Three and a Half Cybermen

closinglogoThe Lodger 2 introduces us to the cutest character seen on the programme since Zoe Herriot. He’s adorable while lying quietly in Craig’s upstairs room, and practically irresistible when held tightly by the new Dad. Even the Doctor carries him about and talks to him. Yes, ‘Bitey’ the Cybermat is an absolute delight, no doubt greeted all over the country by cries of “I want one!” when he first appears.

There’s a baby in this as well (Doctor Who does babies now, babies are cool?) and Stormageddon ultimately saves the day by doing what babies do best, loudly and persistently. It’s endearing to see that the eleventh Doctor, utterly clueless around women (unlike his sleazy predecessor) is completely at home with babies. He even speaks the language, although understanding cats in The Lodger 1 was much more useful.

Unfortunately the Cybermen continue to be comedy relief in this series, brought to a standstill earlier by Rory in a Roman costume and now forced to chase the Doctor and his chum Craig round and round a table like the Mummy in an Abbot and Costello film. Well, not quite, but you get the picture. A note to the Production team, please don’t use a first tier monster for the ‘comedy’ episode again, it’s just damaging and disrespectful. Get the Hoix out, instead.

Having said this, however, I have to confess to a moment of real shock as the Cyber face-plate closed over the helpless Craig’s features. I really did believe that this story might have come with a whopping great sting in the tail. It does, but that wasn’t it. Sad also, to establish the Doctor’s incompatibility with cybernisation, thus contradicting probably the best Cyberman story of all time – Big Finish’s Spare Parts.

It’s lovely to see Lynda Barron back, and she has some great scenes with Matt Smith. Something about the department store setting seemed to recall the two previous Doctor’s stories – contemporary Earth is now no longer represented by the hamlet of Leadworth, but an altogether more urban setting. Smith is of course wonderful, especially when facing the inevitable begins to weigh more heavily upon him. Craig handing him the Stetson is this Doctor’s Metebelis crystal, and his brief moment with the children before leaving is a touching, bitter-sweet moment. Matt Smith does ‘face acting’ like no other Doctor can, which is a little surprising when you consider how youthful and relatively unlined his features are.

The sting I referred to does tend to rather overshadow the episode it closes. Series Six-wise, all the pieces now appear to be in place for the finale, although the next time trailer seems to bring many more to the board – including another first tier monster whom I sorely hope gets a better deal than the poor Cybermen!


One Response to “Three and a Half Cybermen”

  1. Peter A Says:

    Ooh I had issues with Lodge Harder, perhaps mostly because I’d read the rather smug interview with Grobbits in DWM as an appetiser and on viewing the episode found myself grumbling at what increasingly looked like forced mateship between the Doctor and Craig. Why are we asked to believe these guys are as close as close can be? No, I mean THESE guys? Yes, the Doctor’s in a slump because he believes he’s facing the big deep six, yes I know that most of the favours he called in six months ago or so ended up skewered by Madame Kovarian’s team and yes, I know next episode we’re about to see why Lodger 2 : the lodgening isn’t going to be set inside the Brig’s retirement home (bah), but as much as I like Craig and I do!), this relationship seems a little perfunctory. It was based on the Doctor staying at a normal guy’s house, not some deep and mutual understanding thing. Even if there’s a nice touch with the hat at the end. Grobbits might fancy Craig’s the next best thing to having a hotline from the Doctor to Jamie, but I can’t see it, particularly this version of Craig as a man when he’s at one of his most physically vulnerable times – fatherhood. The man’s a wreck, Doctor, you’d have had a more decisive and sympathetic lieutenant in Wilf!

    And yeah, speaking of sympathies, those Cybermen. I can only conclude that the current production team are deliberately playing with these now quite tatty Cybercostumes as wanton boys do with flies. But ‘sploding heads and baby cries are one thing, for heaven’t sake, as Al says – don’t give any more classic monsters to Shrek to write for! Okay, maybe Ogrons. He’s safe with Ogrons.

    And Bitey – nice model, now memorable for his teeth, which seems like a very large investment of space in an economy vehicle of that size, Cybercontroller. Does he eat with that mouth as well?

    Liked the Amy/Rory cameo though. They looked very happy, and I just knew the prod team couldn’t leave well enough alone.

    Otherwise, yes about the Cybermat – I want one! And a Lynda Barron too.

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