Empress of Mars
Written by Mark Gatiss, directed by Wayne Yip
“It’s a simple choice, Iraxxa. The oldest one in the book. We must live together. Or die together.”
The Doctor, Bill and Nardole arrive on Mars and find themselves in an impossible conflict between Ice Warriors… and Victorian soldiers. As the Martian hive awakes around them, the Doctor faces a unique dilemma – this time the humans, not the Ice Warriors are the invaders. When Earth is invading Mars, whose side is he on?
On Earth 2017, NASA finds the words “God save the Queen” written on the surface of Mars. The Doctor, Bill and Nardole venture to Mars to investigate, and they discover that the planet is occupied by human soldiers from Victorian Britain. Nardole goes back to the TARDIS, but the TARDIS departs for unexplained reasons, causing him and the ship to leave Mars. He has to ask Missy for help getting back.
The Doctor and Bill meet with the soldiers and find they have allied themselves with an Ice Warrior they have named Friday. Captain Catchlove says they found Friday trapped on a spaceship, and Friday allowed the soldiers to use his people’s technology to mine Mars. The Doctor works out that Friday is using them to gain access to his hive. The mining device uncovers the tomb of the Ice Queen. Colonel Godsacre orders his men to watch the tomb and to let no-one near it. One of the guards, Jackdaw, cuts a crystal from the base of the tomb which revives the Ice Queen, Iraxxa. Friday then tells her they have slept for 5,000 years.
As the rest of the soldiers enter, with an exchange of fire imminent, the Doctor asks Iraxxa to show mercy; without help, the Ice Warriors cannot survive on the planet’s surface. Dismissing the Doctor and the soldiers, she asks Bill for her opinion, and only then does she relent. Suddenly, a soldier fires his rifle. The bullet simply glances off Iraxxa’s helmet, but she returns fire. Catchlove takes command and traps Iraxxa and Friday within the tomb. He then orders the Doctor, Bill and Godsacre locked up. Meanwhile, Iraxxa revives several more Ice Warriors from the hive.
The Ice Warriors launch their attack. However, Friday allies himself with the Doctor and Bill; he distracts Iraxxa so the Doctor can take control of the mining device. The Doctor threatens to use it to bury all under the ice of Mars’ north pole. Catchlove holds Iraxxa at knifepoint and attempts to force her to help him pilot a spaceship back to Earth. Godsacre manages to surprise Catchlove and kills him, then begs Iraxxa to kill him. Iraxxa calls off the attack in exchange for Godsacre pledging himself to the Ice Warriors. The Doctor covertly contacts Alpha Centauri to assist the Ice Warriors.
The Doctor and Bill help Godsacre leave the message that NASA will discover. Nardole re-appears with the TARDIS. Missy is also on board and expresses concern about the Doctor’s health.