Sunday, June 18, 2017

A Sunday Doctor Who Review


I will be discussing my thoughts and feelings of the Doctor Who episode "Empress of Mars" after the cut. I will not worry about spoiling the plot, so read at your own risk.


Doctor Who: "Empress of Mars" - The Doctor investigates an unusual discovery on Mars.

After a three-parter I mostly didn't enjoy, I wasn't sure what to expect from this episode. I knew, of course, that it involved Ice Warriors, which I liked in their classic series appearances. I was just a little worried they wouldn't be as fun as I remembered in modern Who. I shouldn't have worried.

This was definitely a light-hearted episode, despite the high death count. The bloodless method of death was both gross and oddly funny. But pith helmets and Victorian soldiers on Mars is quite insane as is.

Bill had some good lines in this, with a nice set up of watching movies. I kind of wish there had been a little more of that as the episode went along. There's so much more that could have been done.

I love that Nardole took off his helmet at the moment Bill is about to take off hers - while the Doctor is encouraging caution. I was a little sad that Nardole was completely taken out of the tale, but I guess it might have been too much to have him snarking along with Bill.

I also love the Doctor greeting Friday the Ice Warrior formally. Although it was interrupted, it no doubt impacted how Friday viewed the Doctor and Bill going forward. He was using the humans as tools, but he suddenly knows there's a person there who knows about his people - which could be either really dangerous or a very good thing.

I'm a little sad we never get to see Friday's ship, and I thought the concept of them hiding in the ship the entire time was either a dead giveaway that they were lying or something really strange. In any case, it shouldn't have worked.

When Iraxxa asked Bill for her opinion, I would have hoped that Bill would have risen to the occasion. Sadly, her response was more like, "Yeah, what he said."

The bits that confused me... annoyed me?... were the technology. There's a lift to the surface. How did they build that? The spacesuit? Obviously Victorian tools mixed with Martian tech, but it seemed a bit much - and very steampunk. Just how big was that ship? It must have been huge because the soldiers brought along an awful lot of wood - as seen by the door to the prison.

The "God Save the Queen" marker on the surface seems more than a little silly. They could have come up with a dozen different ways to mark their location for the rescue fleet - including the crash site of the big ol' ship that Friday got back to Mars on. Plus, doesn't the fact that Bill and the Doctor help build it create some sort of time loop?

Finally, the appearance of Alpha Centauri was great. A classic character returns in a context that really works. And they even got the same actress, long retired, to return and do the voice. Classic in many ways.

TL;DR summary - Back to form - very amusing.