Episode 1:

 We start off with footage of a rocket launch, shifting to a view of a computer console and hands moving over it. The episode title comes up.

 In a command center, we listen in to astronauts talking to the command center personnel. In the rocket, we see two men in the ship.

 Then we have overhead views of an arctic (antarctic?) landscape, before returning to the inside of a room where pinups of girls decorate the walls. Three men in military uniforms are in a room; one paces, one lounges on the bunk reading a comic book or magazine, and the third is looking through a periscope, saying he sees nothing but, “…snow, snow and more snow.”

 The scene shifts to the surface; the camera/eyepiece to the periscope pans back and forth, and while it’s looking away, the TARDIS materialises. Inside, Polly and Ben have put on polar wear, where The Doctor doffs only an extra cloak, saying he will be “like toast”.

 They venture outside, into a veritable blizzard. Polly finds the periscope and the crew below sees her and head up to take them prisoner. The three travelers are escorted below at gun point.

 They learn they’re at the South Pole Base of International Space Command; their greeting is less than friendly (understandably so.) The guards call for the general, who shows up while they’re on the phone; the general is a man first seen in the command center, talking to the astronauts.

 The Doctor and the General Cutler butt heads, but he doesn’t have time to deal with them, and orders them escorted to the observation room to be detained until he has time. While the companions talk about getting a ride back to England, The Doctor points out a calendar – they’re in the year 1986! They discover, from their guard, that an expedition just came back from the moon (oh, we surely failed to live up to the expectations of space travel in the 60s, didn’t we?)

 The command center discovers that according to their instruments, Zeus IV (the rocket ship) is over 100 miles off course. When the astronauts do a visual check, they confirm this… but the astronaut doing the visual check spots another planet out there, seemingly in orbit between Mars and Venus.

 Snowcap (the Antarctic base) attempts to bring in Zeus IV for an emergency splashdown (why the astronauts can’t fly it themselves, I don’t get); the new planet is rapidly approaching and the gravity is affecting the Zeus ship. The Doctor has correctly predicted that the planet is a mirror image of Earth.

 The general reports to his superiors, and has orders to find out from The Doctor how he knows about this new planet.

 Meanwhile, a space craft lands on the surface, not too far from the TARDIS. Soldiers from Snowcap are sent to break into the TARDIS, but are unaware of the silver-suited men at first; one goes back to fetch a welding torch. Three humanoid forms apprroach, and the soldier left out is attacked. The other returns with the welding torch and another soldier, but they too are attacked and we get a close up of our first ever Cyberman!

 I’ve seen this one not terribly long ago, the past year or so, but I’m still excited to see it in the sequence of the show. The Cybermen are my favourite of the classic alien races, even if the Daleks get more love from the writers of the show.

 I know the fourth episode if a lost one, though I think I’ll enjoy it more, having gotten used to watching reconstructions. The last time I saw this I was a bit put off by that.

 A great serial, one of the best ones yet. And what an epic moment in the show’s history.

Episode 2:

 The General refuses to believe The Doctor’s story about the planet (though we didn’t get to hear it, just came in as General Cutler was disbelieving), but is busy trying to get Zeus IV down safely.

 A television news report covers the appearance of the new planet.

 While The Doctor tries to convince Cutler to listen to him, the Cybermen (not yet named, mind you) walk into the command center and tell them that the rocket ship will not return to Earth. The Cyberman speaking tells the personnel and travelers that they come from the other planet, named Mondas – an ancient name for Earth. Once, the two planets were twins, but Mondas left on a journey to the far edges of space, but now they have returned.

 “We are called Cybermen.” – The Cyberman talking. It/he explains that they once were like the Earthlings, but their scientists found a way to improve their lifespans by replacing most parts with cybernetics.

 When the General refuses to obey the instructions of the Cybermen, they subdue him. The General sent an emergency signal to Geneva, but the Cybermen have one of the scientists call in report that all is well, there was just a malfunction.

 Ben grabs a machine gun, but before he is able to attempt anything, the Cybermen disarm him and, in a show of strength, bend the gun in half. He is locked in a projection room.

 The Cybermen allow Snowcap to try to help Zeus IV make an emergency landing. The astronauts have the ability to pilot the ship, but are depending on Snowcap to give them directions on when to fire rockets and the like. However, in the course of attempting to find a way to land, the rocket ship explodes.

 Mondas has returned to “gather energy” from Earth, to drain the planet dry. Meanwhile, Ben scrounges about the projection room, hoping to find a way to escape. He tries to blind the Cyberman guarding outside with the projector and manages to get the Cyberman’s weapon from him, using it upon him.

 The Cyberman says the people there will come to Mondas with them and be made like them – Polly and The Doctor argues with him over the death of all on Earth and his lack of emotion, and the “superiority” of the Cybermen for not having weaknesses like emotions.

 Ben brings the weapon out to General Cutler, who uses it to kill (?) the two Cybermen. The General then reports to Geneva, where he learns another rocket ship had been launched by Geneva to try to help Zeus down. He’s been instructed to contact that ship, which is being piloted by one man – the General’s son!

 As General Cutler makes plans, the scanners pick up hundreds of spaceships, in formation, traveling from Mondas… and the credits roll.

Episode 3:

 While the General is trying to contact Zeus V, the ship piloted by his son, The Doctor falls ill and collapses. Ben and Polly get him to one of the sleeping cabins, where they discuss how he just seems “wore out”.

 Cutler speaks with his son, and tells him about the spaceships, and how they’ll be getting him down as soon as they can. Afterwards, the General announces to his personnel that he feels that they must use the Z-bomb. He contacts Geneva, who reports that the energy drain is increasing. Cutler requests permission to use the Z-bomb.

 Geneva denies him the permission to use the Z-bomb without consulting scientists, but the General does get permission to do whatever he feels necessary… so he plans to use the Z-bomb anyway. Ben argues with him, saying that The Doctor said that if they wait, Mondas would burn itself out.

 Ben is taken away to be kept in the cabin with The Doctor (who is still unconscious), while Polly stays in the command center. Ben tells her, before he’s dragged off, to work on Professor Barclay, the head scientist, as he senses that he’s reluctant to go along with the General’s plan. When Polly offers her help to the General, he asks what she can do, and she offers to make coffee. (Don’t get me wrong, coffee is good in a crisis, but really?)

 Locked in the cabin, Ben tries to wake The Doctor, but to no avail. He then tries to pick the lock, but bemoans that the locks are more complex than in 1966. He then spots the air conditioning vent and wonders where it might lead to.

 The scientists prepare the Z-bomb, along with the General. The General admits that he’s scared – mostly scared for his son. It’s good to show a little human touch to the General. In many scifi shows, especially Doctor Who, the military leaders are often portrayed as rock-headed bullies and thugs.

 Polly and Barclay talk, discussing the possible ramifications from blowing up Mondas – radiation and more. Barclay is, in fact, reluctant about using the Z-bomb, but is afraid of challenging Cutler. Polly suggests not actively opposing him, but making sure that the bomb does not hit its target instead.

 More Cyberman ships are spotted approaching Snowcap, and Cutler prepares to fight them off. Barclay takes Polly to Ben, where the three confer, trying to figure out how to disable the rocket. Barclay confirms Ben’s suspicions that the ventilator shaft will get him out of there, and in fact, just happens to run to the launch silo. He draws out specific instructions for Ben to be able to sabotage the rocket.

 Meanwhile, the Cyberman ship lands (same footage as before, which makes one wonder where the first ship went to) and a group of Cybermen walk into a trap, where the Cyberweapons taken from the first group were arranged and are used to kill them all.

 Ben makes his way through the shaft to the silo room. Barclay distracts the men working in the silo, getting them to leave the room so Ben can do his work uninterrupted.

 Back at the cabin, Polly frets over The Doctor, wishing he’d wake up. A guard comes in to check on them, and she hides under a blanket on the top bunk (pretending to be Ben, as she’s not supposed to be there.) The guard falls for it and leaves.

 The soldiers bring in the weapons from the second group of Cybermen. Cutler realises Barclay is not present in the command center, and gets suspicious. He goes to the silo and stops Ben. He orders everyone back to the command center.

 There, the countdown begins, but stops briefly. Polly tries to find out from Ben if he was successful, but his head hurts too much to recall. The countdown restarts and the last ten seconds are counted down and… the credits roll.

Episode 4:

 (Lost episode, so complete audio with stills – dammit, I was so into what was going on I forgot that!)

 The countdown reaches zero, they signal blast off… and… nothing happens. The General threatens Ben and The Doctor, who has just arrived to the command center.

 Polly asks what happened to him, and in a video fragment, we have a very important bit of dialogue:

Polly: “What happened to you, Doctor?”

TD: “I’m not sure my dear, [unintelligible to me] of an outside influence. I guess this old body of mine is wearing a bit thin.”

P: “What do you mean, wearing a bit thin?”

TD: “Oh, don’t worry, child, don’t worry, don’t worry.”

 I get goosebumps watching that… wow, it’s just hitting me. This is the next to last appearance of William Hartnell as The Doctor. (What? You didn’t know about.. oh, well, then I shouldn’t say any more.) I am especially mad with the Beeb right now. This is an epic episode, an important one, and a damn good story.. and it doesn’t exist in video any more because of idiocy.

 Anyhow… rant over, back to the recap.

 Cutler pulls his gun on Barclay, accusing him of assisting the sabotage, giving him one more chance or he’ll kill him along with the travelers. Seems that Cutler’s mind is starting to snap under the pressure of alien invasion and his son being in danger. Barclay is defiant, and the General tells him to get up, gesturing with his gun.

 Lieutenant Cutler comes in on the comm device, his capsule is tumbling fast. The General gets on the comm with his son, who reports that the new planet is glowing, flickering with energy. The Doctor (again in a video snippet) proclaims, “It cannot absorb much more energy!”

 Cybermen spacecraft are on an approach path, but Cutler tells his man to shut up. The signal is lost with Lt Cutler, and the General is livid. The soldier who Cutler told to shut up repeats that the enemy spacecraft is landing. The General turns to The Doctor, muttering, “the enemy… I’ll tell you who the enemy is.” He accuses The Doctor of killing his son, and that he’ll kill him. As he moves towards The Doctor, Cybermen enter the command center.

 Cutler draws his gun and fires, but the Cybermen blast Cutler and he falls to the ground, dead. The Doctor tells the Cybermen that they helped spare Mondas by stopping the rocket, and in return, he demands that they stay and live in peace, as Mondas will disintegrate.

 The Cyberman tells them that before any talks of peace happen, the Z-bomb rocket must be disarmed. The Doctor agrees to the terms, and the scientists agree to work on it. They take Polly hostage as an assurance of their carrying out their side of the bargain.

 She is taken to the Cybership and pushed into a small cabin. The Cyberman bears down on her and grabs her by the head, rendering her unconscious. He clamps her into a strange chair – I’m thinking a conversion device.

 Geneva is attempting to contact Snowcap; at the Cyberman’s direction (designated as Krang in the text narration), The Doctor gets on the phone and explains that General Cutler isn’t available at the moment. We see the man from Geneva, in his office, demanding to know who The Doctor is. As he talks, a Cyberman appears in his office, who says if he resists he will die.

 Gern (the Cyberman in Geneva) communicates with Krang (leader of the Cybermen in Snowcap), and Krang reports that all is going according to plan – Gern seems to be the commanding Cyberman.

 The Doctor deduces the Cybermen are going to destroy the Earth, and he communicates with Barclay to tell them not to cooperate. Ben, Barclay and another scientist try to figure what to do – Ben points out that the Cybermen should be able to disarm the bomb on their own – they’re more advanced and stronger than the humans, yet the three of them are forced to do it themselves. He postulates that they’re afraid of the radiation, and Barclay agrees. One of them lays down while Ben bangs on the door. The Cyberman enters, and quickly falls victim to the radiation. Ben grabs his gun and shoves him outside; now they have the room under their control and a weapon to guard it with, and the Cybermen cannot use the Z-bomb to destroy the Earth.

 The Doctor declares a stalemate. Krang’s reply is that he can do what he likes with the humans with him and the girl (meaning Polly). Krang tells Ben to give up, he retorts that they’ll wait until Mondas burns up. Krang says it will not, and orders The Doctor to be taken to the Cybership.

 The Doctor is aboard the Cybership, held captive along with Polly. When Polly points out that the ship is shaking and the engines are humming, she asks if it is about to take off, but The Doctor says no, the ship is getting energy from Mondas; as Mondas is being overloaded, so is the ship. Polly cries out that she’s afraid that the ship will blow up and The Doctor is unable to alleive her worries.

 Ben is eyeing the Z-bomb, trying to figure out what they can use as a portable weapon against the Cybermen. Barclay says they could use the reactor rods. Dyson, the third man, is constantly bitching and moaning about them trying to fight back.

 Krang is anxious. Mondas is reaching “saturation point”. He tries to communicate with Ben and company, but Ben has shut off their comm device.

 Ben and the scientists have gotten the rods out and make plans to use them. Krang sends a Cyberman, Jarl, to find out what the decision of Ben and company is. Jarl has cylinders of gas, which he uses to smoke out Barclay and Ben. Barclay opens the door and Ben shoots Jarl, but Krang and the others are out there and Ben and Barclay cannot escape past them.

 Dyson and another scientist come from behind the Cybermen with the rods, causing them to collapse and die. They return to the command center, and Ben is worried about getting The Doctor and Polly off the ship. Ben finds the Cybermen’s communicator and triggers a signal, hoping to draw them out.

 The Cybermen get the drop on them, though, but then, on the screen, they watch Mondas die – it seems to melt and then break up… and then, immediately after, the Cybermen do as well, collapsing and dying – as their planet died, so did they.

 Lt Cutler reports that his ship is back to full power and wants to know when he can land. Barclay contacts Geneva, who reports that “the Cybermen menace has ended all over the world”.

 Ben rushes to the Cybership and finds Polly and The Doctor still imprisoned. Polly whines and kvetches, even after Ben frees her. The Doctor is very weak, not able to walk on his own. He asks Ben if it’s all over, and then says “It’s far from being all over… I must get back to the TARDIS, immediately!”

 His words are slurred, as if even speaking is a massive effort. Ben questions that they won’t be returning to say goodbye, but The Doctor insists they must go to the TARDIS at once. Ben hands The Doctor his cloak. He thanks Ben and staggers off. Polly and Ben question what’s going on with him, and they follow.

 Back at the TARDIS, the companions are banging on the door, demanding to be let in. Inside the TARDIS, The Doctor is struggling, but manages to open the door for them. It seems as almost if some force is controlling the TARDIS. The companions come in, as The Doctor collapses again. Polly rushes to his side, but he is limp. There’s a closeup on his face and as the TARDIS engine roars, we see the face change, the screen turning white, and then Patrick Troughton’s face taking his place…and the credits roll.

 Wow, total goosebump moment. What must the viewers at home been thinking? Did they even know? Surely back then, the networks didn’t reveal storylines in advance like they do nowadays. I’m so itching to watch the next one to find out what happens!!!!

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