Cold War

Title: Cold War
Episode: 7.08
Earth 1983

Special Guest: David Warner

Writer: Mark Gatiss
Director: Douglas Mackinnon

Rating: ****

In the first episode of the second half of the season the Doctor made a point of emphasizing that the TARDIS can travel anywhere in Time, and space. The first adventure for Clara is to an amazing outer-space world, this time we travel to a much more confined space, a 1983 era Russian submarine, running nuclear launch tests in the Arctic Sea.

Thinking they're going to Vegas, the Doctor and Clara arrive on board as the ship is experiencing difficulties from a hull breach, because a crew member thawed the ice holding... something. In the midst of the sub shifting on an underwater cliff and filling with water, the TARDIS dematerializes

This episode, more than any other this season, really shows Matt Smith's emotional and reactive acting qualities. His reactions when he see the Ice Warrior [1] and gets its name [2], are both full of range and story, this is what makes Matt Smith an excellent Doctor.

The Doctor tells the Soviets to lock up Skaldak, and they do, in chains. Then explains how dangerous the Ice Warriors are, and Skaldak starts sending a signal to his people. Then Clara learns a secret of the TARDIS [3], it translates for her.

There are no apparent clues to the mystery of Clara in this episode and yet its a great episode; tight dialogue, great setting, keen perspective on the tension of the world circa 1983, all running at a fast pace.

In some ways I think David Warner's (Professor Grisenko) part was missed, a hugely talented actor in a secondary role, could have been better used as the Captain. This is not his first venture into the Doctor Who universe, as he played the Lord Azlok of the Viperox in the 6 part animated series Dreamland.


DOCTOR: Eh? Ah. Oh, thank you. Finally seeing sense. Now, what sort of state is the sub in?
CLARA: Doctor.
DOCTOR: What about the radio? Can we send a...
CLARA: Doctor!
DOCTOR: What!
DOCTOR: What is that? Gas? Could be gas.
DOCTOR: Ah. It never rains but it pours.
PROFESSOR GRISENKO: We were drilling for oil in the ice. I thought I'd found a mammoth.
DOCTOR: It's not a mammoth.

CAPTAIN ZHUKOV: A Martian? You can't be serious.
DOCTOR: I'm always serious. With days off.
CLARA: Doctor.
DOCTOR: Just keeping it light, Clara. They're scared.
CLARA: They're scared? I'm scared.

DOCTOR: No, no, no, no, no, no! Please, please. Wait, just. There is no need for this. Just hear me out. You're confused, disorientated. Of course you are. You've been lying dormant in the ice for, for, for how long? How long, Professor?
PROFESSOR GRISENKO: By my reckoning, five thousand years.
DOCTOR: Five thousand years? That's a hell of a nap. Can't blame you if you've got out of the wrong side of bed. Look, nobody here wants to hurt you.
(He pushes Stepashin's gun down.)
DOCTOR: Please, just. Why don't you tell us your name?
CAPTAIN ZHUKOV: What are you talking about? It has a name?
DOCTOR: Of course it has a name. And a rank. This is a soldier, and it deserves our respect.
CAPTAIN ZHUKOV: This is madness. That is a monster!
SKALDAK: Skaldak.
DOCTOR: What did you say?
SKALDAK: I am Grand Marshal Skaldak.
DOCTOR: Oh, no.

STEPASHIN: Why are we listening to this nonsense, Captain? These people are clearly enemy agents.
CLARA: Huh?
STEPASHIN: Spies, Captain.
CLARA: Pretty bad spies, mate. I don't even speak Russian.
STEPASHIN: What?
CLARA: I don't. Am I speaking Russian? How come I'm speaking Russian?
DOCTOR: Now? We have to do this now?
CLARA:  Are they speaking Russian?
DOCTOR: Seriously? Now? It's the Tardis translation matrix.

CLARA: Is it true you've never seen one outside of its shell suit?
DOCTOR: Shell suit? Clara! For an Ice Warrior to leave its armour is the gravest dishonour. Skaldak is desperate. He is deadly and we have got to find him.
PROFESSOR GRISENKO: Will this help?
(The sonic screwdriver.)
DOCTOR: Ah! You saved it.
PROFESSOR GRISENKO: No, no, it was on the floor with this.
(The Barbie doll. The Doctor kisses it.)
DOCTOR: Ah, Professor, I could kiss you.
PROFESSOR GRISENKO: If you insist.
DOCTOR: Later.

CLARA: Ahem. Saved the world, then?
DOCTOR: Yeah.
CLARA: That's what we do.
DOCTOR: Yeah.
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Opening: 7
Setting: 5
Conflict: 8
Plot: 8 
Dialogue: 6
Aliens: 6
Costumes: 5

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