Who Review: The Age of Steel

Well, it’s been almost a week since viewing ‘The Age of Steel’, and I’m undecided as to whether it was great or just good. To be honest, my appreciation of most new episodes has improved considerably on second viewing (with the exception of ’New Earth’ which is still my least favourite episode of this second series). I’ve not had a chance to watch ‘Age of Steel’ a second time which is probably why I feel unsure of how good it really is. The episode provided some great moments, although the way our leads escaped the cliff-hanger was a little too convenient. (But then, aren’t they always?) That aside, the story was action-packed and ticked all the boxes of a good Doctor Who adventure. The armies of Cybermen marching through the streets at night was fantastic. Lumic’s transformation into the Cyber Controller was brilliantly done (“No! I’m not ready!” cried the evil genius.) The scene in the tunnel filled with ‘sleeping Cybermen’ was suitably eerie, and the escape via airship was a rousing end to the adventure. Two surprises for me, though, this week: one minor, one major. I enjoyed the shock of Rose’s mum being turned into a Cyberman (Cyberwoman?) My initial reaction was amusement, but then I thought how disturbing it was, that no matter who you were, man or woman, black, white or Asian, you were destined to become one of these characterless ‘things’. Not nice. The second major surprise was the resolution made by Mickey at the end. I had a feeling that his character had really run its course and that he was destined to either be killed or be dumped by Rose. The writers came up with the perfect solution ‘the Mickey situation’ and gave him a story arc.
Mickey the idiot becomes Mickey the brave and decides to stay in this alternate world to fight the evil of Cybus industries around the world. Mickey effectively dumps Rose, saying that it will always be the Doctor she runs to, and his decision comes as quite a wake-up call for Rose. She realises then and there how much she undervalued Mickey, and because time is short, she must say goodbye forever. I thought it was a touching finale. Rose can’t be too gutted, though, because next week it’s early-1950s quiffs and big pink skirts! Hooray!
And Maureen Lipman!


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