Reviewed By: JMChurch25
Review Date: 11/17/17 5:31 pm
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This is another story with somewhat of a reputation behind it similar to 'Nekromanteia'. Fans seem to either really love it or hate it with no middle ground in between and it's one of those audios you don't bring up on forums or Whovian chats for fear of starting a flame war. *BIG SPOILERS FOR THE PREVIOUS STORY HERE ON*. It picks up right where it's predecessor "The Fate of Krelos" left off as the TARDIS is forced on to the planet of Telos by K-9 who has been taken over by the Cybermen. The Doctor knows the planet all too well as that is where the adventure "Tomb of the Cybermen" took place in a prior incarnation and is where the supposed last resting place of the Cybermen was located. Speaking of which, that's exactly where the story seems to take us as we then get a special guest appearance by Frazer Hines as both the Second Doctor and as his highlander companion Jamie McCrimmon. As both teams seem to be on a collision course for each other, the Cybermen on Telos have re-awakened and have a plan for the now cyberized inhabitants of Krelos in order to return and conquer the universe. This is a story that certainly has a lot going on and is very continuity heavy in an effort to seemingly appeal to the fans. While it does work in many places, it does very much fail in others to the point where if you don't know the Second Doctor era at all or the story 'Tomb of the Cybermen' you might be a little lost. It ends up being a very unusual use of the Multi-Doctor format that is definitely different and memorable but at times it does feel like a missed opportunity. Despite the description and premise, characters never meet up in any way that's tangible or interesting even when the setup is practically begging them to. That to me is a big disappointment and one that I feel drags down the story quite a bit especially from how it was hyped up. I'm also still not a huge fan of the music in this one and the climax ends up feeling very muddled in that it's a pseudoscience gobbledygook explanation that felt was forcefully pulled out in the worst possibly way. Thankfully, the overall script and story is thankfully solid enough to where it isn't a complete disaster. I like the references that do work and I always love hearing the old style Cybermen in a story. Their menace feels so much more artificial and eerie than some of the newer versions and they are replicated beautifully here. The performances work across the board especially in the two leads Baker and Jameson and we get to learn more about the Doctor’s ethics of interference more so than I've heard in a while which I did enjoy. All of these factors save this story from being a major disappointment and leave it as only a minor one. Is it as bad as fans make it out to be? Not quite but it's certainly not as good as the other side makes it out to be either. Combined with it's predecessor, "Return to Telos" is a middle of the road story with many things that work and many things that don't. I appreciate it for what it's trying to do and it's always a treat to hear the old-fashioned Cybermen again but it could've been so much more.