Original Air Date: Apr 13, 2013
Maria – Associate Staff Writer
A soviet submarine in the height of the Cold War. Mystery cargo which some fool decides to open before orders. David Warner playing the “Professor” onboard, who is far more into his music than he is into blowing up the Earth. What a shame it starts to sink.
Then, the TARDIS materializes on it, Clara and the Doctor tumble out, and sensing the threat the TARDIS pops off to somewhere a little safer, leaving our adventurers stranded. Just how are they going to get out of this one, eh?
The Doctor is able to land the submarine on a ledge, although there’s still no way to get it to surface. They’re slowly going to suffocate, if the gas doesn’t get them first. Turn around Doctor, and you’ll see that’s not gas. In fact, it is an Ice Warrior. Grand Marshal Skaldak may not be evil, but he is definitely dangerous.
Made infinitely worse by the way the sailors first instinct is to attack the warrior. They incapacitate him with a cattle prod, but he’s going to be very mad when he wakes up in chains. Skaldak sends a message to his race to come collect him, but he believes he’s alone, and has nothing to lose.
The Russians are debating what to do with Clara and the Doctor. Lieutenant Stepashin insisting they must be spies. Clara doesn’t even know Russian, but she’s speaking it thanks to the TARDIS translation matrix (which still works when the TARDIS isn’t there. Am I the only one that thinks the TARDIS’ ability to get inside companion’s minds is a little creepy?). Thankfully, the Captain and the Professor are a little less blood-thirsty.
In fact, the Doctor and the Captain argue over which one should talk to the Ice Warrior. The Doctor says that Skaldak would smell soldier on the Captain and see him as a threat. Unfortunately, would the Doctor smell like soldier? Clara decides to go, despite the Doctor’s strong objections. Clara is the one to realize that the suit is empty. The Ice Warrior has escaped and is roaming the submarine.
It comes across Lieutenant Stepashin first, his long green claws gripping the man’s head. Stepashin tries to negotiate by imploring Skaldak to end the truce and make heated war break out again, so Stepashin would have a physical war to fight. Skaldak does not spare him. It doesn’t spare the other Russains either. Poor, poor red shirts.
Skaldak does spare Clara. He had her in his grasp, and the Professor shot at Skaldak in order to protect her. Unfortunately, that makes the sweet old man a target. The Captain arrives, pointing a gun at Skaldak’s body, wanting him to release the Professor. The Captain is willing to negotiate, he just wants to do it from a position of power. Unfortunately, weapons do not equal power.
The Ice Warrior summons his armor, his “shell suit” as Clara calls it. I like to think of it as a shell suit. Makes it seem less deadly. But Skladar believes he is all alone, and he’s onboard a submarine which has the nuclear power to end life as we know it.
There seems to be a pattern. The Doctor talks at an alien, the alien is still all growly and destructive. Clara talks, and the alien is defeated. This time, she stalls Skaldak long enough for the Ice Warriors to come and collect him, bringing the submarine to the surface in the process. But the missile is still armed, and the only way out of this is for Skaldak to show mercy.
The Professor’s love for music has been a strong thread of frivolity throughout the episode, so Clara finally relents and sings “Hungry Like the Wolf” to keep morale up. Skaldak shows mercy, and they are saved.
Well, mostly saved. They’re stranded on ice and the TARDIS has landed by the South Pole. The Hostile Action Displacement System may seem a slight cop out, but if you are going to use a cop out at least it’s a canon one, as it happened to the Second Doctor when up against the Krotons. At least our adventurers, the Captain, the Professor and another handful of Russians survived. And there’s a whole army of Ice Warriors still out there.
What are your thoughts on this Alien-esque episode? How awesome was the Professor? Why does that Doctor carry a doll along with his sonic screwdriver? What do you think of the modern version of the classic Ice Warriors? Please, leave a comment with your TwoCents.