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Freema Agyemen (#110 of 2)

Doctor Who Recap Season 4, Episode 5, “The Poison Sky”

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Doctor Who Recap: Season 4, Episode 5, “The Poison Sky”

BBC

Doctor Who Recap: Season 4, Episode 5, “The Poison Sky”

In the comments section for “The Sontaran Stratagem,” Joan wondered why at the close of the episode “...no one thought to break the window of the car while Gramps was asphyxiating.” And so “The Poison Sky” begins with Donna’s mother, Sylvia, doing just that. It’s a huge anticlimax for the cliffhanger, but I would argue that the whole point of a cliffhanger is in the hang, not in the resolution in the next episode. Cliffhanger resolutions almost by their very nature are destined to suck, because if our heroes succumbed to the disastrous situations they’re left in, there would be no more show. We always want the resolve to be as thrilling as the minutes that preceded it in the narrative, but there’s a big difference in the first couple minutes of an episode, and the final moments of another. And there’s no point in delivering the best you’ve got at the start, right?

Doctor Who Recap Season 3, Episode 11, “Utopia”

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Doctor Who Recap: Season 3, Episode 11, “Utopia”

BBC

Doctor Who Recap: Season 3, Episode 11, “Utopia”

If “Blink” was the perfect standalone episode of Doctor Who, then “Utopia” is just the opposite. To get what’s going on here, one must be well versed in the lore of the new series, otherwise the entire affair will seem a jumbled mess. Familiarity with the old series is either a huge bonus or a detriment, depending on how willing you are to accept some bold Who revisionism. “Utopia” is also the unbilled Part One of Season Three’s three-part finale. Get onboard now or forego watching the rest of the season until DVD.