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Well, I have to admit that I really didn't like The Rings of Akhaten for numerous reasons, but this weeks "Cold War" was a huge improvement. For me, Mark Gattis' work on the series is a bit hit and miss but this time he more or less scores a perfect bullseye with this creepy, fun and very exciting episode which brings back the Ice Warriors for the first time since the Pertwee era (or since the Troughton era if you thinking of them as a fearsome presence).

The claustrophobic setting of a nuclear submarine lends the story much gravitas, particularly in making the Ice Warrior Skaldag appear menacing and pretty frightening (as or as frightening as Doctor Who can, or should get). What's more, there's a very impressive cast on hand here. Both Liam Cunningham and David Warner make considerable impressions, whilst Nicholas Briggs deserves special mention for his sterling voice-work as Skaldag. Indeed, the changing of the way of the Ice Warrior's speak is probably the biggest contention for shall we say, "classic" Who fans like myself, but it's well executed and Briggs still manages to pay homage to the old series by making sure there are the occasional "sssss" and hisses during some sentences.

The special effects/make-up department deserve huge praise for their work on the new Ice Warrior outfit too. Never have they looked so believable or impressive and yet, they're still definitely Ice Warriors. It's not as if they've redesigned them beyond recognition - far from it. I have to admit I was a bit concerned when it looked like they might turn Skaldag into an all CGI creation, but thankfully it doesn't come to fruition.

Alas, there are still a few problems here and there, but I'm afraid they are things which I feel have just become inherent in the new series. For the second episode running it looked like the sonic screwdriver might, just might get lost or be destroyed. It's become such an annoying sight to see the Doctor waving it all around the place (extremely over acted by Mr Smith), using it to solve so many plot problems even if it makes no sense at all, that I can't wait for the thing to seriously be destroyed. However, thankfully Gatiss doesn't rely on the device to save the day and instead harks back to some of the Ice Warrior's more noble traits which reside in their history, to bring the story to a satisfactory conclusion.

Cold War also feels refreshing because it's very much a standalone episode. It's not relying on the whole "Clara" story-arc which is running through this season. I always like these stories as I feel they're not bogged down, or don't get interrupted in efforts to tie in with what else is going on elsewhere.

Overall, a very solid episode and one which probably ranks alongside A Town Called Mercy as the best of the Moffat era to date.

So, for the second half of this season, I would score the stories as follows...

The Bells of Saint John - 6/10
The Rings of Akhaten - 3/10
Cold War - 8/10

What's your scores fellow Who fans?
Interesting review LS.

For me, this was a good but average episode was that was gift wrapped in spectacular production design and presented by an incredible guest cast. And why no one spoke with a Russian accent BEFORE the TARDIS arrived sort of bugged be a little bit.

But I am just being nitpicky. I would love to see more these Ice Warriors as I have never seen their original episode appearances before. Thumbs up for me.
"HIDE" -- good, solid episode for me. Nice balance of humor, horror and romance. The Clara storyline continues to evolve without overshadowing the main plot. Thumbs up for me.

What really excites me is they released the title for the final episode of series seven...."THE NAME OF THE DOCTOR"...
and yes, Riversong guest stars....

http://io9.com/doctor-whos-season-finale...-476659714

check out the close up examination of the episode poster.... red herrings or possible clues?
Quote:What really excites me is they released the title for the final episode of series seven...."THE NAME OF THE DOCTOR"...
and yes, Riversong guest stars....

I'm not too overjoyed at the thought of Riversong returning... and I have to be honest, if they actually reveal the real name of The Doctor I will probably pay a visit to Mr Moffat and slap him with a wet fish.
Have to say the pacing for these last two episodes has been just right.

But goddamn it next season, can we have some two part episodes, that is reason alone why some of these episodes just haven't worked too well.
Omaru1982 Wrote:Have to say the pacing for these last two episodes has been just right.

But goddamn it next season, can we have some two part episodes, that is reason alone why some of these episodes just haven't worked too well.

Hmmm.. still feels very rushed to me, with The Doctor talking at 100 mph. More than that, Mr Smith is just becoming an over acting machine. The whole chess game and "Doctor vs Cyber Doctor" mind battle could have been brilliant... but it's just cringe worthy. Shame.
My biggest issue with this season is that the Clara story hasn't really developed all that much. There's been a handful of mentions here and there, but it only felt like in the most recent episode that they remembered she was important. It doesn't really feel like there is much connective tissue between the episodes, sort of like it's doing a "monster of the week" type format. This episode had the potential to be a two or three part episode that tied in with the finale, but no dice. The episodes have been feeling rather cinematic of late, almost as if they want to be making movies rather than TV. I could get behind a Doctor Who outing on the big screen.
I have had a somewhat divided attitude about this (half) season, but there are a couple of moments in this episode that I think are worth mentioning, since they may tie into the overall Clara story in an interesting way:


1. The Doctor just fought for control of his body and mind against a technology-based species, while we first met Clara when she was fighting to hold onto her humanity after being taken over by a different technology-based species, and her mind has been stolen by another technology-based threat before. Hmm...

2. The Doctor quotes/paraphrases a Churchill quote in musing about Clara towards the end of the episode. This same quote is spoken by Joe Pesci in JFK referring to the conspiracy surrounding the assassination. This may strengthen my earlier theory that somehow, Clara Oswin Oswald is analogous to Lee Harvey Oswald. Hmm...

3. From the "next time" teaser, it looks like the Great Intelligence is back (not to mention Strax, Jenny, and Madame Vastra), for the third time since we've met Clara. Hmm...
finally got caught up with Who. have to say that Clara has been awesome. Nightmare in Silver was a nice cyberman episode. also cool seeing Warwick Davis. with all references from past seasons, actually going to go back and watch some of the Classic Who eps.