Doctor Who #228: The Invasion Part 7

"Is this what you wanted? To be ruler of a dead world?"TECHNICAL SPECS: First aired Dec.14 1968.

IN THIS ONE... The Doctor confronts Vaughn while Zoe helps UNIT blow up half the Cyberman fleet.

REVIEW: I thought there'd be more of those iconic shots of Cybermen in London, but no, only the reprise. The production still manages to give the episode scope by mentioning other cities around the world, and making it feel like the Doctor's little enclave is the only one not under Cyber-control. The world is so insensate that Captain Jimmy flies a nuclear bomb into the Soviet Union! I hope the guys at the launch center are understanding! The bomb is to be put on a spacecraft primed for a manned moon survey, further indication that Who-Earth is ahead by a few years, chronologically or technologically. And perhaps politically too. The bomb will be necessary, one imagines, to destroy the second wave of Cyber-ships, since Zoe uses all the missiles at the liberated base to destroy the first. Nice to see her particular skill set used, and the base personnel can only look on amazed as this teenage girl computes the most efficient trajectories of all those stock footage missiles. The episode just avoids the "countdown-itis" of other military base procedurals, but what would a Kit Pedler story be without that sort of thing?

While Zoe and UNIT take care of the big picture while enjoying a nice cup of tea (oh, Brigadier!), the Doctor delivers himself into Vaughn's hands for a more personal confrontation (note the classic Troughton bit in the sewers when he flips a coin and immediately goes in the opposite direction). He's there to buy some time, and no doubt learn as much as he can, but might he also be after his TARDIS circuit boards? We're at that point in the story where the Doctor drops the clownish pretense and becomes the more serious keen intellect. It's a lovely series of scenes in which Vaughn struggles to stay one step ahead of the Doctor, UNIT and the Cybermen and fails. The downfall of megalomania is over-confidence, and even Packer is rolling his eyes at it here. It's a case of the villain explaining his plan to the hero, but delightfully, the Doctor keeps poking holes in it, focusing on everything that HASN'T gone to plan. Ultimately, it's the Cybermen who defeat Vaughn, blaming him for the destruction of their fleet and jumping right up to a scorched earth strategy. Vaughn's gotta be sorry he stepped up the invasion.

And Jamie? He gets shot in the back rather violently by Vaughn's forces. At least, that's how it looks. A nasty way to get a holiday! Frazer Hines oversells it so much, it's both a surprise and a cop-out that it's only a flesh wound on his leg. At least it looks like Isobel Watkins has been assigned bedside duty, which keeps her out of the action in this episode. RELIEF!

REWATCHABILITY: Medium-High - Using the Cybermen so minimally allows for a face-off with a villain we actually care about, and it's a good episode for Zoe as well.

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