THE AGE OF STEEL
I must admit I hate SPARE PARTS so I'm glad this doesn't follow that "origins" of the Cybermen stuff with it's morbid prognosis and dismal ending and that the Doctor created the Cybermen or helped in their creation leading to, of all things, the death of Adric. What a load of garbage that audio was, despite some interesting imagery and a few good ideas and despite it having Nyssa and Peter Davison/Doc5 at his most Adric/Matthew hating. Putrid.
This however, isn't a good CM origin story but this part redeems the dimwitted first part and in full. I'd give this 10/10 or 5/5 for it's all action straight through. First the bad stuff and there's not much bad stuff: Mrs. Moore had fake ear pieces---well only two sets...why couldn't some of them have escaped that way? Maybe the idea wasn't to escape but shut down the factory. Still, if Rickey had used one set he'd be alive and maybe they could have...gotten to the factory that way. It didn't really help Rose and Pete and hats off to the writer for having their mission to save Jackie fail. And also as much as i loved her as a psuedo companion...hats off for the death of Mrs. Moore. It made this all the more (pun!) dangerous for that. I really thought Jake, Pete, and even Mickey were expendable and able to die and that made this first go round VERY exciting and dangerous and tense. Having Pete last on the ladder made me think the Cleader (LUMIC) was going to get him. Glad he survived though. The Doctor claimed they can mourn Rickey later but does he ever really mourn anyone? Also Mrs Moore has some kind of bomb that can disable Cybermen but uses it only once.
Some really great action pieces going on here. Love the romp around the city with Cybermen everywhere and they seem really powerful and scary here. The best is when they have just killed Rickey and then they stand there just watching Mickey on the other side of the fence, just coldly staring and staring, no feeling, no triumph, no gloating. Just watching. Scary stuff. Rose is pretty useful here despite the Doctor's joke, "Oh look I've been captured. Not to worry my friends Pete and Rose will get me out. Ahh well...so much for that..." Pretty funny stuff. David's great here again and in some ways some of his lines remind me of Colin's Doctor, even his passioned plea to Lumic. He even says, "I'd say you were a genius but I'm in the room." That line, while the idea of it is understood (the Doc's a bit conceited) doesn't really sound correct. He should have said something like, "I'd say you were the genius in the room but I'm here or something like that. Despite that, the Doc seems less abrasive here and even compliments Rickey on his parking anywhere he wants and in the end calls Mickey an idiot out of love, not jealousy or hatred. Not even Lumic's over the top stuff can damage this episode and once he's turned into the Cleader he's not that over the top anymore.
What I don't get is why the CM let the Doc stroll around, talk on and on, let Rose answer the phone, toss it to the Doctor and let Pete call out the code etc. I guess if they killed any of them esp the Doc, the show wouldn't be the show any longer or any fun. I't's just like Batman's foes not killing him outright, nor any hero for that matter. How many times has Superman been stopped by Kryptonite and could have been killed by a foe, even Tarzan has been put at bay and not killed outright by the Lion Men of the Lion Woman, and etc etc. Plus the Doctor's been in that situation before: Harrison Chase could have had him shot right then and there but goes on and HE does the talking to the Doc before having Scorby take them out to be killed...and the Doc and Sarah escape, get caught, escape...
AGE OF STEEL is very well done. The music is just exciting and grand and filled with action, even if it has the same motif over and over...it's not bland, it's grand and great. Mickey and Jake, the Doctor's boys, getting the fair share of the rescue right are just wonderful. I am not sure about the Cyber Robot on the zepplin, why it's there but it creates a lot of tension too. I was sure it would have killed either Jake or Mickey but glad it didn't kill either one. The whole "Rose I"m coming to get you" from Mickey was just wonderful. Some critics claim this was just highlights of the past of the new show but I didn't see it like that. It was Mickey once more solidifying himself, finding himself, and separating himself from Rose and the Doc. But watch that last scene again...along the way there are signs that he's still intending to leave with them in the end but his look at Rose as she hugs the Doc as they go their separate ways to do separate missions is...one of resignation or maybe jealousy but of which one? In the end, he looks at the Doctor and his goodbye never fails to bring tears to my eyes...to both Rose and the Doctor. David, Noel and especially Billie are just phenomenal in the acting here, Billie making me feel Rose's every tear. Noel's voice quavers and quivers and the lines are just heart breaking. I HATE that the Doc feels he can't travel between parallel worlds but it makes this an emotional final fairwell. I really thought we'd not see Mickey again and while I felt it was another wasted male companion (Adam, Jack), I knew it was a great ending to his time with them and also...that adventures could have taken place in between the GIRL IN THE FIREPLACE and this one....and that maybe just maybe we'd see Mickey again but I doubted it very much. Who knew we would and we would also see Jake again.
as mentioned before another somewhat positive gay reference was deleted when Jake reveals that Rickey was his boyfriend and Mickey says, "Well then I'm not like him in every way." In fact, removing that made me think that Mickey might just possibly turn gay with Jake. It also made Jake's moving reaction when Rickey died seem all the more gay! Not sure if it was better to remove that scene or not but...either way Jake is a gay character, like it or not. The actor is also and I believe he's out.
the whole Sally is a CM thing doesn't bother me in the least. Some feel it was too silly but I felt it was sad and scary and chilling and heart warming all at once. And the Doc decided to kill the CM, a powerful moment but not as powerful as Tom's Doctor wondering if he had that right (and let's not forget please that Tom's Doc decides later on that he DOES have that right and he sets out to destroy the nursery AGAIN!).
This story just felt right after RISE OF THE CYBERMEN felt so wrong in so many places. Some silly critics say that Mickey stays behind just to stay with his grandmother and then decides to go off with Jake to stop the CM but if you listen he decides to fight the CM first and also tells Rose that his grandmother is here, too and she needs him. He's not going to be fighting the CM for good and then he'll be with her. Some people who hated the first part of this (evne though I don't hate it, I can't really blame them for that), just wanted to hate the second part too (Jon Preddle while I love your book TIME LINKs, I hate almost every other opinion you have of DOCTOR WHO, WTF is all I can say to your ideas of what is good DW and what is a good story and a bad story but everyone has the right to their own opinion). Speaking of which, I'm not sure about the Doc saying that we, humans, are evolving toward growth. I also am not sure I agree that death gives life meaning. I believe in some form we do go on but that's another story.
In summary, this 42 minutes or so was a great ending to a fair to poor first part. I just love it and felt DW was back on track...a shakey track and not as good as Chris's season but it was still good and following the characters' arcs was interesting and not knowing what was going to happen to them...was part of the appeal...this one, unlike part one holds up even after you know what will happen and who will survive.