Stacy Embry looks at the ever evolving Cyber technology. What's the next upgrade?
You will be upgraded...
Upgrade in progress...
The progressive threat reaches through the television and into the viewer's psyche. The Cybermen have presence...they are a threat. But not just to the Doctor, to each viewer. After all we are human and this Cyber-tech is outfitted to consume humanity. Personally, I just keep hearing the Emperor, played by Warwick Davis in Nightmare in Silver, fatalistically saying: "How do you fight an enemy that uses your army as spare parts?"
Over the now 50+ years of Doctor Who, Cyber technology has become more and more advanced. From the early days and actors in suits, to the high-tech supersonic armor of today, the gleam of the inhumane endless army has become a never-ending legion. Yes, CGI has allowed the multiplication of Cybermen, but each one has a human core - there is one of us inside. This enemy is much more surreal when no humanity is visible, but the viewer realizes that a hardwired weakness still exists.
A way to understand the evolution of Cyber-tech is by looking back to The Pandorica Opens when the 11th Doctor explains to Amy Pond that a defunct Cyberman is "looking for fresh meat." In that episode, she first comes across a rogue cyber-arm... and then engages a chomping cyber-head. When the metal shell opens, dropping out an antiquated Celtic skull, making space for Amy's instead, she screams...and the audience gasps. Clearly this cyber threat is real.
In Closing Time, we get the Cybermats. A "silver rat thing" collecting information and energy for a struggling handful of Cybermen trying to revive themselves. Yet Craig Owens, the lovely James Corden, defeats them with "love." We see the re-engagement of emotion as the trigger destroying the Cyber technology. The most human of all elements: emotion is the ultimate anti-cyber weapon.
In Nightmare in Silver, the Cybermites are "beautiful" in their comprehensive, and now uber-miniaturized-state, and the admiring 11th Doctor fights them from within and out. He wins by "taking advantage of the available resources" and out smarting them with their own weaknesses...gold, plus a single pulse to the temple after cordoning off half of his brain with emotion-triggering images of Clara. After getting the Cyber-Planner out of his mind, 11 then requires assistance to "blow the planet up" and that's when the Emperor (beautifully played by Warwick Davis with fatalistic resolve) destroys the legion to save humanity. His conflicting emotions perfectly illustrate the defense to the mindless, soul-less and moral-less Cybermen.
As Cyber-tech evolves we must keep mankind equally fragile or the technological advancement will overtake the humanity in us all. By remaining human, by caring, we will continue to triumph. From Rory saving the Doctor and Amy in Pandorica/Big Bang, to Craig reacting to his son, Alfie's, cries - emotion is always the best cyber weapon.
Cybermen and technologically advanced humanoids can never beat us because we humans have a secret weapon - our humanity.
Yet, I can't help but wonder what iteration is next.
Risk adverse, Stacy would never even enter the TARDIS, but admires
those who do. Happily watching and writing from the distance of Indiana,
USA. She enjoys writing and discussing her observations and critiques.