Saturday, April 13, 2013

I Smell Like I Sound - Review of "Cold War"

Spoilers for "Cold War" after some classic tunes from the 1980s (after a while, '80s music sort of grows on you) -

Okay, fanboys - listen up! Everything about "Cold War" is the exact opposite of "The Rings of Ahkaten" last week.  The theme, the action, the pacing, the plot, the setting, the characters - everything is different.  And there's a Classic Who monster thrown in the mix for good measure. So, I say this will all the love and goodwill in my heart - no being butthurt and whiny this week, mmmkay? (hopefully the wise words from Two-Minute Time Lord guest podcaster Kyle Anderson will have rung true to listening ears).  Though given the childish behavior exhibited by some of you this past week (I won't name names), I reserve the right to pick on you throughout this post. You've earned it.

Well, folks, the 80s are officially history.  Even though Doctor Who has (ostensibly) done stories set in the '80s before, those were stories actually filmed in the 1980s and treated as present-day. This may be the first time that well-known historical events from that decade were actually treated as history (yes, "Father's Day" was set in 1987, but the only historical element of that story was the hair and clothes, so it's doesn't quite count as a historical piece).  It didn't make me feel old, personally, because I was six when the Soviet Union collapsed and don't remember a damn thing about it (though I have read some about the time period since then).  Maybe I'll feel more of an "I was there!" connection when we get a '90s historical story, but not for the '80s.

(Side Note: "Sinking Soviet submarine" is redundant.  Everything the Soviet Union had was shit. That's why it doesn't exist as a country anymore).

I started to lose count how many other Doctor Who stories I could see echoes of in this episode - "Warriors of the Deep," "Dalek," "The Waters of Mars," "The Hungry Earth," just to name a few.  Funnily enough, no Ice Warrior stories, though I have seen a few in my time (guess they didn't make much of an impact on me when I saw them).  But this story does make me intrigued to see more of the Ice Warriors (which may possibly happen now that we've been treated to the sight of an Ice Warrior spaceship).  My hope is that "Cold War" does for the Ice Warriors what "Dalek" did for the Daleks because they are cool creatures - even if I still don't quite get the whole fanboy-glee over them yet, but there's still time for that (now if the Mara showed up, I'd be bouncing off the walls).

I'm trying to decide how I feel about the pacing of "Cold War."  On the one hand, by the time it was over I didn't feel like it had been forty minutes.  On the other hand, I distinctly remember feeling a bit like "Okay, where are we going with this?" around the 24:37 mark. I hesitate to say I was bored, because I wasn't.  But it felt like the plot wasn't as engaging as it could have been.  I certainly wasn't on the edge of my seat like last week and I didn't really feel like I wanted to rush in and watch it again immediately.

I did love the part with Clara going in to talk with the Ice Warrior.  I loved how she continues to be confident and her own person, yet she is still getting the hang of encountering alien races (witness her slightly-awkward giving of the Ice Warrior salute).  I wish she'd been able to talk to the Ice Warrior herself, though.  Even though it would smack of Rose talking to the Dalek in Van Statten's bunker, it would have been nice to get her to have a bit of a heart-to-heart with the Grand Marshall Skaldak (love that name, by the way).

While I'm on the subject of our new friend - I LOVED the Ice Warrior design.  Both the armor and the reptilian-scaly-red-eyed CGI thing.  The armor is a nice call-back to the Ice Warriors of yore, but with a sleeker element.  But the Ice Warrior outside the armor?  That did give me chills.  It's sort of like seeing the Dalek unfold its casing in "Dalek" right before it self-destructs.  I like that we didn't see the whole thing - just those creepy, clawed hands at first and then it's face.  Now that I think of it, that might have been deliberate, since the Ice Warrior was described as being reptilian - don't want to confuse it with a Silurian, right?

The TARDIS Translation Circuit Returns! Even though the TARDIS had conveniently buggered off and even though there was no mention of it last week.  Now, if I know my fellow Whovians, that is sure to get the fanboys riled up again, even if it's just over stupid inconsistencies (Consistency? Continuity? In Doctor Who? Are you nuts??)

While I can't give "Cold War" the giddy and soft-hearted praise that I gave "The Rings of Ahkaten" last week, this was an enjoyable story with some great elements and storytelling.  You can't have feelings and lovely characters and pretty songs every week (as was proven by fanboys all but marching on the offices of BBC Wales with torches and pitchforks - maybe Moffat was right to quit Twitter), but it was a good showing with very little to complain about.  Not sure how much Clara's going to enjoy traveling to the South Pole in a leaky Soviet tub, but time-and-space travel can't be all glamorous, now can it?

No comments:

Post a Comment