Saturday, April 20, 2013

Doctor Who: Cold War

Doctor Who: Cold War 

“Hair, shoulder pads, nukes. It's the 80s. Everything's bigger.”

-The Doctor 

How do you make Clara relevant? Add David Warner! David Warner in this episode plays a Soviet crewmember/mechanic on a nuclear sub where a frozen Ice Warrior has been discovered. Clara is amazed that she can speak Russian, so the Doctor has to explain that the TARDIS translates, again. Anyway, the Doctor had planned for a Las Vegas trip but mistakenly arrives on this Russian nuclear sub in the 80s, and the Ice Warrior perceives it is captured, and discovers the missile abroad which could start WW3.

   David Warner’s mechanic is obsessed with Western culture and rock music. He serves as an intermediary to the Russians and the Doc’s Crew and convinces the captain they aren’t British spies (as originally thought.) For once, the Doctor tells the truth that he’s an alien. David Warner inspects the screwdriver and says maybe they’re telling the truth. Clara acts like a dope and confronts the alien but not before the Doctor explains that maybe now’s not the best time for questions. (Again, she doesn’t understand that theoretically the world could end in the 80s.) But, The Doctor is discovered while Clara again asks The Doctor what to say to the giant alien warrior.

    Well, this makes the creature angry and it busts free to find the missile. Since the TARDIS vanished away in defense mode when the Russians shot at it upon arrival, they can’t just zoom away from the nuclear crisis. David Warner makes funny remarks and asks what happens to Ultravox in the future. He has a stylish walkman. The Doctor finally confronts the alien and tells it that it has no honor, which is an affront to his warrior code. Meanwhile, with the creature’s cooperation, The Doctor shuts down the missile, but not before the mad Russian captain attacks it with a machine gun; The Doctor tells him to stop though, and eventually the Ice Warrior mothership arrives, the problem is resolved. The TARDIS materializes (Wa, wa, waa…) in the South Pole and The Doctor asks for a lift as Clara and the Russians laugh off this near-Armageddon episode in Classic Doctor Who manner.

  A nice funny episode which reintroduces newbies to the Ice Warriors and concepts like the TARDIS translation matrix. Unfortunately, it still makes Clara look like a newbie, but David Warner’s giddy Russian portrayal at least excuses and expertly equals her naïve behavior. The dénouement  with the ice warrior’s code of honor being invoked felt particularly classic, as did the laugh-it-off ending. So 80s. Although the 7th Doctor hated the Ice Warriors, here we see a Doctor with the knowledge that the Cold War can end peacefully, and so he negotiates with them, instead of vowing their destruction. A nice mix of old and new that’s been a theme this season; no doubt for the 50th anniversary!

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