Sunday, April 14, 2013

Cold War Review

I'm really starting to like the character of Clara. She still has the essence of new companion: not knowing about the TARDIS translation matrix, about history being in flux, and all that good stuff. You really start to get into the most magical part of Doctor Who, when everything is new and amazing again. She's also a really strong companion, delivering the solution to the episode for the fourth time. Out of only five episodes, she solved all but one of them (one of them she solved by dying!). This time around, she managed to talk Skaldak out of destroying the Earth by mentioning his daughter.

As for the Ice Warriors, it's nice not to have a major redesign. Both the Silurians and the Cybermen got a complete redesign when they were introduced. The Cybermen mostly stayed true to the original, but the Silurians were much closer to human. They're ancient reptiles, they shouldn't look like humans with scales. The Ice Warriors on the other hand, look just as they did 40 years ago. I guess that's because Gatiss was introducing new aspects of them, and that's not really possible if the audience is immediately faced with a redesign. They don't connect with the Ice Warriors in the same way. This was the first time we had seen an Ice Warrior without the suit and I'm pretty sure it's also the first time we've seen one of their ships. I haven't watched any of the Patrick Troughton episodes, but I think the special effects team was working completely from scratch here. The ship does look slightly familiar (I might have seen it in a movie somewhere), but then again, I think a lot of things are familiar that I've never seen before.

I do like the reference to the HADS (Hostile Action Displacement System) I've heard it referenced in a couple of books, but this is the first time it was mentioned in the revived series. I saw a gif on Tumblr stating that the HADS was around in the time of the 2nd Doctor, so I guess the writers of the show were finally willing to bring it back.

We finally got another pockets scene with the Doctor. I loved those in the Tom Baker era. The Doctor would be forced to empty the contents of his jacket pockets and he would produce a never-ending supply of random odds and ends, some which would be completely alien to the people who were searching him. I do wish there was more than just the screwdriver, a Barbie doll, and a bit of twine. They wasted an excellent opportunity for humor there.

Last but not least, the red settings. Why, oh why, did the Doctor go and put those on the screwdriver? He knows the invention of those is just one step closer to seeing River for the last time. I guess the only reason he would go and do that is if he knew he would absolutely need them and that they would save his and Clara's life. That would seem to suggest that he knows something about his future and that he knows he's going to need them. The other explanation is that they will allow him to scan Clara in a way that wasn't possible with the old sonic. He's desperate to find out who or what she is, and he's willing to risk River's life to find out.

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