Recap: Our old friend, Lytton (from RESURRECTION OF THE DALEKS) is on Earth. He’s found some Cybermen and is trying to make nice with them. The Doctor detects an intergalactic distress signal and he and Peri arrive in London to investigate.

On Telos, Cybermen are using human slave force to do something.

The Cyberleader and his Cybermen ambush The Doctor in the TARDIS and Peri is about to be “destroy(ed) at once”.

spoiler warning

Episode 2:

The Doctor demands that they discuss this, insisting that she must live if the Cyberleader wants his cooperation. The Cyberleader says that they don’t need The Doctor, they just want his TARDIS.

The Doctor leaps forward and presses some buttons on the console, saying that he’s started a twenty second self destruct sequence. The numbers count down on a screen.

The Cyberleader orders for Peri to be released, but when The Doctor asks how he knows he can trust him, the Cyberleader says he has his word, as well as that of the Cyber Controller. The Doctor is surprised to learn that CyCo (my new diminutive for him from now on) is still alive and on Telos.

Distracted by this, The Doctor neglects to shut off the self-destruct until Peri nags him about it. Of course, there’s only one second left when it is stopped.

(sigh)

The Cyberleader instructs The Doctor to take the TARDIS to Telos, and he obeys.

On Telos, Stratton reluctantly gets dressed as a Cyberman. He argues with Bates about it. Stratton looks like a sad sack Cyberman.

Back in the TARDIS, The Doctor, Peri, Griffiths and Lytton are placed in a room for holding. Lytton informs The Doctor that a time vessel landed on Telos and the Cybermen captured it.

So they only have one ship,” The Doctor asks.

They will have two with your TARDIS,” Lytton replies.

When The Doctor questions Lytton how he knows about the proceedings on Telos, Lytton plays it off. Peri remarks that it’s obvious they know each other and The Doctor brings up Lytton’s history with the Daleks.

Your regeneration has made you vindictive, Doctor.”

Not at all. I’ve never found it difficult to despise people like you.”

Lytton insists he’s a prisoner, not working with the Cybermen. Griffiths and Peri want to know where Telos is; the former says he’s having a great deal of trouble understanding all of the going ons, but the latter assures him he’ll get used to it.

The CyCo is informed about a transmission coming from the TARDIS; he says it must be an attempt by The Doctor to inform the Time Lords of what is going on, and gives orders to inform the Cyberleader on board the TARDIS. CyCo says that if the Time Lords try to get involved, it will be too late, “Telos will have been destroyed and we shall have The Doctor’s TARDIS.”

Um, how would TIME Lords be too LATE?

Anyone? Anyone?

Lytton returns The Doctor’s sonic lance to him. The Doctor uses it to try to tamper with the navigational control, hoping to take them elsewhere (or when?)

The Doctor and Lytton fill in Peri and Griffiths on Telos. The Doctor says that Peri would have liked Telos “in the old days, when the Cryons were in residence”. We learn that the Cybermen needed Telos for the sub-zero cities that the Cryons built for hibernation.

Peri asks why the Cybermen didn’t build hibernation units on their own planet, “…I assume they had one.” The Doctor gets very uncomfortable and Peri and Griffiths ask what’s wrong. Lytton gets a dig in, “Yes, Doctor, what is the matter?”

Heh heh heh, I do like Lytton.

The Cyberleader learns of the irregular signal and says to prepare for landing on Telos, and orders for The Doctor to be brought to him.

The Doctor, arm around Peri, tells her and Griffiths of the destruction of Mondas, the Cybermen’s homeworld.

Lytton interrupts, “Tell them how it was destroyed.”

The Doctor glares at him, “You’re enjoying this!”

It’s not often I have the opportunity to watch a Time Lord squirm.”

Yes, I do like Lytton a lot.

It comes up that the attack by Mondas on Earth takes/took place in 1986 – the following year for Peri and Griffiths. Peri insists that they do something about it, but The Doctor says that he cannot, it would violate the laws of time.

Before too much more can be said, a Cyberman comes to take Peri away. The Doctor is also ordered to go to the console room.

On Telos, a Cyberman wanders, half-frozen, and seemingly out of control. CyCo is informed of this and orders for resuscitation to cease and for the rogue Cyberman to be destroyed.

In the TARDIS, the Cyberleader assures that Peri is safe, they’re merely getting her warmer clothing. He accuses The Doctor of deceiving them, ordering him to disconnect the signal to the Time Lords. The Doctor is physically abused before and after he does so and is warned if he tries such again, they will kill him.

Stratton complains he cannot breathe in the helmet, then wants to rest. Bates yells at him, saying Cybermen don’t rest.

Peri arrives in the console room, wearing a red jumpsuit, alarmed at The Doctor’s weakened state.

The TARDIS materialises, as a door in a wall. The Cybermen and their prisoners exit. Peri complains that it’s cold, and The Doctor tells Lytton he forgot how big the cybertombs were.

Peri complains about the cold some more.

The Cyberleader says they have materialised in the wrong place; The Doctor feigns ignorance. Lytton remarks to the Time Lord that the Cyberleader almost seemed concerned and The Doctor agrees, wondering why.

CyCo gives orders to bring the TARDIS there.

Peri wonders what the rancid smell is. Lytton says it is death. Peri says they’re hibernating, but Lytton doesn’t respond. The Doctor accuses Lytton of knowing more than he’s letting on, but again, Lytton puts off answering it, saying The Doctor will know soon enough.

The Cyberleader says they must leave at once. When The Doctor asks why, he says “We have far to travel and the Controller awaits your arrival.”

Suddenly, a cyberman comes out of one of the tombs and attacks the Cyberman on guard. Peri, Lytton and Griffiths run off, as the rogue is killed. The Doctor is still prisoner.

Peri runs about, alone, peering into the tombs. Another rogue breaks free and attacks her and two other aliens attack the Cyberman and rescue her, though she resists, thinking they’re attacking her, too.

Griffiths follows Lytton, saying he wants to go home. Lytton says he’s working on it.

Oh, I see. You’ve got a taxi waiting,” the bald crook snarks.

Suddenly, a female voice says, “He speaks the truth.” From behind some rocks, another of the aliens that grabbed Peri appears. (Okay, I think we can safely assume these are Cryons, the original inhabitants of Telos.) The Cryon, named Threst, says that Lytton has come to help them.

Lytton explains that the Cryons picked up his distress signal when he was on Earth and told him of the Cybermen’s invading their world. He explains he tricked the Cybermen into bringing them there.

Threst agrees, saying they need his help, and they need Griffiths as well. (I note she doesn’t say they need his help, but him.) Threst even offers to pay Griffiths the equivalent of two million pounds in uncut diamonds. It seems diamons are uncommon on Telos.

When Griffiths asks what he’s supposed to do for the pay, Lytton answers, “Help me steal a time vessel.”

The Doctor is thrown in a storage room, where he meets a Cryon named Flast.

Griffiths learns that his job is to help keep Lytton alive. When he asks why a Cryon can’t do it, Threst explains she would boil if she went onto the surface.

Lytton tells Griffiths that if they succeed in stealing the time vessel, they’ll live to spend the money.

And if we don’t,” he asks.

Lytton walks up behind him, “Then we’ll be turned into emotionless Cybermen.”

Peri wakes, to find several Cryons there. They explain that they mean her no harm, they rescued her from the Cybermen, pointing out that it was at great risk to their own safety.

Peri apologises, saying she’s confused. The two Cryons introduce themselves as Rost and Varne. When she says she’s from the planet Earth, they say they know.

Bates and FauxCybermanStratton walk through the terrain, the latter complaining that they won’t get away with it, the former telling him to shut up. They see a hatch open and hide and watch as Lytton and Griffiths exit from beneath the surface.

The Doctor tells Flast that he thought the Cryons were destroyed; she says the Cybermen thought the same, “but as you see, some of us survived.”

The Doctor says it’s too cold for him in there, that he won’t last half an hour. Flast is more interested in the fact that she’s not had company in a long time. When he talks of escape, she says they all talk about that at first, but it’s the locked door and the armed guard that keeps it from being more than talk.

The Doctor retorts, quite wonderfully, “Really? Could also have something to do with the lack of support from their cellmate?” This infuriates Flast, as she says she hates the Cybermen more than he could know and would do anything to stop the Cybermen.

Flast and The Doctor talk about the Cybermen’s time vessel. She points out they have a ship but they do not quite understand time travel. When The Doctor says that’s reassuring, she says what they have in mind will undoubtedly distress him.

Well, tell me gently,” he responds.

They intend to change history,” she explains. When he protests they cannot do that, it’s against the laws of time, she says that he had better tell them that, “because if you don’t, they intend to prevent Mondas from being destroyed!”

CyCo learns that all charges on the planet are set and primed. He gives the order for the TARDIS to be brought to them.

Bates and Stratton get the drop on Lytton and Griffiths. Lytton says they can help each other. Bates is surprised to learn that the two men are flesh and blood and reveals that he has cybernetic arms and legs – it seems the cybernisation process doesn’t always work.

You’re sort of rejects,” Griffiths quips.

That’s one way of putting it,” Bates agrees.

Will they do that to us,” Griffiths asks Lytton.

Lytton answers, “If they find us… but we won’t be here.”

Lytton says to Bates that the time vessel needs a crew of three and if they work together, they have four. He shows Bates a map of a safe route and explains that the Cryons are helping him.

Peri asks if the Cryons can rescue her friend The Doctor, but they say the Cyber Control is too warm for them. On a screen, there is an image of The Doctor in the storeroom and Peri asks how they knew that one was The Doctor, when she arrived with three men.

The Cryons argue amongst themselves, one says the other wasn’t very bright, the other says they should have killed her. Peri realises they know Lytton, and they confirm that he is working for them. The Cryons tell her that Lytton is trying to keep the Cybermen from leaving, so they won’t destroy Telos.

Then they say the Cybermen want to study the effect of the explosion on the planet’s atmosphere. Um. Is it being destroyed or just explosions set off? The two are not really the same.

She learns that the Cybermen plan to destroy Earth, to save Mondas.

Lytton leads his new crew through the underground complex.

CyCo gives orders to destroy the SVPs (Stratton and Bates?)

Flast is also filling in The Doctor on the Cybermen’s plan. They’re going to use Halley’s Comet to hit Earth.

When The Doctor mentions that the Time Lords won’t allow history to be changed, Flast suggests perhaps their agents are already at work. The Doctor suddenly gets mad, realising that he’s been allowed to come here to do their work.

Flast shows The Doctor a mineral called vastial, a highly unstable element that will explode at ten degrees above zero and self-ignite at fiften.

Lytton takes Stratton’s gun as his three men climb up a ladder, saying he’ll keep them covered. Griffiths goes first, followed by Bates and Stratton, and then Lytton. However, at the last minute, he’s grabbed by Cybermen. The other three go on without him.

The Doctor opens the door with his sonic lance and slides out a small amount of vastial. The Cyberguard inspects it and it explodes, setting the Cyberman on fire. The Doctor says that the Cybermen will kill her when they learn of her part in this, but she asks for the sonic lance, saying she can use that to detonate the vastial to destroy the complex.

The Cryons are taking Peri to the TARDIS, but she’s trying to get them to realise she cannot pilot it. They say they will help her. She argues, saying it’s temperamental and not even The Doctor can always control it.

They learn that Lytton has been taken prisoner. They reassert that the TARDIS must be moved.

The Doctor dashes through the tombs.

CyCo confronts Lytton, saying he knows he’s after the time vessel and demands to know how he plans to do it. They begin torturing Lytton, squeezing his hands so that blood rush down it and he screams, collapsing.

Peri and the Cryons argue about who’s approaching the TARDIS and the Cyberman guarding it.

Lytton is taken away to be converted. CyCo learns that the time vessel is approaching and orders for The Doctor to be brought to him. The Cyberman guarding him does not respond to the summons. They realise The Doctor has escaped.

Flast tinkers with the sonic lance and places it in a chest of vastial. As the camera pulls back, we see the storeroom is filled with containers of it.

The time vessel lands on Telos.

The Doctor reunites with Peri, who says that the Cryons want to destroy the TARDIS, but they say they just do not want the Cybermen to have control of it. The Doctor says they need to find out how many Cybermen are inside the TARDIS.

They break into one of the tombs and on the corpse of the Cyberman within, The Doctor activates a built in distress signal, saying this will draw the Cybermen out. He tells the Cryons about Flast and the vastial.

In the vastial storeroom, Cybermen investigate to see if The Doctor tampered with the explosive mineral. They find Flast, who is melting from the open door. The Cyberleader demands to know how long The Doctor has been gone and when she refuses to answer, they throw her outside into the hall, where she dies.

GSB (Griffiths, Stratton, Bates) attempt to open the door to where the time vessel landed, but it’s a trap and Bates is electrified/shocked when he touches the door. The door opens and a Cyberman shoots Stratton and Griffiths.

CyCo, learning of the deaths of GSB, gives the orders to prepare to depart. We see Lytton in a booth, in the midst of conversion.

Two Cybermen exit the TARDIS in response to the distress. The Cryons ambush and destroy them, but not before losing one of their own. The Doctor offers Rost his sympathies, but she tells him, “Please remove your TARDIS from Telos before you have to be rescued again,” and assures him they will survive.

As they head to the TARDIS, Peri asks about Lytton, saying he’s been captured by the Cybermen and explains he was working for the Cryons. The Doctor confirms this with Rost and says he will see what he can do.

The Cyberleader orders his crew to hurry loading the vastial. He learns that the technicians on the TARDIS are not responding and the ship has been moved.

The TARDIS materialises in the laboratory and The Doctor exits. He finds Lytton and says “I’m just beginning to find out about you,” as he tries to figure out how to remove him from the booth.

Lytton asks if he put the sonic lance “to good use” and The Doctor says he did, then asks why Lytton didn’t explain things to him.

Lytton says he must kill him, but The Doctor says he can help him. Lytton begs The Doctor to kill him, but before anything else can happen, CyCo walks in. They lure him in and Lytton attacks CyCo with the tool the Time Lord was using to try to free Lytton.

Other Cybermen enter, but The Doctor gets a Cybergun and shoots them all, CyCo included.

Peri rushes out after all the death, as The Doctor returns to the fallen Lytton.

I must help him,” the Time Lord exclaims.

It’s too late, Doctor, he’s dead.”

I cant’ just leave him!”

You must, there’s nothing you can do.”

Reluctantly, The Doctor rises, moving towards the TARDIS, “Why didn’t he say something?”

Peri follows, saying, “You never gave him a chance!”

They enter the TARDIS, which is a police box again by the way, and it dematerialises.

In the storage room, the vastial begins to explode, destroying the entire complex, and presumably the time vessel.

In the TARDIS, Peri tries to reassure The Doctor when he says it didn’t go very well, reminding him that Earth is safe as is history and “the web of time”.

I meant on a personal level… I don’t think I’ve ever misjudged anybody quite as badly as I did Lytton.”

Peri tries to offer a reassuring smile… and the final credits roll.

What an ending. I am saddened at Lytton’s death (didn’t recall that until we were towards the end, I was really hoping he survived somehow.) I know a lot of people didn’t like the Colin Baker era for the darker edge to the stories, but there was a lot of that in the Davison era, too – look at the WARRIORS OF THE DEEP serial, that was a dark ending, just like this one.

Most awesome serial, though. One of my all time favourites here.

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