Doctor Who: Empress of Mars review – great Classic Who nods
God Save the Queen!
That’s what The Doctor, Bill, and Nardole find hidden on the Mar’s surface when they pop into NASA on a whim. And just like that our favorite Time Lord and friends are off on an adventure to Mars!
Wonderful character names
Part of the fun of this episode are the fun names such as Colonel Godsacre and Captain Catchlove. After Bill falls down a hole in 1881 Mars, Nardole is dispatched by the Doctor to fetch rope. Unfortunately the Tardis acts up and sends him back to the Doctor’s office.
We learn mild-mannered Colonel Godsacre discovered an injured Ice Warrior, Godsacre dubs Friday, and his crashed spaceship in South African. Godsacre scrapes together a battered battalion of British soldiers to mine on Mars in exchange for helping Friday return him to his home world.
I’ve got a bad feeling about this…
Friday’s true motivation to return to Mars is to awaken the Ice Warrior queen, Iraxxa after a 5,000 year slumber. The true villain turns out to be Captain Catchlove who wanted to escape with as much bounty as he could. Unfortunately for everyone Iraxxa has a whole hive of Ice Warriors awakening and loyal to her.
Luckily Godsacre ditches his cowardly ways and kills Catchlove’s and saving Iraxxa. Furthermore, Godsacre offers his life to the Ice Queen to stop the Ice Warriors from killing his battalion. An impressed Iraxxa spares the humans and takes Godsacre with her and the Ice Warriors to find a new planet to call home.
Alpha Centauri returns!
Alpha Centauri still voiced by 92 year old Ysanne Churchman returns to welcome the Ice Warriors to the rest of the universe. This was a nod to the 1972’s classic The Curse of Peladon and 1974’s The Monster of Peladon, which featured the ‘hermaphrodite hexapod’.
Nardole returns to Mars to retrieve The Doctor and Bill. The catch is Nardole had to free Missy from the vault to navigate the Tardis. The Doctor looks shocked to see Missy but I was shocked with Missy repeatedly asked The Doctor if he was ok. Can she sense his impending regeneration or is it something else?
Better suited as a two parter?
My only minor criticism is the ending for the episode was quite rushed. I think they could have made this a two parter and fleshed out the story a bit more.
I give Empress of Mars four and a half stars out of five.