Doctor Who (David Tennant) – Rise of the Cybermen and Age of Steel

Airing on 13 May, 2006, Tom MacRae’s script brought back the devious and dangerous Cybermen to the television programme, when the Doctor (Tennnant), Rose (Billie Piper) and Mickey (Noel Clarke) end up on a parallel Earth, where John Lumic (Roger Lloyd-Pack), a power-hungry industrialist, plans to upgrade humanity for his own benefit.

Running around in this timeline are versions of Mickey, as well as Rose’s parents, Jackie (Camille Coduri) and Pete (Shaun Dingwall), though none of them are what our heroes expect. In fact there a lot of differences populating this Earth,and there’s going to be a lot of trouble when the Doctor figures out what is going on, as well as trying to find a way back to their own universe.

Rose gets a rude awakening to her parents in this realm, while Mickey sees something of an opportunity for himself in terms of making a difference.

Alternate universe stories are always fun, especially when it gives alternate versions of characters we know living or sacrificing themselves heroically for the story.

Like most of the Who tales in the relaunch there is some nice character moment at the beginning of the story, a hint of something mysterious and dangerous, and then, things kick into high gear. In this case racing us to the cliffhanger ending of the episode.

Once again, it does take too long for the Cybermen to make their appearance in this story. They hold it back until the climax, which is hardly fair, as we know they have to show up – it’s there in the title.

I will say this, the episode made me anxious about Bluetooth ear pieces. Actually, they still make me a little nervous.

The conclusion to the previous episode aired on 20 May, 2006. MacRae brings the story to a satisfying conclusion. We get a bit of a look at how the Cybermen in this reality are created and it’s a bit horrifying.

Mickey joins up with a rebellion against Lumic and his Cybus industries, and the Doctor leads the charge to stop the insane CEO and his newly created army of steel.

Now that the villain is unveiled, the Time Lord and his allies go full bore to stop the Cybermen incursion on this Earth.There is still mystery and tension, but this one is definitely the faster paced of the two episodes, and while the Doctor may not use a weapon other than his brain, he has no issue with his allies raising arms against the baddies.

Yes, there are times when his smarts win out, but he’s also willing to let his fellows actually fight. To his credit, Mickey pushes for non-violent answers. In fact, the Doctor realises he may have to kill all of London in this story, and resigns himself to doing it, as it will stop the Cybermen.

I do love the character moments that we get (the one with the Cyber’s memories are particularly poignant), and you have to admit the revamped cybers look very cool. Overall, I quite like this pair of episodes, and its hard not to get swept up in Tennant’s enthusiastic portrayal.

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