onsdag den 18. marts 2009

Who Review #38 - the Tomb of the Cybermen

The Cybermen open the famous monster season (season 5). All the episodes to this story exist; they were found a few years ago. Otherwise season 5 is mostly lost.

An expedition blows away rock, revealing a door. One of the men tries to open the door and is electrocuted. The TARDIS arrives and the travellers meet up with the archaeological expedition, financed by the mysterious Klieg and Kaftan, which is looking for the last remains of the Cybermen. They are trying to enter the city of the Cybermen on the planet Telos. Kaftan gets her servant Toberman to open the doors, which are now quite safe. They are in a control room. Kaftan tells Klieg to keep an eye of the Doctor, she will deal with Victoria and Toberman Jamie. The Doctor opens some doors and they form scouting parties. Kaftan, Victoria and Viner find a room for revitalising Cybermen. In another room, Jamie finds a strange creature. The Doctor, Parry and Klieg investigate the control room; the Doctor says they should leave this place well alone. Klieg starts up the machinery, which activates controls all over the city. Victoria is trapped inside the revitaliser, whilst the room Jamie and Haydon (Bernard Holley) are in darkens whilst a hypnotic pattern forms on a wall. The Doctor opens the machine, releasing Victoria. Klieg sets to work, trying to open the great hatch. The Doctor tells Jamie not to push a button, but is too late. Haydon is shot and a cyberman appears.

The Doctor gets Jamie to operate the controls again. The empty Cyberman suit reappears and a gun comes out of the wall and fires. Viner wants to leave Telos. Victoria picks up the creature, which the Doctor calls a cybermat after consulting his diary, and puts it in her bag. Parry calls of the expedition. The ship's Captain reports that the fuel pumps have been sabotaged. Klieg works out how the hatch opens, with a little (unseen) help from the Doctor. The men descend into the tomb. Kaftan puts a sleeping draught in Victoria's coffee. The cybermen are frozen. Klieg wants to reactivate them; the Doctor says no. Kaftan closes the hatch. Klieg operates some controls and the cybermen begin to move; Viner tries to stop the process and is shot by Klieg. Victoria comes too, whilst the cybermat begins to revive. Kaftan pulls a gun out when she goes to open the hatch. Klieg belongs to the Brotherhood of Logicians who want to get power and are seeking the help of the Cybermen. Kaftan collapses after being attacked by the cybermat; Victoria shoots it. She tries to figure out how to open the hatch. The Cybermen break out of their cells and march towards a bigger cell. A dome headed figure emerges - the Cyber Controller. Klieg states his intention; the much taller Cyber Controller looks silently on. Suddenly it grabs Klieg's arm and throws him to the ground. Then, in an electronic, monotone voice , it says they belong to the Cybermen. "You shall be like us."

The Cybermen have in fact laid a complicated trap. They knew that intelligent humans would one day seek out the tombs. The Captain returns and begins to help open the hatch. The Cyber Controller knows of the Doctor. They froze themselves to survive. They want the humans to go back to Earth and take control so that a new race of Cybermen can be created. Kaftan grabs the gun and tells the Captain, a crew member and Victoria to move away; she screams, distracting Kaftan long enough to be distracted. The Captain goes down with smoke bombs. These create sufficient confusion to allow everyone but Klieg and Toberman to get back to the surface and close the hatch. Klieg though manages to make it to the hatch and knock on the hatch and escape. The Doctor mockingly asks if he thinks he can still make an alliance. Klieg regrets not being in a stronger bargaining position. The cybermats are released. Klieg and Kaftan are placed in the weapons' room; and they get hold of a cybergun. The Doctor and Victoria discuss their families. (A real Who moment!) The cybermats gather around the sleeping group to attack. The Doctor neutralises the cybermats by creating an electrical field that shorts out their minds and gives them a "complete metal breakdown" (everyone groans at the Doctor's bad joke). Klieg enters the control room, lifts the cybergun and fires.

A crewman is injured. Kaftan and Klieg are going to give the Doctor to the Cybermen and wish to speak to the Controller. The cybermen re-enter cells to conserve energy. Toberman has been altered by the Cybermen. Klieg talks with the Controller. The Controller agrees to help Klieg's plan of taking over the Earth. The Controller goes to the revitalising chamber because his power is running low. The Doctor helps in order to trap it. But the Controller breaks through the door nonetheless. The Controller sends a telepathic message to Toberman. He knocks out Klieg. Toberman opens the tomb. Kaftan fires at the Controller but to no avail; she is shot by the deadlier Cuber Controller gun. Toberman fights the Controller and apparantly damages it. The Doctor and Toberman go into the tomb to freeze the Cybermen, followed by Klieg, and then Jamie. Klieg talks of his plan for creating a perfect world under his control; a cyberman kills him and it, in turn, is killed by Toberman. The Doctor freezes the cybermen completely. The Doctor re-electrifies the door as well as the hatch and the control panel. The Controller tries to stop the Doctor. Toberman shuts the doors; the completed circuit kills him and the Controller. The expedition take off. The TARDIS crew walk away from the tomb, contemplating the end of the Cybermen. A lone cybermat crawls across the surface of Telos.

Tomb is another of those truly great stories! I think it is by far the best Cyberman story in the show. Once again, the Cyber actors loom over everybody else in the cast. It may sound silly but that does look far better than David Tennant or Tom Baker (6 footers themselves) being eye to eye with them. They have the same great look as in Moonbase and the same icy voice effect too.

The story builds up a nice momentum and there is a sense of ever lurking danger, making it atmospheric and creepy, in the first two episodes.

There are some interesting characters and good performances. The Klieg and Kaftan duo speak with what might be an Eastern European accent; that has led some to use this story and the Cybermen as sci-fi representations of "communism". (It is balderdash, of course.) The one character I didn't like was Toberman. I can't help feeling there is a hint of racial prejudice. He is played by tall muscleman Roy Stewart; he is reduced though to being a near silent black guy, who doesn't sound all that clever.

Something that bugs me with the story is why the Doctor does things to help Klieg et al and then says the Cybermen must be left alone. That part of the plot is curious because we don't really get an explanation for the Doctor's actions other than he cannot leave because the Cybermen are there. Perhaps he was making sure they are destroyed?

The incidental music is superb. There is a stock piece of music, called Space Adventures, which was used for the Cybermen scenes - it's great!

There are a number of memorable scenes, such as the Doctor talking about his family or when the Cybermen revive.

I thoroughly enjoyed this one.

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