With the new Doctor Who, Russell Davies had said that he would like a clean slate and not a lot of continuity. I’m sure that was a good idea at first. The fact was that however tired the Daleks and all the other big monsters of Doctor Who’s past life became, they still drew in the ratings. With this in mind, writer Tom McRae returned the Cybermen with “Rise Of The Cybermen,” the first of a two-part epic adventure. He also has to somehow mix in Rose Tyler’s Father (Pete Tyler, played by Shaun Dingwall), her mother Jackie (Camile Coduri), and her boyfriend Mickey (Noel Clarke). I will say the quality of it varied depending on how you looked at it.
As an episode set out to return a baddie from the show’s past, the episode did a good job, but gets lost, I think, in the whole Pete Tyler business. The last time we saw Rose Tyler’s father was in Series One’s “Father’s Day”, in which Rose goes back to witness the death of her father, only to then attempt to keep him alive. The change in events caused a rift in the time vortex and creatures from hell wrecked havoc because of Rose changing her past. The solution to it all was to simply let Pete die and let the timeline heal itself.
Set in an alternate earth, Pete Tyler returns this time as a successful businessman. He married Jackie, but by this episode’s timeline, had separated from her. Although this wasn’t Rose’s father back on earth, it would have been a good idea to do an episode where Rose brings back her alternate earth father to the original earth. Seeing as how things turned out for him with Jackie in the alternate earth, I seriously doubt that episode would have worked at all.
Back to the episode at hand. Roger Lloyd-Pack does a good job as John Lumic, the multi-bazillionare who funds the Cybermen project. Strangely enough, he seemed to channel his character from Darvos – the chief scientist of the Daleks in the classic series. I liked the whole earpiece turning people into zombies stuff, although I swore I saw it in “The Christmas Invasion” in a different presentation. Most impressive were the Cybermen themselves, who as some fans have often said, are far more fearsome than the Daleks. The extent of their powers will, hopefully, be covered hopefully “The Age Of Steel”, the second part of the adventure. One thing that did bother me was that “Delete! Delete!” did sound very close to “Exterminate!”
Noel Clarke’s Mickey was given even more character development in this episode by having an encounter with his alternate earth grandmother, who unfortunately is blind. That to me was a good plot to explore in another episode also. In any case it seemed to fit nicely in this rather big episode, especially the other plot of him meeting his alternate, more sinister self, Rickey (also played by Noel Clarke). As the leader of the revolution against what Lumic is doing, I didn’t get a chance to feel out the other members of the group. They seemed to come in rather quickly as a plot point.
As with Christopher Eccelston, David Tennant got to showcase one of his best performances as The Doctor. As I had said in a previous review, the bigger episodes in the middle of the season would be able to bring out the true talent of whoever took the role. Most of the episodes, previously, have shown none of or just glimpses of Tennat’s talent (with the “Girl In The Fireplace” being the exception). Let’s hope they really bring it up a notch with the next episode.
I wonder who else they could bring back for Series Three?