Doctor Who: The Tomb of the Cybermen
(4 episodes, s05e01-e04, 1967)
The fifth series starts right where the fourth left off with Victoria joining the crew.
The travelers arrive on the homeworld of the Cybermen to find an archaeology team researching the titular tomb. It’s a nice parallel to the previous serial, which briefly (re)visited the homeworld of the Daleks. As they explore, they unravel more of the enemy’s background. I had seen the cybermats before on the recent series episodes, so it’s good closure on my end to see where the mechanical caterpillars originate.
The team restores power to the complex and awakens the tomb, but the rocket ship is broken and the pilot is distrustful, so the team is stranded. Of course, the Doctor can leave anytime, but he chooses to remain, and the story continues with members of the exploration team belonging to the Brotherhood of Logicians, who want to add the Cybermen’s power to the Brotherhood’s intelligence.
I like the design of the Cybercontroller with the semi-transparent brain cavity, but those voices are still hard to understand at times. We also discover that these Cybermen are related to those from the assault on the moon base. Once again, without explanation, they recognize the Doctor despite his new persona, but they do explain that the moon base attack was motivated by fear of becoming extinct thanks to the First Doctor’s actions toward Mondas.
An artifact of the 1960s are the stunt wires, which are plainly visible during the fight on my plasma screen, but were probably easily hidden on CRTs half a century ago.
The companions get some nice beats in this serial. First, Victoria reflects on her family and the terror of the Daleks with counsel from the Doctor. She’s very innocent, but very loyal. Jamie also gets to exploit his very well-developed relationship with the Doctor, especially in one exchange that made me guffaw. When discussing the minds of the cybermats:
“You might say they’ve had a complete metal breakdown.”
In another mythology-building moment, The Doctor advocates using a firearm to kill as he has no other choice, but then rejects it moments later when he enters the tomb to finish off the Cybermen. He also wraps up this serial with a refusal to make predictions about the end of the Cybermen, even though he was really really sure about the Daleks just days earlier. Spoiler alert, Doctor: They both come back.
I think Series Five has set a high bar with an excellent adventure.
Rating: 5/5 – “Fantastic!”
UP NEXT – Doctor Who: The Abominable Snowmen
The Timestamps Project is an adventure through the televised universe of Doctor Who, story by story, from the beginning of the franchise. For more reviews like this one, please visit the project’s page at Creative Criticality.