Doctor Who – Series 10, Episode 9: “Empress of Mars”

  • Ah, I always enjoy seeing NASA in anything. Too bad the Doctor and his buddies have to come along and ruin the dramatic atmosphere in Mission Control.
  • I do like the concept of Victorian soldiers on Mars, but it’s not used to its full potential – they’re just hanging about in tunnels and steampunk is kept to a minimum. There are a few little things I still liked, such as the slang (e.g. “You’ll get your share of the rhino”), though I couldn’t say whether it’s accurate or not; and the portrait of Queen Victoria resembling Pauline Collins, who played her all the way back in Series 2.
  • It’s almost like the show itself realises how superfluous Nardole is outside of the business with the vault, as the TARDIS spirits him away from the adventure without warning or explanation.
  • So Bill’s thing for this episode is making movie references, and still being a bit mouthy. I’m still not into her.
  • While we’ve seen plenty of “the humans are the alien invaders” stories in sci-fi before, this one at least feels different in that it’s only a small band of humans – who don’t have the power to trash the whole planet a la Avatar – and the resident aliens have the clear advantage when the fighting starts.
  • And of course some greedy bugger ignores the warnings for the sake of some treasure, and brings hellfire down on everyone else. Isn’t that always the way?
  • The design of the Ice Queen is good, especially the insectile eyes – she looks like a proper Doctor Who monster without the need for CGI. I like the rattling reptilian noises that the Ice Warriors make too.
  • For God’s sake, Vincey, you never start talking about your beloved fiancee or pulling out pictures when you’re about to go into battle. You might as well be wearing a neon sign that says ‘KILL ME!’
  • I haven’t watched any classic episodes involving the Ice Warriors yet, so I don’t know about their history in the old series, but presumably their continued survival outside Mars ties into them coming to rescue Skaldak in the Series 7 episode Cold War?
  • So, any explanation for why the TARDIS went away in the first place? No?

This one came close to being a nice classic adventure, but honestly, I found it lacking in much of real interest. Not only that, but I’m just getting tired of Bill, and Nardole, and the vault – this whole series has been a let-down so far. Here’s hoping for something better from the last three episodes. Rating: 3/5.

About R.J. Southworth

Hi there. I've been blogging since January 2014, and I like to talk about all sorts of things: book reviews, film reviews, writing, science, history, or sometimes just sharing miscellaneous thoughts. Thanks for visiting my blog, and I hope you find something that interests you!
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2 Responses to Doctor Who – Series 10, Episode 9: “Empress of Mars”

  1. Burrunjor says:

    I thought this was the best of series 10 so far, and the second best of the Capaldi era (though that’s not saying much.)

    The chick playing the Ice Queen was brilliant, the new effects for the Ice Warriors killing people were very original, and I loved the cameo at the end.

    SPOILERS The high voiced alien that showed up at the end is a character from two classic Who stories involving the Ice Warriors. I LOVED her cameo. It was so much fun and a brilliant link to the old series.

    I agree the pop culture references were annoying. Also points off for Missy’s appearance. Missy is the single worst character in Doctor Who’s history. Nothing but pandering to SJW bullies in the fandom. Its almost as if Moffat is including her in as many episodes as possible because he knows how much most people hate her, and he just wants to rub it in people’s faces before he leaves?

    Liked by 1 person

    • The Ice Queen was pretty good: I had a look to see what else Adele Lynch had been in, but all that’s mentioned on IMDB is The Bill. The soldiers being apparently compacted into cubes by the Ice Warrior guns just looked weird to me.

      I still quite like Missy, but she’s not being used well compared to the last two series.


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