Doctor Who Review: Cold War
The Doctor and Clara find themselves on a Soviet submarine during the cold war. If that weren’t enough, the submarine has found something mysterious frozen in the ice.
Best Moment: The return of the ice warriors, do you need a better moment? Okay, how about when they discover that Skaldak has left his shell. Or how about when the Doctor says that the TARDIS is at the pole…. the South pole.
Verdict: For the most part, I really enjoyed this episode. It was ambitious, and in some ways was always going to fail in parts. For one thing, I’m not sure how accurate some of the submarine stuff was. For instance, you never get the feeling that they’re on this tiny, cramped sub. I mean. It seemed like there was only about a half a dozen sailors on the boat. For another, the whole reason Skaldak is de-frosted is kinda silly and implausible.
Still, ignoring those pesky little facts, it really did create a fun little episode. Was it ground breaking? No. It was clearly a base under siege episode. Still, it was a base under siege episode with an ice warrior! That’s pretty cool. I loved the Alien homage they paid, when Skaldak leaves his suit and is slowly picking off the crew, all the while gathering information about mankind. It was properly creepy, as a Doctor Who episode should feel, ask any person who used to hide behind the couch while watching it as a child. I did notice a touch of War of the Worlds too, with the look of Skaldak. And lets not forget that E.T. homage ending.
I have to say a bit about the fantastic cast this episode. Liam Cunningham as Captain Zhukov was a welcome sight. Honestly, I just wish he could have done even more. Tobias Menzies and David Warner were all equally fantastic, Warner especially injecting some much-needed humour. What a great bit of casting from the BBC. As for Jenna-Louise Coleman she is continuing to show what a great actress she is and what a cool companion Clara is. The scene where Clara sees the dead bodies of the crew was probably the first scene of implied gore that I can remember in New Who and Coleman really managed to convey just how much Clara is trying to keep it together.
Now for the ending. Yes, the end was a bit uninspired. It seemed a let down. I know they’re trying to show, once more, that Clara is the one who saves the day by getting through to Skaldak, but all this speechifying lately seems a bit much. Also, I didn’t really get the Doctor’s whole threat of mutually assured destruction. Skaldak, at that point, believed he had nothing to lose. I figured he was fine destroying himself anyway, but maybe he was only willing to do so if it meant destroying humanity as well.
This episode seemed to have very little to do with the Clara arc. Or does it? I’m not sure. I feel like there is still some clue I’m missing but I can’t think what. In the meantime, I do hope we get to see more from the ice warriors.