Las Vegas has never been this cold and rainy.
The Doctor pops out of the TARDIS, sunglasses and all, followed by Clara in a cocktail dress, only to be jolted off his feet by a sinking Russian submarine. It’s the Cold War, and things are about to get a whole lot worse.
The crew search the pair, pulling from the Doctor’s pockets a blonde doll, a ball of string…and, of course, his sonic screwdriver. Another jolt rocks the ship, and they’re sent flying, the screwdriver tumbling to the floor. The TARDIS, recently reset to dematerialize in the event of an emergency, does just that, leaving them stranded at the bottom of the ocean. And they’re not alone…
Enter the Ice Warrior. And not just any Ice Warrior, but Grand Marshall Skaldak, the greatest soldier the species have ever known. A crewman electrocutes Skaldak, ruining any chance they had at a peaceful way out. The Doctor orders them to lock Skaldak up and sends Clara in to negotiate; the Ice Warrior would sniff both the Time Lord and Russian captain out as fellow soldiers. As the Doctor feeds her lines via headset, Clara quickly discovers that Skaldak has escaped from his armor.
Skaldak gets ahold of Lt. Stepashin, a crewmember dead set on escalating the Cold War. Stepashin tries to form an alliance with the Ice Warrior, even as Skaldak’s icy fingers grasp his skull. Meanwhile, Clara asks the Doctor how the world could end in 1983 if it didn’t the first time around–a question reminiscent of Rose Tyler’s on her first visit to the past in “The Unquiet Dead”.
And speaking of Rose Tyler–wolf references abound this episode. A kindly Professor tells Clara to sing “Hungry Like The Wolf” by Duran Duran–a song he sings to keep his spirits up. Soon, they discover bodies torn to pieces by Skaldak, leaving Clara in a state of shock. The Professor tries to get her to focus–her eyes are wild with panic–and asks her about the future. Frantically, she tells him he can’t, but he demands to know whether UltraFox splits up! At that, the spell is broken, and she bursts out laughing.
The Doctor finds Stepashin’s body on the ground; his negotiations with the Ice Warrior clearly failed. Skaldak grabs Clara, but the Professor fires a gun. The Ice Warrior’s skeletal hands release their grip on Clara and take hold of the Professor instead. Skaldak threatens to use the submarine’s missiles to destroy the entire planet. He re-enters his suit of armor and goes to the missile control room, but Clara and the Doctor try to talk him into showing mercy. Just then, an Ice Warrior ship arrives and transports Skaldak away…but the threat isn’t averted yet. The missile’s still armed and Skaldak can still have them destroyed. Clara quietly begins to sing, and the missile disarms itself–thanks to the Ice Warrior.
With the world saved, there’s only one thing left to do: find the TARDIS. Unfortunately, it’s relocated all the way to the South Pole. The Doctor asks the submarine commander for a lift, and the Ice Warrior ship sails peacefully away.
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