Summary: Will Mars be the newest edition to the 19th Century British Empire or vice versa
Plot: To the surprise of NASA the message “God Save the Queen” is discovered on the surface of Mars spelled in rocks. The Doctor Bill and Nardole go to investigate and while the TARDIS decides to head back to Earth with Nardole on board the Doctor and Bill find a detachment of 19th Century red coated British infantry who accompanied an Ice Warrior back to Mars, the Brits are looking for wealth but the Martian is looking for his queen. Will the both find what they are looking for and can they co-exist or will the first interplanetary war be between the armies of two Empresses?
Writing: The episode is a mixed bag, there are a lot of interesting twists but also a good supply of stereotypes, particularly concerning the soldiers of the British Empire. Yet the plot concerning the clash of empires works, and the Doctor Dilemma knowing what the future of both Mars and the Ice Warriors are is particularly interesting. Furthermore we haven’t, at least on TV, seen much if any of female Ice Warriors which makes another interesting twist. It was also a very Victorian ending.
Acting: The best job here belongs to Adele Lynch’s Empress Iraxxa although her voice sounds a tad like the Queen of the Racnoss. There is also Matt Lucas’ Nardole and Michele Gomez Missy who both do an excellent job. Pearl Mackie is very credible and of course Capaldi is Capaldi. I thought Ferdinand Kingsley but I suspect he was written that way. The rest of the British foot soldiers are credible in their parts, stereotypical as they were.
Memorable Moments: Friendly aliens, Of course I can fix the TARDIS, Well you are victorian, Surrounded by males
Doctor Who Flashbacks: Alpha Centuri of Peladon Fame (3rd Doctor Curse and Monster of Peladon) amazingly voiced by Ysanne Churchman at age 92 who last voiced the role back in 1974. The portrait of Queen Victoria is the actress who played her opposite the 10th doctor (Tooth and Claw)
Oddities: The weapon that ties the men into knots seems kind of cool but very impractical. Also I’m pretty sure I remember Nardole being able to fly the TARDIS.
Pet Peeves: I would think that once the first shot bounces off the Martian Armor someone might have thought of aiming at the exposed face and throat?
Great Quote(s) via chakoteya.net transcripts
Godscare: Don’t move. I’ll sort this beggar out.
The Doctor: No, no, no, no! You don’t understand. This creature is no threat. He may look like a monster to you
Godscare: I wasn’t talking to you.
Bill: What, you can deal with big green Martians and, and, and rocket ships, but you can’t deal with us being the police?
Godscare: No, no, no, no, no. It’s just such a fanciful notion. A woman in the police force.
Bill: Listen, yeah? I’m going to make allowances for your Victorian attitudes because, well, you actually are Victorian.
Godscare: Your Majesty, I have a request, if that may be permitted.
Queen Iraxxa: Speak!
Godscare: That man was not one of us. Please, do not judge mankind by his cruelty or indeed by my cowardice. Spare my friends and my world.
Queen Iraxxa: Your request does you credit, soldier. It will be considered.
Godscare: God save the Queen.
British Troops: God save the Queen!
Queen Iraxxa: You will die with honour, with bravery, and in the service of those you swore to protect.
Godscare: Thank you. You don’t know what that means. Thank you.
Queen Iraxxa: But not today. In battle, soldier. To die in battle is the way of the warrior. Pledge your allegiance to me and my world, and I will ensure you have the opportunity.
Godscare: My life and my service are yours. [kneels] To the end.
Queen Iraxxa: To the death, my friend. To the death.
Final Verdict: 4 1/2 stars another good episode
Ranking of Season: 3rd of 8 That makes 4 episodes in a row that were of the normal standard I would expect from the series as opposed to what we got at the start. Let’s keep the trend going.
Top 10 Ranking in the Capaldi Era: Doesn’t place but not by much likely 11th if I went that low
1st The Husbands of River Song
2nd. Last Christmas
3rd. The Caretaker
5th. The Return of Doctor Mysterio
6th. The Girl who Died
7th. The Witch’s Familiar
8th. Hell Bent
9th. Mummy on the Orient Express
10th. Face the Raven