Monday, October 19, 2009

4D4 - Revenge of the Cybermen 4

Okay, what was Christopher Robbie thinking when he came up with his portrayal of the Cyberleader? Strutting around the Beacon, hands on hips, barking out orders and insults in strange, almost American accent, and proving singlehandedly that a supposedly emotionless creature like a Cyberman can, indeed, somehow harbour feelings of revenge.

I don't mind the Cybermen in this story, but it is never apparent that The Doctor is frightened of them. Tom Baker's performance is almost a flash forward to his Season Seventeen persona as he spends most of his scenes with the Cyberleader berating him and his species with little fear of recrimination. Indeed, the best the Cyberleader can come up with is a bizarre shoulder massage when he catches The Doctor and Sarah on the Beacon in Episode Four.

Add to this a poorly realized climax to Episode Four with a planet surface on a roller doubling for the surface of Voga, and Kevin Stoney's Tyrum suddenly becoming a homicidal maniac and shooting anyone who gets near the Skystriker control panel, and what you get is a story that's an enjoyable enough watch as a whole, but falls apart on closer inspection.

The highlight of the episode? Easy: "HARRY SULLIVAN IS AN IMBECILE!"


Anonymous said...

I count myself lucky to be one of the few Earth-born humans that can't hear the strangeness of Robbie's accent that people keep commenting on.

As luck would have it, this was my first Cyberman story and was among the first dozen serials I saw of this show, period. My expectations were set in and around this story and it's been wedded bliss since!

The point about the emotional delivery is well taken. Technically, I'm prepared to retcon any of that as a calculated affectation to produce a reaction in the surrounding humans. What I can't reason away is how The Doctor successfully "riled" the Cyberleader.

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