selenak: (Tardis - Hellopinkie)
[personal profile] selenak
I wasn't exactly overflowing with confidence when I saw this was a Mark Gattis episode, because to repeat for the nth time, I think he's a better actor than writer. However, there is the occasional exception to this rule, and I'm happy to report that this particular episode after the last two duds was enjoyable to me again.



For all that Bill's throwing 80s sci fi movies references around in this episode, the whole Victorians on Mars conceit was an enjoyable romp of a homage to ye olde end-of-19th-century Science Fiction - Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, Edgar Rice Burroughs - with a Whovian slant: the Victorian soldiers on Mars are would-be invaders vastly outmatched in technology by the "natives", the condescendingly called "Friday" by the Victorians has in fact instrumentalized them without being evil for it, and the honorable human impressing the Empress by the end so that a truce (or rather, a sparing) happens doesn't do so by assuming command over the Ice Warriors but by a) dealing with the one human who keeps threatening everyone and b) being willing not just to die but to live in service in order to save the rest.

(BTW: are we to assume the guys from Alpha Centauri who picked up the Ice Warriors will also bring the remaining Victorians back to Earth? Or is "Friday's" vessel indeed repaired enough for that?)

(More questions: didn't you get shot for desertion in the Victorian army as opposed to hanged? And how was the Colonel able to keep this secret anyway, and go on commanding, albeit blackmailed by the Captain? I thought these executions were in front of the regiment, or did fiction misinform me?)

The Ice Warriors not being buried again by the end of the episode when peace was reached but getting off planet looks to me like a possible set up for them returning in the finale, so we might get more Bill and Empress interaction; the Empress was rather curious about her.

Since I doubt the TARDIS actively ships Doctor/Master - she won't have forgotten the Year That Wasn't and spending it tormented as a Paradox Machine - I'm assuming for now that her taking off with Nardole which eventually forced him to enlist Missy's aid, thus freeing Missy from the vault, in order to retrieve Bill and the Doctor from Mars was anything but a coincidence. Again, the Master had the TARDIS for quite a while in late s3 and could have build in a great number of things other than the Paradox machine. A recall device would be the least of it.

Date: 13 Jun 2017 03:45 (UTC)
davetheanalyzer: (Default)
From: [personal profile] davetheanalyzer
I also liked the episode. The Empress was beautifully designed and I liked the characterizations of her and the Ice Warriors - not bad, but having their own concerns and motivations molded by their culture. Some of the soldiers had their own motivations for being on imperial conquests that wasn't solely around God Save the Queen (Which, even knowing the Martian surface message ahead of time, I initially misread as God Save the Queers - which I think is so much better and should totally have happened).

Catchlove was blustering, stupid, and cowardly enough to sacrifice one sympathetic soldier as a human shield (Who also happened to be the only POC guest character - welp. I did read somewhere Gatiss objected to this casting), which some critics might lambaste, but it's one of the critiqued story cliches you then hear also happened in real life. I did like the Colonel and his arc, even if it was predictable.

Apparently Alpha Centuri was voiced by her retired original VA, whose now in her early 90s.

I believe I read somewhere the Ice Warriors leaving alive was also a shoutout/setup for some Classic Who stuff, so I'm not sure about them returning to the finale, though Bill having a reunion with the Empress and Heather is a charming concept.

I like the theory that Missy isn't faking her regret or helping the Doctor in this series, but is searching for or going to snatch up the opportunity to erase that pesky guilt and regret so she could resume going back to her usual self.

Date: 13 Jun 2017 21:50 (UTC)
kalypso: Bill in puddle (Bill)
From: [personal profile] kalypso
I was thrilled when I heard that voice and realised that Alpha Centauri was about to appear on the screen, and even more thrilled when I found out it wasn't someone doing a pitch perfect imitation of Ysanne Churchman, it was actually Ysanne Churchman. (Who is also famous in the UK for having played Grace Archer in BBC Radio's The Archers, a character who was famously killed off in a fire the night ITV began broadcasting in 1955. This was generally considered a clever move to distract potential ITV viewers, but also appears to have been done to stop Churchman agitating for her colleagues to be paid properly.)

And I love the way the episode set up the "future", with the sympathetic Ice Warriors of The Curse of Peladon - an episode I loved back in 1972 because it was so lovely to meet aliens who (at least this time) weren't baddies.

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