Doctor Who 133 – The Tenth Planet Part 3

Written by Kit Pedler
Directed by Derek Martinus

As the Cyberfleet closes in, Cutler decides upon a controversial course of action.

“I could make some coffee or something.”

The episode opens with The Doctor collapsing.  These are the first few moments that give indication that something is not quite right.  However, this wouldn’t be unheard of in The Hartnell Era.  It isn’t the first time The Doctor became ill and spent a bit of time off camera.  It makes me wonder what the original audience made of this.  Both Ben and Polly spend some time commenting on how odd it is that The Doctor would fall ill at this time.  And since he was the main force to stand against Cutler, everyone suffers just a bit because of it.  Given the lack of footage of Hartnell in this episode, I think it is safe to say that he wasn’t even present during filming of this episode.  If that is the case, then technically Part 2 was the last appearance of William Hartnell during his era that we still have on film.  A bit of a shame, really.  It is also a shame that the next episode is lost, but we’ll get to that tomorrow.

With The Doctor out of commission, it seems time for Ben to shine!  He is the main force to stand up to Cutler in this episode.  Sadly, however, Ben is a soldier, and while he is not rushing to blind obedience, Cutler doesn’t recognize any attempts by Ben to stop the z-bomb.  Cutler, now that his son is in distinct danger, feels that this doomsday bomb is the only weapon left to use against The Cybermen.  The plan is to fire the bomb at Mondas.  It should be a powerful enough blast to destroyed the weakened planet.  The primary flaw in the plan (to everyone but Cutler) is that the resulting radiation blast will turn Mondas into a mini-sun, which would then roast whatever side of Earth was facing Mondas.  Cutler feels it is an adequate price to pay to stop The Cybermen and save Earth.  Ben cites another plan, one The Doctor mentioned.  It is possible that, based on the rate of absorption, Mondas will absorb too  much energy and destroy itself.  Cutler dismisses this plan and has Ben imprisoned.  This leaves Polly to make the coffee and try to convince Barclay to side with them.

Basically, this episode takes a break from the threat of The Cybermen and focuses on the z-bomb.  The only appearance of The Cybermen is a brief one where they are ambushed by Cutler’s men.  The majority of the antagonism is from Cutler.  But you feel for the man.  His son is in danger and may soon be killed.  To go with The Doctor’s plan may ensure his son’s death.  Cutler is in a horrible position, and he loses either way.  He chooses his own self-interest, as many people probably would.  However, he continues to make the situation personal.  When Ben and Barclay attempt to sabotage the z-bomb, Cutler threatens to take justice into his own hands if the bomb fails.  Ben and Barclay are following their consciences and obligation towards the millions who would die for Cutler’s son.  Cutler takes this as a personal attack, which it obviously isn’t.  Regardless, the situation is dire, the missile is ready to launch and a second wave of Cybermen is most-likely immanent and I don’t believe they will be fought off as easily this third time.

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