"Clever! Clever! Clever!"TECHNICAL SPECS: One of the two episodes missing from this story. I've used a reconstruction. First aired Feb.25 1967.
IN THIS ONE... The Cybermen take over the Moonbase, aiming to destroy the Earth with the Gravitron. No worries, Polly makes a cocktail that can melt them.
REVIEW: Finally, the speak! And I do like the raspy new electronic voice, flat and robotic where the previous attempt was an odd sing-song that tended toward ridiculousness. However, it is frequently difficult to make out just what the heck they're saying. They've taken over the Moonbase to use the Gravitron, and claim this isn't revenge for the destruction of Mondas. No, it's a question of remorseless survival and so, eliminating an enemy so the race is no longer under threat. I guess I understand why the Cybermen are so obsessed with survival - everything kills them! In addition to their Tenth Planet hypersensitivity to radiation, Polly manages to make a solution that melts their chest units! And then there's the outrageous idea that they might also be susceptible to gravity, which is why they need humans to operate the Gravitron. Gravity?! How does THAT work?
Simply put, it's more of Kit Pedler's supposed mastery of science. I'm pretty sure Polly's idea to mix every solvent together to create a super-solvent is bad chemistry too. I don't begrudge Polly the idea, or the fact that Jamie inspired it with his holy water reference - that's exactly the kind of resourcefulness I like in my companions - but by working it out TOO much, Pedler draws attention to how naff the solution actually is. Better not to know what's in the bottle, see? Another annoying Pedlerism is all the procedural space stuff. The Cybermen basically replace the humans for this episode, doing their own boring system checks and being very deliberate and technical about it all. But maybe it feels like that because the video is missing, as there are a lot of Moon surface scenes and action sequences, but it all just sounds like shuffling or music. Part 3 is a very visual episode and suffers a great deal in the audio format.
Jamie's awake by this point, and while Ben gets some of those action scenes we can't see, he continues to do badly. His jealousy is evident as he accuses the Scotsman of showing off for Polly, and his chauvinistic side comes out at the worst of moments. It seems that one of the boys could have been with the Doctor instead, though Troughton somehow makes the moment where he talks to himself work.
THEORIES: There are two questionable moments in the episode. First, there's the matter of the Cybermen claiming, once again, that they are emotionless, and yet patting themselves on the back for how clever their plan was. Truth be told, the Cybermen will continue to make the claim, and will continue to exhibit certain emotions. I offer this explanation - They haven't excised all emotion, only the emotions that prevent their society from functioning. It seems to arrogance and, to name another example, glee at the prospect of Earth's destruction, are still part of their emotional make-up. As might be denial, they probably think they really are without emotion. But things like guilt, sadness, empathy... well, who needs 'em?
The second Cyber-claim of note is that they seem to recognize the Doctor, leading some to speculate whether they have his face on record from events that have yet to transpire (The Invasion). It's more likely they've been monitoring the base and have heard the name, recognizing it from the events of The Tenth Planet.
REWATCHABILITY: Medium - Too visual to satisfy in soundtrack form, but what can we do? At least Polly makes herself useful and we can try imagining the spray bottle battles.