Series Issues: Doctor Who & the Empress of Mars

Spoilers might rise from a 5,000 years nap.

dr-who-s10e9-the-empress-of-mars

(Source: BBC)

It’s nice to see the Doctor playing with anachronisms. This week we get alien invaders. Okey, they’re actually human invaders, but they’re alien to the landscape. We’re on a trip to Mars, and this time the TARDIS seems to have decided to leave both the Doctor and Bill there. Why it does this, it’s a mystery that might have a simple explanation.

The British army have landed on Mars using an Ice Warrior’s ship. Friday, as he has been dubbed, made a deal so he could come back to Mars. With the promises of riches beyond their wildest dreams, the British have also in possession of a high-tech cannon called the Gargantuan made of parts from Friday’s ship. That’s already too much exposition, let’s get to the good part.

It’s basically one of those role reversals in which the humans are the invaders and the Ice Warriors of Mars are defending their world. It is not the first time the Doctor meets the Ice Warriors… Okey, technically it is 1881 so it might be the first one in chronological order. They can be deadly, and are considered among the Doctor’s foes. Their wrist-mounted cannons shoot… Well, something that folds humans into a nice packed ball of clothes. That reminds me, I gotta do laundry later.

It comes down to the Doctor, Bill Potts and the Coronel leading the expedition, who gets outed as a coward. He also does the old Han-Solo-esque tried and true trope of running away and showing up at the last minute to save the day and kill the Captain who led the mutiny against him.

In the end, the apparently vengeful Empress Queen of Mars shows she values true bravery and basically takes in the expedition as part of her own troops. It’s a weird finale as the british soldiers literally just accepted to become part of the Ice Warriors. But I somehow got sold by the entire retro futuristic aspect of the episode.

Besides, with Missy showing up at the end, having driven the TARDIS back, I can’t help but count it as a win. I don’t think Nardole had any choice, but I also can’t help but wonder why the TARDIS was acting up so much that it took Missy to make it behave. Actually, I have a theory.

Highs/Lows/AtLeastThereWasNoMattDamon:

  • The theory of why the TARDIS was misbehaving and why it took the likes of Missy to fix it is simple: she might be the one who sabotaged it in the first place. Kind of obvious and easy, but that’s why it makes sense.
  • The Empress considers the Doctor’s offer even after the attack from one of the British soldiers, but as long as she gets to hear Bill’s opinion. “We’re surrounded by loud males,” she says. “I would value your opinion.”
  • Imprisoned in the brig, Bill gets a laugh from the rank-stripped Coronel when she dares suggest that the Doctor and herself are sort of the police.
  • Bill forgives the Coronel his Victorian attitude on the grounds that he’s actually from Victorian times.
  • Missy is finally out of the Vault. At least I want a few episodes of her riding in the TARDIS with the team.
  • I don’t blame Nardole for letting Missy out one little bit. It was the only chance that there was to getting the TARDIS back to Mars and Victorian times.

That will do for now.

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