"I know. I'm just a mouth on legs."
IN THIS ONE... The Cybermen attack the bridge of the ship.
REVIEW: Tegan gets to join the fray, borrowing some overalls from that geologist girl (because after all this time, she still hasn't found a pair of trousers that will fit her) and grabbing a Cyberman gun so she can - oh gosh - kill him at point blank range! We're in Saward World now! How bloodthirsty of our Aussie stewardess! I'm all for giving her action scenes, though perhaps not lethal ones. I guess witnessing a massacre does something to your judgment. Regardless of the morality on display, Tegan gets a better deal than Nyssa, who is once again sidelined in the worst way. Babysitting the geologist after failing to convince the marines to sit on their hands and wait. It's surprising they did as they were told for as long as they did. And there's no real reason for her to suddenly refuse to go help the Doctor, except that she's become a tool of the script, keeping people from joining the action until whatever plot point has occurred.
No discussion of this serial would be complete without some criticism of its highly emotional portrayal of the Cyberman. They're arrogant, spiteful, self-satisfied and the guys low on the cyber-totem pole look rather chatty. I don't think it's ever been so clear that they are guys in suits. And yet, I can't get all that worked up about see. See, these Cybermen were my FIRST Cybermen, and for that reason, I have a lot of (camp) affection for them. I like David Banks' voice, and whenever I say "Excellent", I always follow it up with "Earth WILL be destroyed" (from Part 4) in his tone. Can't help it. Like the Daleks, these supposed logical machine minds ARE emotional (remember the smug CLEVER. CLEVER. CLEVER from The Moonbase?), they just don't recognize what they're feeling AS emotion. It would be more true to say they've excised what we would call "positive" emotions. They're without empathy, not feeling. So I'm okay with it, and when it's a step too far (the animated chat), I point and laugh. That feels good too. Hey, at least the weakness to gold has carried over from Revenge of the Cybermen. They were well on their way to accumulating a new weakness each time they appeared.
I'm less enamored of the human guest cast though. Beryl Reid's Captain Briggs is less and less convincing the more we see of her. It's like it's her first flight for all the experience she brings to bear. It's hard to care about her when she callously dismisses the death of crewmen as impediments to her getting her bonus. Her security chief Ringway is the only one who seems to care people have gone missing, but then he turns out to be the traitor, so it's a moot point anyway. Break the 15,000 Cybermen out of their Saran wrap, I don't care if all these humans die.
VERSIONS: Once again, a little polish on the raygun effects (which always seem to miss), but the other video effects are left alone.
REWATCHABILITY: Medium - Certainly has its flaws, but there's something to be said for building up your threat through lethal deeds and dramatic visuals.