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Empress of Mars Recap

At 21st century NASA on Earth, the technicians--and the Doctor--prepares for an incoming transmission from Valkyrie on Mars. Bill and Nardole pop in as well, and the technicians finally notice them and wonder who they are. The Doctor presents his psychic paper, authorizing them to go anywhere they please, and asks about Valkyrie. The head technician, Alan, explains that Valkyrie is proving the Martian icecaps with a new kind of camera. The first picture comes in... showing the message "God Save the Queen" spelled out on rocks on the surface.

Once the Doctor uses the TARDIS to determine the message was made in 1881, he goes there and materializes the TARDIS underground where it registers multiple lifeforms. The trio dons suits and looks around, and they find a fire burning in a cave with crude furniture nearby. Realizing that there's oxygen, the trio removes their helmets, and Bill falls down a shaft. The Doctor sends Nardole back to the TARDIS to get rescue gear, and the TARDIS dematerializes on its own.

The Doctor hears someone marching and turns to see an Ice Warrior coming down the tunnel.

Bill finds a futuristic metal door and steps back in shock as it opens and she sees what's beyond.

The Ice Warrior advances on the Doctor. The Doctor tells it to halt, and it does.

Catchlove, a man in a Victorian-style space suit steps through the door and removes his helmet. He smiles and says that she's unexpected company.

Nardole tries to take the TARDIS back to Mars but it stalls.

The Doctor tells the Ice Warrior that he was once an honorary member of the Tithonian Hive. A British soldier arrives and says that he'll sort him out. When the Doctor intervenes, the soldier fires a warning shot at his feet and says that he wasn't talking to the Doctor. He asks if the Ice Warrior, Friday, is okay and then demands to know who the Doctor is. The Doctor shows his psychic paper and asks the same thing.

The TARDIS materializes in the Doctor's office and refuses to move. He goes to the vault and calls through the door, telling Missy that he needs to get back to Mars and the TARDIS is acting up. She says that she'll have to show him what's wrong, and Nardole hesitates.

The soldiers take the Doctor and Bill to their camp, and the Doctor tells Bill that Nardole took the TARDIS. The colonel in charge, Godsacre, explains that he found an interplanetary vessel in Africa with Friday on-board, half-dead. The psychic paper says that the Doctor and Bill have been on Friday's ship the whole time, and they play along as best they can. Godsacre explains that Friday asked for his help to repair his spaceship and bring him home, and the Doctor wonders what the Ice Warrior wanted in return.

The caverns shake as the soldiers use the Gargantua, a piece of mining equipment made from the equipment on Friday's ship. The Ice Warrior promised them gemstones and precious metals, so they came to Mars to claim it for Queen Victoria and loot it of its riches. Disgusted, Catchlove says that the whole thing has been a washout. Their ship crashed upon landing and they've been unable to repair it. Godsacre warns that their supplies and morale are running low. He calls Friday over to take their teacups and explains that Friday was asleep for much longer than he anticipated. Mars is now dead and Friday is the last of his kind.

Once they're alone, the Doctor tells Bill about the Ice Warriors. Friday comes over and the Doctor asks him why he really came back. He says that he's old and tired and spent,

The soldiers continue digging and one of them, Jack Dawson, complains to their leader Sergeant Major Peach that they have nothing to show for their labors. Something blasts through from the other side and the soldiers go over to investigate. Peach then goes to Godsacre and tells him that the Gargantua has uncovered something. The Doctor and Bill go with them to a vast chamber with a gold sarcophagi of an Ice Warrior in it. Examining it, the Doctor says that it's the tomb of an Ice Queen, and he has a bad feeling about it. The Doctor explains that the sarcophagi was often part of an elaborate hibernation system, Catchlove tells Peach to get the Doctor and Bill out, insisting that it's a military matter. Godsacre reminds Catchlove that he's in charge, and tells Peach to place a guard and make sure that no one comes near it until morning.

Once he's alone with Godsacre and Catchlove, the Doctor tells him that Friday intended to get back to Mars and bring the hive out of hibernation. Catchlove doesn't believe it, but the Doctor says that they don’t belong there and the sooner they leave, the better. Furious, Catchlove insist that Mars is part of the Empire now and storms off. Godsacre goes after him, and the Doctor warns Bill that the Ice Warriors will wipe the humans out.

Peach stands guard with Jack and a private, Vincey, and Jack starts to go for the gold on the sarcophagi. The sergeant tells Jack to stand down but then passes out from the drugged drink that Jack gave him. Jack tells Vincey that Catchlove is further along with his repairs that he's let on, and Jack can escape in the ship once he takes the gold. Vincey refuses to get involved, but Jack assures Vincey that he'll get his share and enters the tomb while Vincey stands guard.

Jack approaches the sarcophagi and starts prying off the precious gems. The Ice Queen Warrior grabs him from behind.

Vincey sees a soldier coming and goes to warn Jack. Jack and the Ice Queen atop the sarcophagi are gone, As Vincey looks for Jack, the Ice Queen Iraxxa steps out. She demands to know what manner of creature Vincey is, just as the other soldier comes in. He fires at Iraxxa but his bullet fails to penetrate her carapace. As he reloads, Iraxxa vaporizes him with a sonic blast. She turns back to Vincey and prepares to kill him, but Friday comes in and greets his majesty. Friday salutes his empress as Vincey runs, and Iraxxa acknowledges that Friday has fulfilled his pledge. Her Sentinel tells her that they have slept for 5,000 years.

Once Vincey sounds the alarm, the soldiers go to the tomb chamber where Iraxxa and Friday are waiting. The Doctor tells Godsacre that he can settle it out, and Friday presents his Empress. Catchlove asks if she can casually slaughter "his" men, and Iraxxa refers to him as a "pink thing." When Catchlove orders his men to fire, Godsacre insists that he's in command and tells the Doctor to negotiate. The Doctor steps forward and introduces himself, and asks mercy for the primitives. He tells Iraxxa that the world she knew is dead, and her people cannot survive on Mars. Friday confirms what the Doctor is saying, and Iraxxa asks what Bill says. She points out that they both are surrounded by "noisy males," and values Bill's opinion.

Bill steps forward and tells Iraxxa that there is no reason for any fighting. She points out that the humans saved Friday's life, and Iraxxa dismisses him as a pet. Friday says that it was a tactical decision, and Iraxxa insists that the Ice Warriors' duty is to command. The Doctor tells her that the Mars she ruled is gone, and tells her to fight for the future. A soldier fires and the bullet bounces off of Iraxxa's carapace. Godsacre orders his men to cease fire, and Iraxxa tells the Doctor that she grants mercy: a quick death.

The Doctor yells at Godsacre to get his men out. Iraxxa kills one soldier, and Godsacre orders a retreat. Catchlove wants to use the Gargantua, and when Godsacre forbids him, Catchlove ignores him. Bill runs over and spins the elevation gear, and the drilling beam brings down the tunnel rather than hitting Friday., The soldiers cheer at their perceived victory.

Iraxxa activates her hive.

Catchlove tells the men that Godsacre is not a hero and orders him to show them his famous wound. He yanks open Godsacre's collar and reveals the mark of a rope, and says that they tried to hang him for desertion. The Doctor tells Catchlove that they don't stand a chance against the Ice Warriors, and the hive is active. Catchlove insists that the British Army can deal with the Ice Warriors, and orders Peach to arrest Godsacre. Peach hesitates but then does it, and Catchlove has the Doctor and Bill put in the brig as well. The Doctor warns Catchlove that isn't over.

As the Ice Warriors revive, Iraxxa believes that she has enough to go on the offensive.

While Catchlove mobilizes his men, Godsacre asks the Doctor and Bill who they really are. When Bill says that they're the police of a sorts, Godsacre chuckles at the idea. She asks him if it's true, and Godsacre admits that he's a coward. Catchlove knew and has been blackmailing him ever since.

As the soldiers wait, Vincey says that Godsacre is a decent chap. Peach insists that that they have to follow the rules. Meanwhile, three Ice Warriors burrow into their tunnels and one kills Peach. Catchlove goes to the Gargantua and the Doctor yells to him that it's senseless slaughter. Meanwhile, an Ice Warrior burrows into the brig.

Iraxxa watches as more as hundreds of Ice Warrior hibernation cells activate.

Catchlove shoves Vincey in front of him to block an Ice Warrior shot and runs.

The prisoners realize that the Ice Warrior in their cell is Friday. He tells the Doctor that they must work together. He smashes through the cell door, and Godsacre runs off, saying that he can't do it. Iraxxa and her men arrive, and the Doctor tells Bill that he needs a distraction. She agrees and he leaves, and Bill goes to Iraxxa and says that they should talk woman to woman. Meanwhile, the Doctor goes to Gargantua. Bill asks why it has to be war, and Friday agrees with him. Bill says that they can stand together, but Iraxxa insists that her race stands alone and they don't require assistance.

Friday steps forward as Iraxxa prepares to kill Bill. The Doctor calls out, saying that he'll fire into the ceiling. There are millions of tons of snow and ice above them, and if he fires then the army will be trapped forever. Iraxxa points out that the Doctor will destroy himself as well, but the Doctor says that either they live together or die together. Catchlove grabs Iraxxa from behind and puts a sword to her throat, and the Doctor tells him not to mess it up. He says that he will use Iraxxa to pilot the ship off of Mars, and tells her to order her soldiers to stand down. She does so and Catchlove says that he'll dynamite the lifts so that they can't flower. The Doctor offers to help him as long as he leaves Iraxxa with her people, but Catchlove isn't interested. Godsacre is in the lift waiting, and shoots Catchlove dead.

Iraxxa is surprised that Godsacre sacrificed one of his own without tactical advantage, and she asks if he expects his life to be spared. Godsacre says unloads his gun and says that he gives his life willingly, and explains that he was once hung for cowardice. Iraxxa says that she will be happy to fulfill the execution, and Godsacre says that the Doctor isn't one of them and asks her to spare them. The Empress says that it will be considered and assures him that he will die in the service of those he swore to protect. Godsacre thanks her, and Iraxxa tells him that he won't die that day. She tells him that to die in battle is the way of the warrior, and tells Godsacre to pledge his allegiance to her and her world, and she will assure that he has the opportunity to die in battle. Godsacre swears his service to her, and Iraxxa and the Ice Warriors salute him.

Later, the Doctor sends a transmission to the galaxy that the Ice Warriors are back. He tells Bill that it might be the beginning of Mars' golden age, just as Alpha Centauri of the Galactic Federation calls and says that they will send a ship to help them and need a physical marker.

The Doctor and Bill build a marker for the spaceship to see, and Godsacre says that there's nothing waiting for him on Earth. However, he admits that no one Earth will ever know that they got there. The Doctor assures him that they won't be forgotten, and points out that they've spelled the words "God Save the Queen" in rocks. When they go below, the TARDIS arrives. When the Doctor and Bill go inside, they find Missy at the controls. The Doctor says that it's not what they agreed to, and Missy asks him if he's all right.

Written by Gadfly on Jun 11, 2017

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