Doctor Who: Cold War

“We are expendable, comrades. Our world is not.”

Doctor Who

Doctor Who gets topical this week as Clara and the Doctor end up on a Soviet nuclear submarine at the height of the Cold War (as suggested by the fabulously original title of the episode). With North Korea gearing up to have a nasty argument with South Korea (and, quite possibly, the rest of the world too), presumably this is the BBC’s way of reassuring the British public. “It’ll all be fine if we just talk to them nicely! Failing that, MAD is our friend!” Yeah, right.

This being Doctor Who, the Soviet submarine also contains something unsavoury – an Ice Warrior from Mars (yes, really) who is essentially threatening to blow up the world. We know the submarine has nuclear weapons aboard because, in a textbook bit of info-dumping, the captain says “Prepare to launch nuclear weapons.” Surely there would be a codename for the warheads? Even if it was just “the missiles”? Somehow “nuclear weapons” doesn’t sound like something a military man would say. Too general.

There was plenty wrong with this episode, actually, info-dumping aside. For example, why does the Ice Warrior speak Russian? Why? I don’t think Ice Warriors have foreign-language lessons.

The reason for the TARDIS’ inevitable disappearance sans Doctor is contrived (it thinks it’s being attacked by the sea? Really?), but what’s even worse is where it turns up again: the South Pole. Right. So, with the whole Universe to choose from, it somehow miraculously returns to Earth, “an utterly insignificant little blue-green planet” “in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the Western spiral arm of the galaxy”, as Douglas Adams had it, and not only on Earth, but on land (which is a massive achievement when you consider that Earth is actually mostly water), and not only on land but at a significantly symbolic point on Earth?

Now that I find hard to believe.

And I didn’t find the Doctor’s attempt to persuade Fearsome Ice Warrior not to blow up the world very convincing, either. It would have been a cop-out if the other Ice Warriors had not conveniently turned up at precisely the right moment.

All in all, a disappointing turn of events after The Rings of Akhaten. This one, I think, was doomed from the start. And I’m not feeling much better about North Korea, either.

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