I really liked this episode.
Also really like what they did with the Ice Warrior.
Great atmosphere and time period.
The problem I had with this episode was the same problem I had with "A Town Called Mercy." They take a high concept setting, like an Old West town or a Soviet sub, and then proceed to tell a run-of-the-mill Doctor Who story that we've seen countless times before: the Doctor and his companion are faced with an alien threat, and the Doctor must appeal to its better nature.
That being said, I totally agree with you about the Ice Warrior. Once it came of its armor, there was a great really creepy Alien
vibe. The fact that we never saw the entirety of how a "naked" Ice Warrior looks made it all the creepier.
The Doctor has made a new modification on the TARDIS, when it's attacked.
The feature in question, the HADS
, actually dates back to the Second Doctor in the original run of the show. The running joke was that the feature had to be manually set and the Doctor always forgot to do so. Now the Eleventh Doctor was apparently trying to get it to work automatically, only for them to be trapped. I liked that the TARDIS rematerialized at the South Pole, because in addition to providing a funny punchline, it creates an inconvenience large enough to justify not having the feature on all of the time.
And we also get the great David Warner.
He was terrific. I wish we had another 10 or 15 minutes of his character and Clara chatting.
It's always been a running joke about how bad the visual effects are for Doctor Who and how all the aliens appear like the old sci-fi films of guys walking around in rubber suits.
There's a difference between crappy effects because the budget can't accommodate anything better and deliberate homages to the low-budget earlier era. "The Rings of Akhaten" is an example of the former, because it was absolutely massive story and they decided that going truly epic was more important than having rock solid effects. On the other hand, "Cold War" is an example of the latter; the Ice Warrior looked like a guy walking around in a rubber suit because the Ice Warriors have always
looked like guys walking around in rubber suits. The fact that we didn't see more of the Ice Warrior outside its armor wasn't necessarily a budget issue but rather an a matter of less is more; much like the shark in Jaws, the less you see the scarier it is.
Also, I guess any sort of reality is gone totally given how they traveled in space with no protection, oxygen, etc. or how gravity would factor into any of this. I'm willing to forego some laws of physics, but stretching it to absudity and making it a cartoon is dreadful.
This has always been the case with "Doctor Who." In that case, you have to sort of accept that the law of physics behave differently within the rings than they do on a proper non-ringed planet and just move on.