This is a story all about this base, right, that’s under siege. This seems like a promising format – I wonder if they’ll return to it at any point?
I mean, it’s essentially exactly the same as The Tenth Planet, except a bit more claustrophobic. But hey, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it – that was a great story, and so is this. The redesign of the Cybermen works well, and the new voice is even more creepy than the original, albeit at the cost of being a little hard to understand at times. The mystery virus and the mind control are nice little touches to keep the story that little bit fresher.
It works well to have a baddie return so quickly after their first appearance. There’s no messing around establishing things, as the events of the original are still fresh in the minds of both the audience and (75% of) the TARDIS crew. In-universe it works well too – nearly a hundred years have passed, and so for the crew of the base, the Cybermen are a combination of modern history and urban legend. There’s a much improved sense of cohesion and consistency within the fictional universe these days.
Except when it comes to Polly – they just can’t seem to settle on who she is. She was on the up again this time, despite a few screamy moments and the fact that her main job whenever Cybermen are around is to make coffee. But she showed intelligence and worked pro-actively, especially when coming up with the plan to melt the Cybermen’s chest plates. Elsewhere, Ben was suspiciously smart all of a sudden, and Jamie had very little to do – he was knocked out early in the first part and didn’t get out of bed again until episode three. Maybe the three companion thing isn’t working out after all, but I don’t want rid of any of them at this stage. It’s an embarrassment of riches.