      (The Doctor disappears, Rattigan appears, in his place, holding the Detonator. The chanting stops)
      Luke Rattigan: Sontaran, Ha! (Presses the detonator)

    • The Doctor: For the billionth time, YOU CAN'T FIGHT SONTARANS!

    • Luke Rattigan: I'm sorry to report, sir, I failed. They wouldn't come, the students they didn't have the imagination to believe.
      General Staal: A pity. (To other Sontarans) We've lost our target practice.

    • Donna: You know that coat... sort of works...
      Martha: I feel like a kid in my dad's clothes.
      Donna: Ah, well if you're calling him Dad, you're definitely getting over him.

    • (as the Sontarans slaughter the UNIT troops)
      Commander Skoor: This is not war, this is sport!

  • NOTES (2)


    • The Doctor: Avanti!

      The term avanti is Italian for Let's Go/Onwards, in the same way that The Doctor's catchphrase Allons-y is in French. The Doctor is using it here as a way of confirming his suspicion that Martha is a clone. The real Martha would have picked up on the different word.

    • Butler Institute

      When the news reports are showing the cities of the world engulfed in the poison gas, the scene from New York shows a building with Butler Institute written on it. The Butler Institute is from the New Adventures novel 'Cat's Cradle:Warhead' set in New York in the near future.

    • Dona nobis pacem

      The phrase The Doctor uses to get Donna's attention is actually a part of the Agnus Dei from the Roman Catholic Mass, it translates as 'Give us Peace'.

    • The line made by Commander Skoor "This isn't war, it's sport" is the same line used by the son of the Family of Blood in the third series episode of the same name.