Who isn't [afraid]? But you've still got to face your beast anyway.
As this ridiculous project draws to a close, I am in a literal mad dash to the finish line.Because I am traveling for work in a few days, and because I absolutely want to be done with Phase One of this thing before I go, I have to double up on episodes this weekend. That means that today I visited both Mars and ancient Scotland. How cool is that?
So let's talk about Martians, Victorians, Romans, and Picts.
Empress of Mars
(TARDIS Data Core recap)
In another Bootstrap Paradox story, and in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the first appearance of the Ice Warriors, the Doctor and Bill take a trip to Victorian Mars. Well, first they take a trip to present day NASA where they see a transmission from Mars with the phrase "God Save the Queen" written in stones, but then they take a trip to Victorian Mars to find out who wrote the message a hundred and some-odd years earlier (it totally turns out to be written by them).
Initially Nardole comes along on the trip, but then Bill falls into a pit (like you do), and as Nardole rushes back to the TARDIS to get some ropes and whatnot the TARDIS decides she has had enough of this nonsense and scarpers on back home to the University. Back on Mars the Doctor and Bill first discover a lone Ice Warrior, which leads to the discovery of an entire unit of British soldiers. Apparently they found the Ice Warrior (whom they call Friday) wounded on Earth. He promised them riches and Empire if they would help repair his spaceship, and now they are all on the Red Planet fruitlessly digging for treasure and rapidly running out of supplies.
Oh, and the chief officer is a useless paper tiger, who is continually overpowered and out maneuvered by an @$$hole soldier who is dumb as rocks but who absolutely believes in British superiority despite any evidence to the contrary. So, as you can imagine, when the Ice Queen Iraxxa is uncovered and awakened, the @$$hole soldier does all of the wrong things and sparks a war.
In the end the paper tiger soldier grows a spine, the @$$hole soldier develops severe lead poisoning from multiple gunshot wounds, and then the Doctor helps the newly-revived Ice Warrior army join the Galactic Federation of Whatever my making a video call to...
On the off chance you have forgotten, Alpha Centauri was the giant walking eyeball puppet from Curse of Peladon and Monster of Peladon, way way way back in the Third Doctor era. Not only did they bring her back for a surprise cameo, but they actually brought back 92-year-old Ysanne Churchman to voice the character again. And throughout the Whoniverse there was a collective nerdgasm.
Oh, and meanwhile back on Earth, Nardole resorted to getting help from Missy to get the TARDIS back to Mars to rescue the Doctor and Bill, thus setting into motion the season finale coming up tomorrow.
Apparently this story started out as a sequel to the execrable Sleep No More (which actually gets name-checked at one point). Simultaneous with that, writer Mark Gatiss was working on a new Peladon story and had secretly secured the return of Ms Churchman. Somewhere along the way those two things kind of merged together into an Ice Warrior story, and here we are.
This was a heck of a fun story. On its own terms maybe it wasn't the greatest (although certainly not bad), but it was so nice to finally see the Ice Warriors actually on their own planet, and the Alpha Centauri cameo was nothing short of brilliant
And then I moved right along to...
The Eaters of Light
(TARDIS Data Core recap)
The gist of this story is that the Doctor takes Bill to Aberdeen in 2nd Century Scotland in order to solve the mystery of what happened to the Ninth Roman Legion. I am certain you will remember how an entire legion of 5,000 Roman soldiers just disappeared from Aberdeen leaving no trace (true story). It turns out that Bill has always been obsessed with the Ninth Legion and has a theory about what happened to them (she is wrong). The Doctor is also confident that he knows what happened to them (he is wrong).
It turns out that what happened to them was, the local Pict tribe had a secret Cairn that was actually a portal to another SpaceTimeWhateverThingy, which they had been guarding and keeping closed for generations. When the Romans showed up acting all Rape-And-Pillagy, the Picts unleashed a single alien beast that pretty much devoured the entire army. And most of the Picts. And, left unchecked, apparently they will eventually devour the entire known universe because of Reasons.
So Bill befriends some handsome young Roman Centurions who have been hiding in a cave (and along the way discovers that most Romans are pan-sexual, and are a bit amused by Bill limiting her romantic possibilities to only women). Meanwhile the Doctor befriends the surviving Picts. Eventually they all get together in a Very Special Episode of Blossom, where they learn to set aside their differences and stand together to close the SpaceTimeWhateverThingy. It is all very heartwarming.
The story wraps up extra early so as to leave plenty of time at the end to find out that Missy is still hanging about the TARDIS, and for the Doctor and Missy to have a heart-to-heart about friendship and morality. It seems like Missy genuinely wants to be a better person, and to stop with the trying to take over the Universe.
That won't last.
This one was... okay? There was nothing about it I particularly disliked, it just kind of sat there and did nothing special. The whole thing felt kind of like forty minutes of filler in order to get to the emotional scene at the end. Which is fine, I guess.
Tomorrow, then, the Doctor gives Missy a chance to prove that she is a Changed Man. Too bad it will wind up killing Bill.
Companion(s): Bill Potts, Nardole
Episode(s): Empress of Mars / The Eaters of Light
Steps Walked: 12,181 today, 3,608,134 total
Distance Walked: 6.26 miles today, 1,886.76 miles total
Push-ups Completed: 0 today, 6,747 total
Sit-ups Completed: 0 today, 1,029 total
Weight: 248.16 lbs (five day moving average), net change -59.14 lbs