Synopsis: The Doctor has an unexpected encounter with one of her deadliest enemies when the Sontarans become a new faction in the Crimean War. As the British army goes into pitched battle with the warlike aliens. The Doctor and her companions seek the help of renowned nurse Mary Seacole (Sara Powell). While an ancient temple hides mysterious secrets.
War of the Sontarans was another big, MCU style thrill-ride. In which we learned that something has gone wrong with time itself. Which allowed the Sontarans to have become part of Earth’s history during the Crimean War. As well as the 21st century. We saw the Doctor be the lone voice of reason in a world that was tearing itself apart. And ultimately save the day using science. There was some great humour to be found as well. In Dan’s interactions with his parents and Karvanista. The thrills and wham lines came thick and fast in this episode. I’m definitely here for that. The threat from the Sontarans and the Swarm seemed insurmountable. But 13 and her friends prevailed. This is great storytelling. Chris Chibnall has clearly upped his game this time around.
Jodie Whittaker truly owned the role of the Doctor. During her scenes with Gerald Kyd and Sara Powell. We really saw 13’s grit and courage in the face of evil. Whittaker in my view got her “I am the Doctor” moment when she said “Retreat” to the Sontaran commander. Perhaps not as grandiose as her predecessors but brilliant to see all the same. There was some good humour also when Dan (John Bishop) and the Doctor said the same things at the same time. Speaking of Bishop. He was responsible for some really funny moments in this episode. As well as showing Dan’s courage and determination. Paul Broughton and Sue Jenkins played well off Bishop. I enjoyed their scene together. Sam Spruell continues to impress as the affably villainous Swarm. As did Rochenda Sandall as Azure. Jacob Anderson showed good range in his scenes as Vinder. As well as a hint of attraction to Mandip Gill. Who played Yaz’s understated heroism well.
War of the Sontarans’ CGI was like last week’s episode, off the charts brilliant. The Temple of Atropos was beautifully realised. As were the Sontaran camouflage shield and time ships. There was a nice moment when the sonic screwdriver was used as a parley horn. And the battle between the British and the Sontarans was as beautifully terrible as it possibly could have been. I also liked the FX of the Moori.
War of the Sontarans featured some great incidental music. One score that really stood out was the music when Dan was climbing the crane into the Sontaran ship. Which was very MCU. The theme underscoring the British/Sontaran conflict was plaintive and doom-like. And really helped put across the futility of war. The music when 13 and Dan faced down the Swarm and Azure in the final moments really built up the tension and helped deliver a thrilling climax to the episode.
Another brilliant outing. Chibnall and Whittaker have really stepped up to the mark. And given us a fantastic, cinematic Who episode. Huge thumbs up from this reviewer.
- Incidental Music9.0