I love it when the Doctor shows up uninvited. This time he arrives as NASA is awaiting contact from a Mars probe, only to discover the slogan “God Save the Queen” hidden beneath the polar ice. So off to Mars in 1881 and some stranded British Army soldiers from the Victorian Era and an Ice Warrior they named “Friday.”
As Doctor Who villains go, the Ice Warriors are pretty sophisticated. They have culture and history, ethics and motivations. Their appearances have some depth in that these denizens of Mars have always been more than one-word directives such as “exterminate” or “delete.” They are recognizable “people” who are neither friends nor enemies but have the potential for both. That is exactly what this episode explores and what is the most interesting about them.
When the TARDIS acts up and leaves Bill and the Doctor we are left with the dilemma of sovereignty presented in the aftermath of Imperialism. The Doctor gets it all sorted, of course, with the sage advice of “We must live together or die together.”