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Doctor Who: The Waters of Mars

Of all the people to survive, he’s not the one you would have chosen, is it? But if you could choose, Doctor, if you could decide who lives and who dies… that would make you a monster.

– Mr. Cooper, Voyage of the Damned

The Waters of Mars is a lot more intense than I was expecting. It started out as a standard base under seige story with more than an echo of the era of the fourth Doctor about it, but then something happened. The Doctor made the decision that he’s made before – and which he explicitly compares in the episode to the decision to watch Pompeii burn in The Fires of Pompeii – the decision to walk away. And then the episode kicks it up a notch and becomes a fantastically appropriate penultimate story for this incarnation of The Doctor.

waters

A Mars attack...

Note: There are naturally spoilers for the episode under discussion below. If you want a recommendation, then here it is: this is the best episode of the new series since Midnight over a year ago. It has some pacing issues and a very standard opening half. But the finalé is a perfect dovetail of the core themes of Davies’ run on the show.

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