Thursday, January 28, 2010

6B3 - Earthshock 3

In which, two episodes after their shining return to Doctor Who, the Cybermen are finally unveiled properly as the marauding, unstoppable force that terrified many a child in the 1960s. The new design for the 1980s is impressive, and it's no wonder they kept the same look, with minimal alterations, for future appearances. The only niggles I have with the costumes are how thin they look, especially compared to the silly, puffy 1980s moon boots all the Cybermen wear.

The best moment in this episode is the moment when The Doctor sees the Cybermen on the viewscreen on the bridge on the freighter. The moment builds up in a lovely way, as the instruments on the bridge show that something is stirring in the hold, intercut with shots of Cybermen bursting out of silos and marching down corridors, accompanied by Malcolm Clarke's superb score. The theme that Clarke created for the Cybermen is breathtaking, and it only finally manifests itself completely in the moment that The Doctor sees the Cybermen marching towards him. Cue the extreme closeup on Peter Davison as he hoarsely whispers one word: "Cybermen".

Notice how Davison's Doctor first reacts to the Cybermen. He's afraid. He is totally afraid. The look on his face at that moment instantly conveys the impression that The Doctor, despite not even knowing the full details of what the Cybermen are planning, is scared to death of them. He never reacts that way to any other enemy, no matter how powerful they are, again in this series. Daleks? Reluctant acceptance. The Master? Benign indifference. The shock appearance of the Cybermen in the cliffhanger to Episode One embedded the silver giants in the heads of fans everywhere. It's The Doctor's reaction to them that made the fans worry about them.


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