I’ve never seen this before, but years ago, I listened to it on tape, the original audio with some narration fitted in. However, it’s been a while and I don’t recall much of it. I am looking forward to this one immensely, as I’ve always favoured the Cybermen over the Daleks as the “big evil” race of the Who universe.

 This is noteworthy in that it is the earliest serial of Patrick Troughton to exist in its entirety.

Episode 1:

 The last serial ended with no segue, and this one opens with the TARDIS in a frigid zone, cold winds howling all about it. We walk in the doors with Victoria and The Doctor walking in. He shows her around the console and Jamie explains they’re traveling in time and space – she laughs at the concept. (Funny how quickly the role has changed for Jamie – when he came in, he was the one scoffing at Ben and Polly’s claims that they were time travelers.)

 The video is amazingly clear and sharp, the best of any video I’ve seen so far in my journey through the classic show.

 YES! YES! THE DOCTOR IS OFFICIALLY NOT HUMAN! Victoria asks how old he is and he does some quick mental calculations and says that “in Earth years” he is approximately 450 years old. Jamie and Victoria look at each other, quite astonished.

 The Doctor asks Jamie to take Victoria to the wardrobe so she can change out of her impractical clothing. Before he departs, the highlander suggests that The Doctor make sure the take off is a smooth one, “Don’t want to frighten her.” The Doctor’s perplexed, offended reaction at this is priceless!

 As the episode title appears, we see a rocky terrain with a group of men and one woman, seemingly archaeologists looking for the “city of Telos”. They take cover as they prepare to set off an explosive, uncovering doors set into the rockside. As they try to enter, one of them is electrocuted when touching the door handles. The others bicker, but their argument is cut short by the sound of the TARDIS arriving.

 They greet The Doctor and his companions (including Victoria, whose new clothing are showing off her legs, which she must think scandalous, being a Victorian woman) at gun point. They suspect that The Doctor is a rival archaeologist.

 “This is an archaeological expedition, we are searching the universe for the last remains of the Cybermen!” Yeah. You know, that’s like “hey, let’s make dinosaurs from this DNA we have!” It’s going to end poorly.

 We’re told they’re on the planet Telos, which is the home to the Cybermen. The Cybermen “died out centuries ago”, yet nobody has mentioned Mondas or the attack on Earth. (The humans are Earthmen/woman, though.)

 Jamie and Victoria want to leave, but The Doctor is adamant that they will stay and help them. The Doctor determines that the doors are now safe to open, but neither he nor Jamie can open it. The woman, Kaftan, allows Toberman, her servant, a large dark-skinned, muscular man, to open it. (Yep, sign of the times, one black man on the expedition and he’s a lowly servant.) She and Eric (her partner in financing the expedition) butt heads with the professor repeatedly.

 They enter, though The Doctor advises caution. Victoria does mention her skirt being short, which is nice to see. The expedition explores the first chamber and the contents. Kaftan and Eric talk (quietly amongst themselves) about keeping an eye on the strangers – and that Toberman will take care of the “Scottish man” if needed.

 Eric and The Doctor banter, after The Doctor demonstrates how to open two doors. Eric tries to talk down to him, but he gets the best of the financier.

 The party splits up into several groups to spread out and search. The Doctor, Eric and the professor remain in the main chamber to investigate what appears to be a hatch. (Eric Klieg is played by George Pastell, who is notable for appearances in several Hammer Films movies in the 60s, as well as many spy tv shows and movies, including From Russia With Love.)

 Kaftan, Viner and Victoria find a room with strange machinery. Viner speculates that it might be where they were made, but Kaftan seems to be on the money when she says it seems to be a room for the “revitalising” of the Cybermen.

 Jamie and another archaeologist find what Jamie thinks is a large, dead caterpillar. Any fan of the later Cybermen stories will recognise it for a small Cybermat.

 In the main chamber, Klieg is having difficulty cracking a code and The Doctor gives him the trick he needs to break it. Despite his admonitions, Klieg activates the machinery. Lights flash and things seem to be shaking.

 When Victoria (stupidly) steps into the revitalising chamber, Kaftan pulls a lever that closes a door on Victoria. The archaeologist, Viner, doesn’t realise Kaftan was behind it, and runs off to get help. It’s obvious that she knows what she’s doing – I think she’s some sort of agent or hoping to work with the Cybermen.

 Jamie thinks he saw the Cybermat move, but the guy with him (haven’t caught his name yet) isn’t interested – instead, he’s more curious with what buttons to play with on a console. (Completely opposing philosophy from Viner, who is afraid to touch anything.) A strange light pattern is activated, and he tells Jamie not to look, but Jamie is falling under the spell of the pattern as it plays on the wall. Only when the archaeologist turns the power off is Jamie okay. They run the sequence again.

 The Doctor frees Victoria and she’s gasping and almost crying.

 Professor Parry and Eric Klieg work on how to open the hatch. It seems The Doctor might not have given Klieg all the info needed to work out the further code.

 The Doctor and Victoria find Jamie and the other guy; they’ve pressed one last button and a new pattern, more compelling, is playing on the wall. As they stand there, a Cyberman slides out on a track (like target pratice) and a gun (that I think was set in the wall) fires and the nameless dude is shot… and the credits roll.

 So far, pretty good. The video quality is most excellent as is the audio. It’s a fast-paced story and quite compelling and enjoyable.


Episode 2:

 Okay, so Peter Haydon is the guy we didn’t have a name for. (Interestingly enough, he’s played by Bernard Holley, who later plays The Axon Man in the Third Doctor serial, The Claws of Axos.) Viner and Parry are there as well, and Viner is going on about the Cyberman that “shot Haydon”.

 The Doctor points out that Haydon was shot in the back – the ‘Cyberman’ was in front of him. Jamie tries to remember the sequence on the controls. The Cyberman mock-up slides out again and as there’s nobody standing in the way, the gun shoots the mock up.

 Victoria picks up the Cybermat, thinking it’s a fossil. The Doctor says it is inanimate, but not a fossil. He pulls out a pamphlet (not sure where he got it from) and uses it to identify the Cybermat.

 Toberman, who snuck out last episode, returns to tell Kaftan “it is done” and she praises him. Klieg is still struggling with the code. Parry and the others bring in Haydon and Parry orders everyone to sit down; he announces it’s best to abandon the expedition and return to Earth. He says they’re underprepared and with two casualties, they must leave.

 The ship’s captain, Hopper, arrives to inform them they cannot leave – the fuel pumps on the ship have been tampered with. (Obviously, Toberman’s mysterious task was to do this.) Hopper says they have seventy-two hours to get the repairs done.

 (Hopper’s dialogue is horrible. Apparently, he’s supposed to be an American, but the writer of the serial has NO idea about American idioms and vernacular.)

 They continue to work on the code, as they don’t have anything else to do. Klieg finally cracks the code, despite The Doctor’s attempt to sabotage it. The men prepare to descend; The Doctor has to tell Victoria to stay and keep an eye on Kaftan. Kaftan is up to something, at first trying to keep Toberman with her, but when The Doctor says he will stay as well, she allows that he should go with the rest.

 Victoria turns down a food bar, as she was expecting chicken. Kaftan puts something in a drink, obviously planning to drug the young woman.

 The menfolk, having donned anoraks, have descended into a frosty subterranean level, where the frozen tomb of the Cybermen is. Klieg reacts in the fashion of a worshipper, full of admiration and praise for the Cybermen.

 Victoria has been drugged and falls asleep and Kaftan closes the hatch. Klieg operates what he says is “obviously an opening device of some kind” – but it doesn’t open the hatch, it defrosts the tomb! The tomb is like a honeycomb, full of Cybermen and they start to rise. Viner rushes to the console and flips levers until the Cybermen stop moving.

 Klieg pulls out a gun and shoots Viner. He reactivates the thawing sequence and holds everyone back at gun point.

 Above, there’s a very similar situation; Victoria has woken and Kaftan (wearing an anorak now) has her at gun point. Unobserved, the Cybermat (which Victoria had placed in her purse) awakens and slides out.

 Klieg reveals that he belongs to a group called “The Brotherhood of Logicians”, who hope to use the Cybermen to further their goals. (Anyone else think this sounds as logical a plan as “hey, let’s clone dinosaurs and make a theme park”?)

 As they argue, the Cybermen begin exiting their chambers and descending to the floor.

 Victoria begins to panic as the Cybermat comes near; Kaftan thinks she’s trying to trick her into looking away and doesn’t believe her. It jumps up and seems to attack Kaftan, almost as if biting her neck/shoulder. Kaftan drops her gun and screams and Victoria plucks the Cybermat off her, throws it down, picks up the gun and shoots it with one shot. (Gunplay doesn’t seem to fit in with Victoria’s upbringing and character, just saying.) She then runs out, shouting for Captain Hopper.

 There are eight Cybermen out and they walk to the humans, then walk back (not sure the purpose of that) to the tomb, opening a door on the very bottom, revealing a ninth Cyberman. The Doctor speculates that it is their leader, their controller. It steps out and is a bit taller than the others, has a differently shaped headpiece and no mechanism on its front.

 Klieg introduces himself, saying that the Cybermen must help him since he set them free. The Cyberman Controller grabs his hand and squeezes it until Klieg falls to the ground in agony.

 Oh, I hate the mechanised voice!!! Just like the Moonbase serial, the voices of the Cybermen are so mechanised it’s almost unintelligible. The Controller tells Klieg, “You belong to us, you will be like us.”… and the credits roll.

Episode 3:

 Victoria has brought back Hopper and one of his crewmen. Hopper keeps calling Victoria “Vic”, which pisses her off. Kaftan wakes but pretends to be asleep, while they try to figure out how to open the hatch.

 The Doctor asks the Controller why the Cybermen submitted theirselves to freezing, but instead of answering, he says he knows who The Doctor is. He says more, but I cannot understand all of it. There’s some explanation that fits in with the attack on the moonbase, but I didn’t understand enough to follow.

 The Cybermen plan to convert the humans into Cybermen to invade Earth. There’s a struggle and Jamie slips away in the chaos, but as he attempts to climb to the hatch, he’s shocked.

 Even the mighty Toberman is outpowered by the Cybermen.

 As Hopper and his crewman work on the controls, Kaftan recovers her gun and holds them at gun point, but “Vic” distracts her with a scream, and this time it is a trick and she falls for it. Jim (the crewman) holds her at gunpoint while Hopper opens the hatch and goes down.

 The Controller tells Klieg that they will listen to his proposals… after he’s been altered.

 Hopper throws some smoke bombs, creating a diversion. He has to tell the captives to make a run for it, though. Most of them seem to escape, though Toberman is recaptured and subjected to several shock blasts before he falls unconscious. The Controller says that because he is powerful, they will use him.

 The Doctor is the last up the hatch, with a Cyberman right on his heels. They barely pull The Doctor out as the hatch is closed. Victoria cries some. (Oh, great, she’s like Polly when Polly was written poorly.)

 The Cybermen search the lower area for Klieg. He makes it to the hatch and bangs on it. Everyone debates whether it’s them or a trap. They finally decide to open the hatch and he scampers out. (His hand seems perfectly fine.)

 Klieg and Kaftan are tossed in the testing room for safekeeping. Hopper goes back to the ship to oversee repairs.

 The Controller orders for the Cybermats to be activated – these are much larger than the one Victoria had in her purse, and more like the ones seen later.

 Kaftan and Klieg examine the Cyberman mock up, specifically his gun. It seems to be a fully operational Cybergun. Klieg frees the gun and adapts it so that he can use it. He and Kaftan are both loonier than a pet coon. He thinks with just a little gun, he can control the Cybermen.

 The Cybermats are sent to attack the humans, going through a small runway to leave the tomb area.

 Up above, everyone is napping, except for Victoria, who sits on watch duty. There’s a bit of cute banter between her and The Doctor about his age and her father and the like. The Cybermats arrive and begin to attack the sleeping humans. The Doctor and his companions wake everyone up. There’s Cybermats everywhere (though originally we only saw three…)

 Jim shoots one of the Cybermats (doing the whole jerking his hand forward as he fires the gun thing, never understood that), but there are way too many (and we do see in one shot more there were at least six.) The Doctor laid some cable down and ran power through it, to disrupt the Cybermats’ brains.

 As they think of Klieg and Kaftan and go to check on them, the two Logicians appear in the main chamber. Klieg points his gun at The Doctor and fires… and the credits roll.

Episode 4:

 Jim takes the shot instead of The Doctor – though I’m not sure if he moved in front or was the actual target. Klieg still thinks he can bargain with the Cybermen and opens the hatch and yells down that he wishes to speak to the Controller.

 Below, most of the Cybermen return to their cells in the tomb, to conserve energy. Toberman has been “prepared” and accompanies the Controller as they ascend from below. Klieg tells the Controller that if the Controller wants to use the revitalisation chamber, he has to agree to work with them.

 Kaftan wants her man Toberman back and demands it. The Controller communicates (radio waves? Telepathically? I’m not sure) with Toberman, who walks forward and joins Kaftan. The Doctor and Jamie note his behavior. Klieg then bargains with the Controller, who promises assistance to the Logicians. Satisfied, he permits the Controller to use the revitaliser.

 Jamie, Parry and The Doctor are locked in the revialisation room with the Controller, who is having difficulty getting in the chamber. They help the Controller into the chamber; the Controller is almost depleted. Jamie complains that they shouldn’t help him, but once they get him in the chamber, Jamie sees the logic of having him out of the way and they tie ropes around the chamber door.

 Victoria plants seeds of doubts in regards to another weapon in the minds of the Logicians.

 The Controller bursts out of the chamber, Jamie’s ropes doing no good. The Controller communicates with Toberman through the closed door. Toberman attacks Klieg and the Controller comes out with The Doctor, Jamie and Parry running out ahead of him.

 Kaftan tries to resist the Controller and shoots him with her gun, which has no effect. He shoots her with Klieg’s gun. The Doctor preys upon Toberman’s loyalty to Kaftan and he attacks the Controller. Jamie grabs the Cybergun and shoots the first Cyberman to exit the hatch. He fires down the access at another.

 The Doctor takes Toberman with him down to the tomb. Klieg, still alive, picks up the Cybergun (why do people keep leaving powerful weapons just laying around?) and follows them down. As The Doctor starts the freezing process, Klieg comes down and stops it. He seems to think the Cybermen will follow his “absolute intellect”. (Can we say nucking futs?)

 The Doctor pretends to buy into it – that Klieg The All Powerful is right and should be worshipped. When Klieg agrees with everything The Doctor says, the Time Lord says, “Now I know you’re mad, I just had to be sure.”

 Hopper returns to the main chamber to say that the fuel system is a-ok and they can blast off at any time. I know DAMN well it’s not been seventy-two hours!

 As Klieg is busy talking, a Cyberman attacks him from behind. Toberman attacks the Cyberman and in the struggle, tears open the chest unit and goopy foam pours out at the Cyberman dies.

 The Doctor and Jamie activate the freezing controls again. “Last time, they were frozen for five centuries… this time it must be forever!” – The Doctor

 They leave and the hatch is closed. The Doctor fiddles with the hatch control console, to make it harder for anyone to operate, and then sends everyone out while he and Jamie electrify the controls and the hatch as well as the front doors.

 While they busy away at this, the Controller recovers and they distract him, slipping by and escaping. A Cybermat slips out as Toberman pushes the door closed, speaking his only lines, “You shall never pass Toberman. The door is closed.” When the doors shut, both Toberman and the Controller are electrocuted.

 Hopper calls for everyone to depart with him, he’s blasting off in nine minutes. Farewells are said. Jamie says, “That is the last of the Cybermen, isn’t it?” but The Doctor is very cautious to agree with any certainty. “I never like to make predictions, Jamie.” As they leave, we see the Cybermat outside, then the camera pans over to Toberman’s corpse and then up to the Cyberman design outside the front door… and the credits roll.

 I think the writers finally got the idea to leave an out with a decisive defeat – the concept of recurring villains has finally sunk in (and since Terry Nation was trying to shop the Daleks to the US networks, the Cybermen were the next biggest/best thing… though I’ve always liked the Cybermen better – I find that they’re human inside more terrifying and compelling than the Daleks – though the xenophobia and hate and fascism parallels of the Daleks makes for great storytelling, too.)

 Highly enjoyable, even with some silly bits – a lot of it is the sign of the times, some of it is just poor writing.  

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