Thursday, 28 May 2015
REVIEW - LAST OF THE CYBERMEN
The second ‘Locum Doctor’ adventure gives us Six teaming up with Jamie and Zoe!
After the less than phenomenal first installment, I am pleased to announce that Last of the Cybermen manages to improve on the initial faults of its predecessor. For one thing, the team here feels more organic. We’ve heard the Sixth Doctor and Jamie McCrimmon together before so we know this team-up works for sure. Last of the Cybermen tweaks things a bit, but it works.
This story has just the right number of characters in my opinion. I don’t usually get too involved with any of the side cast, but I found myself enjoying the presence of all the characters in this piece. From the posh English war hero to Lancashire Lanky even if he is the Strax of the Cybermen. I also enjoyed the Cybermen in this. They weren’t as involved as I had hoped, but after their dreadful mishandling in Death in Heaven, hearing the classic Cybermen implementing their classic schemes was such a breath of fresh air. The Cybermen work best when they are in control and not acting as somebody else’s puppets. They are one of the seven iconic monsters of Doctor Who. Show them respect. They are shown respect in Last of the Cybermen.
The story itself plays out like a classic Cybermen tale from the Patrick Troughton era which is somewhat predictable in places, especially in the first two episodes where it’s almost a re-imagining of Tomb of the Cybermen down to every gag and plot point used. If I had to pick a fault, it be this element, but I understand that it must’ve been done deliberately so because Tomb is such an iconic story from the Troughton Era.
"It could use a chair."
The latter half of the story plays out like a Seventh Doctor story which feels a bit awkward as it gets really confusing ala Seventh Doctor Era, but it’s the Sixth Doctor in the midst of things. It’s an odd pairing, but it’s not an issue big enough to warrant a complaint.
This story also contains a whole lot more references than The Defectors and features a lot of elements from the tail end of Season 6 which I won’t spoil, but I will say it’s a twist I didn’t see coming and threw the predictability of the first half of the story completely out of the window. Kudos!
I'd also like to spare a moment just to compliment the cover art. This one really really looks great and that's saying something. I usually forget to compliment the cover art, but this one really stuck out, as did the one for Damaged Goods last month. So here I utter it: Last of the Cybermen has a terrific cover art!
Lastly, I want to talk about the performances and characterization. Colin Baker gives one of the best performances as the Sixth Doctor and that’s saying something if you look at his Big Finish repertoire. I adore the characterization of Jamie and the slightly more antagonistic angle (makes sense in context) they went with. It’s not unlike Jo Grant’s reaction to the seventh Doctor, but it feels more justified and fluent here. Zoe is a companion I often overlook and I don’t know why. She is a great example of a good strong female character and her key traits (being a genius) come in just as handy during her adventures with the Doctor as Jamie’s ‘bodyguard’ antics do. I have no complaints for her or Jamie or Sixie. It really is a great piece to throw the three of them in and if Patrick were still alive today, I have a feeling he’d agree.
Rating this story: 7.5/10. Last of the Cybermen has managed to get me hyped up for the final installment in this ‘locum’ Doctor trilogy next month as we reach the 200th title in the Main Range series and join Peter Davison’s Fifth Doctor as he, Vicky and Steven visit The Secret History.