This is the episode that many have been waiting for. Not just because it’s a Neil Gaiman episode but it’s the return of the Cybermen in what I am going to say is their best outing since they returned to the new series. Gaiman said he wanted to make the Cybermen scary which is a good thing to hear as I don’t feel like they have had a good run since returning in 2006. The first story that they appeared in was ok but since then they haven’t had that fear factor that they had during their 1960’s heyday. The story sees The Doctor and Clara take the brats on a space trip. Angie and Artie were the kids introduced at the end of the story and before we know whats what they arrive at a futuristic theme park.
The Cybermen got a new look which was a lot more svelte than previously. They seem to have shed the flairs and were able to do a lot more things as a result. They moved at lightning speeds which was realised in a great scene where everyone else was moving slowly and the Cyberman was moving fast. Then there was the moment when the Cybermen positioned its head in an attempt to lure one of the soldiers to it and then kill it. The idea that the Cybermen are all part of a network and that energy was used to help the Cyber Planner win his chess match against the Doctor meaning the other Cybermen were immobile was a great one.
I thought that this was Matt Smith’s best performance because it was just superb. Playing the Doctor and the Cyber Planner meant that he was switching from one persona to the other. He seemed to enjoy playing the Cyber Planner. Smith can always be relied upon to give stunning performances and he doesn’t let the show down when needed. Despite having to do the Mary Poppins routine, Jenna Louise Coleman is very good and doesn’t put a foot wrong from start to finish. Warwick Davis is best known for playing Willow and also being in Star Wars and Harry Potter and is very likeable in this as Porridge who turns out to be the Emperor. The character was funny and also managed to come across as one of the good guys.
I’m sorry but the brats served absolutely no purpose whatsoever. I cant imagine why they were included because all that happened was that Angie was whinging about no signal and being blasé about stuff (though it was clear later on she seemed to just being a teenager) and Artie was just being a typical boy by being bowled over by things. They may go on to having sound careers but Eve de Leon Allen (Angie) and Kassius Carey Johnson (Artie) are on a hiding to nothing because their characters serve only one purpose which is to get in the way of the story.
Neil Gaiman is a huge asset to Doctor Who and has succeeded in making the Cybermen scary again. After the brilliant ‘The Doctor’s Wife’, he has managed to match that story with a superb story that restored some pride in the silver machines and this series’ good run continues and it all boils down to the final episode where we get to know a what the Doctor’s name is (??) and also who Clara really is. It’s going to be a long week.