Episode 5 – RISE OF THE CYBERMEN

At last the Cybermen were rebooted in the modern series and they looked stunning. Not everybody liked the new more robotic and rigid design but I really did. I thought they looked so empty and cold yet so menacing at the same time. One thing I just couldn’t get my head around though is how John Lumic “invented” them. The Cybermen are a race, they have their own planet like the Daleks, the Time Lords and humans, so how can one human just invent them? Yes, it was a parallel universe but there should still of been genuine Cybermen. I’m not saying Lumic couldn’t have invented his own species, but to get them so close to an already existing race and be called exactly the same was something I just couldn’t understand. Having said that, John Lumic was a fascinating villain, portrayed very well by the late Roger Lloyd Pack. He was a warped genius, a bit like the Master perhaps, who also would do anything to stay alive. I enjoyed seeing all the little differences in the parallel universe, it made the episode really interesting to hear how things are ever so slightly different, for example the UK has a President rather than a PM. There were also a couple of mentions of Torchwood and I think when we heard it being discussed in the parallel universe, was when we fully realised that this was going to be this series’ equivalent of BAD WOLF. The best performance in this episode came from Noel Clarke, who convincingly played Mickey and Ricky from the parallel world. Seeing two of the same characters being played so differently was great and added an interesting dynamic to the episode and Noel Clarke deserves a lot of credit for that. The ugly side of Rose once again showed its face. When the Doctor explained to her that there was a President of Britain rather than a PM, all she cared about what who Lucy was. This showed what a jealous character she turned into and that she desperately lacked perspective as series two went on. More credit goes to Murray Gold for composing the theme to the Cybermen, like the Dalek’s theme it has stuck with them ever since and I’m glad of that. The cliffhanger was terrific too, you really didn’t know how the Doctor and co. were going to avoid being deleted. It’s not the greatest Cyberman story ever, they don’t feature until the last five minutes. There are some annoying parts like Rose and the new Cybermen’s creation, however it’s still a solid and enjoyable first part to a good reboot for one of the Doctor’s most famous enemies. They were extremely frightening when the finally did appear and murdered the President. 7/10



Episode 6 – THE AGE OF STEEL

Tom McRae was only 25 when he wrote this two parter and he deserves immense credit for rounding it off so well. However, the cliffhanger from the previous episode was resolved a bit strangely. It was over in a matter of seconds and the Doctor using the light from the TARDIS to overcome the Cybermen felt a bit like a cop out. Moving on though and after that this episode was brilliant. All the way through the Cybermen are deadly and I love the scene where they execute Ricky and then blankly stare at Mickey through the fence. It really is a great way of showing off how they truly lack emotion. It was good to see them go against the orders of John Lumic and upgrade him earlier than he wanted to. It shows the Cybermen were a race of their own and weren’t just there to be bossed about and controlled like chess pieces, which we saw in series eight’s finale. I really enjoyed the Doctor in this episode , he had some great lines. It summed up how wacky and wonderful he is when Mickey asked him if he just made his plans up as he went along and he replied “Yep, but I do it brilliantly”. There were lots of great intense scenes too. The Doctor’s and Mrs Moore’s venture through the cooling tunnels with the Cybermen slowly waking up was edge of your seat stuff. The resolution to this story was very clever. The Doctor’s monologue about an idiot finding the right code, watched by Mickey was a very valid way to overcome the Cybermen and break their emotional inhibitors. After that, the scene on the rope ladder was the best moment of the two parter. When Pete was trying to snap the rope with the sonic screwdriver, you really didn’t know who was going to fall or if he’d manage to snap the rope in time. The camera work and direction for this scene was top notch as there was a brief moment where it looked as though Pete may have fallen with the Cyber Controller, thankfully he hadn’t. At the very end of the episode, Mickey Smith cemented himself as one of my favourite characters in the modern era as he did a noble thing to stay behind on the parallel universe. He knew Rose would never feel the same about him again while the Doctor was around so to stay on a world completely new to him was extremely brave but the correct thing to do for himself. This is an improvement on the first part to the story, the Cybermen are terrific and pose such a merciless and cold threat. 8/10

Episode 7 – THE IDIOT’S LANTERN

I’ll start with the only positive of this episode. Mark Gatiss handled the tenth Doctor and Rose together better than any other writer this series. They weren’t romantic at all, there was no nonsense, it was like a classic Doctor/companion relationship and it was brilliant. The scene where they both take turns of lambasting Mr Connolly in his house is hilarious. However, apart from that, this episode really has nothing to shout about. Maureen Lipman gives one of the most over the top and irritating performances in the show’s histroy, yes even more annoying than River Song in Let’s Kil Hitler. The constant cry of “Feed me!” and “Hungry!” made her lack any sort of threat as she was almost laughable. I liked Tommy, but his dad was another over the top character who played his part in ruining the episode. I know he was meant to be an unlikable character but the way he was portrayed was just annoying. I also didn’t get why the Wire needed to be at the top of the TV tower. She’d already shown that she could consume more than one person at a time so that seemed a bit pointless. Also, why is it called The Idiot’s Lantern? This is a low point after a strong start to series two. 4/10

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