The Age Of Steel

Doctor WhoThe Doctor and his friends are trapped by Lumic’s new breed of Cybermen. Using the last remaining power source from the TARDIS, the Doctor immobilizes the Cybermen with an energy beam, and the survivors of the Cyberman attack on the Tyler mansion are now on the run. Ricky, the alternate universe’s battle-hardened version of Mickey, is killed by Cybermen while trying to escape. Pete and Rose try to infiltrate the Cyber-factory, using fake EarPods as a disguise, to find this universe’s Jackie, only to discover that she has already been converted into a Cyberman. The Doctor and Mrs. Moore, a resistance fighter from Ricky’s operation, discover an army of dormant Cybermen hidden beneath London. Mickey forms an uneasy alliance with Ricky’s friend Jake to storm Lumic’s zeppelin and try to find the controls Lumic uses to guide the Cybermen. Lumic, however, is no long in control – his enfeebled body is scheduled for an “upgrade” by the Cybermen, whether he wishes to remain human or not – and when he is in control, he is no longer Lumic. The Doctor still sees an opportunity to thwart the Cyberman invasion and return the TARDIS to its own universe, but not everyone who came with him will be making the return trip.

Download this episodewritten by Tom MacRae
with thanks to Marc Platt
directed by Graeme Harper
music by Murray Gold

Guest Cast: Camille Coduri (Jackie Tyler), Noel Clarke (Mickey Smith), Shaun Dingwall (Pete Tyler), Roger Lloyd Pack (John Lumic), Andrew Hayden-Smith (Jake Simmonds), Helen Griffin (Mrs. Moore), Colin Spaull (Mr. Crane), Paul Kasey (Cyberleader), Nicholas Briggs (Cyber voice)

LogBook entry & review by Earl Green

Review: I love the atmosphere of this two-parter, but where pacing and storytelling are concerned, it’s reminding me why the original series had four-part stories – it seems like there should’ve been a third episode here, rather than ramping things up to breakneck speed halfway through part two with revelations about the roles that the alternate Mickey and alternate Pete Tyler are playing in their universe, and culminating in Mickey’s rather sudden change of heart at the end of the story. That the Doctor can just take a cell phone, jam it into a piece of electronic equipment and bring down this little corner of the Cybermen’s empire is a massive plot convenience if you’re being charitable, and massive plot contrivance if you’re not.

There’s something quite satisfying, however, about the fate of John Lumic, even though once again it falls under the “Davros already did it” category. It does, however, make one wonder about who the Cyber Controller (Tomb Of The Cybermen, Attack Of The Cybermen) and the Cyber Planner (The Invasion) were in the Doctor’s “home” reality. The manner in which these Cybermen are disposed of goes against the grain of everything that we knew about the Cybermen before, but on the other hand, it came be argued that Lumic’s new breed of Cybermen are not “true” Cybermen as we knew them before; their origins are different and it could be argued that they may be more primitive. And in the “Big Finish already did it” category, the plot point of restoring the Cybermen’s consciousness and self-awareness to them as a means of bringing them to their knees was taken from the audio play Spare Parts (whose author, original Who scriptwriter Marc Platt, did indeed receive a “special thanks” credit in both Age Of Steel and Rise Of The Cybermen).

A mixed bag, this Age Of Steel. It’s entertaining and suspenseful in its own right, but it’s hardly giving us anything we haven’t already seen either in previous TV Doctor Who, or in Doctor Who in other media.