Now that was a lot better. The Sontaran Stratagem continues, as it becomes clear that they’re not out to pollute the Earth or destroy it, only turn it into a breeding ground for more Sontaran clones. The Martha clone sets out to confound the Doctor at every turn, Donna is kidnapped within the Tardis and has to escape the Sontaran mothership, with the Doctor stranded on the planet below, and why is Rose trying to contact the Tardis? For that matter why isn’t she successful?
The sloppy storytelling from last week is mostly fixed, with much better pacing, some excellent acting all around, and even Christopher Ryan’s scenes are (*ahem*) shorter, giving General Staal an edge which he simply didn’t have in the first part. The tragic denouement, with Ryan Sampson’s Luke Rattigan giving his life to save the Doctor, was an unexpected but tidy twist, given that the Doctor had no way out in his plan to destroy the Sontarans. And the Doctor’s reveal that he knew about the Martha clone was a nice piece of storytelling, with us finding out yet more of his alien nature – he could detect the clone by smell. But it’s Tate’s well written character who again steals the show – how she’s going to deal with the impending formal return of Rose is anyone’s guess. Or is that vice versa?
Rose herself is trying to break through again from ‘Pete’s Universe’. But why? If the wall between dimensions is now almost porous, shouldn’t we by now be detecting the impact? Or is it going on around us and we’re just not seeing it? Is the dimensional barrier falling through accident or design and either way what is it allowing to happen which we are being told about? This episode is the second this series to try to use Earth as an alien breeding ground. What is going on in the bigger picture and who just stole the Tardis with everyone in it?