Ah well. After the multi-layered subtlety and elegance of last week’s episode this one feels all the more clunkingly two-dimensional. Mr Lumic makes Davros look like a rounded human being, and his eye-twitching megalomania is a performance that should have been firmly stamped on by the Director at the earliest opportunity.
For the rest, the storyline milks the angst mined memorably in Father’s Day, but to vastly lesser effect. Aside from feeling like a reworking of much the same ground, the pacing throughout is so fast and so superficial that the emotions don’t ring true. Worse, because Father’s Day showed Rose so comprehensively the dangers of meddling, you’d think she would be just a tad less keen to hurl herself in her father’s path this time round; I guess you can excuse this aspect on the grounds that people are people.
Mickey gets some decent material for a change, but he’s so swept up in the relentless Romp of a story that he doesn’t make much impact. Add to that the typically overblown incidental music and you have an episode that blows past moments as powerful as the death of the Tardis (and as creepy as the subtly different Earth) with breezy bombast.
The redesigned Cybermen themselves work much better on screen than in photographs, although their voices are a little underwhelming. However the logic behind their creation seems lacking in the required inevitability, and the sheer inhumanity of their appearance seems at odds with their creator’s wish to ‘perfect’ humanity. However insane, you’d expect him to come up with something just a little less monolithic.
It isn’t all bad (I loved the Doctor’s explanation for why their emotions were removed) but neither did it rise much above the mediocre. Sadly for me the bad outweighs the good.
EDIT: In the interests of balance, other things I like: the dog being called Rose, the oxygen masks that drop from the TARDIS ceiling, the Zeppelins, the Doctor breathing out ten years of his life…
EDIT 2: …and Mickey’s double being called Ricky, the scene in which the Doctor and Rose share their oh-so-cute anecdotes with a bemused Mickey, the Doctor’s description of how the passing of the Time Lords changed the Universe.