Sometimes, only sometimes we argue, the Tour sees what it wants to see, that being the gossamer thick connective thread which ties the ‘classic’ series to the new, but we’ll circle back to that in a bit.
Having set the table in The Halloween Apocalypse, the larger ‘Flux’ storyline is largely set aside in War of the Sontarans to do a more traditional 3-strand, one for each of the Tardis crew of course, story centered around a Sontaran invasion during the Crimean war. It’s a neat conceit, and one which does what other pseudo-historicals don’t do in terms of having immediate, and convenient in story terms to get everyone separated, effects on Yaz and Dan. Did we pick up on The Time Warrior reference? How could we not? We even picked up on story echoes going back to The Christmas Invasion and Silence in the Library.
But what delighted us most was the most incidental character in the whole of War of the Sontarans, the silent, hulking ‘enforcer’ for Swarm and Azure, listed as ‘Passenger’ in the credits, looked an awful lot like the Shadow from 1979’s The Armageddon Factor. And that’s entirely fair given the black from tip-to-toe dressing for each.
But we thought of another design ‘inspiration’ which hits equally close to the mark. In the thoroughly forgettable Tom Baker story Underworld from a year earlier, the Seers also had a (probably unintended) black, steampunk vibe going on.
Do we really think the designers for War of the Sontarans (and later stories if images for the rest of the season are any indication) were thinking about this for their choices in 2021?
Of course! That’s why we’re fans.