Doctor Who “Empress of Mars” Review
The episode starts off at NASA in the United States. They are waiting for a transmission from someone, and the Doctor and Bill show up randomly while they are looking into a more detailed view of Mars. They receive a message that says “God Save the Queen.” The Doctor hopped in the Tardis and heads to Mars in 1881. Once on Mars, they decide to investigate, and they find a fire. Bill goes off to investigate and falls in a shaft. Nardole heads back to get gear to help Bill out of the hole, and the Tardis moves away with him inside.
Bill wanders trying to find a way out, and the Doctor encounters an alien who is walking toward him. Bill is faced with another time of alien, who turns out to be a man. They speak with the soldiers, and they talk about their experience with the alien they discovered and helped them built a weapon to harvest the gold, silvers, and other riches and they claimed it in the name of Queen Victoria. They haven’t been able to find anything and are trying to repair the ship so they can leave. Supplies are low, and they are desperate. The soldiers are convinced that Friday, their alien is the last of his kind. The Doctor doesn’t believe it and appears very skeptical.
The Doctor tells Bill that Friday is an Ice Warrior. They are impressive species. The Doctor inquires why he came back, and Friday replies that he’s old and tired. The soldiers are getting restless when they blow a hole in the side of the cavern. They look to investigate and find something amazing. They get the Captain to come and look, and they find a sarcophagus in a tomb, which turns out to be the tomb of an Ice Queen. The Doctor tells them that it was a part of a hibernation ritual. The Doctor tries to warn them, but they don’t listen.
The Doctor is torn on which side he should take. The soldiers are drinking when they start looking at the sarcophagus. The sergeant passes out, and one of the soldiers reveals his plan to steal things from the sarcophagus and run away with the spaceship. As he approaches, the sarcophagus starts to awaken, and he is killed by the Queen. The second soldier comes to try to tell him to hurry up when he is confronted by the Queen. Friday comes and tells her that they have slept for 5,000 years.
The Queen is angry that her entire race is gone. The Doctor begs for mercy for the humans, and she says they will die quickly. The soldiers argue back and forth with each other. One of them goes and shoots the walls, so the Ice Warriors are trapped in their tomb. She presses a button and starts to release the rest of her warriors. There is a mutiny, and they take over the colonel’s command and decide to fight. They lock the Doctor, Bill and the colonel in jail.
As the soldiers are talking, the rest of the Ice Warriors come out. Friday comes into the prison and tells the Doctor they must work together. Bill decides to try to talk to the Queen and ask her why there has to be a war. The Doctor threatens her that he will shoot above them and the north pole will crash into the cavern. We get a solid Disney reference to Frozen. The captain comes and tries to take her hostage, so they will help him fix the ship to leave. The real captain returns and kills the crazy man. The captain pledges his allegiance to the Ice Queen, and in return, she spares his life. He helps them send out a distress call for help and Alpha Centauri answers.
Back on the surface, the Doctor, Bill, and the Captain leave their message.
Nardole is back at the University and heads straight to the vault to ask for Missy’s help. In the end, Nardole finally arrives in the Tardis but much to the Doctor’s dismay, Missy is at the helm. He tells her that she must go back in the vault, she agrees and asks him if he is alright.
The episode feels more like an older episode from the 10th or 11th Doctor. The return of a true alien species is great to see in the season. Bring out the best in humanity and evolving to accept peace is one of the greatest reminders that Doctor Who gives us.