Rise of the Cybermen/The Age of Steel (dual review)

cybermen

Writer: Tom McRae

Director: Graeme Harper

Producer: Phil Collinson

Series: 2, eps 5-6

Companions: Rose Tyler (Billie Piper), Mickey Smith (Noel Clarke)

Summary: The Doctor and his companions are travelling in the TARDIS when it suddenly loses power and they land in a parallel London.  This is a London where zeppelins roam the skies and Rose’s father is still alive.  Rose and Mickey become intrigued and they decide to have a look around, despite the Doctor’s opinion.  They discover that Rose’s father in this world is actually working with a  wheelchair-ridden inventor named John Lumic, who’s invented earpods.  These devices can connect people to the Internet, but they also control their minds. The  Jackie Tyler in this world is a rich, spoiled woman, and Rose was never born.  Mickey, however, discovers that his double, a man named Ricky, is the leader of a group of freedom fighters called the Preachers, who hope to take down Lumic.

Lumic has been taking homeless people and is converting them into Cybermen.  Lumic decides to use them to take over London.

Review: Before I begin, I have to say I was never a fan of the Mondas Cybermen.  I had a hard time believing they were a legitimate threat because the Doctor had too easy of a time defeating them.  Russell T. Davies had the right idea. He updated them, basing them on our fears that technology will one day surpass us and eliminated their weakness to gold.

The parallel world is not a new concept to Doctor Who.  A nice twist is that although there are duplicates of the companions, none of them are actually evil per se.  Mickey’s double only seems more aggressive, while Jackie is just spoiled.

This is a great “upgrade” of a classic foe that’s just as much a part of the show’s mythos as the Daleks.

Overall Review: 10/10

Continuity: The Pertwee story “Inferno” also had a parallel Earth.  Mrs. Moore reveals that one of Lumic’s dummy corporations that funded his Cybermen was called International Electromatics, a reference to “The Invasion.”  One of the Cybermen says “You will become like us”, a line from their first story, “The Tenth Planet.” “Ricky” was the 9th Doctor’s pet name for Mickey.  We met Rose’s father originally in “Father’s Day”.

Trivia: This story was inspired by the Big Finish audio drama Spare Parts, featuring the Fifth Doctor and Nyssa.

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