Doctor Who: The Waters of Mars

This episode was much more like it. It was action packed it, it was spooky (although not as spooky as I was led to believe in fact I think that some of the episodes of The Sarah Jane Adventures were actually spookier than this) and it had a rip-roaring ending with the Doctor completely throwing caution to the wind, kind of like Avon did at near the end of season D of Blakes 7, and we all know how that ended.

Nothing good will come of the Doctor actions (well not for him at least), after he decides that it is up to him what happens and not some poxy fixed point in time as he is a timelord and can do what the hell he wants, when he wants.

Of course you could put this down to the fact that he has been warned that his song is going to end soon and that he doesn’t want to go out with a whimper banging his head on the TARDIS console like one of his previous selves did but go out kicking and screaming as loudly as he can, Of course this isn’t really what this episode was about but it is the start of something that can only really end badly for the Doctor.

Personally I think that he has bought it on himself and deserves everything he gets, but that isn’t a popular opinion, but one that I am entitled to have.

At the start of this episode the Doctor is minding his own business probably trying to forget about the comment at the end of the previous story about his song ending and finds himself on Mars, but soon realises that he hasn’t just landed on Mars at any old time, but at the very exact time that the first human colony ever to live in Mars was destroyed in mysterious circumstances killing the entire crew.

Now, apparently, this is one of those times that is a fixed point in time which must always happen, a bit like the eruption at Pompeii, because of what happened in the future as a result of the events on the surface of Mars on November 21 2059.

The Doctor who is more aware than most people are about time lines and what can and cannot be done or undone is adamant that there is nothing he can do about what has happened, no matter how much his conscience tells him to do something to save someone. When he landed in Pompeii he may very well have left everyone to their grisly fate, if it were not for Donna’s insistence that he save someone, which he does despite his misgivings about doing so.

In this case he is travelling alone but I do think that it was his friendship with Donna, and what ultimately happened to her at his own hands, that in the end made him do what he did and change the timelines with a maniacal ferocity.

Luckily for us The Waters of Mars was virtually a studio bound story which meant that I knew very little about the episode before it was broadcast, which made a really nice change for me, watching it without much prior knowledge of what was going to happen, which made me enjoy the story a lot more than I might otherwise have done.

It was also a rather tradition base under siege story which Doctor Who always tends to do well: a group of people in a closed environment with something nasty lurking in the corridors. In this case it was the famous crew of the Bowie Base One the first human colony to live on the surface of Mars and the something nasty was some sort of water based parasite that has the ability to take over anything made mostly of water, which, of course, means us.

I must admit that I did expect to see the Ice Warriors which never happened and in a way that was a good thing that that never happened. They did get a mention in the story which was nice and the makeup on the characters who succumbed to the water did resemble the ice warrior make up on the lower part of the face, the only part of an ice warrior that wasn’t covered in the armour, so I guess you could argue that might be how the ice warriors came about, or you could just say it is a nice visual reference to the Ice Warriors, which ever you feel is the more likely.

The companion for this story was Captain Adelaide Brooke, the head honcho of the mars colony played by Lindsay Duncan, who was a markedly different type of companion that we have ever had before. I must admit, that her choice at the end of the episode did shock me as I didn’t think that they would ever do something like that, but also, it made sense considering what the Doctor had just done.

Some people on Gallifrey Base (the new home of Outpost Gallifrey containing many of the same members) have said that she was very ungrateful to the Doctor after all that he had done for her, saving her from being blown up on Mars and all, but she had already resigned herself to the fact that she was going to die on that day, that she was meant to die on that day, that she did the only thing that she could do to ensure that the timeline didn’t change.

It would not be what most of us, myself included, would have done in the same circumstances but it was the right thing to do as far as she was concerned.

Waters of Mars was a lot better than Planet of the Dead and it looks like we are going to get better in The End of Time but this was one of the better episodes of the new series and Graeme Harper proves once again why he is one of the most sought after directors on television. It was almost worth the long wait between Planet of the Dead and now.

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