I am now going to take time out of my wibblings over Nanowrimo to wibble over “Waters of Mars” instead!
Picoreview: Ye gods that was grim. Spoilers
locked up in the dome beyond the cut!
Man oh man. This episode was such a change from “The Next Doctor” and “Planet of the Dead”–even with the hints of the Doctor’s frame of mind that we got in “The Next Doctor”. Certainly this is a sharp departure from the lighter fare of “Planet of the Dead”, and a hard call back to the tail end of the last regular season, with the darker state that the Doctor had fallen into after all the Companions went their separate ways.
My one light moment during the whole episode was at the very beginning, when the Doctor arrived on Mars and we got a look at the colony from outside. I was all “THIS IS THE VOICE OF THE MYSTERONS”. Hands up anybody else who thought that. ;)
But once that was out of my system, wow. It was clear right out of the gate that OH SHIT THIS WON’T BE GOOD, as soon as the Doctor clued in as to who all the people were and he started flashing on the little writeups with all the dates of their deaths. Pair this up with how the first victim got the infection by eating a carrot, of all things, and we only find out later about the failure of that one little filter… yeek.
Most of the colony crew were non-entities to me, except perhaps for the one woman who was looking at the vid of the child at the beginning, and the second-in-command guy who kept having Meaningful-Glance-laden exchanges with the captain; there was more story there, I’m sure, than what we actually saw. And okay, I kinda liked the Gadget Gadget robot, although again, the young fellow who created him didn’t register much with me as a character.
But really, this was all about two things: 1) the infection of most of the crew, and 2) the Adelaide Brooke Show.
The infection of the crewmembers was suitably creepy. I liked the offhand remark that the Doctor made about the Ice Warriors, tying back to Classic Who, and his wondering about if they had been the ones to freeze the infection before to stop it from spreading. All sorts of questions here about the nature of the infection, since clearly it was some sort of hive organism that really, really, really loved it some water. The dark cracking around the mouths of the infected crew was a particularly grim touch, too.
And man, Adelaide. She pretty much owned this story, from the point where she realizes that the Doctor is not in fact dangerous even if she has no time to figure out who the hell he actually is, up through when he clues her in that everybody is ZOMG GOING TO DIE, and to the finale where she faces the Doctor down and shoots his attempt to change time right out from under him. Gulp.
Speaking of which, OH GOD TEN. We already knew he was in a bad space mentally at the end of the last big season, refusing to let anybody else travel with him again, and it got cracked wide open by the conflict between his instinct to save people and his knowledge that this was a fixed point in history that he could not in fact change. So very much not a good space for him to be in. But very compelling storytelling nonetheless, not to mention a chance for David Tennant to show off his acting chops.
Because goddamn, the look on his face when Adelaide shot herself was positively heartbreaking. Waaaaah.
I do wonder what happened to the Reapers, though, and whether they never actually showed just because Adelaide more or less resolved the paradox that Ten managed to create. Instead, we got the Ood showing up and cluing Ten in that he’d just done a Very, Very Bad Thing.
And the Cloister Bell going off in the TARDIS. And, and, and, waaaah.
Damn, I’m going to miss Ten so much. But he is clearly fast approaching the point where he needs to regenerate or go down a very dark path indeed. It’ll be very intriguing to see what happens in the final story!