"Well, I could make some coffee or something."TECHNICAL SPECS: Watched on Dailymotion. First aired Oct.22 1966.
IN THIS ONE... After the Doctor faints, Ben and Polly attempt to stop crazy General Cutler from blowing everybody up with his Z-bomb.
REVIEW: Part 3 is sorely lacking star power. Hartnell took ill that week, so the Doctor inexplicably faints (see Theories) and is out of commission for the duration, played only by a double. It's especially painful given that this is his penultimate episode (and the last of the Hartnell era still in the archives), but I guess it shows why a change needed to be made. But while Hartnell's absence has a real-life explanation, that of the Cybermen does not. After Part 2's big introduction, the bandaged giants are almost nowhere to be seen, showing up towards the end and getting their asses massacred in a snow storm.
The antagonist of the piece instead becomes General Cutler, but the stupid military mindset of the Whoniverse is doubly annoying when the Doctor isn't around to attack it with sparkling witticisms. Cutler really has gone round the bend, obsessed with making use of the Z-bomb, a deterrent that would be at home in Dr. Strangelove, despite its probable irradiation of half the Earth. He's told specifically not to use it, then tricks his higher-up into giving him carte blanche so he can use it anyway. It's really about saving his son, an astronaut with an even worse accent than his, which means we spend a lot of time in countdowns and other space program procedures. Ben and Polly do much in taking over the Doctor's role, keeping the story's moral compass and attempting to prevent the Z-bomb from launching. Ben is the action man, and gets to crawl through the program's first modern ventilation shaft (the first of many), while Polly offers to make coffee (it's her thing) as a way to stay on Barclay's shoulder and play angel to Cutler's devil. We'll see if they succeed in the next episode, or if Ben's concussion was all for naught.
The science continues to be bonkers, but that should be obvious from the Z-bomb (strictly B-movie). The missile which can destroy a whole planet, and of which there are only three on Earth, is a smallish affair in a guarded room Ben can access rather easily. But if they just wait out the power drain, Mondas will just fry itself. Surely by then, Earth will have stopped spinning and died? And wouldn't Cutler Jr. be killed if such a bomb exploded in space? Especially if the planet goes supernova (WHAT.), as Barclay fears. It's hard to believe writer Kit Pedler was brought on to bring "hard science" to the program. I guess he was a "medical scientist" and little else. Leave the physics to the big boys, Kit.
THEORIES: Why does the Doctor pass out? No doubt, it's for the same reason he is forced to regenerate in the next episode. Now, the Doctor's first body looks old even by Time Lord standards, but surely that's not it alone. Of course, his inate vitality has taken quite a few hits lately. The Time Destructor aged him, and in The Savages, he was drained of his energies. And in this serial, the Cybermen are draining energy from Earth. And it's not just Earth's motive and geothermal energy, because electrical systems are also affected. Yet, humans don't seem affected. Could Time Lord physiology be different enough that the Doctor WOULD be? After all, whatever sparks regeneration looks to be an energy effect. Is the Doctor drained of life, or was the regeneration energy matrix pulled out of him, causing him first to collapse, and later to regenerate? If so, then the Cybermen can be proud (if only they had emotions) that they drew first blood and killed the first Doctor.
REWATCHABILITY: Medium-Low - Without the main protagonist OR the serial's main antagonist, we're left with some very annoying butch officer vs. sniveling scientist action and a whole lot of nonsense. Ben and Polly are the saving grace, but not enough for a better recommendation. I think you can skip from Part 2 to Part 4 with little fuss.