The Great Cyber-War Part 2

Posted in Audio by - November 05, 2023
The Great Cyber-War Part 2

Released November 2023


War has come to the Aurum in Tim Foley’s ‘The Great Cyber-War Part 2,’ and the great scientist Oberon Fix remains humanity’s greatest- and possibly only- hope. With history in the balance and Fix’s Golden Pulse lurking, however, the Doctor knows how events must ultimately play out even if his own understanding of this tenuous time has been flawed to this point, and Audacity comes to realize just how dangerous life with the Doctor is even amidst the universal truths and constants of humanity.

For its many flaws and inconsistencies, ‘Revenge of the Cybermen’ is nonetheless an important instalment in the Cybermen’s ever-expanding history and legacy within Doctor Who. The most intriguing element is the prospect of the Cyber Wars and the Great Cyber-War itself that hinted at an immense conflict that would come to define two races and forever alter the course of history. While this war has been alluded to and touched upon in other serials across different mediums since, ‘The Great Cyber-War Part 2’ expertly recaptures the essence of the original televised serial while also expanding on some of the key concepts within it. Of course, the Cybermen always represent an oppressive and powerful threat, the concept of opposing forces- innocent or not- being converted to swell their ranks a truly terrifying one. Notably, ‘Revenge of the Cybermen’ featured much more overtly emotional versions of the famously emotionally-inhibited enemies with little to no explanation given and the performances thus being remembered as an exception rather than the rule. To his credit, Nicholas Briggs does bring more emotion than usual into his performance as the Cybermen here, but Foley goes one step farther by providing a fascinating and incisive piece of commentary on the effects of this war, stating that humans are becoming less emotional as the war drags on while the Cybermen’s components are breaking down and allowing emotions to slowly creep back into their systems and decisions. To the Doctor who can normally act with the knowledge that the Cybermen will not willingly slaughter humans who can instead be converted, the immense anger and pride he witnesses is in equal parts unsettling and horrifying and goes a long way in developing this particular iteration of the Cybermen.

Even more impressively, ‘The Great Cyber-War Part 2’ also manages to successfully expand upon the Cybermen’s weakness to gold. While it has been accepted that the statement that gold’s non-corrodible nature in essence chokes the Cybermen’s respiratory systems is fact, surprisingly little has been done to more fully explain the effects. Interestingly, the first part of this serial on multiple occasions made mention to a fear the Cybermen had about gold, an emotion that by its nature should not be a driving force for these enemies. However, much like the official line being fed to the public that even the Doctor has come to accept, this is wartime propaganda designed to inspire hope at a time when hope is all but lost. At the same time, this has led to gold being taken throughout the cosmos, a key part in Oberon Fix’s scheme to weaponize gold and create an allergy of sorts via his Golden Pulse that will convert gold within a specified radius into harmful subspace particles. Intriguingly, because of the time travelers who have visited Fix, he knows that his Pulse will work and that his legacy will accordingly be one of death, and the emotional turmoil Fix has to grapple with as he weighs the benefits of harming the Cybermen war effort with a weakness he is sure will eventually be overcome with the resulting sacrifice of the Vogan race given the high amount of gold within their systems is wonderfully played by Keith Drinkel, especially as Oberon reveals that his weapon has been ready to use for a long time and it is only his own internal conflict that is keeping him from using it. Naturally, the fascinating and horrific drama about the potential genocide of one race in the hopes of bringing about the genocide of another is ripe for further exploration that cannot even be superficially touched upon here and likely will not be at any point in the future given Fix’s ultimate fate, but it nonetheless adds a tremendously emotional layer to this script that forces the Doctor to adapt to the array of strong emotions around him in order to save as many as he can while lamenting just how unable he has been to live up to his chosen title.

With so much going on, the family drama and reunion that comes to light is hardly more than an afterthought, but it again adds another layer to the story while commenting on how war can tear apart families for any number of reasons. More successful, however, is Audacity’s crushing realization that even far in the future humanity is not so different from the flawed hierarchy she left behind, and Jaye Griffiths continues to play this woman who is quick to pass judgement based on her own incredibly strong moral code while she tries her best to adapt to the breadth of wonders and dangers before her that she could not even have dreamed of so very recently. While she does eventually come to get a better understanding of the Doctor and to develop a deeper respect for him, her willingness to stand up for herself and against those she deems to be in the wrong will undoubtedly serve the character well while creating more conflict as her journeys continue. Paul McGann and Griffiths have already developed a strong chemistry, and with Charlotte Pollard set to re-join the TARDIS in next month’s continuation, anticipation for more of these adventures is certainly high given the incredible job this story has done at turning questionable elements of a classic serial into unabashed strengths to provide one of the very best Big Finish Cybermen stories in recent memory.

This post was written by

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.