Mark Gatiss is, in his own way, a little like a modern day John Lucarotti (really kicking it ‘old school’ here). Lucarotti was favored by the early production teams for his impeccable historicals (Marco Polo being the most famous). Similarly Gatiss has been favored by both RTD and Steven Moffat for his feel for classic, or ‘historical,’ Doctor Who. This was certainly true for The Unquiet Dead and The Idiot’s Lantern. Night Terrors tried to evoke classic series feel, and the less said about Victory of the Daleks the better.
Cold War appears to have been a bit of a pet project for Gatiss, bringing back the quiet giants of Doctor Who lore, the Ice Warriors. Or should we say ‘warrior,’ because not unlike Dalek from the first series, one of the plot points in this episode was about the isolation and devastation of a lone powerful alien against a base. And in a year honoring Doctor Who history Cold War is very Troughton indeed.
The wrinkle this time is the notion that what we thought was the Ice Warrior is, as in Dalek, armour. Okay, but honestly aside from the creep-tastic shots of the exposed Martian feeling up various crewman, there’s not that much here. In fact the whole of the episode seems almost breathless lite. With a running time of barely 40 minutes leaving out the next-time-teaser and end credits, we here at THT Omninational could have done with a bit more story to fill out 45 minutes. But we also acknowledge this as the modern lament of an old-time fan.