Time and Relative Dimension in Spoilers 10-09: The Empress of Mars

Hello Readers! Sorry I’m late this week. Well, that was a fun little romp on Mars! Falling where it did in the season, I have a minor bone to pick about the sudden tonal shift. It’s all well and good for the Doctor to tell the technicians in the control room he suddenly appears in that it’s a “day out for the kids.” In fact, after that monk trilogy, I think a fun monster-of-the-week jaunt is what we all needed. But we just saw Bill save the world and nearly die in the process and I’d like a little moment to acknowledge that before we move on. Let’s have a bit of a throughline, eh? But speaking of moving on…

Can someone please explain Bill's hair in this episode?
Can someone please explain Bill’s hair in this episode?

I feel like, if there’s one era Doctor Who loves more than anything else, it’s Victorian times. This visit to that era with a millennial companion created a really interesting dynamic. Of course, there was the typical sexism of the era, but there was also the prevalent colonial attitude of the time, which isn’t something we see a lot of on TV right now. At the time these characters come from, the British Empire spanned the globe and the people in it truly believed they had every right to conquer all the land and people they encountered, which was reflected on this fictional trip to Mars. In turn, that created an interesting dilemma for the Doctor, trying to broker peace between two sides, neither of whom was totally right or wrong. Sometimes it’s crystal clear whose side the Doctor should be on, but it’s more fun to watch when it’s not.

These Victorian dudes have quite literally Never Seen TV Before.
These Victorian dudes have quite literally Never Seen TV Before.

Oh man, those Ice Warriors. I’ve been hyped to see them since they appeared in the Season 12 teaser and they did not disappoint. The Doctor Who facebook page had an interview with the episode’s writer, Mark Gatiss, saying he wanted to update the monster design but retain their essence and I think the production team did exactly that. The Empress was especially badass, I’m pretty sure we’ve never seen female Ice Warriors and I LOVED her. I mean, she’s a villain, sure, but she’s also a Strong Female Character, doing what it takes to protect her people (as she sees it) and valuing the counsel of other women (Bill) above all others.

What a badass
What a badass

I’m not sold on the whole “disappearing TARDIS/Missy saves the day” part of the plot. It smells entirely too much like something she would do to manipulate the Doctor into trusting her and I’m not convinced that’s not 100% what she’s doing. Sure, she’s supposedly imprisoned, but this would be far from the first time the show changed the rules on us to allow for a plot twist. Good or bad, don’t really care, I love Missy So. Damn. Much. Michelle Gomez is too good a resource to keep locked up in a vault so I’m glad to see the story keeping her on screen every week. During the final confrontation with the Doctor, did anyone else hear the four beats on the soundtrack from John Simms’s day as the Master? The music on this show never ever forgets where it came from and I really love recognizing each plot point by its musical signature.

Tired of me posting intimate two-shots of the Doctor and Missy? DON'T CARE. LOVE THEM.
Tired of me posting intimate two-shots of the Doctor and Missy? DON’T CARE. LOVE THEM.

I’m not going to speculate about the next episode, it’s already aired and I’ve already written about it. So I’m just going to move on to the next one and thanks, readers, for your patience. I moved over the weekend that this episode aired and I really could have used a TARDIS in a lot of ways. But anyway, thanks for reading!

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