Image obtained from: bigfinish.com.)
An exploration of morality
What makes The Resurrection of Mars so amazing is that, through a ton of really brilliant and character driven drama, we explore so many points of view when it comes to morality. Not just the Doctor, but also Tamzin, the Monk and even Lucie. It’s a really difficult situation that they’ve all been put in. Hearing everyone’s conflicting views on it makes it truly compelling.
Tamzin’s relationship with the Doctor is shaken at the start of the story. It’s even worse by the end. It’s interesting that she hasn’t known the Doctor for very long, as her faith in him is much weaker than Lucie’s.
It also puts her in a vulnerable position psychologically. A position that the Monk is all too keen to take advantage of.
Speaking of which, the Monk’s appearance in this story is very satisfying. This is probably the most effective he’s been yet as an antagonist. To him, being responsible for the deaths of thousands is an easy choice when it means saving millions.
You get the strong sense that he really believes he’s making the universe better. He doesn’t want to rule it, just make the hard choices that no one else will.
There’s a wonderful moment when the Doctor and the Monk argue over their completely differing viewpoints. The Doctor thinks the Monk is irresponsible and has no idea of the consequences of his actions.
The Monk, meanwhile, thinks its hypocritical of the Doctor to put so many lives at risk just to save his friend. It’s a great debate, and one of the few times where you almost have to wonder if the villain has a point.
The Doctor’s morality
However, it’s how the Doctor is explored that makes this story one of the very best. The Doctor usually has a very strong sense of morality, especially in his Eighth self.
However, his conviction in that is really put to the test here. Especially when some of his choices do lead, even indirectly, to the deaths of many innocent lives.
One of the best scenes has the Doctor explaining to Lucie exactly who he used to be. This is the first time that Eight has talked in depth about Seven, at least on audio. It’s quite a significant moment.
It’s also a great speech, and still one of the best descriptions of regeneration ever written. (Certainly, it’s far better and more satisfying than Ten’s “everything I am dies” speech in The End of Time.)
The Seventh Doctor was so different to his successor: a man with a masterplan who “started doing the maths”, when it came to saving lives. Who to save and who to sacrifice.
Eight being ashamed of the choices he made as Seven cast a new light on almost every major decision he’s made since then. Saving Charley, even when he put the whole of history at risk. Sacrificing himself to ensure history’s survival. Even trying to save the Master, in his very first adventure.
These points aren’t addressed, but the Doctor’s speech on the “value of a single life” make you think about them and other choices he’s made, at least. More than that: it also foreshadows the choices he’ll eventually make as War. Particularly when it comes to ending the Time War.
A brilliant story
It should also be pointed out that his reunion with Lucie is handled perfectly. It’s hugely emotional, and both are glad to see each other, even while Lucie admits that the events of Death in Blackpool are still too raw for her. It’s a pretty fantastic moment, and very satisfying to hear.
The Resurrection of Mars is an absolutely brilliant release, and perhaps one of the greatest Eighth Doctor stories. It packs in a lot in its running time, but it does a great job of fleshing them out beautifully. It changes the relationships and dynamics of virtually all the major characters in the story.
It’s also very effective at focusing on the Doctor and exploring why he is the way he is, at least in this incarnation. Highly recommended listening (along with Deimos, of course) for any Doctor Who fan!
Have you listened to The Resurrection of Mars? Is it one of your favorite Ice Warrior stories? If not, what’s your favorite? Let us know in the comments below.