Doctor Who – Cold War Review
What happens when the TARDIS acts up with one of its occasional bouts of having a mind of its own? The Doctor and Clara end up trapped on a Soviet nuclear submarine at the height of the Cold War with an old enemy who just happens to be hell-bent on destruction. Don’t you just hate it when you have a day like that?
The show opens with a Soviet sub in trouble until the TARDIS materializes on the bridge and The Doctor helps save the day. He had to help the Russians because the TARDIS bailed on him to go to Vegas where it was supposed to be landing on the first place. Is it just me or has the TARDIS only ever done that since 2005?
So the big problem with the Soviet sub was the presence of an Ice Warrior aboard the ship. An Ice Warrior is an old Doctor Who villain that hasn’t been on TV since the Pertwee days. So how did it make an appearance now? The Russians found it in a block of ice and decided to thaw it. For once, I’d like to see a show’s characters be self-aware enough to say, “I’ve seen enough movies to know that thawing out something in a block of ice usually ends badly.”
Naturally, thawing the Ice Warrior ends badly. It threatens to destroy the Earth and plans to use sub’s nuclear missiles to make it happen. The most interesting part of this sequence was the Ice Warrior leaving its armour We never really see what it looks like outside of the armour but we found out the giant plastic costume is supposed to be a shell for a lifeform inside. I actually liked the Ice Warrior more when it was a throwback to the monsters of the 60s than as a rebooted character.
Anyway, Clara saves the day by appealing to the Ice Warrior’s compassion by saying he didn’t kill her so clearly he’d rather not murder all the innocent people of Earth. And with that he disarms the nuclear missiles and gets a pick up from some other Ice Warriors in their flying saucer. I was hoping for the Ice Warrior to say that he was going to blow them up anyway and The Doctor had to save the day but we didn’t get that final dramatic moment. Not that the actual conclusion felt that dramatic.
One thing that was very fortunate about this episode was the lack of Russian accents. It seems every movie where we end up on a Soviet submarine during the Cold War, the crew is made up of actors putting on Russian accents of varying degrees of terrible. Fortunately, everyone stuck to their native accents (British) which was explained away by the TARDIS Translation Matrix. Would this be a bad time to ask why it wasn’t working last week with The Doctor’s barking friend?
Other random points of note:
- Ser Davos had only marginally better luck with his ship here than he did in the Battle of Blackwater.
- Who doesn’t love a little Duran Duran?
I thought this week’s episode was the strongest of the three since the mid-season break. There was a little scary tension as a result of The Doctor being trapped in a confined space with a dangerous enemy that couldn’t be stopped by force. Unfortunately, it was only a little. For an episode trying for horror, it feels like the horror portion of the show didn’t quite live up to the potential of the episode.
A tiny sub with a crew that wants to blow up America, an Ice Warrior that wants to blow up the world and a Doctor who wants to stop it all could’ve been a great episode but one was only good, not great.
Next week, we get a Doctor Who ghost story in “Hide.” This one is the second episode in three weeks written by Neil Cross. Hopefully this turns out a bit better than The Rings of Akhaten. I can’t really make heads or tails of the episode based on the preview. I’m hoping for a bit more creepy tension rather than jump scares. Mind you, the Angels episodes manage both. I just hope that we aren’t going LOUD NOISE scares. I just don’t find those particularly fun.