Doctor Who Special: The Waters of Mars (B)
The Waters of Mars was an episode unlike most episodes of Doctor Who you may have seen before. In this special, the Doctor finds himself on Mars on the exact day that the first Mars base (aptly titled Bowie Base One) is destroyed. Except unlike other instances, this is one of those fixed points in time, like Pompeii, in which the Doctor is unable to help.
And so he stands back in both horror and morbid curiosity as events unfold. However, aside from the fact that the Doctor is not actively trying to save everyone, the first half of the story plays along like your standard Who episode, albeit with a bit better SFX. The villain is a water-based alien creature/infection (hence The Waters of Mars), who picks off the crew one by one, playing out a little like The Thing, as each of the crew become infected. And the Doctor must continue to watch, explaining to the captain, Adelaid Brooke (played by the fantastic Lindsay Duncan) that there is nothing that he can do. Her death will lead to her granddaughter taking the human race into interstellar space.
But at about the halfway to three quarters mark, when it seems like all hope is lost, the Doctor makes a decision. He is the last Time Lord and thus he makes the rules, not time. And so he strives to save them, which while resulting in a brief moment of the zany eye-popping Tenant that we know and love, ultimately turns into something much darker.
This is a new type of Doctor, a powerful being who can change the course of the human race, and he won't play by the rules. The results of course is that Adelaide sees what the Doctor fails to see, that no one person should have the ability to change the course of the human race, and she takes actions into her own hands. While the doctor finds himself summoned by the Ood and realises that he is a Time Lord living on borrowed time.
In some ways, I find myself wondering what they can possibly do with the Doctor now that he has come to this inevitable point in his character development. But the writers of Doctor Who never cease to amaze me, and I'm sure that Stephen Moffat will have plenty of surprises for us. In the meantime, there is still more Tenant/Davies Who to go with the Christmas special where we will get to see a showdown with the Master. Can't wait!!
Return from Doctor Who Special: The Waters of Mars to TV