Saturday, November 14, 2009

REVIEW - The Waters Of Mars

Blimey. Didn't see that coming!


There have been some remarkable endings in the RTD era but yet again he manages to concoct another hyper~emotional denouement. But this time the emotions experienced are quite different to any we here at Blogtor Towers have ever felt whilst watching an episode of Doctor Who. The Key To Time speech from The Armageddon Factor saw The Doctor mockingly toy with the idea of megalomania but here in The Waters Of Mars we see it for real. And it wasn't nice. Not nice at all.


It's a credit to David Tennant's craft and skill that he managed to turn himself from the nation's most lurved actor (soon to be the world no doubt) into a hideous, arrogant monster. The moment of the switch was quite something, a moment that will give kids more nightmares than any Dalek or Cyberman could ever hope for. That is, of course, if they managed to sit through the story - it was a bit adult in tone but also in pacing.


Full marks to the writers Russell T Davies and Phil Ford for creating an incredibly atmospheric and thoughtful piece filled with beautiful character moments; moments that were perfectly played by the guest cast. Lindsay Duncan deserves special praise for her moving portrayal of Adelaide despite her stern and authoritarian introduction. She was the ideal partner for The Doctor, making her suicide all the more painful. Peter O' Brien impressed too as her put~upon second in command, displacing any memories I had of his appearances in certain lesser Antipodean television shows.


Likewise, the production values were equally impressive as the acting talent. Bowie Base One felt very real and the Martian landscapes were superbly realised (as were the 'villains of the piece) and the explosive finale was a treat.com for sure. Murray Gold too is to be congratulated on a fascinating score, eerie and dramatic in equal measure, reminding us just how versatile he can be.


There was the odd point that slightly niggled about The Waters Of Mars however. I found the flashes of the news website (whilst The Doctor was naming the crew) irritating after the first couple of times. It was unnecessary to do it for all of them - we got it, we understood! The ending also threw up some questions (not in itself a bad thing) regarding how The Doctor's choice of saving people affects history (surely someone was curious how they got back?). Would Adelaide's grand~daughter still want to become a space pioneer after what her granny did? And why the importance on one person to helm the Earth's space exploration? I would imagine if it wasn't Suzie then it would have been someone else.


And the bloody Daleks were mentioned, again! Anyway, these are small points and did not affect my overall enjoyment of a trouser-tighteningly entertaining, if utterly grim, outing for The Doctor. RTD and Co. are leaving at the height of their powers, it would seem, and aren't afraid to take turns one never thought possible in Doctor Who (not since Hartnell anyway). Not bad for a show kicking on the arse of its 46th birthday.



Blogtor Rating 9/10

10 comments:

madterrapin said...

A cracker - absolute classic leaving me wanting more! Roll on Christmas and New year - its going to be an interesting one...

Bree said...

Agree! It was indeed a stunning episode and truly the beginning of the end. ...I actually hated the doctor towards the end! Made me think "yeah it's probably about time for Ten to leave the stage to make room for Eleven." It was utterly scary to see the doctor like that! The ending though was quite irritating, with the Ood standing there all of a sudden. We'll see what's up with that at Christams. Can't wait for the next special :)

Richard Starkings said...

My son wants to know why the Reapers didn't turn up...

Cameron McEwan said...

...well.....

'cos the time line wasn't broken long enough for them to notice?

*coughs*

allochthon said...

I figured the new website was put there for the hardcore fans - to screencap and read all the little details. I haven't done that yet, so I'm not sure there's actually anything there...

Richard Starkings said...

Ian Brill sez: The Doctor Who Wiki says: The Reapers only showed up in Fathers Day due to Rose saving her father's life, as then, that altered the timeline meaning that in the future Rose wouldn't have travelled to the past to save her father, causing a paradox, the Doctor only changed the future when he saved Adelaide's life. Had Adelaide's granddaughter travelled back in time to save her grandmother, for instance, that would more likely have caught the Reapers' attention

Nopol10 said...

If I'm not wrong, Mia and Yuri probably mentioned that it was the Doctor who helped in getting them back to Earth, as shown in the bottom left corner of this screencap: http://twitpic.com/puk77

John Manning said...

I reckon the emphasis on Adelaide's grand-daughter will be revealed in the later special, perhaps the cause of the circumstances that inspire the title the End of Time – therefore making the up-coming regeneration a direct consequence of the Doctor's interference. Maybe he's got to fix it to get out of the fix he's going to be in? Perhaps River Song is involved in this - maybe she's even Adelaide's grand-daughter? After all, there's already a strange time sequence set up for later exploitation by the writers there.

Farsighted said...

I loved the scene with the Dalek. It was amazingly breathtaking; one of my favorite parts of WOM! It was filmed and scored like a fairy tale! Perhaps that Dalek specifically went to make sure that the young Adelaide was still alive. Don't forget someone else may be manipulating time...

FanaticalWhovian said...

If you pause and read the webpages there is interesting little tidbits you get about Earth history.

One of the flashes even has a mention of a mysterious man called the Doctor.. but its at the bottom so could read much of it :(

I love the Dalek mention..the fact that the events from Stolen Earth/Journey End had such impact into Adelaide's story.

The thing is Who's to say how much history would have been changed by her not dying. Or even by Mia and Yuri being alive.. the reapers may not have come but this will definitely i believe affect the End of time Finale..

I've always loved the tenth Doctor..but DT blew my expectations. Brilliant performance from the whole cast. But his dark side is truly the scariest part of the episode. I still shiver when i see that picture of him in the orange suit smiling at Adelaide..