REVIEW - Doctor Who - S07E09

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The Doctor’s on a submarine, which is too bad because he meant to be in Las Vegas. That’s right Clara’s second trip in the Tardis finds her stuck in a sinking Soviet submarine with a rogue Ice Warrior on the loose.

It’s the 1980s and the crew of a Soviet sub has just dug something unknown out of the ice (no it’s not Captain America). The Professor (David Warner) on board plans on waiting until they get home to thaw out the mystery creature (which he thinks is a manatee) but an unfortunate soldier just can’t handle the suspense and takes matter into his own hands with a blow torch.

Once he’s warmed up the Ice Warrior takes his anger out on the sub and its inhabitants causing it to start sinking. That’s when the Doctor (Matt Smith) arrives with a very confused Clara (Jenna-Louise Coleman). Almost as soon as they arrive the Tardis dematerializes, which is really very not good.

True to form the Doctor tries negotiation first, but when the Ice Warrior (who’s been on ice for 5000 years) doesn’t receive back up he takes it personally and decides to take it out on earth by starting a nuclear war. After a couple more failed attempts at negotiation, the Ice Warrior’s rescue ship finally turns up and Clara is able to talk them into aborting the nuclear strike with the help of Duran Duran thus saving the world.

Overall, I actually really enjoyed this episode. It has a Classic series feel to it, which is rather endearing. The episode is small, simple and just silly enough to make it the Doctor Who we know and love. There is minimal use of special effects but the confined location helps to maintain suspense. In fact the lack of noticeable visual effects make the reveal of the space ship at the end much more satisfying.

Matt Smith is fantastic as usual, shifting from hilarious physical comedy to seriously intense monologues seamlessly. Guest stars Liam Cunningham (Captain Zhukov) and David Warner do a decent job of making us care about characters that aren’t much more than walking stereotypes (as can be expected in monster-of-the-week adventures).

The problem, again, is with Clara. To her credit Jenna-Louise Coleman is clearly talented and incredibly charismatic but I’m becoming increasingly convinced that Clara is actually a companion-bot programed to be the Doctor’s perfect partner. Throughout this episode she is incredibly inconsistent, and while she is the one to save the day in the end her victory comes from nowhere. As a result it feels forced, as does most of Clara’s characterization.

All in all this was a fun episode with a great reintroduction of a classic monster. Let’s hope we see more of the Ice Monsters in the future.

Review by Yvonne Popplewell

More of Yvonne’s works can be found at her blog.  


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