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Doctor Who's (David Tennant) time machine the TARDIS breaks down and it
has him and his companions Rose (Billie Piper) and Mickey (Noel Clarke)
stranded in a parallel world where blimps are still the main means of
transport for a day or so ... and what do you know, Rose and Mickey are
soon off on personal matters, Rose to find her father (Shaun Dingwall) who
died shortly after her birth in her own dimension but is still alive and
doing well in this world, and Mickey is off to see his blind grandma, but
soon gets mixed up with the revolutionaries, who think him to be
their leader - which is actually Mickey's double in this world, Rickie
(also Noel Clarke).
But what are the revolutionaries fighting anyways ?
The predominance of Cybus Industries, owned by disabled
millinaire Lumic (Roger Lloyd-Pack), who has earned his fortune by
supplying everybody with the omnipresent earpods, which feed
information directly to its carrier's brain - but can also be used the
other way round ... and that's just the beginning, ultimately Lumic plans
to present humanity with another upgrade to the earpod, which will
effectively turn humans into emotionless Cybermen ...
Meanwhile Rose, and the Doctor with her, arrive at an official function
Rose's mom (Camille Coduri) and dad are having, where even Britain's
president (Don Warrington) - yep they have a president instead of prime
minister in this world - is present, when the Cybermen attack and either
slaughter everyone in sight or take them prisoner to turn into Cybermen as
Only the Doctor and Rose and Rose's dad - who has since turned out to
be a mole within Lumic Industries - manage to make a getaway, helped by
Mickey and the revolutionaries - but during the escape, even Rickie, this
dimension's Mickey, dies.
Still, the Doctor and company decide to attack Lumic Industires head-on
... but soon enough, the whole group is either killed or taken prisoner,
only Mickey and fellow revolutionary Jake (Andrew Hayden-Smith) manage to
stay out of the line of fire and hide in Lumic's personal blimp ... and
they manage to learn about the Doctor's whereabout via a security camera.
The Doctor meanwhile faces Lumic, who has since been turned into a
Cyberman, and the Doctor uses all his rethorical talents to get a few
trade secrets out of Lumic, which enables Mickey, a computer expert, to
turn off the emotional inhibitor within the Cybermen, which causes
them, one after the other, to explode ... and ultimately, Lumic Industries
headquarters goes up in flames. But the Doctor, Rose and Rose's dad are
saved by Mickey and Jake in the blimp ...
It's good-bye time, with Rose shedding a few tears over never being
able to see her father again (normally, the TARDIS cannot cross
dimentional boundaries), and Mickey all of a sudden deciding to stay in
this parallel universe too, because here, after having defeated the
Cybermen, his life means something ... and what do you know, Rose sheds
even more tears. I in the meantime rather welcome the demise of the
character, who never came into his own anyways and was little more than
annoying and irrelevant to the series so far. (mickey would return though
in the season 2-finale, Army
To be fair, this episode features some great and satirical ideas, like
how mobile phones will eventually turn us into mechanical men, and for the
most part the episode plays like a pretty decent if by no means special
science fictioner. On the downside however, the episode features way too
much bittersweet and overly clichéd kitsch about all sorts of family
reunions - it is not enough that Rose again wants to see her father (after
this story premise was already exploited to the hilt in Father's
Day), now all of a sudden Mickey too has a grandma, who is blind
- now can it get any cheesier than that ?
Unfortunately, during the closing good-byes one has to realize, yes it
Besides that it has to be noted that many key story elements (like the
disabled inventor wanting to turn humanity into soulless metal creatures)
seem to have been lifted directly from the 1975 Tom Baker-episode Genesis
of the Daleks - which isn't such a bad thing, since this was one
of the best episode of the series ever.
Now if less emphasis would have been put on these family reunion
subplots and on the serie's continuity as such (another thing that doesn't
sit too well with this episode - and the series as such) and more emphasis
would have been put on telling the actual story and exploiting its premise
(man and mobile phone being merged into Cyberman) to the fullest, this
could have been great. As it is, the episode is just ok.