Doctor Who: Cold War Review

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By Will Barber – Taylor

The Doctor and Clara land on a damaged Russian Submarine in 1983 as it spirals out of control into the ocean depths. An alien creature is loose on board having escaped from a block of Arctic ice. With tempers flaring and a cargo of nuclear weapons on board, it’s not just the crew but the whole of humanity at stake!

After taking Clara to somewhere “awesome” last week, The Timelord attempts to take her to Las Vegas. However, the TARDIS instead decides to dump The Doctor and Clara in the middle of a sinking Russian Submarine. This is where the fun begins.

Cold War is a jump into the middle of the action story. This isn’t a bad thing seeing as the two previous episodes have taken a good percentage of its 45 minute running time just to introduce us to things we already know. The lines come quick and fast, one after the other, and help add an air of mad cap dashing to the affair which hikes up the drama, even before The Ice Warrior has appeared. Gattis uses the claustrophobic atmosphere of the submarine to his advantage, creating mounting tension, ready for the reveal of the episode’s villain.

After some bickering, The Doctor, Clara and co meet Skaldak, an Ice Warrior Grand Marshall who has been frozen in the Arctic ice for over 5,000 years. After Skaldak is electrocuted by Lieutenant Stepashin (Tobias Menzies from Rome and Game of Thrones), The Doctor pleads with Captain Zhukov (Liam Cunningham) to speak with “the monster.” However, it is finally decided that Clara should speak to him.

Clara has a chat with the Ice Warrior who then escapes by leaving his shell behind. With the gooey lizard on the run, The Timelord and co. must find the deadly beast before he blows up Earth. After lots of running around and The Doctor saying Stepashin’s name as though it is “shit fan”, we finally come to the conclusion of our ‘80s tale. The Doctor gives a moral speech and The Ice Warrior leaves Earth forever.

Cold War draws on many things from Doctor Who’s past. It has a setting similar to that of the first Ice Warrior story, the imaginatively named The Ice Warriors (1967). The rhythm is the same as 2005’s Dalek, the story that brought the Daleks back to the series. The episode conjures up a nostalgic Who feeling with it setting, main villain and a plot which harks back to a darker more interesting time in the show’s history.

Due to the quick pace of the story and the plot lead theme of the story, there is not much acting which can be commented upon. So instead I shall talk about The Ice Warrior redesign.

The Ice Warrior design is wonderfully made, mixing military armour with reptilian skin. The new design keeps with the old one but manages to update it by making the Ice Warriors slightly taller. The helmet is more upright and does not fall into the chest as the previous did. A big round of applause should be given to the costume designer for coming up with a new twist on an old design.

Cold War is brilliantly executed, wonderfully directed and visually stunning. Even though the acting isn’t at the fore front due to the plot being so driven and hectic, it is one of the best episodes of this series.

 

NEXT TIME:

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One response to “Doctor Who: Cold War Review

  1. Pingback: Doctor Who: Cold War (2013) | An American View of British Science Fiction·

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