Reviewing: Cybermen

As a first time Doctor Who fan, I had yet to meet the Cybermen, that was until season two of the new Doctor Who. The best part about being introduced to them was the episodes they were featured in, which just so happened to be ‘to be continued’ episodes! It left us with a major cliff hanger between the two episodes, which are entitled, “Rise of the Cybermen” and “Age of Steel”. Now, let me start with the first episode, in this awesome two-part story, “Rise of the Cybermen”. This episode was about Mickey, the Doctor, and Rose getting stuck in a parallel universe after the TARDIS blows up due to Mickey holding down the button that allows them to glide through the universe. However, before we see the TARDIS drop into a parallel world, we see the face of John Lumic and get slightly introduced to his plan of mass chaos. As soon as I caught onto what was going on, I knew the Cybermen were going to be involved and was so excited! This was mainly due to Professor Lindgren talking about the original villains which, in my opinion, are primarily the Daleks and the Cybermen. This was also exciting to me because it was the first time that I had gotten a glimpse of the Cybermen and let me tell you, they didn’t disappoint. Anywho, back to the episode recap, it continues with Rose and the Doctor splitting up from Mickey, while Rose and the Doctor meet Pete and Jackie Tyler of the parallel world, Mickey meets himself, Rickey. A few hours pass as Lumic sets up his Cybermen in their final positions while the Tyler’s have a big birthday bash for Jackie, where Rose and the Doctor are disguised as the help. The Cybermen interrupt the party by busting through the window and surrounding all guests, little do they know that Mickey and Rickey are outside following them. After a brief argument between the President and Lumic, the Cybermen kill the President and start to kill off all other party-goers, claiming they are “unfit” to be upgraded. Rose, Pete, and the Doctor escape the massacre by running through the broken window, but just end up surrounded by the rest of the Cybermen outside, who loudly groan, “Delete, delete.” But then Mickey and Rickey jump in and…don’t really help anything at all. This is where the episode ends with the Doctor stating that the group will volunteer to:

meh

The next episode begins with the group escaping by jumping into Rickey’s van and making a clean get away, where they can now form a plan. This plan involves splitting up again and results in two deaths. The Doctor working with Mickey to get the code to give back the Cybermen’s feelings, which results in the death of all of them except Lumic, who has been forcefully upgraded by his minions, but gets thrown into the explosion when he tries to follow and kill the remain group members. After this all transpires in 24 hours the Doctor is able to restore the TARDIS’s light making time travel possible again. Mickey then breaks the news that he will be remaining in the parallel universe while the Doctor and Rose return home. The END!

All I can say after watching this episode is I believe it was the best way to introduce the new fans of Doctor Who to the Cybermen and give you some peace to the whole Mickey-Rose thing. As well as give you some insight into one of the many parallel worlds. Now let me leave you with my reaction after watching this two-part story:

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As a side note: There’s another episode where the Cybermen AND the Daleks return and battle each other!! It was AWESOME! I’m totally digging all the villains in Doctor Who!

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Voyage of the Damned Review

In The Voyage of the Damned, the Doctor encounters the spaceship called the Titanic.  He is faced with the task of stopping the ship from crashing into Earth and killing everyone.  This was one of my favorite episodes in the series because we got to see the Doctor face a problem without a permanent companion.

Throughout the episode, the Doctor assembles a crew to help him save the lives of the individuals on the ship as well as the citizens of earth.  This crew played a significant role in portraying the message of the episode, which I think is an important one.  The message was that all people have metaphorical skeletons, but those things aren’t what define you.  In other words, every person has character traits that aren’t desirable, but those traits shouldn’t hold someone back from being themselves.  In my opinion, many Doctor Who episodes don’t have a lesson to teach.   I think this is a problem for a show of Doctor Who’s stature because there are millions of viewers, and the target audience is children.

Another aspect of this episode that I really loved was that the characters who were not series regulars were given proper characterization.  Despite only being in this one episode, the people that aided the Doctor were given mini back stories and development.  Character development is another problem the show struggles with in my opinion.  In almost every episode, a myriad of inconsequential characters are introduced.  These characters are given significant screen time in the episodes, and their fates are usually points of interest in the plot, however because of a lack of development, viewers don’t care when their fates are determined.

The Voyage of the Damned featured two criteria that I crave as a viewer, and the episodes which fail to meet those criteria falter in comparison to the season four Christmas special.

Gridlock review

With a more critical mind, I watched the third episode “Gridlock” of season 3, Doctor Who for the second time, this pass weekend. Although enjoying it the first time around, rewatching it made me question the basics set ups of this tv series.

As expected, the episode started with a messed up world in need of the Doctor’s saving. Except this time, Russell T. Davies takes on the challenge to combine the following elements: “a women giving birth to a basket of kittens”, “mood(drug) merchant with no moral baseline”, “an environment so polluted yet the people are too keen on carpooling that it involves kidnapping strangers”, and lastly, “a decade long traffic jam”. Looking at this set up logically, there is no logic whatsoever. The entire episode plays out in an absurd way, with the Doctor jumping from carriage to carriage in deadly fumes, Martha driving through giant killer crabs, and the Face of Boe explain his ingenious plan at the end to clean up the mess and end the 45 minutes madness.

The amount of obvious flaws and plot holes made me think maybe that was the intent of the show runner. No human would ever wait for decade long traffic, a police that never reply, and a monster underground without question the reality. We would never be fooled by such ridiculous set up. But the very fact that human did accept all of the above as a society norm should rings us like an alarm. With the right setting and context, we can accept something as bleak as a never ending traffic jam.

Maybe the story Russell T Davies laid out for us in this episode were supposed to be understood on the metaphorical grounds. We as human are so adaptive to abnormality, we can always find strength in other people who’s also sharing the same harsh condition, build community, and establish an illusion of comfort zone in order to maintain our sanity. When in reality, we are all stuck in our separate tin pod, on a long road of poisonous fume, waiting for the future that might never be here.

When we live in a society where poverty, hunger, war, inequality and so many others are accepted as inevitable parts of our society. When our leaders find reasons to justify racism, sexism, inequality. When we have normalized these madness, who are we to question the eternal traffic jam?