doctor who, scifi, Peter Capaldi, Pearl Mackie, Matt Lucus, Tv, bbc, ice warrors, empress of mars, alpah centuri, tvshow

Doctor who s10e09 "Empress Of Mars"

With the monks from the previous three weeks out the way, the trailer for this episode showed us the return of the Ice Warriors, last seen alongside Matt Smith in a good episode called Cold War. I was thrilled to know a classic Doctor Who villain other than the Daleks and Cyberman were getting an airing from the who cupboard of monsters. I had high hopes again for my favourite sci-fi after admittedly losing a little faith for the last three episodes.

The Doctor (Peter Capital) and Bill (Pearl Mackie)find themselves in NASA as Mars probes the surface and finds a message that's about as British as there can be. "God save the Queen". With that, the intro plays and a cup of tea and sweet is consumed as I find out that some Victorian armies have found themselves on Mars after helping a crashed ice warrior return home. While the Ice Warrior promises one thing. What is revealed is the empress of the Ice Warriors. Leaving only a few humans and the soldiers fighting for their survival as the Doctor and companions find themselves caught in the mild of a bad situation.

Before I mention my highlights and low points I have to mention the Easter eggs. The hidden references if you're not familiar with the term of Easter eggs. All the Easter eggs go back into the show's past, and one of the eggs is a glorious cameo from way back in the Peldon stories featuring the 3rd Doctor, Jon Pertwee. But I will talk about that in a minute. The other eggs included seeing Queen Victoria in a frame, last seen in Tooth and Claw starring 10th Doctor David Tenant. We also heard one of the guards says "R.H.I.P." (rank has its privileges). This was also said by Mike Yates of UNIT to Sergeant Benton in the Jon Pertwee classic Day Of The Daleks. Speaking of Jon Pertwee. It was he, who starred in the Peldon stories. The Monster Of Peldon and the Curse of Peldon, which incidentally featured the Ice Warriors in both stories and it was also in these stories we meet Alpha Centauri. Which basically was a giant green eye in a dress. It was she/he ( I believe she/he was described as a genderless creature) who made a glorious cameo on the viewer screen when The Doctor sent the message from Mars. So you could argue this was a prequel to the Peldon tales. As we would go on to know where the race of the Ice Warriors went after the events of this episode.

This episode had a lot of highlights this time and very few low points in fact only one for this observer. The highlights were seeing the Ice Warriors back in action and in a way where you never knew which side they would be on. Would they finish of as evil or good? I don’t normally comment on looks but I want to say liked Bill's tied back hairstyle and she again took charge when needed and was not the damsel in distress. The lines flowed with a far greater pace and it felt like a breath of fresh air for me.

This week I found very little to dislike as I said before. The pre-credits scene before they get to Mars just wasn’t for me, to be honest. I would have maybe preferred The Doctor to accidentally landed on Mars this time round but then I guess the end wouldn’t have worked. I could nitpick and say I wasn’t too crazy on The Tardis just flying off on its own without being explained fully. Yet that could be a set up for next weeks episode.

Speaking of next week's episode, I have to be honest and say I couldn’t get a read on it. But it looks like we are getting a big CGI monster. So that’s could go either way knowing the budget for this show. But after this week's episode, I don’t care if they show me Mr Blobby holding a fidget spinner for 45 minutes As I loved this week's episode a lot. The Easter eggs called back to my favourite The Doctor and the episode entertained me a lot. I think the much simpler nature was just what I needed after the last story. Will be interesting to see what I think after a repeat viewing. I hope you all enjoy it as much as I did.

10/10 stars.


Graham Leslie