Doctor Who in Review: Season Four, Episode #5 – The Poison Sky

Rick Marshall

Rick Marshall was Online Managing Editor for ComicMix before joining MTV's SplashPage. Previously, he was Online Content Manager for Wizard Entertainment. He has written for several daily newspapers, alternative weekly newspapers, trade magazines and online media, and was named "Writer of the Year" by the New York Press Association in 2005.

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8 Responses

  1. Neil Ottenstein says:

    If you want to see the moment where Rose appears (I missed it while watching live) you can check it out on You Tube at

  2. Mike Gold says:

    I was a big fan of UNIT and I had the privilege of spending some time — two days — with Nicholas Courtney, mostly talking about the wonders of audio drama. Courtney has repeated his role of the Brigadier in many Big Finish audio programs.Therefore, it was with some anticipation that I processed the information that "The Brigadier is stuck in Peru." Doing exactly… what?

  3. Vinnie Bartilucci says:

    I thought the Occams' Razor (or if you want to stick with filmic references, "Indy's Gun") solution to Wilf's imprisonment was hilarious. I remember asking at the end of the previous episode, "So, does deadlocking render glass unbreakable or something?"I liked Ross a great deal, as I did most of the new UNIT Team. It would be very easily to reveal he only received a glancing blow from the Sontaran weapon, and bring him back should UNIT make a reappearance. We need a new Sgt Benton.It was nice to see UNIT portrayed as competent as well. So often in the past they were shown as ineffective against the aliens. The cordaline signal in this story was a nice way to get around the obvious question "Why don't they just shoot?", but once they pull out the right weapons, UNIT did a fine job of protecting the planet.Two small corrections – "Claws of the Axons" was actually "The Claws of Axos", but it was a great episode. And Lethbridge-Stewart was only a Lt. Colonel in the first adventure they met, Troughton's "The Web of Fear". He was promoted to Brigadier when next they met in "The Invasion", and was by then working with UNIT.Considering the sheer amount of powerful technology The Doctor has available to him (not to mention what he can just whip up at any moment), his enemies should thank their lucky stars that unlike wizards, he is slow to anger.I rather liked the assumedly accidental irony in the ending of the episode. To combat the massive pollution of the atmosphere, the Doctor gives the Earth a massive but short case of Global Warming. An ending that rather falls apart under close analysis and requires a great deal of retroactive explanation ("It wasn't fire, it was an energy discharge that converted the pollutive elements into non-harmful gases") but who cares, it was fun for the moment you were watching it.There's not been a duff episode so far this season. And there seems no opportunity of one any time soon.

    • Rick Marshall says:

      Good call on the title and rank issues, Vinnie. Got the title confused with the actual species name, and I have no excuse for missing the Brigadier's original rank. Bad Who fan… Bad!

  4. Vinnie Bartilucci says:

    Many fans scoffed at the idea that Lethbridge-Stewart would still be active at his advanced age. I scoffed right back – he's the friggin Brigadier. Even if he's not leading a battalion, I could easily see him in an advisory or ambassadory (ambassadorial?) capacity. If you don't agree with his ideas…"Five rounds, rapid".

    • Mike Gold says:

      I'm with you. It'd look kind of silly having him in hand-to-hand combat, but he wasn't doing that back in the Pertwee days either. He should be running UNIT.Or, actually, he should run for U.S. president. Sure, we'd have to amend the Constitution — I learned that back in Superman #122 (first series; I was only slightly precocious), but I'd vote for him in a heartbeat.

  5. Neil Ottenstein says:

    I finally found the piece of paper where I wrote a few things about the commentary on part 1. The original idea they had for Atmos was actually a sinister chimney cleaning device. Ruari Mears was on the commentary and he played the template clone. He said the worst thing about it was getting waxed.