Doctor Who: Season 4, Episode 15: The Next Doctor  » TV  »
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  • In this instance, it's made clear that these are the Cybus Cybermen from Earth 2 , but it's a nagging problem
  • In any event, she does provide one of the more interesting plot twists

    • by David Finniss


      As fans were well aware of Tennant’s upcoming departure from his role as the Doctor, Davies decided to have some fun with the idea. We first saw this with the fake out regeneration in “The Stolen Earth/Journey’s End” and the idea continues here. The title is misleading and the opening sequence presents this as the relaunch’s first multi-Doctor episode.

      While this does not turn out to be the case, it is an entertaining ride nonetheless. Following up on a major story featuring the Daleks, we get a major story featuring the Cybermen. The only difference being that this takes place in the 1850’s. Still, the Cybermen seem to pick up right where they left off when last we saw them.

      I’m torn on the Cybermen as every time they appear, I wonder if they are the ones from the alternate universe or the ones from Mondas. In this instance, it’s made clear that these are the Cybus Cybermen from “Earth 2″, but it’s a nagging problem. It would be cool to see the two meet up at some point. My guess is that they would either join forces or go to war, seeing the other as “imperfect”. In any event, it should happen as it could streamline things a bit. Then again, recent episodes seem to ignore that and just have them appear as Cybermen, leaving the viewer to decide which one it is that they are seeing.

      The episode has a healthy balance of humor, but also features some rather poignant moments as well.

      Jackson Lake is fun to watch as he tries to take on the persona of the Time Lord, doing his best to gear himself up with his own iterations of the sonic screwdriver and even building his own TARDIS..sort of. It’s rather funny to see his own take on these various things, even coming up with a new TARDIS acronym to justify the name of his own craft, in this case a hot air balloon.

      He really does steal the show. While he isn’t the Doctor, I would’ve been more than happy to see that he was the next iteration. No offense to Smith, who is doing fantastic as well, but this guy would’ve been a worthy successor to boot. Then again, a lot of fans pointed out that he was over the top, even by Doctor standards, so maybe the bit would’ve worn thin. I enjoyed watching him, I know that much.

      While the Cybermen have been seen before, we do get some variation as far as villains go with the introduction of Miss Hartigan, a woman who bears a grudge against men and joins the Cybermen in order to help bring an end to their partriarchal rule. I wouldn’t have minded getting more insight into her character. We get glimpses here and there, but we’re never really sure why she has the grudge that she does.

      In any event, she does provide one of the more interesting plot twists. Of course, with the Cybermen being villains, you know that they are going to try and screw ...

      • her over, but she manages to turn the tables on them in an interesting way. Even watching it a second time, that turn-around from victim to conquerer was effectively done and it makes her stand out even though there is a lack of insight into her character. Her defining trait seems to be her strong will and that comes through in spades during the latter half of this special.

        Just as Jackson veers between jovial and friendly to grief stricken and sad, so too does the true Doctor. It seems having his companions repeatedly leave for various reasons has left him rather despondent to the point where he truly believes that he has nothing to live for. It’s a sharp turn from his more cheerful persona. It’s not that it’s badly done, but I also can’t say that I’m crazy about it. One of the major charms of Ten is his upbeat demeanor, when you take that away, he becomes less fun to watch.

        I did like the fact that we actually got to see glimpses of all of the previous incarnations of the Doctor. While the classic serials were always considered canon for the relaunch, this is the first time that we actually got to see them. It would happen again in a few episodes past this, but this was the first instance where it was really done.

        The climax could be seen by many as over the top. Yes, even by this show’s standards. Don’t get me wrong, giant steampunk Cyber-mech gets by on

        rule of cool alone, but you have to admit, it’s a tad odd seeing such a gargantuan robot terrorizing 19th century England. Then again, that’s probably the point.

        The second half was OK, but the real charm of the episode lies in the first half. This is where most of the humor comes into play and we try to figure out just who this guy is. There are some instances where you’ll find yourself ahead of the plot, but all in all, it was pretty well done. Tennant and Morrissey play well off of each other and just seeing them banter back and forth is pure entertainment. Although, really the highlight is in the teaser when they bump into each other and both simultaneously exclaim “Allons-y!” while brandishing their sonic screwdrivers. That moment was win right there.

        As it is a Christmas special, the episode does work as a stand-alone. Context helps, as always, but really, the only time previous events come into play is when the Doctor is explaining how the Cybermen ended up here in the first place. The events of the finale aren’t directly referenced, but I got the impression that that was what he was talking about.

        The episode was a fun ride. It may not compare to the epicness of the two parter that came before it, but it gave us some good humor, some big action, and some nice character moments to boot. It’s not perfect, but it works for what it is. I say, give it a watch.

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    The review was published as it's written by reviewer in April, 2012. The reviewer certified that no compensation was received from the reviewed item producer, trademark owner or any other institution, related with the item reviewed. The site is not responsible for the mistakes made. 1012041572770230/k2311a0412/4.12.12
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