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THE WATERS OF MARS


Chase - Posted on 16 November 2009

Well it certainly wasn't boring. It wasn't signposted as I thought it might have been. It also brought back home the idea of the Doctor as observer and it's interesting that Im watching THE AZTECS at the same time as this. Part of me felt he HAD to help them but he waited so long to do so. The other thing is: he seemed, almost resigned to the fact that he would now be the Master of Time and almost seemed Valeyardish. I don't know why he is so scared of his death when we know and he should know that he will become the "friend" of the Alex Kingston character River Song. That hasn't happened yet for him. Not sure why the Cloister Bell was ringing...just what is the danger?

In any event, this was tense, tightly paced stuff and I thought that most of them would either die or get saved and I was not sure who would and who wouldn't. I was fooled by at least two of the deaths and how they should happen so that's a good thing. Still, there's little here that's original but it's done well this time out. The entire thing hinges on Tennant and he's up to it this time out and he does a great job. Also the actress who played Adelaide. For a few brief seconds, I thought she's going to do what she did but then thought naw, that won't happen, she'll just take her chances and get her granddaughter to do what time will do. I mean she could have also made herself vanish instead of the drastic action she did take. And if the Doctor can do this stuff, what else might he do? It's well played by Tennant, too, this new found power he feels he has.

In any event, the effects this time out are perfect and the music well done again. The promo music is played to good effect again and to see the Doctor finally do something was nice. I also like that he used the robot to get into the TARDIS and he mentioned the Ice Warriors, too. The whole thing is very dark but while it is creepy, I didn't find it particularly scary.  A bit disturbing but not really scary but it takes alot to scare me. Anyway I'd give it a 4/5 or a 8/10. 

One more thing. I guess reading the posts on DOCTOR WHO ONLINE about how the Doctor was scary and that Tennant's rant and power drunken-ness was the scariest thing in DW...I see that but for me...the moment he did this...I felt...the tone was not there...and tha'ts good because it let me feel what I wanted to feel about this and for me, I felt IT WAS ABOUT TIME. I mean I guess just like RTD I feel I'm in love with the Doctor and trust his judgement so brilliantly that...yeah he makes mistakes...but that he should be the one in control of time...and not let it so passively stop him. He's got a time machine. He can go back and save people and not just little people...but big people too. I just...I don't know...I'd trust him if I was someone like Adeliade. I think her reaction was just too drastic. No one can know what will happen if time bends like it might have. I think she was just too strong a reactant to what the Doctor did and that maybe he was right and she was wrong. I don't think he went too far. In fact, I think he should ahve saved them earlier than he did. But I do see the other side of this arguement.

I've stayed away from the forums all summer/fall so I wouldn't be tempted by the spoilers.  Now I've seen the 11/15 special and expected to return to a rousing discussion of the show, only to find one posting by Chase.  Am I missing something?  Was there an agreement to wait before commenting? Gosh, hope not.

Anyway, briefly (before I head back to work); I enjoyed it, but wow.  What a potentially cool story.  Potentially.  In fact, there were two stories there: first about Bowie Mars Base 1 and the second about Time Lord Victorious.  Neither seemed to have been treated fairly by shoving them into the same story.  How could the doctor go from being "I can do anything I want! to "I've gone too far!" in such a short time?  I would have loved to see the show where they explore a crazied out, power mad 10.  That would have been a great show!

I'll watch this on again later; I'll probably have much nicer things to say about it then.  I am looking forward to see what others thought. (oh - loved Lindsay Duncan.  I really only know her from Rome, so it was great to see her here!)

supremacy is relative

Troy Baker's picture

It just aired in the UK this weekend, but I live in the US and I haven't seen it yet. And since it aired on Sunday (instead of the usual Saturday) the "red eyes" may not have gotten in yet. I haven't found it yet.

We'll probably start getting comments soon.

On the other hand there are a lot of UK viewers that should be talking now - where are you?Wink

Zombie's picture
It is a shame that not many people post anymore. I never posted much, but I always enjoyed reading other fan's opinions. I think Chase might've chased people away. I know I quit coming here lately because I got tired of 90% of the posts being his long winded rants with hardly any responses. Anyway, I enjoyed The Waters of Mars. My only complaint is that the Doctor's crazy power trip was too brief. I think it would've been really interesting to see him like that for most of the next story.
Proper Dave's picture

i feel you!

and in regards to the dark doctor, i think his change was too abrupt. i guess RTD and crew don't have much time to shift the doctor into his new ego. but a gradual change would have been nice.

Idiom's picture

Been away for a day so first chance to comment on Waters of Mars. But first I have to agree that the forums have been extremely quiet recently. Only four of five of us seem to post regularly (as opposed to the twenty or thirty odd before we changed to the new-look site – this is not, incidently  a criticism of the new site just an observation that we seemed to lose a lot of people along the way – shame. Maybe with the new series next year there’ll be more new blood), a lot of people seem to save their opinions for the podcasts now (or is that my imagination?).

Anyway to the case at hand: the Waters of Mars. I liked it. I didn’t love it but I liked it a lot. I felt it was pacy, suspenseful, scary in the right parts and opened up a potential new angle to the tenth Doctor which I feel it is interesting to explore.

My thoughts:

·         I felt that the water of the title was a metaphor for the flow of time. When the Doctor says that water will always find a way, this is reflected in the path of destiny – despite the potential obstacle that the Doctor throws up, time flows around and self-corrects.

·         Loved the Flood – they had a great look which verged on zombie-like and had some super-scary running action. The possessed woman standing at the glass with water creeping down its surface was particularly chilling, as was the silhouette as one of the crew was on his knees in front of the Flood’s first victim.

·         The crew were reasonably well drawn if no real explanation were given as to motivations. What was the problem with the second-in-command for example, did I miss that? However, plainly the focus was on Adelaide and her importance as a focal point for time and how her destiny would ultimately affect humanity. She was played very well by Lindsey Duncan and was a credible leader. However, and this is my strongest criticism, what she did at the end didn’t quite ring true for me. She was a fighter and had pushed the Doctor to not only reveal what he knew but also to help. When he finally does, the change in her character from refusing to accept her destiny to vilifying the Doctor just happened too quickly for me. I didn’t believe in this sudden change of heart and what it forced her to do. I felt that it would have worked better if the Doctor had left her on Earth and then returned to the TARDIS and on checking the TARDIS data banks realised that she had done what she did after he left. I felt that the final decision she made would have seemed more natural after a period of time (when the doubts about humanity’s path crept in). This would also have served to emphasise to the Doctor that he cannot meddle and that time, like the flow of water, will always find away.

·         The Doctor’s dilemma – will he/won’t he? And his final embracing of the dark side – I loved that but what was all that with the Ood (I suppose we’ll find out soon enough)? But seriously, the Tenth Doctor has been a man barely able to restrain himself from excesses. It has taken his companions to rein him in. This final embracing of his role as the arbiter of the laws of time is a logical and interesting route. I just wish that we had more time to explore it.

Overall, a strong story with some interesting ideas but fell short of being a classic for me due to the (for me, anyway) too snappy beginning (I would have liked more of a set up) and the overly rushed ending (we needed to see more about Adelaide’s motivations and how she  reached her final decision). It could have done with ten more minutes overall. A solid 7 out of 10 with promise of things to come.

Got to see this episode and really enjoyed it.  Will give it a second veiwing shortly.  The big point I wanted to explore about this one was if this was, in fact, the genesis of the Ice Warriors.  When I first saw the trailers months ago, I came to this conclusion, like many of you probably did, due to it being on Mars, the whole water aspect and, what did it for me, the look of the mouth area on the "infected".  I know that if this was the case, it opens up a bunch of problems with continuity of the Ice Warriors' place in the timeline.  But this is nothing new in the DW universe.  Especially when joining the classic and new series.  Thoughts?

Was this his dark side or just his fed up ness with always having to lose someone or something? I didn't see it as that evil and the woman at the end...she took it all a bit too seriously...how did she know time wouldn't still flow the way it was supposed to? Then she goes and kills herself? She could have just vanished again or dissappeared without a trace. 

Idiom's picture
For me, this Doctor has a definite dark side that he has been fighting for a while. It was shown and recognised by Donna most clearly at the end of Runaway Bride as he watched the Spider Empress's children die. It's a classic example of power corrupting - the Doctor finally accepting that the power over time is his alone. Not evil, no I accept that. But the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Risking the whole future of mankind to save one person because you can. This is an acceptance of power and the dark choices that that entails.
Aurelius's picture

!!SPOILER ALERT!! Be warned the following is in depth review of the episode and contains spoilers. !!SPOILER ALERT!!

 

After the long wait, we are rewarded with a tense (and terse) and brilliantly written episode that ultimately asks more questions then answers them.

 

Coming into this episode, like many, I had seen many of the promos, which, despite how much they preview, actually doesn’t even hint at the crux of this episode (and only covers about the first 10 minutes or so with a smattering of the rest), which is neither Mars, the brave (but doomed) colonists, or the Flood—following the recent zombie chic, but this time some hybrid water type—this episode is all about the Doctor and in certain respects, RTD.

 

After a weak intro that neither explains why the Doctor is on Mars or why the TARDIS is materializing miles away from the colony in the uninhabitable atmosphere (other than a plot device), the story immediately picks up—as soon as the Doctor realizes where, when and who he is dealing with and he cannot be a part of this, the Flood make their awful presence known. And let’s deal with them first.

 

We know very little of them or what is causing the transformation other than it is some sort of virus or disease and it is intelligent, since it chose not to infect the birds or other animals on the colony. The Doctor believes perhaps the Ice Warriors may have found something and froze in an attempt to contain it (quick point here—he speaks of the Ice Warriors in the past tense) in any event, the Flood are bad news and want nothing more than to steamroll to earth and wallow in its abundant water. Other than this, we are given next to nothing about them. But then again, they aren’t the focus of this episode they are the catalyst, and in the end, they are believed to be destroyed along with the rest of the colony in the nuclear blast. This begs the question, at the end, what were they doing with their voices—trying to raise something or shatter the ice to free something? Interesting to speculate but, for the time being, unimportant.

 

The rest (and more importantly the focus) of the story is squarely upon the shoulders of the brooding Doctor. He debates leaving, knowing that he cannot do anything to stop what is going to happen, yet in his sly manner, he reluctantly tells Adelaide (great character and a superb performance) of her fate and marches back to the TARDIS while listening to the screams of the dying colonists (a brilliant and chilling scene). Then explosions happen, the Doctor is knocked down and suddenly everything makes sense: he says he thinks he knows what “he will knock 4 times” means and realizes that if the referees (the Timelords) are dead, then so are the rules of the game (time itself); he saves the remaining colonists and whisks them back home to earth, giving us an amazing and brilliant last 10, 15 minutes, the true heart of the episode.

 

He is the Timelord Victorious and no longer is content to “save the little people;” all time belongs to him, and he is not a survivor but the winner of the Time War. This shattered man, we first met under the pen of RTD in the guise of 9th doctor, has struggled for so long and can no longer bear the burden of loss—of companions, his home, his people and the inevitability of fate. RTD, and the Doctor, have come full circle through the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and here in the last two specials of the year and the last of 10th’s life, acceptance. Blood stains the Doctor’s hands and now he must pay the price.

 

In closing, I’m not sure what to make of the end (or rather the beginning of the 3-story arc of the 10th’s final chapters). I think Adelaide’s suicide was in direct response to the Doctor after he opens the door to her house—

 

Adelaide: What? You can do anything you want?

Doctor: Yes, I can.

 

No one should have that power. Adelaide knowing that the Doctor saved her, in spite of recorded events, in spite of what will come, decides to take the only course of action this arrogant man cannot stop her from doing and in event, spoil everything he worked for.

 

And what of Ood Sigma? Real or dream? What does his presence mean and why is it important? Why does the Doctor ask if this is his death? Punishment for breaking the Time Laws? It seems, in the end, with the deadly cloister bell chiming in the distance, the Doctor will attempt to set certain wrongs right, including the lingering guilt of his home, Gallifrey (remember the prophecy was: “IT is returning through the dark”).

 

Excellent episode. 9 out of 10.

 

P.S. Hated the robot.

 

 

 

"Gosh, that takes me back. Or forward. That's the trouble with time travel; you can never remember." (The Doctor, The Androids of Tara)
Aurelius's picture

sorry; was a double post; deleted this second one.

 

"Gosh, that takes me back. Or forward. That's the trouble with time travel; you can never remember." (The Doctor, The Androids of Tara)
BongMong's picture
I loved it. Very fast paced and kept you guessing as to the route the Doc would take. Not sure why he didn't just take the crew off to another planet to live out their lives rather than sending them back to muck up Earth timeline, but still. Perhaps I'm a bit brighter than the Doc. Could the Doc be starting along the road to becoming the Valiyard already? I thought that would happen when he got to Doctor #12 (I believe the Valiyard happens between 12 & 13 somehow? Correct me if I misunderstood). If so, this could be dead exciting. Perhaps they are going to make #12 the Valiyard, and #11 will take this story forward. Very exciting.
Troy Baker's picture

In "Trial of a Time Lord: The Ultimte Foe" it was mentioned by the Master that the Valeyard was the Doctor between hie 12th and 13th regeneration.

There's lots of possibilities there. However without the Time Lords his persona may take a different turn.

That line is also condiered to be a continuity error in the show but if what the Master said is the truth the Doctor somehow overcomes the limitations of 12 regenerations.

what I mean is: isn't it time he does something totally unprecedented and try to do the thing he wouldn't do like go back and save someone he thinks he shouldn't? Yes I know that might mean he's going to be really bad or something but ...for once I felt he was taking the bull by the horns and raging aginast time.
romana_II's picture

Just adding my two (random point tiem) fangirl cents on the episode.

I loved it. It was Epic! I was shaking after watching it, simply blown away by the way it ended and what the Doctor did.

Epic things:

- Spacesuit!Doctor
- MARS!!!
- The Flood (freaky as all heck and awesome)
- The Ensemble cast
- Mia (I has such a girl crush on her ^_^)
- Australian character in the crew! (New series first?)
- Time Lord Victorious!Doctor
- The End of Time trailer (Hoodie!Master FTW)
- The Confidential

Meh/Lol Things:

- Wall-e (I mean Gadget. Go Go Gadget Rocket blasters)
- Why the Flood are digging into the glacier was never really explained.

:( Things:

- Set built in the Torchwood Hub set (makes me think they have no intention of using that set ever again, makes me sad because I love that set)
- No mention from Adelaide about having aliens speak through her in 2009 (COE)

Christmas can't come quickly enough, yet I'm really scared.
I think I'll stock up on tissues while I can.

~Hysterical Woman #1088~
The Wailing Fangirl Podcast

I'll start of by saying this is infinitely better than Planet of the Dead.

- I'm not sure about this Time Lord Victorious thing yet. It came on kind of suddenly, and I'm not sure that it wouldn't have been better if this had been a gradual process of The Doctor turning darker.

- The Flood monsters were scary looking. Although it would've been nicer if they could've done some better special effects to squirt water at people other than the obvious hose-in-the-sleeve method.

- Again with The Flood, I wish we had learned more about them and their history and their motives, but at the same time this might be why they were so scary...because we didn't know a whole lot about them.

- The crew on the base I couldn't care less about. It might've been nice to learn a tiny bit more about them so that we actually cared when some of them died.

- I liked the base itself. Basic, yet vast at the same time. The bicycle jokes were nice, but the super fast WALL-E was kinda over the top.

- The setting on desolate Mars was good. The fact that they're millions of miles away from Earth, and the TARDIS was not inside the base makes it more interesting, in that when things get rough they can't just jump in the TARDIS and run away. Granted, that's what happened at the end, but at least it was suspenseful for most of the story.

- Classic series references are always welcomed, and it was nice to hear of the Ice Warriors.

- Watching this I realize how much I miss having a regular series. I can't explain it, but when I started watching this episode, I had this empty feeling in my gut, almost like I didn't even care about the show...probably cuz it's been so long. Whatever the reason, I really hate this off-year...next Spring can't get here quick enough.

Overall, not bad. I'd probably give it 3 out of 5 TARDIS groans.

I know what you mean about the show not being on. It was a BIG MISTAKE to give it a "rest"

Linquel's picture

I'm never one for long reviews. Usually, I'll write that I either liked it or didn't and what were a few brilliant or sub-part things about it. This is no different.

Ultimately, I liked it. Definitely thought it was better than Planet of the Dead. The water monster effects were mostly top-notch. I was worried when I saw the images in the BBC Who webpage gallery. Still images didn't look quite as scary as when they were animated by the actors. I agree with what most people before me posted. I thought the snap back from Time Lord Valeyard..I mean Victorious was a little too quick. I also didn't get his plan to bring them back. How could they possibly have gotten back on the same day as the explosion on Mars? Why not drop them off on another planet in the future with Adelaide's future great grandkids or something. And I don't get how Adelaide thought shooting herself would fix the time line. Somehow having Grandma mysteriously show up at home and kill herself doesn't strike me as something her granddaughter would find inspiring? I would think it would lead most people to think the Mars landing was a hoax and that Adelaide killed herself out of guilt. And then the government would try to hunt down and kill James Brolin and O.J. Simpson. Wait, sorry...different faked Mars landing. ;)

I'm not sure how I feel about the trailer. I like John Simm and enjoyed him as the Master. But this looks like it could be goofy. I wonder if his return will be a result of the Doctor's actions in this episode or something completely different.

Luckily the time between now and then won't be too difficult for me. I completely missed that Sarah Jane Adventures started up again and I have all of those to watch now. :)

/-edit-/

After watching the Confidential, I think it's funny that the original pre-production designs for Gadget had him looking a little more like Wall-E, but in the show he a more round/cyclops head.

YES!!!

Sorry to be so negative in my first room comment but I HATED 'Waters of Mars'! The first 45 minutes on the base were totally unconnected to the ending where the Doctor goes a bit bonkers...couldn't we have just had the last 10 minutes aired on BBC Children In Need as a trailer for the two episodes at Xmas?

Even my 11 year old nephew (the target audience?) thought the robot was silly.

RTD is now in my wife's bad books because I was so annoyed after the episode that I went into a huff which caused an argument...Foot in mouthWink

I haven't read all the responses so if this repeats what others have said I'm sorry.

Chase  said "Not sure why the Cloister Bell was ringing...just what is the danger?"

I think that the Cloister Bell was ringing precisely because of what happened to Adelaide. The danger was the door the Dr was opening to arrogance that would have dire effects and affects on the Doctor personally and on those he was trying to save.

It seems to me that almost everybody has missed what was going on with Adelaide. It is far too simplistic to see her suicide as her reaction to the what the Dr did or the Dr himself. I think that we have to take into account that she had just lost her whole command under circumstances that were possibly more than she had ever trained for or could ever have possible expected to train for. There are people trained and tested for high stress commands that have cracked under much less. The way I saw it was that the Dr was simply the person she reacted against as an expression of her pain and that is what the Dr missed.

I think that this was a very important episode. It was an episode that had to be done. To me we had been working toward this episode since the beginning of RTD's tenure. Without the Time Lords, it seems to me, that this was something that had to be tested. The Dr would inevitably end up testing this boundary.

This is important because we and indeed the Dr himself, needed to see the Dr's limits, "IT WAS ABOUT TIME"

Having said that it's not may favorite episode even, though it had some very funny bits and scary bits. Much of the criticism of this episode I think stems from the fact that people are not happy to see their heroes be as flawed as this.

I have watched Dr. Who almost since it was first aired on Australian TV in the 60's and I still tend to watch it through the eyes of a child; so many of the short falls of episodes that others point out just simply go over my head; but this story is not just creepy but as has been pointed out, the Dr becomes the Valiyard "embracing of the dark side"; I too don't like seeing my hero fall either.

 

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