There is a little known fact in the Who-verse. Sontarans are funny.
We have always known they looked funny but recently we have been seeing that they have a sense of humour about them as well. We saw this in A Good Man Goes to War and now with the first audio in the Fifth’s Doctors newest trilogy Heroes of Sontar
Heroes of Sontar stars, spoiler alert, the Sontarans in a role that we have not seem them before – as the people the Doctor has to save.
The episode starts off almost immediately where the Cradle of the Snake left off. Tegan is still recovering from the influence of the Mara so the Doctor takes her, Nyssa and Turlough to a peaceful haven on planet Samur called the Citadel for some peace and quiet. When has that ever worked for the Doctor?
What happens is three plots begin to intertwine together. The Citadel is now uninhabitable and covered in a green everything-eating-moss that infects Nyssa, a platoon of Sontarans arrive on the planet with sealed orders from their Field Marshall, and to top it all off everybody get attacked by ghost who speak of a cursed Sontaran. The three storylines seem random and unconnected, at first, but as thing progress you begin to find out how things slowly click together.
Breaking that all-powerful rule in Dungeons and Dragons, Heroes of Sontar splits the party time travelling party, but with a good outcome. Seven Sontarans land on the planet and begin to split up, eventually pairing off with one each for the Doctor and his companions. This helps show us the individual personalities of each of the Sontaran platoon members. This brings us to the strength of the episode.
This episode does what other Sontarans stories do not. The first is this story is heavily built on the racial qualities of the Sontarans. Unlike stories like The Sontaran Stratagem and The Poison Sky where very little knowledge of the Sontarans is needed to enjoy the episode Heroes of Sontar needs a little more knowledge behind it.
The second original aspect is the above mentioned fact that the Sontarans are the people needing saving. We’ve all know how it plays out, the Doctor lands and we meet a series of new character that need the Doctors help before their die horribly. Things never turn out well for most of them. In this episode it is the members of the Sontaran platoon are being haunted, hunted and killed by a series of ghost called the Witch-Guards. The Sontarans are cursed and the Witch-Guards are here to collect. This makes the Sontarans, of all things, humans. We care for them; they feel emotions and fear, we want them to survive and much like Commander Strax, we feel sad when they die.
Heroes of Sontar is a great start for the 2011 Fifth Doctor trilogy. It is a great story that nobody, especially fans of the Sontaran race, should miss.
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