I’m really excited about this serial – I’ve never seen it before, but despite that, back when I was in high school, I wrote a series of short stories that were the closest thing to fanfic I’ve ever done – they were about another Time Lord, “The Baron” and his companion was an Ice Warrior. (I don’t remember his name, it has been 25 years or so since I wrote them.) Anyhow, so for that alone, this serial holds a particular interest for me.

 It’s six episodes long, but only 2 and 3 are not in video.

Episode 1:

 We open with an icy scene, a terrain covered in snow and ice, large icicles dripping from everywhere and some seriously Star Trek sounding music. As we pan about, we see the terrain is mountainous.

 Then we cut to what appears to be a control room. People in futuristic garb dash about and a voice over a PA system announces it’s an emergency situation and an evacuation is ordered. A man bursts in, demanding to know why the ionizer been allowed to deteriorate to “danger level”.

 There’s alll sorts of drama as a woman argues with him while she’s trying to stabilise the controls. Things are, at least temporarily, calmed down and the alarms cease. The man, Leader Clent, consults with a computer that speaks in a really obnoxious voice that’s hard to quite understand. Apparently, there’s glaciers all about the Earth and this base is charged with stopping their advance.

 The PA signals for Phase 2 Evacuation. Clent tries to contact his senior scientist, who is out in the field.

 We see a drill team amongst the icy glacier and they seem to have found something… possibly someone… in the ice! Their communicator registers that base is trying to contact them, but they can’t receive the signal, and decide to not worry about it, more interested by the object in the ice.

 Things are bad again in the control room. Clent storms around while the woman relates they’re approaching total disintegration.

 We see the TARDIS arrive outside a building, mostly on its side. We hear the screams of Victoria (shocking) and the doors open, with The Doctor (still/again wearing his fur coat) and companions struggling to climb out. Jamie complains about more snow.

 Victoria mistakes the building, which is a plastic dome, for “a big ball of ice”. A door slides open and they hide behind the TARDIS as two men exit, carrying items in their arms. The Doctor and his companions wait until they leave and then enter the dome.

 Arden (the scientist in the field) makes contact with Clent. Clent demands that Arden return to assist with the ionizer. Clent orders him to return immediately and doesn’t care about Arden’s discovery. Arden pretends there’s interference and cannot quite understand what Clent is saying and the signal is cut.

 The Doctor and his companions find themselves in a cozy interior. Over a PA system, we hear “Phase 3 Evacuation” being ordered. A woman approaches them and pins badges on the three of them, assigning them to Evacuation Phase 7, and identifies them as Scavengers.

 The Doctor hears the sound of machinery and determines it doesn’t sound like it’s running properly. He enters the room, which turns out to be where Leader Clent is trying to sort out the Ionizer. The Doctor tells them they’re going to have an explosion in less than three minutes, unless they do as he says.

 Leader Clent suffers a bout of weakness and he is taken away to the “vibro-chair”. He invites The Doctor to accompany him, and he and his companions do.

 Out on the glacier, Arden and his fellow scientists have unearthed what they dub an “Ice Warrior”, a giant in armour, frozen in the ice!

 The two men we saw leaving the dome observe Arden’s site from afar, discussing Arden and Leader Clent – apparently one of them is a missing scientist, Penley, that Clent and the woman in the control room had discussed earlier. (Interesting note – Penley is played by Peter Sallis, who provides the voice of Wallace in the Wallace and Gromit animated films.) The two scavengers move through the blizzard, but there’s an avalanche that kills Davis, one of the scientists, and injures Penley’s associate, Storr.

 Leader Clent questions The Doctor about his qualifications. The Doctor presents he and his companions as “Sanctifiers” that have been in retreat in Tibet for years, thus not knowing all that’s going on. Clent says The Doctor will be tested to see if his scientific knowledge is up to snuff – if not, the three of them will be treated as scavengers and sent to Africa.

 Apparently, when the Earth faced a hunger crisis, food was artificially grown and the drastic reduction of plant life resulted in a reduction of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which has led to a Second Ice Age. The Ionizer is used to magnify heat from the Sun onto the Earth.

 The Doctor accepts the offer to work with them to help them tackle the problems they face. When asked if he works with computers, The Doctor responds, “Only when I have to.” Funny, that.

 Shortly thereafter, Arden and his men arrive with the frozen body (still mostly iced over) on a gurney. The Doctor points out that no civilisation that long ago had the technology to create a helmet like the one in the ice. Upon further investigation, The Doctor sees what appears to be an electronic connection on the Ice Warrior’s armour.

 Jamie and Victoria are left with the Ice Warrior while the scientists consult. Jamie comments on the revealing dress of the women, much to Victoria’s displeasure. He even goes so far as to ask if she will dress like that. (There’s a fun sort of playful antagonism between Jamie and Victoria.)

 While they banter, the Ice Warrior begins to move… and the credits roll.

 I’m rather enjoying this thus far. I do hope it continues to be as fun. And it does – it’s a bit light on the storytelling, more of an action-based plot, but not bad.


Episode 2/3:

 The two lost episodes are presented as one – an official reconstruction with telesnaps and some new video/animations. We open with an obviously newly recorded scene, where a small device – much like a smartphone, or at least a video pager, if you will – lays in the snow. We zoom in and see a SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT displayed saying that the World Computer Control warns of massive communication failure in all regions – only limited picture and audio data available for the next fifteen minutes. (This is so clever – this is their way of relating to the missing episodes!)

 Through the screen, we’re shown the episodes – limited video and photos with voice narration.

 The Ice Warrior gets up from the table and Victoria calls out Jamie’s name. Jamie is clubbed by the warrior and Victoria is drugged away.

 The Doctor is trying to tell the scientists about the Ice Warrior’s technology – the helmet has electronic connections! The Doctor tells them that the frozen man is from another world, and there must be a spaceship in the glacier. There is great concern that if they activate the Ionizer it could trigger an explosion of the ship’s atomic engines (how they know it’s atomic is quite the leap, if you ask me, but then, I’m no scientist.)

 Jamie bursts in, bringing the news of the animated Ice Warrior and Victoria being captured.

 The Ice Warrior brings Victoria to a medical supply room. Victoria learns that his name is Varga and is from Mars. He asks her how long he was in the ice, and though she’s not sure, she says it has been thousands of years. The Ice Warrior relates that their ship crashed and was buried in an avalanche.

 Clent consults the computer for advice and it suggests sending one investigator to the ship – The Doctor and Jamie agree that the highlander should accompany Arden.

 Victoria struggles to answers all of Varga’s questions. He speaks is a sibilant voice that is quite difficult to understand. Varga determines he needs the power unit that was used to melt the ice surrounding him to revive his fellow Ice Warriors.

 Jamie and Arden reach the glacier and they contact Clent on Arden’s wrist communicator (Dick Tracy, anyone?) There’s no sign of the Ice Warrior or Victoria. Through preliminary readings, Arden determines that there is something more in the ice – possibly the ship, but he is not sure.

 Varga and Victoria return to the room where he was revived to recover the power packs. Clent enters and Varga strikes him in the head, knocking him down, though Victoria screams (surprise there, huh?), “You killed him,” as Varga drags her off.

 Jamie and Arden have returned and they, along with The Doctor and others, find Clent unconscious. He relates what has happened. They receive word that the Ice Warrior has broken out through the gate and headed towards the glacier.

 At the glacier, Varga uses a sonic gun to free his frozen Ice Warriors. He then attaches power packs to each of the four Martians and they begin to revive.

 Jamie and Arden prepare to return to the glacier. The Doctor gives Jamie instructions to keep an eye on Arden, whom he feels doesn’t quite understand the danger. “He’s a scientist and a bit inclined to have his head in the air… you know what they’re like.”

 Jamie regards The Doctor, knowingly, “Oh, aye… I certainly do!” Now THAT’S funny.

 When The Doctor brings up that he’s not bound by the regulations, Clent compares him to Penley and says that Penley’s issues with regulations contributed to his breakdown. The Doctor questions this, as he understood that Penley defected. “One thing led to another, he was under a great amount of pressure.” – Leader Clent

 Varga’s Ice Warriors use their sonic guns to bore into the ice, looking for their ship, as Penley watches in astonishment from afar.

 Miss Garrett (the woman I’ve referred to as talking to Clent, she seems to be pretty high in the ranks, possibly Clent’s second?) brings in Penley’s notes for The Doctor to review. He finds references to “the Omega factor” and praises Penley, but we don’t hear any more, as Arden appears on a comm screen. He reports that a cave has been excavated into the ice, and it seems the cave leads to the ship – there are doors at the end.

 Arden stays to take readings, while Jamie voices his unease. Ice Warriors appear out of hiding areas and blast them, but Arden takes the bigger brunt of the blast, while Jamie is only knocked out. Victoria is there and she cries out (now, that’s unexpected) and weeps about Jamie, thinking the highlander is dead. The Ice Warriors drag her into the ship; down the tunnel, Penley watches from a hiding spot.

 The Doctor has found the information they needed – Penley’s Omega factor was needed for their computer to sort things out. They prepare to initiate the computer, but The Doctor reminds them about the alien ship and the concerns about its engine.

 Penley has recovered Jamie and brought him back to where he and Storr have been camping out, in a plant museum. Storr is unhappy about the addition of Jamie to their little base. Penley relays that Arden is dead when Jamie asks about him.

 Victoria slips out of the spaceship, grabs Arden’s wrist communicator from the ice near his body. She uses it to contact The Doctor and tells them that Arden is dead but she’s not sure about Jamie’s fate. Clent presses her for facts about the ship, but she’s too busy crying and blubbering.

 Inside the ship, the Ice Warrior target Victoria with a gun that targets her. We see her in the sights of the gun… and the credits roll.

 (We actually see one more scene, with the little communcation device in the snow. We zoom in on the screen for another SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT – System engineer reports normal service to be resumed shortly. Again, so very, very clever! The data being down was the missing episodes! I’m giggling over this, how very, very nifty!)

Episode 4:

 At the last minute, Varga switches off the gun. He wants to use her as bait to bring in the others.

 Victoria, who has finally stopped most of her blubbering, begins to relate that the Ice Warriors are from Mars, but Clent doesn’t care about that – he needs to know what sort of engines the ship has. (Okay, so they’re not assuming they’re atomic, they’re just concerned that they might be – he rattles off a bunch of possibilities – reactor turbine, ion jet, anti-grav – though poor Victoria has no idea.)

 Before she can go into any details about the engines, Varga decides that she’s told them enough and sends his warriors after her. She hides from her pursuit, though moving in the cave with the glacier’s constant moving makes for dangerous evasion.

 The Doctor plans to go to the ship to confront the Ice Warriors (and to learn what he can of the engines.) He prepares some ammonium sulphide, which he says, based on the atmosphere of Mars, will be rather effective. Clent is unwilling to let The Doctor go, for fear of losing him, but eventually gives in. 

 When they advocate The Doctor take arms, his response is classic, “But I’m not going to fight a duel.”

 Victoria evades her pursuer, though the Ice Warrior is close behind. At one point she screams (as the Ice Warrior was far from her, I’mnot sure why, though it triggers some debris to fall – which I suspect she’ll eventually put to use.) She is caught by the Ice Warrior but the wall begins to collapse.

 Jamie wakes up, confused and afraid of Penley and Storr. Storr and Jamie quickly bond in their distrust of scientists, but when Jamie tries to get up, he discovers his legs are useless!

 Varga questions where the girl is and is told Turoc has not returned. The Ice Warriors need a specific type of fuel element and want to know from Victoria if the base has it there. They discuss that, if the scientists are successful at reverting the Ice Age, there is no hope for them escaping the planet.

 Victoria keeps yelling for help; she’s partially covered by ice and rock. Turoc is seen next to her, immobile. Her cries trigger more collapse.

 Storr and Penley argue whether to take Jamie to the base, as Penley advocates, or seek help from the aliens, as Storr thinks is best. (Apparently, being a scavenger, his distrust of the scientists is so great that he cannot consider going to the base… or he’s just a complete fucking idiot.) Storr sets off, though Penley is not too far behind him. Storr hears Penley calling for him and seems to prepare to ambush him, picking up a rock. But then the scavenger hears Victoria’s cries and goes off to investigate.

 Penley comes across The Doctor and leads him back to Jamie.

 Storr finds Victoria and helps her get free. Storr is obviously not all there – his distrust of the scientists is on the level of extreme paranoia, but he frees her and takes her out of there as more debris falls.

 The Ice Warriors prepare to attack the base. Zondal pushes for attacking quite strongly, though Varga does his best to keep him in check.

 Storr brings Victoria back to the ship, thinking that the enemies of the scientists are his friends. Varga demands to know what happened to Turoc and she explains that he was crushed by the ice. Storr tries to offer his services to the Ice Warriors, but they decide he is no good to them – he knows nothing of their technology, so they kill him.

 (Lots of aliens on Doctor Who, at least in the early days, talk and gesticulate with their hands, even swaying their bodies as they talk. While I understand that, a lot of the time it is because the aliens don’t have visible mouths so it’s not always clear who is talking, it’s still REALLY annoying. Also, the Ice Warriors do have visible mouths.)

 The Doctor is reunited with Jamie. The Doctor explains to Jamie that his nervous system has taken a great shock, but with time and rest he’ll be walking before long. Penley agrees to take Jamie to the base, though he’s unsure that Clent will greet him with open arms.

 Clent and Miss Garrett struggle with the choice faced them – the glacier is moving faster, they’ve just received reports of the fifth surge that day. Clent says that they don’t know enough to make a decision yet, but Garrett wonders what if they never know about the alien ship’s engines, what if The Doctor doesn’t return? He says all hope resides with The Doctor.

 The Doctor makes his way to the ship, caught in a slight avalanche. He knocks on the ship’s door, and spies the gun, which extends while he’s peering at it. The door opens for him and he enters the airlock. Varga communicates through a small screen, demanding who he is. The Doctor says he won’t answer until asked properly, but Varga begins reducing the pressure in the airlock to zero, giving The Doctor a ten count to answer… and the credits roll.

 OH NO, WHAT WILL HAPPEN? WILL THE DOCTOR’S BODY EXPLODE? WE HAVE TO WAIT A WHOLE WEEK TO FIND OUT?

 Oh, no we don’t. WHEW.

Episode 5:

 The Doctor gives in and answers their questions. They don’t believe he is a scientist, saying he looks more like a scavenger. Varga decides to let him in, to see if he can help them or not. The Doctor asserts that he will help but only on his terms. Varga and The Doctor argue. Victoria is brought in and is reunited with The Doctor.

 Penley pulls Jamie along on a stretcher through the ice, snow and woods. As Penley stops to rest, they hear wolves nearby howling. As Penley is about to get up, he spots a young bear. (Fun bit, Jamie says to him, “Lead on, Macduff!”, a common misquoting of Shakespeare’s Macbeth.)

 The Ice Warriors feel that the Ionizer is a weapon – if nothing else, it will cause great flooding and their ship would be useless.

 Clent and Garrett have been listening to The Doctor and Varga’s conversation via a communicator in The Doctor’s pocket. Varga deduces that he must have one on him and makes The Doctor turn it over. The Doctor emphatically sends a message before he does, saying that the scientists will have to use the Ionizer eventually.

 The World Control Computer declares that in six hours all Ionizer stations will use the new equation The Doctor helped them formulate in a concerted attack against the glaciers.

 The bear gets closer and Penley tries using a tranquiliser gun, but he seems to miss or it does no good.

 The World Control Computer is consulted with the information they have on what to do – it gives them a non-answer. Prepare the Ionizer but wait for further data. Clent argues that if it made a decision, it could mean the destruction of the computer, and says that it is stalling for time… but for now, he is going to go along with what it says.

 The bear was finally knocked out, though Penley has been clawed by the bear. He gets up and starts moving Jamie again.

 The Doctor determines that the ship has an ion reactor engine. The Ice Warriors demand to know if the base has the fuel they need for their ship; when they threaten Victoria, The Doctor is forced to admit they will find what they need at the base. (I have to give Victoria props – she didn’t cry or scream and told The Doctor not to tell them.)

 The scientists are busy in the computer control room, busy with calculations. Clent receives word that Penley and Jamie are at the gate, seeking entrance. (Clent walks with a cane; I’m wondering what the purpose of his character needing it was. Is the actor, Peter Barkworth, dependent on it? Will it factor into the story? Or is it just needless, distracting flavour? He seems to get around without it well enough, but some people who use canes don’t need them all the time, either.)

 Clent and Garrett reacted strangely to the news that Penley is coming in. They seem to think he’s there to start trouble. When Jamie pleads that they go to help The Doctor and Victoria, Clent says it cannot be done. Penley criticises them for obeying the computer. Clent strikes me as wanting to do the right thing, but is consumed by duty, by his hate (or fear) of Penley, and his belief in the computer and science.

 A struggle breaks out and Penley and Jamie are tranquilised and taken to the medical centre. After they’re taken away, Clent seems worn out. Garrett approaches the computer, touching it reverently, almost sensually, saying, “Our trust is in the great computer. With its aid, we cannot fail.” The evil of computers is a recurring theme in Doctor Who – granted, it was one in science fiction back then (and still is through today – look at much scifi with horror undertones – Terminator, 2001, the Paranoia RPG, as a few examples) – but it seems like one that was especially potent for the writers of the show (and the viewers, I would wager.)

 In the alien ship, the Ice Warriors ready their gun to take target readings. They target the scientists’ dome. The Doctor fiddles with his vial of ammonium sulphide (think that’s what it was) and indicates to Victoria to start crying. She does so quickly (well, she’s so good at it), and The Doctor uses her wailing to cover explaining to her his plan to use the ammonium sulphide to escape.

 The Doctor has difficulty opening the vial; Zondal grabs the vial and it either breaks or at least opens and has an extremely debilitating effect. From another room, Varga gives the order for Zondal to fire the gun, and though he has fallen to one knee, he reaches for the firing controls, but The Doctor struggles with his arm… and the credits roll.

Episode 6:

 While The Doctor struggles with Zondal, there’s a massive explosion in the dome. In the control room, we see a chandelier fall and there is great tremblings. One of the men, Walters, reports that the records wing has been destroyed, that they’re under attack. A klaxxon sounds.

 Varga contacts Clent via the video communicator, demanding their surrender or he will “blast your base to fragments”. Clent refuses, saying, “You cannot destroy us!” Clent is told that the base cannot take multiple attacks.

 Clent offers to parley with Varga, who accepts to meet.

 Walters goes on a tirade, saying the computer is no good, nothing but trouble, and makes a move to smash the computer, but Garrett shoots him (presumably with a tranquiliser gun.)

 Victoria wants to escape (as Zondal is unconscious or dead), but The Doctor says they must take action against the Ice Warriors’ weapon.

 The Ice Warriors have arrived at the control room. While Clent tries to parley with Varga, Walters wakes up and makes a move, but one of the Ice Warriors shoots him (presumably killing him.) Varga demands the mercury isotopes, but Clent says The Doctor was lying, their reactor does not use mercury isotopes. Varga plans to shut down the reactor (taking away their power, as well as making the Ionizer useless) to get the isotopes, as he doesn’t believe Clent.

 Varga realises that the Ionizer could be an extremely useful weapon, though the scientists argue that it is merely a scientific instrument. Varga drops that he knows that they fear that the Ionizer might cause his ship to explode, endangering everyone. He makes Garrett begin the cycling down of the Ionizer, else he kills Clent.

 The Doctor modifies the frequency of the Ice Warrior gun, intending for it to affect the Ice Warriors and hopefully not the scientists. However, he’s not 100% sure it will be safe for the humans – it might end up killing them.

 We see Jamie and Penley in the medical center. Penley wakes and rises from the table he was lying upon. Jamie seems slow to recover consciousness.

 The Ionizer has been cycled down. Varga instructs them to shut down the reactor as Penley watches from an open door. He over hears that the Ice Warriors are perfectly at home in ice age conditions and adjusts the buildings temperature settings to make things uncomfortable for the Ice Warriors.

 Quickly, the heat has an effect on the Ice Warriors. Just then, The Doctor activates the sonic cannon and everyone in the control room cries out in pain, Ice Warriors and humans alike. Afterwards, The Doctor sabotages the cannon control unit and he and Victoria escape.

 The Ice Warriors leave the dome and return to their ship. Zoldan awakes while the others check out the controls – the gun is useless.

 The Doctor and Victoria return to the dome; it seems everyone is alive, albeit greatly disoriented. Clent gives the order to reconnect the computer. He refuses to use the Ionizer at full power, based on the computer’s advice. Penley says that they must override the computer – this is not a decision for a computer, but for men.

 Clent goes on a tirade about how the computer must be trusted. He is incapable of making decision without it, nor will Garrett. Clent consults the computer, but it responds with gibberish and spins out of control.

 Penley takes charge and makes the call to use the Ionizer at full strength.

 The Ice Warriors realise the ice is melting. They realise their ship still has power (which makes no sense – the ice is their friend, Varga says… not sure what that means, really.) They plan to time their launch with the melting of the ice.

 Clent screams that they’re wrong, they’re going to kill everyone!

 Turns out it wasn’t power in the engines, it was heat from the Ionizer. The ship begins to burst into flames and the heat has a deadly effect on the Ice Warriors.

 Everyone stands around the control room, watching the results – there’s only a minor explosion and everyone is quite relieved. Clent tells Penley, “You are the most insufferably irritating and infuriating person that I’ve ever been privileged to work with.”

 As the scientists put aside their differences, they realise that The Doctor and his companions have disappeared. We see the TARDIS disappearing… and the credits roll.

 Not a bad story at all, though ultimately it boiled down to whether or not they use the Ionizer – once they did, the story ended and all was well. The Ice Warriors were somewhat interesting, but not terribly developed. The characterisation of the scientists was pretty good, though a lot of stereotypes were used. Another story where The Doctor results in death of aliens. (Something that is thrown in his face over the years, but especially in the new series.)

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