Before I launch into the review, I have a rant to get off my chest. *Inhales deeply* WHY DOES BBC AMERICA NEVER SHOW THE “NEXT TIME” TRAILERS!? WHY DOES IT NEVER DO ANYTHING RIGHT!? YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO SHOW THE TRAILER FOR THE NEXT EPISODE AND NOT SOME PROMO FOR THE SHOW THAT’S ON NEXT! YOU HAVE DUTIES TO THE AMERICAN WHOVIANS! WE HAVE RIGHTS! ARE YOU TRYING TO PUNISH US FOR THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION!? WE WILL NOT BE SILENT!
Okay, I feel better now. Anyway, “Empress of Mars” is Mark Gatiss’s first episode since last season’s disappointly dull “Sleep No More”, and he totally made up for it. The Doctor, Bill, and Nardole discover that “God save the Queen” was spelled out on Mars circa 1881, so naturally they have to investigate what happened. It turns out they find a troop of British soldiers who came to Mars via the crashed spaceship of an Ice Warrior. The Ice Warrior, whom they call Friday, promised them gems beyond their wildest imagination, but, alas, there are no gems to mine. But there is another reason Friday persuaded them to take him back to Mars–to resurrect Iraxxa, Empress of Mars.
I think this is by far one of the strongest Ice Warrior stories we’ve ever had. Even in Classic Who, we really just got stories of the mighty warriors they were of old. Here we actually got to see how deserving they were of their fearsome reputations. Plus, it makes their decision to pursue the ways of peace in “The Curse of Peladon” all the more interesting (and their reversion to war in “The Monster of Peladon” not all that surprising). And speaking of the Peladon stories, it was a thrill to see Alpha Centauri again.
I’m still not convinced of Missy’s goodness, and this week’s episode only strengthened my suspicions. I can’t help but suspect that she was the one who somehow caused the TARDIS to malfunction knowing that Nardole would seek her help when he was unable to fix it himself. Rule number one is the Doctor lies; rule number two is Moffat lies, and I’m pretty convinced that rule number 3 is the Master lies.
Next week, the Romans return in “The Eaters of Light”! They probably won’t be Nestene Romans, which means no chance of Nestene Rory, but I suppose we’ll make do.