Doctor Who: Forty – God of War Review

The second half of the first Forty box set at least focuses more on the Fifth Doctor that it’s supposed to be celebrating. This story sees the later version of this Doctor arriving in his own past, faced with Adric alive and well. It at least makes better use of the concept than the Second Doctor-heavy first half, anyway! Let’s take a look!

Synopsis:

The Doctor is still being jolted through his own timeline, and has now found himself with Nyssa, Tegan and Adric in ninth century Iceland near a Viking settlement on the edge of a volcano. A settlement whose leader has just found a god in the ice.

The TARDIS crew are soon in a battle with the fearsome Ice Warriors. There are a lot of lives to save…and not just those of their new friends.

The Doctor’s about to find that his biggest battle may be with his own conscience.

*spoilers appear from here on out!*

The Good:

At only two episodes it tells a pretty standard Ice Warrior story, though with the idea of The Doctor being from a short while later down his own timeline being played up by him interacting with Adric and allowing him to be a bit more risky and generally treat him like he always wanted to be treated, very much a guilty conscience thing. It’s good and thankfully managed to avoid the Doctor trying to change his fate / the timeline stuff that the story could’ve been in danger of turning into.

The actual core story sees some female Vikings comprised of exiled mother Inga (Matilda Tucker) and her daughters find an Ice Lord in the, well, ice and free him, and given he has a hand missing they assume he’s one of their Norse gods that I can’t remember the name of right now. He tells them to dig the ice more to free his kin but soon collapses due to the pain of his injuries. While Tegan and Nyssa blend in (or do their best to blend in) The Doctor and Adric save Grand Marshall Xasslyr, as he’s known, and tell him that Mars is now a barren wasteland but he can be put in contact with survivors of his race. He leaves distraught and when faced with the classic Ice Warrior dilemma of “give up warrior-like ways and live away from Mars or wipe out humanity and turn Earth in New Mars” he picks the latter. Once his men are freed he has Inga and her daughters killed, minus Revna (Belinda Lang), who has befriended Tegan and eventually Adric, the trio soon try to escape in the Ice Warrior’s frozen ship but it’s taken back down to Earth. The Doctor tricks Xasslyr into unleashing one of Nyssa’s experiments that turns a nearby ice lake into a bubbling pool of water, which then in turn activates the volcano above where his men are. All the Ice Warriors and their Grand Marshall die due to the heat, as per usual.

Adric is tempted to stay behind with Revna but even though it would save his life The Doctor convinces him that the lack of technology would make him miserable, which he agrees with. The Doctor is then sent back forwards in time…

The Bad:

Not much, due to its short length the Ice Warrior story was pretty bog-standard and only Inga and Revna have any speaking lines so the Vikings aren’t exactly well developed, but despite all this it’s a perfectly fine story.

The Continuity:

Another look at the 60s-tastic cover for this “Forty years since 1982!” boxset!

Beyond following on from “Secrets of Telos”, the other half of the set, there isn’t much. Obviously Ice Warriors, especially their debut story “The Ice Warriors”, which saw Ice Warriors in icy caves trying to free their ship as the main focus. Three times I wrote “Ice Warriors” in one sentence and four times I mentioned Ice or Icy… Not a lot of variety when talking about Doctor Who’s Martians!

Also The Doctor fretting over Adric’s death is once again a factor, that happening in TV story “Earthshock”. I tell you, when I get round to reviewing that I’m going to have a LOT of links to go back and add…

Overall Thoughts:

“God of War” was a perfectly fine 2-parter. Unlike the previous story it played up the actual main focus of the Forty set well and also told a perfectly fine, if not very original, Ice Warrior story. A good hour’s entertainment.

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