The Tenth Doctor and Rose Tyler are back! David Tennant returns to helm another three stories for Big Finish, this time with Billie Piper as Rose by his side. Today, I’ll be reviewing the final of the three new stories, Cold Vengeance by Matt Fitton.
The TARDIS arrives on Coldstar, a vast freezer satellite, packed with supplies to feed a colony world.
But there are cracks in the ice, and something scuttles under the floors. Soon, Rose and the Doctor encounter robots, space pirates and… refuse collectors.
As Coldstar’s tunnels begin to melt, an even greater threat stirs within. An old enemy of the Doctor puts a plan into action – a plan for retribution.
Nobody’s vengeance is colder than an Ice Warrior’s.
Ah, the Ice Warriors. Those Martian menaces who meander and murder most maliciously. My, oh my. The return of the Ice Warriors in NewWho had left me somewhat on the fence as to my opinion of them; they seemed too much like a Xenomorph in Cold War, and in The Empress of Mars, they just seemed too much like Predator. And they were all hellbent on murder. If there’s one group of people that I believe can do an alien species correctly though, it’s Big Finish. So, let’s see what’s in store for us in Cold Vengeance, shall we?
The pre-title sequence genuinely feels so much like a pre-title sequence from 2006, with the Doctor promising Rose one destination, and the TARDIS getting it kinda right, but not quite. Of course, they could just easily hop back into the TARDIS and try again in their attempt to find some ski slopes, but where would the fun be in that?
Whilst the Doctor and Rose go exploring on Coldstar, a massive freezer in space, it seems that they’re not the only beings on board, there’s some recyclers, a few pirates, and of course, an Ice Warrior or two. It’s not too long before the Ice Warriors are free and they’re well and truly back. There’s no messing around at all with these guys. Proper formidable foes, these Ice Warriors; even against a Time Lord, some buccaneers, and a recycler. Oh, and a badass shiny robot manager.
The thing I really love about Cold Vengeance is hearing the Ice Warriors conversing with one another; it’s not quite the same level of discussion and politics as the Peladon stories, but hearing them talk about hierarchy and honour is really fascinating. It’s these scenes that make me really believe in an alien species. Big Finish seems to relish on these little details, which aids in your suspension of disbelief; I just wish the TV show had done this kind of thing a lot more recently.
Around halfway through the story, it really seems as if the Ice Warriors have the upper hand; they have the Doctor held hostage, they have his TARDIS, they have Rose slowly drifting towards a sun. This is how you exact your vengeance. It’s quite like The Satan Pit in a way. We even get a little allusion to the beginning of the Tenth Doctor’s Time Lord Victorious complex that he develops later in his regeneration. Maybe this is why he was so unforgiving in The Waters of Mars… just a thought.
The final act of Cold Vengeance is absolutely brilliantly written and performed; and it all comes down to conversations with one another. Sometimes you don’t need weapons and destruction, all you need is the opportunity to talk and listen to one another.
Overall, Cold Vengeance is a really fun romp that has some impressive and emotional downbeat moments. Everyone in the cast was on top form and Matt Fitton gives us the best rendition of the Ice Warriors since the revival, as well as throwing in a few twists and turns along the way. A truly great end to an amazing trilogy of stories.
Should you want to purchase Cold Vengeance, it’s currently available as a single release from Big Finish for £10.99 on CD or an £8.99 download which you can purchase here.
Alternatively, you could buy The Tenth Doctor Adventures Series 2 Box Set featuring all three stories for £35 on CD or £25 on download which you can purchase here.