This serial exists in 2 episodes with 2 reconstructed episodes by the folks at Loose Cannon – seriously, if you’ve ever wanted a chance to watch the missing serials, this is one of the best ways to do it right now.

Episode 1:

 The TARDIS is out of control as the episode begins, but quickly lands. The Doctor had tried to prove that he could land the TARDIS wherever he wanted and chose Mars as the destination, but for some reason, the ship seem to go wildly out of control. They land and looking at the scanner, appear to be on an alien terrain; Polly says it must be Mars, but Ben says otherwise – it looks like the surface of the Moon.

 Dejectedly, The Doctor admits Ben is right, and says, “Let’s move on, while we can.” The sadness, the letdown in his voice is almost heart-breaking. I suspect he actually thought he could control the TARDIS…

 The companions protest leaving, Ben and Polly saying that they can’t just pop over to the Moon and then leave. Jamie is questioning “How can that be the Moon, the Moon is way up in the sky!” The Doctor agrees to let them put on space suits and explore, but only for half an hour. Jamie wonders if they’ll meet the Man in the Moon, but Ben laughs at him.

 We then see scenes of a colony or base on the Moon, before going back to the companions, in space suits with plastic bubble helmets. They explore about, and Polly sees something in the distance, but Ben dismisses it as her eyes adjusting to the light. The Doctor agrees in his words, but his tone suggests he’s not too sure.

 The companions start jumping about, revelling in the weaker gravity of the Moon, but The Doctor warns them not to puncture their suits else they suffocate. Apparently not heeding him, the three of them jump up to a crag top, but Jamie overshoots. From their vantage point, they see Jamie laying near the base. While they watch, two men exit the base (also wearing space suits, obviously) and take Jamie inside.

 There’s some really haunting music, not much more than a few notes repeated, drawn out… it really helps set the atmosphere, even in a reconstruction made from pics and the audio track.

 The Doctor and his companions make their way down to the base and find their way in.

 We shift to a scene inside the base, a control room of sorts, men sitting around at consoles, operating their computers. Out of the blue, one of the men collapses onto his console. As a result, a large electronic map of the continents of Earth set on the wall begins to flash and an alarm goes off. The other men go to the collapsed man, but there are dark veins/marks spreading on his face. They carry him out to the sick bay, though there’s talk of having to wait for the next shuttle for a doctor to arrive.

 The men seem to be at least somewhat familiar with it – they talk about finding the source of the infection. Hobson, the man in charge, starts barking orders. The Doctor, Ben and Polly are brought before him (no longer in their suits), and the man accompanying them informs him that there’s a fourth man, taken to the medical unit – seems Jamie knocked himself out. (Wonder if Hines took a vacation during the filming – seems it was a common thing for an actor to take a break in the middle of a serial and be written out for an episode.)

 The crew seems to be a mix of international diversity. Hobson allows Polly to go check in on Jamie, while he brings Ben and The Doctor with him. They discover it’s a weather control station – used to control the weather on Earth – and The Doctor theorises that the device they use is what caused the TARDIS landing to be so ungraceful.

 They discover the year is 2070 AD. The Gravitron (the device) has been used for 20 years. Hobson finds out The Doctor is a doctor, and says they need a doctor. Hobson makes introductions; they’re all scientists, though they pull multiple duties.

 Suddenly, in the Gravitron room, another man collapses, struck sick. The alarm sounds off, and they take him out, replacing him with another man.

 International Space Control contacts the weather station; it seems the station was “guiding” a hurricane, but suddenly is off-course and threatening Hawaii. Hobson informs ISC about the illness – they’ve had three men struck down in the past few hours, including the station’s doctor! (Quite convenient that… or was it intentional? Hmmm…)

 One of the men plays back the communique, and points out a background noise – he says that’s proof that they’re being listened in on by someone nearby.

 ISC announces the moonbase is under quarantine until blood has been sent for evaluation. The next shuttle won’t be there for a month. Visually, we’re listening to the communication from another place – obviously, in the place where whomever is listening in on them is at.

 The Doctor and Ben join Polly at Jamie’s bedside. He’s in a bed, tended to by an automated machine. They start looking at the other men in the sick bay, including the station doctor, Doctor Evans. The Doctor muses that the symptoms of this illness don’t quite add up – he’s not sure it’s a real disease.

 Ben is sent to the control room, to help out, but to keep an ear and eye open for anything. Hobson gives Ben a hard time, but Benoit, the second in command, says he could use an extra pair of hands, so the station manager okays it, somewhat reluctantly. Seems pressure is high in the station – there’s a lot of responsibility for maintaining the weather and with the illnesses, tension is up.

 Hobson goes to retire to his chambers for some rest but mentions in passing two more temporary drops in pressure during his shift. Obviously, there’s something going on here…

 In the food store room, Ralph is collecting items for a list. He picks up a bag of flour, but there’s holes in it, and the flour pours everywhere. To himself, he bemoans, “You’d think we have rats up here!” He hears a sudden noise, and calls out, “Who’s that?” We see a momentarily flash of a shadow that looks very, very familiar. (And I’m all like SQUEEEEEEE cuz I had NO CLUE that this serial had them in it.)

 Ben, who was sent by Benoit to help out, arrives, to say that the noise was him. Ralph is very on edge and goes off on him a bit, but Ben gets him to chill out. He asks Ben if he’s responsible for the broken bags, and Ben replies, “I’ve just arrived, haven’t I?” Ralph acknowledges the logic of this and asks Ben to help collect items on the list. They split up and Ralph is attacked by something or someone.

 Ben calls out for Ralph, but can’t find him anywhere.

 Back in the lab, Polly is startled by The Doctor entering through the door. (Which makes no sense, as she was the first one there, and The Doctor and Ben both have come in since then that we know of. Yeah, I know, it’s the 1960s, women weren’t often written to be much more than whining and crying and jumping at shadows… it’s still annoying.)

 The Doctor has been roaming about, apparently, and found a piece of silver paper, though he doesn’t know what it’s for. The lights dim (and of course Polly has to all but scream “What’s happening?!!” when the do… jeez) and The Doctor explains that it is likely an automated feature to help simulate day and night on the moonbase.

 “Oh, I see what you mean, how stupid of me!” – Polly. Can’t argue too much with you, girl.

 Suddenly, Evans screams out from his bed. This doesn’t freak Polly out, for some reason. Lights dimming will, though. Really? REALLY? Evans says, “Don’t touch me… the silver hand…” and then he dies.

 The Doctor goes off to report this to Hobson. We see Hobson talking to Ben, who’s reporting that Ralph is missing. The Doctor comes in to the control room to inform Hobson about Doctor Evans’ death. Hobson orders his men not to report it to Earth yet, until he gets more details.

 Polly is tending to Jamie, who seems to have regained consciousness. We see a shot of the sick bay, but neither Jamie or Polly are in this view, and cast upon the wall is another very familiar silhouette. Oh, yes, the clues are there (I’m being terribly vague, I know…) Jamie tries to point, presumably at the silhouette, but passes out again.

 In a fragment of video, Polly turns and sees the door shutting, but not what went through and she screams. WHY? WHY WOULD YOU SCREAM AT A CLOSING DOOR? The Doctor, Hobson, Ben and others arrive as she’s screaming, but they find nothing there.

 Evans’ body is missing! Hobson yells at The Doctor, asking if it’s a joke. Before he can get too mad, he’s informed that another man has fallen prey. Hobson leaves after instructing The Doctor to find Evans’ body or he’ll kick them all out of the moonbase, quarantine or no.

 The Doctor leaves Polly in the sick bay, “just for a minute” – I’m surprised she doesn’t scream again. Jamie starts moaning for water and Polly goes to get him some. In a video fragment, we see Jamie lift his head. He sees a CYBERMAN!!! SQUEEEEE!

 The Cyberman has been retooled slightly – the disc on their forehead has been removed and they look a bit more like the Cybermen of the 80s that I grew up on.

 Jamie looks at the Cyberman, gasps, “It’s you… the phantom piper,” referring to a legend of his clan, and passes out… and the credits roll.

 Well, I’m totally stoked – it’s a fun serial so far, love the setting, love the characters… and of course, Cybermen. (Important to note, Cybermen being behind an apparent illness is something that’s done again later on – guess it was an homage to this serial?)

 Over all, there’s some hit or miss aspects to the writing of this particular serial. In whole, it’s enjoyable enough, but some of the writing is horribly uneven, and some of the mentality of the time period makes for bad writing, too.


Episode 2:

 (full video, yay!)

 Jamie thinks the Cyberman is the “phantom piper”, and starts crying out, “No, I’ll not go with you.” The Cyberman comes to his bed and seems to inspect him, but then moves on and grabs another man, one of the sick ones, and carries him off.

 Polly comes back in and screams (and I now see that this video is used in the reconstruction – so… wish they’d gone with some narrative text on that previous scene to explain why she screamed.) The Doctor and men are there with her and she tells them that there was a Cyberman!

 Hobson demands that Polly tell him what happened; he’s dismissive about “the Cyberman part”. Hobson is dismissive about the Cybermen, because to him it’s history – “there were Cybermen once, every child knows about that, but they were all wiped out!”

 Hobson makes some connections between the sudden illness, disappearances and The Doctor and his companions. Ben is more than happy to go, but The Doctor says no, they must stay and fight the evil. Hobson gives The Doctor 24 hours to try to find out the cause of things or he’ll kick them off the Moon. 

 The Doctor starts taking some samples from the remaining men (man?) in the sick bay. Polly helps him and when the man jerks uncontrollably, she almost screams again. SIGH.

 Back in the control room, Hobson and the others struggle to sort out a problem – apparently, callibration is off. They’re struggling to fix it so they can keep control of the hurricane in the Pacific. As they work with it, ISC calls from Earth. Controller Rinberg, who Hobson has been trying to get to speak to for a while, finally is on the phone (so to speak.)

 Hobson explains they’re trying to realign the probe, there’s an error in the servos; Rinberg says Miami had blue skies, now has a hurricane directly overhead. (Okay, please to be explaining that one?)

 Benoit suggests shutting down the Gravitron, but Rinberg gives an order that under no terms should the Gravitron be shut down. He then goes off on a rant about all the political reasons why it has to be fixed, stat. The men jump to it, checking every little detail, every relay, every reading.

 The Doctor appears, taking samples of everyone’s clothing, hair, etc, while they work. Guess that’s the comic relief segment.

 Jamie moans about the piper, how he can’t be alive. He sits up, shocked to see the piper. The Cyberman zaps Polly in the head with a bolt of electricity, and then does the same with Jamie. He picks up another man from the sick bay and walks out with it. Shortly thereafter, The Doctor returns to find Polly unconscious on the floor.

 Hobson and the crew keep trying to locate the souce of the misalignment, when oen of the men reports another air pressure drop – lasting five seconds, apparently like the previous ones.

 Shortly after, Hobson gets information leading him to believe that The Doctor and companions must be responsible for the Gravitron’s failure. Just then, Ben arrives to inform him another patient is gone.

 We see two men go outside, through the airlock. Again, we hear the haunting music from the first episode.

 The Doctor is frustrated that he cannot find any sign of illness – he says that his tests have concluded that everything is quite sterile. Polly questions his being taught by Joseph Lister in 1888 – again, the show is still operating under the premise that The Doctor is a human being. It’s always curious to see this. I wonder when the translation from The Doctor as a human to a member of an alien race happened? (Again, I know it happens during the course of the Second Doctor’s tenure.)

 Hobson arrives, with Ben, and others. The Doctor pretends to be busy at the microscope, while Hobson accuses them of being responsibe for the trouble. The Doctor then bullshits about possibly finding something but needing room to work. With them dismissed, The Doctor tells Polly to make some coffee.

 Wow. Again, it’s a sign of the times, but wow.

 Cybermen attack the two men who went outside to inspect the machinery.

 The Doctor exits the lab, to admit he found nothing. Hobson gloats. Polly brings out a tray of coffee. I’m almost expecting it to be laced with a sedative or something. As they talk, one of the men drinks his coffee first and falls over, suddenly stricken by the disease. The Doctor figures out it’s the sugar that carries a “large neuro-tropic virus”.

 The Doctor tells Hobson that he believes it is the Cybermen behind it all. Hobson argues that his men have searched every inch of the base, “there’s no room to hide a cat, much less a Cyberman!” The Doctor then gets very, very serious and asks, “Did they search in here?” Hobson says no, there’s always been people in the sick bay… The Doctor walks around the bay, counting the sick men… and discovers one of them has big boots! (Yep, so all this time, he’s been there, and nobody wondered who it was?)

 They back up slowly but the Cyberman throws off the sheet over him and comes towards them, menacingly… and the credits roll.

Episode 3:

 (back to a Loose Cannon reconstruction episode)

 The Cyberman says something, but I have no idea what. It speaks in a super electronic voice that is completely unintelligible to me. Compounding things, the still photo has a moving mouth (dunno about you, but I find that sort of ‘animation’ to be useless. I’d rather have a still photo and an audio track.)

 Hobson states the obvious, “You’re right – it is them.” I’m glad the writers felt it necessary to include that line. It adds so much to the scene. Another Cyberman enters and kills Bob. One of them contacts their ship. Something is said, I don’t know what really.

 One of the Cybermen in the sick bay says that the men taken have been “altered”. The other Cyberman checks out Jamie; when Polly says his head has been hurt, they decide that he is of no value to them. They make Hobson take them to the control room at gunpoint; as they leave, one of the Cybermen tells Ben and Polly they must stay there – if they leave, they “will be converted like the others”.

 Now is this full-on Cyberconversion, or some half-step?

 In the Cybership, we see Cybermen attaching devices to crewmen’s heads. They then give them verbal commands, and the men respond as ordered. Obviously some half-step. The men are then led into some capsules.

 Benoit, in charge in the control room, tries to contact the service party, to no avail. We see two spacesuits lying on the surface. Suddenly, the control room is invaded by the Cybermen, with The Doctor and others with them.

 Announcing their plans (sigh), we learn that the Cybermen plan to use the Gravitron to destroy the surface of the Earth and everyone living on it. Hobson compares them to children, seeking revenge. The Cyberman corrects them – they are doing this to “remove all dangers” from the Earth.

 “Only stupid Earth-brains like yours would have been fooled.” – The Cyberman. That’s GREAT writing there.

 In the sick bay, Jamie tries to sit up, but nurse Polly gives him a hard time. Ben and Polly talk to Jamie, and the three of them try to sort out a way to fight back. Polly explains an idea, but Ben thinks it’s “as clear as mud”.

 In the control room, the converted men, including the “dead” Doctor Evans, arrive. The Cyberman orders the technicians to move from their places, which they do, fearfully. Under duress from the Cybermen, Hobson orders the men in the Gravitron room to come out and not to try anything. The converted men are sent in to take their place, but Benoit says they cannot go in without the protective headgear, or else the sonic fields will drive them insane in as short as twelve hours. The Cybermen are not worried – their purpose will be achieved in less than twelve hours and the men will be disposed of afterwards.

 All the while, The Doctor is checking out the control box they use to control the men. He fiddles with a knob on a nearby control panel.

 Polly and Ben get some acetone – her idea is to use that on the plastic chest units on the Cybermen (housing the machinery that replaces the Cybermen’s heart and lungs.) Ben suggests that acetone might not affect the particular plastic, so they start mixing up a cocktail.

 Watching the Cybermen, Hobson wonders to his technicians why the Cybermen have to use the converted men, why not do the work themselves – a thought process we saw back in The Tenth Planet.

 The Doctor keeps fiddling with the knob, causing interference in the control box, thus learning that the converted men are controlled by sonics. The Doctor, also, has the same thought that Hobson had – but he takes it further, speculating that perhaps gravity has something to do with the Cybermen’s need of the converted men to do their work.

 ISC calls in at this point; the Cybermen order them to not answer. The ISC calls for them to launch a flare rocket. Hobson tells the Cybermen if Earth doesn’t see the flare rocket, they will assume they’re all dead and send a relief rocket.

 Ben and Polly work on their makeshift weapon – using a spray bottle to dispense the cocktail. Jamie is up and wants to help, and when they say he’s not in any shape to help, he retorts, “It takes more than a wee crack on the head to keep a MacCrimmon down!”

 Ben and Jamie butt heads, but go off to use their weapon. When Polly tries to tag along, Ben tells her to stay, “Not you, Polly – this is men’s work!” Good for her, she goes along with them anyhow.

 The Doctor keeps messing with the knob, causing the converted men to freeze up. At that moment, the companions enter and start spraying the Cybermen in their chest units. The Cybermen flail, grabbing uselessly at their chests and collapse.

 The technicians rush back to their places, hurrying to get the Gravitron down to safe levels. Benoit goes out to check on the service party and reports at finding their suits on the surface. He’s then confronted by a Cyberman, who draws a gun on Benoit, but the gun doesn’t work in the atmosphere-less surface of the Moon. Benoit flees and the Cyberman gives chase.

 Ben suits up and goes out.

 Benoit runs, the Cyberman giving chase. Benoit is nearing the airlock as Ben emerges from it. Ben helps Benoit in, and throws a flask of Polly’s cocktail at the Cyberman, who goes down.

 Hobson orders everyone to take defensive measures – lowering shields and the like. From an observation deck, the crew watches as a large group of Cybermen exit their ship and start walking across the surface of the moon towards the base… and the credits roll.

Episode 4:

 The Cybermen march across the surface of the Moon. It’s hard to tell how many there are. They contact the moonbase and tell them they’re surrounded and resistance is useless. The Cybermen are interfering with the moonbase’s communications, keeping them from contacting Earth.

 I’m still having great difficulty understanding everything the Cybermen say. Even as annoying/grating the Cybervoices were in The Tenth Planet, they were at least easy to understand.

 The Cybermen have the control box on the surface and they activate it. We see Doctor Evans sit up and replace the headset back on his head, and attack the man watching over the converted men in the sick bay.

 The Gravitron has stabilised. Ben is helping out in the control room… and Polly is making coffee. She brings in a tray of coffee, Ben makes a crack about no sugar. Evans is amongst them, but nobody notices, and he enters the Gravitron room and attacks the man inside, taking his place.

 The relief ship is spotted on the scanner – soon to arrive in a matter of minutes. As they watch, the ship is somehow rerouted to head towards the Sun. The Doctor realises that the Gravitron is the only way the rocket could have been deflected towards the Sun. They realise that Evans is in control of it now. The Doctor sends Ben and Jamie to the sick bay to stop the other converted men from leaving.

 Hobson tries to rationalise with Evans but he fails. The Cybermen contact the control room and tell them to let them in. Hobson goes the tough guy routine and the Cybermen puncture the dome. Everyone gets rebreathing tubes. Benoit and Hobson plug the hole in the dome with a shirt. (Really. Really. No, really.) It pops out after a few moments (ya think?) and they cover it with a flat surface that seems to hold this time.

 (Of course, what’s to stop them from putting another hole in the dome? This really makes no sense.)

 They realise that the Gravitron has stopped, and The Doctor, Ben and Jamie rush in to take out Evans and the injured man.

 Another Cybership lands – they haven’t explained where these Cybermen are from, whether they survived the destruction of Mondas or what. They bring out a small cannon, one that must be used by several Cybermen, but the force field from the Gravitron deflects the beam from the cannon.

 The Doctor suggests using the Gravitron as a weapon, and Benoit (the only remaining healthy/alive/conscious/unconverted operator) gets inside. We see another plethora of Cybermen coming across the surface. (This episode is full of washed out footage – they must have spliced it together from multiple sources?)

 They finally manage to get the Gravitron pointed at the Cybermen and fling them all into space. There’s a lot of cheering and huzzahity, and then Hobson starts barking orders – they’ve got to get the Earth’s weather back under control and it’s going to take 2 hours.

 The Doctor and his companions skulk off during this, and when Hobson turns to say something to him, he laughs at seeing them going. “Perhaps it’s for the best – we have enough madmen around here.” – Hobson

 Suited up, The Doctor and his companions move across the surface and return to the TARDIS. Polly points out a shooting star, asking if that could be the Cybermen. The Doctor replies, “Possibly… and I hope it’s the last we see of them.” They enter the TARDIS and it dematerialises.

 In the console room, The Doctor suggests having a look at the “time scanner” – not the normal scanner, but one to get a glimpse of the future. (One of those “hey, let’s add this to the TARDIS” ideas.) In a cute moment, Jamie warns that second sight is “very dangerous”.

 The Doctor turns it on, saying, “I haven’t used it very often… it’s not very reliable, but we shall see.” Polly whines (shocker) and points, and we see a giant claw… and the credits roll.

 The story itself was a lot of fun. I really liked Hobson and Benoit, and the Cybermen were cool. There were a lot of negatives – Polly being a big one – they way they wrote her was uneven – she went from whiny and useless to helping save the day and back again. Some of the story elements were horrible, but in all it was a good serial.

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