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Review of The Great Cyber-War Part 2 by PalindromeRose

18 May 2024

Doctor Who – The Eighth Doctor Adventures: Audacity

#3.03. The Great Cyber-War: Part Two ~ 10/10

◆ An Introduction

Cybermen have been historically vulnerable to gold since the nineteen-seventies: it clogged their innards and basically suffocated them, which is why Adric’s badge was such an effective weapon against the Cyber-Leader. Fandom just took this severe allergy at face value, but what if it was developed in a laboratory, much in the same way scientists develop a biological weapon? What if someone could turn gold into the Cybermen’s kryptonite?

The setting has been established and the characters introduced. All that remains is for our favourite tin soldiers to infest the glittering golden space-station…

◆ Publisher’s Summary

The Cyber-War has come to the Aurum. The best hope of survival lies with the great Oberon Fix – the finest scientific mind of his generation, working to protect humanity. But the Doctor is worried that his own presence will affect history's outcome. And for Audacity, life with the Doctor will never be the same again…

◆ The Eighth Doctor

There’s a moment during this episode where the Cyber-Leader threatens to jettison all the unconscious humans aboard the Aurum. Our resident Gallifreyan believes it to be a bluff… until bodies start flying past the viewing decks. The Doctor is forced to confront a Cyberman whose emotional inhibitors are failing as a result of the war, causing it to feel anger and pride. Tim Foley has injected a great deal of tension into these scenes.

McGann delivered a top-notch performance throughout the second half of this adventure. He was particularly good during the action packed scenes aboard the shuttlecraft, when the Cybermat accelerates the shuttle’s engines to make it collide with the Aurum!

The Doctor can stop the bombardment of Voga if he has Audacity by his side. He believes that you make the unlikeliest friends in war. Upon realising that a time-traveller formed the basis of the Cyber-Leader, the Doctor is utterly horrified.

◆ Lady Audacity Montague

Cybermen are closing in from all sides, and the only escape route is a lift severely lacking in power. Good thing that Audacity has no qualms in taking up arms against the tin terrors. It’s easily one of the most nail-biting moments of the episode.

Despite this only being her first release playing her ladyship, Jaye Griffiths has proven herself to be an adept performer. It was great hearing her play defiant when the Cybermen claim that “resistance is futile”.

Audacity is initially glad that the Cybermen are coming. After seeing what the security officers did to Dellatine, she thinks they deserve to be opposed. The Vogans are desperate, and she has seen it time and time again where the people are not heard. The Doctor claims that her time would be known as “the Age of Revolution”. Change wasn’t happening nearly quickly enough in her own time, and now she has been brought to a future where the same inequality remains. It isn’t good enough.

◆ Gold! Always believe in your soul…

Oberon Fix reveals that the great vulnerability of the Cybermen was just propaganda spread by the military. They were never actually allergic to gold. It’s like when the British Government proclaimed that carrots can help you see in the dark; masking the invention of radar with a vegetable. There will be times to come where the slightest hint of gold dust will have Cybermen coughing their guts up, the Doctor has witnessed it with his own eyes, so just what is going on?

Earth Security needed to give the people hope, and a belief that the Cybermen could be defeated. Golden crosses around the neck of every soldier; a talisman against evil. They also needed gold installed in ships throughout the system as a safety feature. It was all lies. But this propaganda led to the invention of the Golden Pulse.

Fix developed a technique to enforce a cyber-allergy to gold: the Cybermen would be forced to reject the element on a molecular level. The conversion signal would cascade through the cyber-network, rendering all units vulnerable. Not only would the Pulse alter their design, it would amass all gold from a spectacular radius and convert it into sub-space particles. Quantum gold would be blasted through the system, shredding the tin soldiers to pieces.

Unfortunately, there’s a catch. Vogans have a high concentration of gold in their blood stream, much like we have iron in our own. If Fix were to active the Pulse then he would be signing the death warrant of everybody on the planet below. The only way they would be able to escape the effects is by retreating underground, but even that is no guarantee.

◆ Sound Design

This episode has been packed full of action set-pieces, all of which Benji Clifford has done a magnificent job bringing to life. We literally open with Voga being bombarded from space; missiles whooshing down to the planet’s surface and causing devastation on impact! There’s also a really gruesome scene reminiscent of the Chestbuster emerging from John Hurt in the first Alien movie, but in this case, it’s a Cybermat bursting out of someone’s bionic leg.

People have often rated the nineteen-seventies Cybermen as the weakest variant, but I’ve always had a soft-spot for their chunky design and head mounted armaments. The only weakness was that their voices were a bit crap, but all that changes today. They’ve been thoroughly redeemed by Briggsy, who makes them sound a lot more synthesised and electronic: it’s a lot more in keeping with the nineteen-eighties Cybermen now. I also like how faithful he kept his performance to the Cyber-Leader from ‘Revenge’ – played by Christopher Robbie – by occasionally slipping into an American accent.

◆ Conclusion

They informed the past: they gave the Cyber-fleet knowledge of this weapon!”

Cybermen have gained entry into the Aurum, setting their sights squarely on destroying the superweapon being constructed at the station’s peak. Time is running out. The weapon is the only hope of stopping the silver menace… but it will have dire consequences for the entire Vogan race.

October 2011 was the last time we heard the Eighth Doctor and the Cybermen battling it out, during an adventure with one of the most impactful horror writers of all time. I have been desperate for a rematch between these old adversaries. My patience has been rewarded with an action packed romp!

I found the superweapon utterly fascinating. Fix had developed a technique to enforce a cyber-allergy to gold: the Cybermen would be forced to reject the element on a molecular level. Unfortunately, there’s a catch. Vogans have a high concentration of gold in their blood stream, much like we have iron in our own. If Fix were to active the weapon then he would be signing the death warrant of the entire Vogan race!

Tim Foley has absolutely smashed it here. The ending to this episode also teased the return of a fan-favourite companion, so I cannot wait to discuss our favourite Edwardian Adventuress when I cover the next set.

Review created on 18-05-24