TV Review – ‘Empress of Mars’ (Doctor Who)

Hello everyone! 🙂

SPOILERS ALERT!!!

So is there an episode of Series 10 (so far) in ‘Doctor Who’ that I would consider to be one of my favourites, even if the episode is not a classic by any means? Well actually, yes there is! This one: ‘Empress of Mars’ by Mark Gattis! I honestly enjoyed this ‘Doctor Who’ episode when I saw it on TV.

This episode features the return of the Ice Warriors! I was pleased to see the Ice Warriors again in ‘Doctor Who’. I’m not a huge fan of them, but I’m pleased we get to have an old-fashioned ‘Doctor Who’ monster return to the series. It has been a while since we last saw them in ‘Cold War’ in 2013.

Mark Gattis wrote a lot of ‘Doctor Who’ TV episodes in the past for the Russell T. Davies and Steven Moffat eras. In fact, he wrote ‘Cold War’, the episode that reintroduced the Ice Warriors into the new series of ‘Doctor Who’. It felt right to have him pen another Ice Warriors story in the TV series.

In this episode, we get to see more Ice Warriors compared to the single Ice Warrior we saw in ‘Cold War’. I was pleased to see more Ice Warriors in this new series episode of ‘Doctor Who’. And the best thing about this story…is that we actually get to go to Mars where the Ice Warriors came from.

But more importantly, and this is the episode’s title, we get to meet the Empress of Mars herself called Iraxxa, played by Adele Lynch. She was pretty fearsome when I saw her revived in the episode. There’s also the Ice Warrior called Friday, played by Richard Ashton, who revives Iraxxa from her tomb.

The episode has the Doctor, Bill and Nardole visit Mars, after visiting NASA on Earth and discovering the words “God save the Queen” written on the planet surface. It turns out that there are Victorian soldiers from Great Britain on the planet Mars, as they managed to conquer it for the British Empire.

Nardole gets separated from the Doctor and Bill, as he goes back into the TARDIS and the ship…somehow…goes faulty and returns to Earth (more on this later). Meanwhile, the Doctor and Bill find that the Victorian soldiers have made a bargain with the Ice Warrior, Friday, whilst on Mars.

The concept of Victorian soldiers from Great Britain on Mars is…interesting and unusual. But it’s not an absurd idea and it’s handled rather well by Mark Gattis. There is some back-story on how the Victorian soldiers got to Mars in the first place when they met up with Ice Warrior, Friday, on Earth.

The development of the characters in the episode is good, especially the conflict between the British soldiers and the Ice Warriors when revived on Mars. The development of Colonel Godscare and Captain Catchlove was good and I did like how Iraxxa’s verdict on Godscare at the end was handled.

And as a ‘Doctor Who’ fan, it would be remiss of me not to mention a moment in the episode that made me so happy to see. The episode featured the guest appearance of Alpha Centauri, voiced by Ysanne Churchman, who appeared in the Peladon stories of ‘Doctor Who’ during Jon Pertwee’s era!

Back with Nardole, he gets help from Missy (of all people) to pilot the TARDIS back to Mars and collect the Doctor and Bill up at the end of the episode. This means another guest appearance of Michelle Gomez as Missy from the series. I’m not sure Nardole should have done that in the episode.

On the whole, ‘Empress of Mars’ was a welcome ‘Doctor Who’ episode for me from Series 10. The writing by Mark Gatiss is well done and I enjoyed seeing the Ice Warriors with the special Ice Warrior Empress Iraxxa. Peter Capaldi and Pearl Mackie were also good as the Doctor and Bill in the episode.

Next week’s episode is called ‘The Eaters of Light’ by Rona Munro.

Thanks for reading!

Bye for now!

Tim. 🙂

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2 thoughts on “TV Review – ‘Empress of Mars’ (Doctor Who)

  1. Good review Tim & i mostly agree with your comments although i felt the Doctor was sidelined again in this episode, i mean what exactly did he do?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Simon.

    Glad you enjoyed my review on ‘Empress of Mars’ and that you agree with my comments.

    Like I said, this episode is not a classic by any means and I can see your point about the Doctor being sidelined in this episode. The only things I can remember was him telling the soldiers not to shoot the Ice Warriors in the episode. And I believe he was the one who started the beginning of alliances between the Ice Warriors and Alpha Centauri at the end.

    I’ll have to re-watch the episode again to be sure of what the Doctor and Bill did in the episode. I get the impression that the Doctor was the negotiator in this story as he was with the Silurians and Sea Devils during the Jon Pertwee era.

    Looking forward to next week’s episode by Rona Munro. I hope that’s a good one.

    Tim. 🙂

    Like

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