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Sunday, April 14, 2013

Doctor Who Review: Cold War

Doctor Who Cold War

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Now, onto last night's thrilling episode of Doctor Who: "Cold War". This was a wet and wild thriller featuring the Doctor and the crew of a Russian nuclear submarine against the mightiest of Mars' soldiers. I really felt the suspense in this episode, especially when Clara went to speak to Skaldak herself and when the Martian Grand Marshall was slithering around the sub and grabbing soldiers left and right. And kudos to the cast and crew for making a fast-paced, exciting episode take place in a small, cramped submarine. We're so used to the Doctor going on big adventures in space and time, and this episode proved that excitement and danger can be found even (and especially) in the closest of quarters.

Doctor Who
Depicted: Fun and Excitement
I think the episode was stolen by none other than the Ice Warrior himself, Grand Marshall Skaldak. From the get-go we see him as an imposing warrior, a cunning villain, and a really creepy escapee. Watching those bony, sharp hands caress his next victim was as uncomfortable as it was suspenseful. Nicholas Briggs, the voice of the Daleks, did a phenomenal job making Skaldak's voice both menacing, authoritative, and cunning. The scenes where he is angry and frustrated about being frozen for 5,000 years, and his daughter being nothing but dust now, made you feel just the slightest bit of sympathy for the ugly, merciless, deadly cyborg.

"D'oh...he's right behind me isn't he?"

A big part of what made this so suspenseful is the fact that Skaldak could not be defeated. He had the edge on the Doctor and the crew from the moment he defrosted to the moment his people picked him up. He toyed with the Doctor and Clara when he pretended to be in his armor, as he picked off the crew one by one, and when he went back into his armor and became a juggernaut. At the end, when Skaldak was seconds from launching the nukes and starting World War III, The Doctor was left to either appeal to his sense of honor and mercy, or blow up the sub with everyone in it. Even after Skaldak departed, the Doctor could only hope and pray that he would release his electronic hold on the launch sequence. In a show with many surprises, but often a sense of safety, this episode kept me on pins and needles the whole time.

"Drat! Metal chains from 1983! My one weakness!"
This was also an important episode for Clara. There comes a time for every companion when he or she realizes exactly what the cost is when the Doctor materializes into your life. Seeing the mutilated bodies of the dead crew members made her realize that for all the fun and excitement, things can get very serious very quickly. And not all companions have made it through their adventures unscathed.

Doctor Who The Cold War
"Great, now you tell me."

And speaking of Clara, I cannot help but note a very important reference that might be a clue as to her true identity. When Professor Grisenko and Clara are searching the sub together, he mentions that he likes to keep his spirits by singing a song. A voracious consumer of 80's Western pop culture (what would the Kremlin think?), he mentions to her that his new favorite song is "Hungry Like a Wolf" by Duran Duran. Clara herself even shakily sings the song towards the end as they wait for Skaldak to cease his transmission to the submarine's nuclear missiles. What's important about this is that another companion was very closely associated with the Wolf....namely....The Bad Wolf.

"I'm on the hunt I'm after you.."
I'm actually working on a post detailing all the rumors and theories about Clara. One is that she is somehow linked to Rose Tyler. Throughout her three incarnations there have been roses (Oswin has a rose in her hair, Victorian Clara works at the Rose & Crown, and the Doctor lays roses on her bedside table as she rests in "The Bells of St. John") and, in "The Bells of St. John", she was told by a girl in a shop to call the TARDIS number. Rose worked in, would repeatedly reference, and would again in the parallel universe work in a shop. The inclusion of "Hungry Like a Wolf" cannot be a coincidence. I'm pretty sure Steven Moffat has outlawed them. Also reminiscent of Rose is when Clara approaches Skaldak by herself as the Doctor watches from a screen in another room. The scene reminded me very much of when Rose first encountered the Dalek in Series One's "Dalek". Coincidence or not, it makes you wonder just how this all will lead to Rose's appearance in the 50th Anniversary Special.

And that's it for another amazing episode in Series 7B! Next week's episode "Hide" looks to be a proper ghost story. Doctor Who was said to make little kids hide behind the couch during its classic might do the same to this blogger next week.

Oh, and Professor Grisenko? He's played by David Warner. You may know him as Professor Jordan Perry from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: Secret of the Ooze.

Ninja Turtles II: Secret of the Ooze
Doctor Who
The fan in me would love to see this cross-over.

'Til next time!

- Joe

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