Doctor Who 7×09
When I finished this episode I texted Sage saying “I have no idea what to write.” “Cold War” is interesting because it’s not very “feelsy”. It’s a stand alone, tension filled, good old-fashioned episode of Doctor Who. It’s not one that you flail over and it’s not one that I will go back and revisit very often, but that doesn’t mean that it was not a damn good 45 minutes of television. It had a fantastic supporting cast, led by the great David Warner as Professor Grisenko (who actually reminded me of Wilf. Great. Now I have Donna Noble feelings). “Cold War” felt like a classic thriller in the vein of Alien, especially once Skaldak went rogue and left his armor, skulking around the submarine attacking crew members. I genuinely shrieked when his claws descended from the ceiling grabbing Clara’s face!
We first met the Ice Warriors in a story with Patrick Troughton’s Second Doctor (He is Matt Smith’s favorite Doctor, btw. I feel the current pattern on his bow tie is an homage to him). I’m relatively new to the Whovian fandom (hard to believe it was really only a little over a year ago that I saw “Rose”!!). I’ve obviously seen all the post 2005 episodes and am slowly delving into the Classic Era. I was shown 4 of the 6 parts of “The Ice Warriors” as 2 of the episodes are lost and exist only in reconstructed form, which I was deemed “not yet ready for”. “Cold War” was a great tribute to the style of classic stories except they only had 45 minutes as opposed to 150. That timing factor eliminates a lot of the “just running around” that is in “The Ice Warriors” and set up “Cold War” as a rare Doctor Who episode that takes place entirely in real-time (one would even call it a bottle episode, in both a literal and figurative sense). The sense of it all taking place within the span of 45 minutes really amped up the tension.
As a side note, Troughton’s Doctor is quite different in regards to his portrayal of The Doctor with his smaller stature and mop top Beatles-esque hair. I found him to be delightful, though Pertwee’s Third Doctor remains my favorite of the Classic era, with Baker’s Fourth Doctor running a very very close second.
I also saw many similarities in “Cold War” to the Series One episode “Dalek”. Both had classic Who villains who had been completely isolated from the rest of their race, giving the villains a sense of nothing to lose. Both had scenes with the companions alone with the villains. Both saw them leaving their armor. And both ended with the companions appealing to whatever sliver of compassion the villain could possibly have. The difference between the Daleks and the Ice Warriors is that while the Daleks just want to exterminate everyone, the Ice Warriors have a sense of honor and a military code. Skaldak believes that he is entirely alone in the universe and that’s why he goes off the rails. Well, that and the fact that he was attacked by a cattle prod. The Doctor appeals to the sense of honor that he KNOWS is deeply instilled in Skaldak throughout the entire episode. Skaldak (in an almost Biblical fashion) denies that appeal twice. It was only when The Doctor threatened to blow up the submarine, killing himself, his companion, and the entire crew that he began to waver. And then we had our Deus ex Machina moment: the Ice Warrior ship arrives. Skaldak is NOT alone. That realization, combined with seeing the honor in The Doctor’s willingness to sacrifice life for the greater good AND the healing power of Clara singing Duran Duran snapped Skaldak back to his senses. He relented, proving that there IS honor in mercy.
Timey Wimey Observations:
Really Steven Moffat? You had to pick THAT song? You Troll. You’re just adding more fuel to this theory.
– Also WHY does The Doctor carry around a Barbie doll?! That is blonde. And dressed in pink. And he is SUPER grateful that it was saved.
(I can just picture Moffat and Gatiss sitting around the computer thinking of ways to drive Rose Tyler fans bonkers. #forevertrolling)
– The Doctor’s Sonic Screwdriver now has a Red Setting. River Song first mentioned that it would in “Silence in the Library”. We know that we are going to see her again this series, but now that the sonic has a red setting, could this be the last time we see her? Is it nearly time for River’s fateful trip to the Library?
– Am I the only one who thought that the noises Skaldak was making as he stalked around the sub sounded just like The Smoke Monster from Lost?
– The Doctor asked Clara to stay put AND SHE DID. Bravo Doctor! You finally found a companion who listens to you!
– “Professor, I could kiss you.” “If you insist.” #gpoy
– How exactly DO Clara and The Doctor find their way to the South Pole to meet back up with the TARDIS??
That’s it for this week! Sage will be recapping next week’s CREEPY looking ghost story episode, “Hide”. Till then, Whovians!