Doctor Who Review: Dancing With Tears In My Eyes

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I should have known straight away "Cold War" took place in the 80s, given the name of the episode, but even when The Doctor whipped out his Elvis sunglasses I still didn't catch on immediately.

The Sindy doll and ball of string, mention of shoulder pads and verbalizing it was the '80s sure gave it away. Duh! I got caught up in the sailors outfits. Don't the damn things ever change?

We didn't even get to see exactly how the TARDIS landed inside the submarine, but it skedaddled out of their right quick leaving Clara and The Doctor relying upon their wits to deal not only with the Russians, but worse, Grand Marshal Skaldak, the 5,000-year old beast it was transporting.

Doctor Who Underwater

There were some really fun moments, such as Clara announcing they made pretty horrible spies when they couldn't even speak Russian. Except they were speaking Russian, thanks to the TARDIS translation matrix. There is so much to learn as a new companion, and when in tiny spaces, it's just a bit more difficult to play it off like you know what the hell you know what you're doing.

I was confused by Skaldak. He seemed frightening and unsettling, but not so much at the crew as at the predicament he was in, especially when he was talking about his daughter who after 5,000 years would be nothing but dust. That would be a lot to take in. I'm always a sucker for someone left alone. Thinking they're without their people, love or any hope for a future to rebuild. In the end it was really all Skaldak wanted.

This episode had an excellent guest cast that lent to the fun. David Warner, a character known for roles in Titanic, The Omen as well as a Doctor Who miniseries in 2009, tried engaging Clara in singing a song to keep her mind off of things while they searched for Skaldak. His choice of songs? "Hungry Like the Wolf" by Duran Duran. Yep, he even popped out a few bars. Clara claimed she knew it and sang it occasionally in karaoke, but karaoke wasn't all that big in 1983 so I think she was just playing along. Nonetheless, it was a cute moment to keep the hunt from becoming too boring.

His funniest bit? He needed to know about the future. "Ultravox?! Do they split up?!" Brilliant writing in an episode that would have otherwise left me wanting.

Liam Cunningham, currently playing Ser Davos on Game of Thrones was the captain of the submarine. Seems he's always on a seagoing vessel and he looked much better than he did this past week on GoT. I do love how the Brits get around from series to series. While I can't imagine some US series players daring to costar in another series, you see it quite frequently in television filmed in the UK. I always find it exciting to play spot the actor.

Of course, Clara singing a few bars of "Hungry Like the Wolf" was what made Skaldak turn off the submarine's button to explode a nuke. The TARDIS was way off at the South Pole because The Doctor had been messing with it's response to danger. To get the frak out of there.  It worked!

So far, I found this to be the weakest episode of the season, made watchable by the guest stars and the amicable beast who wasn't a beast at all. The chemistry between The Doctor and Clara is still right on track, and the episode had a decent amount of paranoia and due to the small space, but I didn't feel any real danger was present. For some reason, I expect Clara to come with a danger quotient, and that wasn't met.

No doubt you all will have a much different take, so get on into the comments and state your theories. You know I love to read them!

PS - the title of the post? Look it up. ;-)


Editor Rating: 3.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.0 / 5.0 (51 Votes)

Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter and on Google+.


I should have known straight away "Cold War" took place in the 80s There was a hint in the first few seconds as we flew over the ice - There was an location/date caption that read "North Pole - 1983".

Aint born typical

I liked the episode overall. There was an element of imminent and real danger, Clara was instrumental in showing the humanity in the otherwise deadly alien creature bent on destroying the world and making us relate to him in the way that the Doctor never could (despite being the hero of the series), the Doctor himself provided knowledge and sense of direction as to what was happening and why, while also sharing with us bits of history. Overall the episode was great. Some things I did find odd. Namely:
-The Doctors reaction to dismantled bodies. These were people who were murdered, how and why was the Doctor OK with that? Even if the Ice Warrior showed mercy in the end, this seemed to be an odd piece of the episode and not something that the Doctor would have treated so lightly in his past incarnation.
- TARDIS translation matrix working while the TARDIS itself was at the opposite pole. Maybe it's a clue to Clara's mystery somehow...don't know.
- This was also another case when the Doctor proved helpless and Clara came to his rescue (it seems to be a thing with her, isn't it). In effect, it was Clara who established a connection with the Ice Warrior and found something that "melt" his heart and through that emotional intelligence saved planet Earth, when the Doctor's solution was to sacrifice the entire fleet. Maybe it is just me, but it seems that while the Doctor's past companions brought out and showed the humanity of the Doctor, Clara seems to underline just how alien he really is.


That was NOT a Sindy Doll. It might have been a Steffi Love Doll.


P.P.S. Glad to see "Orphan Black" chugging along. Sarah's ineptitude as a police officer/Beth impersonator makes her almost convincing as an imposter in the station house. (What's still not convincing is her partner and other close associates buying that she's who she claims to be.) Excellent to learn who the "hunter" is, and cool to learn that it's not what we expected, but also a letdown to know that the killer is a crazy person. Conspiracies are more fun. But this does suggest that either (a) the clones have been fully abandoned their makers, or (b) the clones are doing exactly what their makers intended -- making their way in the world. Not surprising that Sarah would be shaken, but silly that she is in active denial. She's also been backed into a corner by the killer -- the forensic evidence of the clones' existence is building up! -- and it will be interesting to see how she & her sisters finesse this. I'll bet the solution includes somehow recruiting Art, Beth's partner.


P.S. It has been noted elsewhere that "Hungry like the WOLF" is a coded message, again linking Clara back to Rose. (Remember "Bad Wolf"?) It has also been noted that Clara is a bit of an empty character -- she likes to do "stuff"; she doesn't know the wi-fi password or the Internet, she doesn't have much going on. More mystery.


The producers/writers seem to be getting caught up in classic Who nostalgia as the 50th anniversary approaches. The Ice Warriors are major adversaries from the classic series. The bad guy in "Snowmen" and "Bells of St. John" was the Great Intelligence, also a newly resurrected classic adversary. I find classic Who to be unfunny, cheesy, and deadly boring, so I don't consider this a positive development. They're not doing themselves any favors by stretching out the mystery of Clara/Oswin. She was a lot more interesting in her first two episodes ("Dalek Asylum" and "Snowmen"). Her best qualities are her bossy certainty and her ability to call the Doctor on his B.S., and those qualities have been toned down in the three most recent episodes. If the writers/producers don't do much better in the remaining handful of episodes, I'm going to be very, very disappointed.


Oh, goodness. Americans really do think differently to Britons, don't you? The karaoke mention wasn't supposed to be in keeping with the 80's period, it's an anachronistic reference.


Such a disappointing episode... Agree that the Professor was a very nice character, appart from that was a boring episode.


Boring filler. Melisandre made Davos a Soviet sub commander!


I liked it but agree it wasn't the best, I also loved the professor in it he was a great character. I think to make the danger seem more real is to make it smaller because the whole world was at stake we knew the Doctor would win but if it was something like blowing up the sub it would have left us guessing.

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Doctor Who Season 7 Episode 9 Quotes

The Doctor: Very dangerous time Clara. East and West standing on the brink of nuclear oblivion. Lot's of itchy fingers on the button.
Clara: Is it always like that?
The Doctor: So far, but there are flash points and this is one of them. Hair, shoulder pads,'s the '80s. Everything is bigger.

Five thousand years? That's a hell of a nap. No wonder you got out on the wrong side of the bed.

The Doctor