The Invasion
Originally aired 2 Nov 1968 through 21 Dec 1968

Episode 1 reviewed 17 Oct 09
Episode 2 reviewed 17 Oct 09
Episode 3 reviewed 19 Oct 09
Episode 4 reviewed 20 Oct 09
Episode 5 reviewed 21 Oct 09
Episode 6 reviewed 22 Oct 09
Episode 7 reviewed 23 Oct 09
Episode 8 reviewed 24 Oct 09

Episode 1
Written by Kit Pedler and Derrick Sherwin
Directed by Douglas Camfield

The Tardis reforms, and the Doctor, Jamie, and Zoe are in the control room. The viewer shows Earth's moon, and then missiles coming straight at them. They pass by harmlessly, and they go on about their business.

The Tardis lands in Britain in the 1970s. But it's invisible. The crew depart, and find a mooing cow. They hitch a ride into London in the back of a lorry (Brit slang for "truck").

In London, they arrive at the home of Professor Travers, an old friend of the Doctor's (story: "Web of Fear"). Unfortunately, he's gone to America for a year, and a colleague of his, Professor Watkins, is saying there. They meet his niece Isobel, who is a fashion model.

She starts taking pictures of Zoe, who finds herself rather enjoying modeling. Jamie and the Doctor go to find Watkins at his workplace, leaving the women behind.

Inside the building, the two are gassed, then taken to a man called Vaughn, Tobias Vaughn. They have a chat, and he gives Jamie a transistor radio, saying they've sold over ten million of them so far. They are escorted out, never having seen Watkins.

After they're gone, Vaughn opens a secret passageway in his office. There is something shining in the darkness, and the music takes on a sinister, yet electronic tone. There's something alien afoot.

* * *

First off, the obvious. Now, we already know there were many episodes dumped by the BBC, and the videos are lost. This serial is a test. See, there are 8 episodes. 6 of them still exist. The audio still remains for the other two. Well, via flash animation, the two lost episodes were reconstructed, and we get a sort of cartoon version for episodes 1 and 4 of this story. What could have been done in a tremendously cheesy sort of way was actually rather nicely done, and I liked it.

Now, there is a real sense of danger here. But there's something else. An error, perhaps? At the end of the previous story, Mind Robber, the Tardis reforms, and they have a passenger, the man named the Master. At the very beginning of this episode, the Tardis reforms again. But without the guest. So, something's up. Maybe there is a missing adventure set between the two stories, where the Tardis gets blown up again, but it's such a big deal that I kind of think they'd say something about it happening.

But anyway, I like what I see so far, and it's exciting already. And there are seven episodes left.

Finally, about the mooing cow. I know it's just a coincidence, but it's funny anyway. I'm currently reading a book called Percy Jackson: The Titan's Curse. The main character, Percy, is the son of the Greek sea god Poseidon. He's just rescued an animal that now follows him around the ocean. The front end is a cow, the back end is some kind of sea slug, and it goes around saying "Mooo Moo Moooooo" ... and it thinks Percy is its personal protector.

No connection between the stories, it's just a funny (to me) coincidence.

Episode 2
Two men in a car are following The Doctor and Jamie as they run down the street.

Zoe is worried about her friends, saying "If there's trouble to be found, The Doctor and Jamie can't miss it." Isobel offers to go with her to look for them. Relieved, Zoe takes her up on this and away they go.

But they've already been captured. By UNIT! The Brig has sent for them, and it's a joyous reunion. The Brig tells them he's been investigating IEM (the company Vaughn's in charge of). Lots of people go into the building, but some never come out.

Which is exactly when Isobel and Zoe enter the building. They find the computer receptionist. Zoe does her best Captain Kirk impression, and the machine goes boom. Vaughn, laughing, invites them upstairs.

Back at Travers' home, The Doctor and Jamie look for the women. They find sandwiches, then the Doctor investigates Jamie's transistor radio. They find a note saying they're at IEM, and they take off.

The women are talking with Vaughn. He threatens them, and they are carted off with security.

The Doctor and Jamie sneak back into the IEM building, but not in time to save Isobel and Zoe, who are put in some kind of weird caskets. They remind me of the Psi Corps capsules from Babylon 5, where telepaths were held in suspended animation.

The Doctor and Jamie hear what they think is female screaming and run off to help - and get taken prisoner by security.

* * *

A quarter of the way through this story, and still no Cybermen. I almost think the writers were holding back in the awesomeness, so they'd get a bigger bang for their buck when the Cybs do appear.

Not really a complaint, but I'm getting a War Machines vibe here. Once again, a corporation in London sells its stuff everywhere, and tries to take over the world. The tenth Doctor's Partners in Crime uses a similar storyline. I think if I lived in London, I'd fricken move as far away as possible.

There are some great continuity references here, and now I'm looking forward even more to the Lost in Time episodes.

Episode 3
Written by Kit Pedler and Derrick Sherwin
Directed by Douglas Camfield

Vaughn comes down to see The Doctor and Jamie. He allows them to go to inspect the crates (caskets). But they're already gone to some factory. Vaughn invites them to join him at the factory and off they go - being tracked by UNIT!

Jamie is confused. Vaughn's office at the factory is an exact duplicate of the one at IEM. Efficiency, Vaughn says. He finally allows them to see Watkins.

Knowing they are being monitored, The Doctor speaks in code until he's able to block the camera feed with a magnet. They are taken prisoner again, but confuse the guard and sneak into an elevator. The Doctor disables it, and it's stuck between the fourth and fifth floors.

The Doctor is obviously trying to find private time with Jamie and says "Quickly, on me back!" Jamie says "You're a clever wee chap" as he gets behind the Time Lord.

Later, they climb through the top of the elevator. Helpfully, the subtitles say "Grunting" and "sighing" ... Not sure what they're trying to say about this pair. Anyway, they look up at the ladder and then to the top of the elevator shaft.

They quickly climb up as the elevator comes to life. They make it to the top and exit onto the roof, then climb down the fire escape.

Vaughn berates the guard, screaming like a spoiled child.

The Doctor and Jamie find a warehouse and go inside, being followed by guards. They climb into some of the crates. With guards bearing down on him, Jamie realizes something is moving in his crate.

* * *

My goodness, the Doctor and Jamie were frisky in this episode. They kept patting each other on the rear, and there were two up-kilt shots, one as they climbed up the elevator ladder, and another as they climbed down the fire escape. Stupid black and white, hiding everything.

Zoe doesn't appear here. The actress must have been on holiday this week. But she got name-dropped, repeatedly.

So nice to see the Brig again. He's such a huge part of this series, and the one and only person to have made an appearance with every one of the classic series Doctors. But man, he's got such a funny line here ... He never calls Jamie by name, only referring to him as "The Doctor and his boy."

Again, very strong writing, and very entertaining.

Episode 4
Written by Kit Pedler and Derrick Sherwin
Directed by Douglas Camfield

Zoe and Isobel are taken to the Administration building as Jamie and the Doctor watch. Jamie tries to convince the Doctor that something was alive in his crate, but the Doctor doesn't want to hear it.

Vaughn learns UNIT has a helicopter patrolling overhead.

With that helicopter's help, Jamie rescues Isobel and Zoe. Bullets fly in every direction as the copter flies away, the Doctor and his friends aboard.

They all go back to UNIT, and the Brig begins talking about UFO sightings, saying they may be connected. Then the Doctor remembers Jamie talking about the ... something ... moving inside the crates.

The Doctor has an idea. Using a canoe, he and Jamie paddle their way back tot he factory in an effort to get a look inside the crates. They watch in horror as something emerges from inside one -- a Cyberman!

* * *

They went all out for this one. A helicopter? Those things aren't cheap. On Doctor Who's microscopic budget, it just blows my mind that they were able to get one. They must have had to scrape from all eight episodes just to pay for it. But, you'd never know it, because it's such a strong story. It certainly doesn't LOOK cheap on the screen. Granted, this episode is animated, but the animation is based on what was filmed. It is such a great script, and the continuity references to earlier episodes and stories just make it better, I think.

Vaughn is increasingly reminding me of one Lucious Malfoy from Harry Potter. He is sugary sweet with his delivery, but when he gets pissed, he goes into maniac mode quickly, then into paranoid psychopath when he doesn't get his way, then right back to sugary sweet a second later.

Episode 5
Written by Kit Pedler and Derrick Sherwin
Directed by Douglas Camfield

The Doctor and Jamie go back to the canoe and have a romantic ride, while back at UNIT, Isobel and one of the soldiers, Jimmy, flirt heavily.

The Doctor is losing his mind. He's so scared about the possibility of thousands of Cybermen walking around, working with Vaughn, he is just losing it.

The Brig reports to his boss, a chap named Major-General Rutledge. What he doesn't know is, this guy is in Vaughn's pocket. Well, under his Cyber-control, anyway. Rutledge orders him not to do anything about Vaughn, and to go chase his tale, basically. The Brig says he'll report this higher up the UNIT chain, and he says to go for it, but leave Vaughn alone. As soon as the Brig leaves, Rutledge reports to Vaughn. His controller thingy seems to be malfunctioning, so Vaughn orders him to come in and get all fixed up.

Speaking of Vaughn, he goes into one of the labs and starts performing all sorts of weirdo tests on one of the poor Cybermen. He's mean. :(

Back at UNIT, the Brig tries to figure out a way of spying on Vaughn from a distance. Isobel, a fashion model with experience in front of and behind the camera, suggests using cameras with tele-photo lenses to take pictures from a great distance. The Brig loves this idea, and says he'll have his men look into it right away. That just pisses her off, thinking the Brig is being sexist.

The Doctor studies Jamie's transistor radio with the assistance of one of the UNIT soldiers. When no one's looking, Jamie, Zoe, Isobel, and Sgt. Benton head back to London to get pictures of the Cybermen.

In London, a police officer follows the group and gets himself killed by the Cybs, who are coming at the group from all directions.

* * *

A few things to comment about here.

For the last episode, I talked about what a shame it was that the original video had been lost ... the helicopter, and the canoe work, and such. Well, thankfully they like to do a few seconds of reprise from the previous cliffhanger to start out each episode, so I was able to see the Cyberman as originally filmed. Bonus, immediately after that, The Doctor and Jamie go back to their canoe, and we get to see them "paddlin' along" (I know, nobody will get that) to get back to the Brigadier. Though we don't have all of that footage, we do have some of it, and I'm all for that.

For the most part, over the years, Brigadier Alastair Lethbridge-Stewart (aka "The Brig") was written consistently. He has a moral center which guides him, and while he allows the Doctor (and others) to open his mind up to new ideas and experiences, he is still, at heart, The Brig. He is always the shoot first, ask questions later type, whether it's in a 1960s black and white story, or decades later in a spin-off featuring one of the companions.

I know he's mostly known for his time with the Third Doctor, I like seeing how he originated. Yeah, he was in the Yeti story earlier (and I'll get to one episode of that later during the Lost in Time episodes), but this is the earliest complete story featuring his character. And he's still the same guy, just trying to do his job and keep the Earth safe, with the wacky Time Lord always causing chaos.

Vaughn keeps going back and forth, from sugary sweet to Khan-like villain ... Duuuuuddddeee, he thinks he's going to control the Cybermen. He doesn't realize they're the greatest bad guys, um, ever. And they are so going to kick his lily white ass. Throughout this episode, he kept talking to his bodyguard Parker about how he's in control, and he's made assurances via technology that he could control the Cybs, and he and his gang would be safe during their planned invasion. I can't wait for it to all go bad for them, it's going to be so delicious.

And about this "invasion" ... He keeps talking about it, but as of yet, there's really no details. Apparently, he and the Cybermen got to chatting in a bar somewhere and decided it'd be fun to have the Cybs invade the Earth. Because it went so well for the Daleks. And, uh, *scratching head* ... yeah.

Now, when I say this, I am not saying it is a problem with the plot. Please don't get me wrong. I am saying it's a problem with Vaughn. Ok, here's where I'm going with this. There is an episode of South Park dealing with gnomes. In that episode, gnomes go into peoples' homes and steal their underwear. They have a master plan. Step one, steal underwear. Step three, profit. They went completely past step two, and never even thought "Hey, maybe we're missing something here."

And that's what this reminds me of. Vaughn is so obsessed with controlling the world, and controlling the Cybermen, that he's simply not thinking through everything that he should. I think every bit of this is intentional on the part of the scriptwriters, and I am absolutely hooked on this story. If every episode was this good ... well, not every story IS good. There's a lot of absolute crap in Doctor Who. I mean, a lot. But there are something like 900 episodes of this series and the modern series and the spin-offs.

There's also a lot of good stories. More than their fair share, really.

And then there are a few that are absolutely brilliant, the best of the best. And with three episodes still to be watched, barely over halfway through this story, I'm putting this story down as one of those best of the best stories. If someone asks "Of the four 2nd doc stories on dvd, which one should I watch?" I would absolutely say "The Invasion" ... Wouldn't even have to think twice.

But if they're pressed for time, I'd say Tomb of the Cybermen. At four episodes, it'd talk half as long to get through.

Now, if someone wanted a marathon of Second Doctor stories ... Ok, shutting up now.

Episode 6
Written by Kit Pedler and Derrick Sherwin
Directed by Douglas Camfield

Jamie's group hides while backup arrives in the form of several UNIT soldiers, who fight the Cybermen. They try to escape, but a Cyberman who has taken a liking to Jamie grabs his legs, and wordlessly begs him to break up with the Doctor and stay behind. Several of the mean old UNIT guys put a stop to that and the Cyberman backs away, heartbroken. To make matters even worse, they follow it up by throwing grenades at the poor fella.

After more flirting between Jimmy and Isobel, she convinces him to rescue her uncle, the Professor. To shut her up, the Brig says ok. In no time, the Professor is with the others at his home, where the UNIT forces are working temporarily.

At IEM, Vaughn gives the order, and the Cybermen send out the signal. It'll put every human on Earth under a hypnosis - the cyber control.

The signal is sent. The Doctor passes out, and hundreds of Cybermen emerge from the sewers.

* * *

They are so screwed. The Doctor's passed out, there are Cybs everywhere, humans are under the Cybs' control, and there's only this tiny handful of people who each have a device that can block the signal. What the heck can they do against ... well, literally, the world?

Finally starting to see Cybermen in mass quantities (as in, more than one or two at a time), and I'm LOVING it! Bring em on!

Episode 7
Written by Kit Pedler and Derrick Sherwin
Directed by Douglas Camfield

The Invasion has begun. The Doctor wakes up. They radio the Brig, and he tells them the Cybs are everywhere. Soon, they are trying to break into the Professor's house. The Brig sends a helicopter to rescue them.

The Doctor wants to have a chat with Vaughn. With the Brig's help, he goes into the sewers, the one place he believes the Cybs will not be - and he heads toward IEM.

It works. They chat, and Vaughn tells the Doctor every detail of his plan, including that he's been working with the Cybermen for five years.

With Zoe's help, UNIT sends missiles to the Cyber ship, destroying it. The Cybs are pissed, and attack Vaughn. The Doctor nags him, pointing out what an idiot he is.

* * *

I'm not sure how I feel about this. Cuz, I mean, I love the Doctor, and Jamie, and the Brig, and the others, but I also really love the Cybermen. And the Brig and co blow up the Cybs' ship. That probably means they killed a whole bunch of the poor defenseless Cybs, and that's just wrong.

There are LARGE gaps in time during this episode. For example, one scene has the Brig sending out a helicopter to rescue people, when the very next scene has them all rescued and working hard back at the UNIT base. Then there's the Doctor walking in the sewer, then he's suddenly shown at the end of a conversation with Vaughn. There may be only a few hours here, but there could also be days ... there could easily be a whole new adventure set during this, that we don't know about yet.

Episode 8
Written by Kit Pedler and Derrick Sherwin
Directed by Douglas Camfield

UNIT soldiers are listening in to Vaughn's chat with the Cybermen, courtesy of The Doctor's radio. Elsehwhere, the Brig, Zoe, and the rest of UNIT are partying like it's 1999. Zoe is hailed as a hero, after she helped destroy the Cybership. Obviously, she needs to die.

The Cybermen plan to bomb the planet with their other ship. Vaughn decides to kill them (the Cybs). Obviously, he needs to die, too.

Vaughn and the Doctor head for IEM's factory compound to turn off the signal. The Cybs plan on using the signal to home in their bomb. At the factory, the meanie Vaughn keeps attacking the poor Cybs with the professor's gizmo. But it's ok, cuz they kill him dead-like. The signal gets shut down and now that Vaughn's out of the way, UNIT and the Doctor prevail.

Everything turns out ok, and Zoe, Jamie, and the Doctor depart.

* * *

The actor playing Vaughn is brilliant. I wonder if he was ever a Bond villain. If not, it's their loss. Cuz he was basically playing on here.

But seriously, he had to die. Trying to double-cross the Cybermen like that? What a maroon.

Jamie had nothing to do in this episode and doesn't appear until the very end. My guess is this is another holiday week, and he just filmed that part before leaving.

This is my sixtieth episode completed for this project. That also means it's been going for ten weeks. And still going strong. Yay.

Only one story left, and that is Seeds of Doom. After that, it's time for a bit of Lost in Time. Though now that Blinkbox is offering a handful of early stories, I might do one from there before moving on to the Third Doctor. It has The Sensorites and Web Planet (first doctor) and Tomb of the Cybermen and The Krotons (second doctor) ... one released, one unreleased, from each.