Fear is humanity's greatest enemy, but the Cybermen - the
mighty civilisation that we could have been - can free us
from it. So claims Paul Hunt, as he strives to convert President
Karen Brett to his way of thinking. Meanwhile, can Samantha
Thorne free Liam Barnaby from his own conversion...?
the rather uneventful second
episode, Conversion ups the ante considerably.
Having previously rationed out the Cyber-presence, Nick Briggs
lets his monsters loose in a big way. Kicking off with a dramatic
flashback to Paul Hunt's (Barnaby Edwards) earlier life, the
Cybermen can be heard during approximately half of this CD's
ever, Briggs provides the voices for the ruthless machine-creatures,
yet despite their increased number, he makes it easy for us
to tell them apart. The CyberPlanner warbles as before, while
the CyberLeader is distinguishable from his underlings by
virtue of his slightly Tenth Planet-like delivery.
Perhaps some Leaders or entire squadrons sound different from
others - this would explain why the Cybermen in Sword
of Orion, which is set in roughly the same
era, sound more like the 1980s versions. (Passing thought:
am I the only one who liked Sword of Orion? Most other
reviews I have read seem to hate it.)
(Sarah Mowat) torture of a prisoner in Part
1, a development that seemed at the time to
be toyed with by the writer but then discarded, is brought
back into play here. The President's pragmatism is compared
with that of the CyberPlanner. Except, of course, the CyberPlanner
never suffers from regrets or other emotional responses as
Brett does - something that Paul Hunt (Barnaby Edwards) and
the Cybermen aim to cure her of.
a lighter note, there's a little comic relief as Samantha
Thorne (Hannah Smith) endeavours to free Liam Barnaby (Mark
McDonnell) from his conditioning by awakening his - ahem -
baser human instincts... which she does by repeatedly snogging
him! (Another passing thought: considering Liam's Scottish
accent, and Briggs' habit of recasting old Dalek Empire
players such as Mowat, McDonnell and Ian Brooker, I wonder
whether David Tennant would have been playing him had he not
been cast as the Tenth Doctor.)
in all, Conversion is gripping stuff, and it sets things
up nicely for next month's arrival at the planet Telos. I
was beginning to have my doubts about this series, but now
I'm well and truly converted.
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