The Waters of Mars (2009)

The Water of Mars is the penultimate adventure for the Tenth Doctor. This story is a break from the norm as it is far darker in tone that previous stories. It’s a classic case of the Doctor’s rule of not changing history getting severely tested on the Mars colony ‘Bowie Base One’. This story won the 2010 Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation and it’s not hard to see why. It features one of my favourite story plot devices. The being in a confined space with little or no chance of escape. Stories such as The Moonbase & The Tenth Planet are similar in theme.

With the Doctor arriving on Mars, the crew of B.B.O become infecteced by the Martian water and it turns the victims into weird creatures which leads to one my favourite prosthetics that the modern era has come up with. It’s unnerving and very effective. The Doctor knows that the events that happen on November 21st 2059 are a fixed moment in time. The Doctor realises that as he is the last of the Timelords then technically he only has to obey himself. Thus seeing for the first time a psychotic Doctor who changes history and saves the lives of people who were suppose to die. There is a brilliant moment with the Doctor walking back to the TARDIS with all the talking/shouting that’s going on in the Base and then decides to return and rescue the crew. This leads Adelaide to take her own life because she knows she was meant to die on Bowie Base One. It’s at this point that the Doctor realises he has made a mistake and sees an Ood. This is the beginning of the end for the Doctor.

The story isn’t perfect and this is due to the stupid irritating robot called GADGET who keeps repeats his name every time he says it. Also it bears a striking resemblance to the Wall-E robot. Sadly despite the story being set on Mars there are no Ice Warriors in the whole 60 minute story. They do get a brief mention but nothing more than that. We do however get a Dalek woven into the story with the story told by Adelaide about how she saw a Dalek and the Dalek saw her yet didn’t exterminate her.

The acting is brilliant in this. David Tennant is truly superb as he plays both sides of the Doctor’s personality. There are flashes of why is one of the most popular Doctors. Lindsay Duncan is the best of the guest stars and that’s not really surprise because of things like Rome where is fantastic. With no regular companion, Duncan’s character becomes the temporary companion and is the viewers point of entry into the story and she does this well. In this she is believable as the leader of Bowie Base One with a family on Earth. Despite the opportunity to live even though she is meant to die, she decides to kill herself because she knows it’s the right thing to do. The rest of the crew of the base all deserve some credit because they put in good performances and help create the impression that even 50 years in the future there is room for nationalities working together.

It’s by far the best of the 2009 specials and the best 10th Doctor Story for sometime. True, there are some things that don’t quite make sense such as why now has the Doctor realised that he controls things. There are countless instances where he could have stepped in but chose not to. There are some wonderful special effects and it leads me to ask why they don’t make more stories like this before. The Waters of Mars is a fine story and always worth


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