The Doctor has faced many foes over the years. Daleks, Ice Warriors, Sontarans, Slitheen, Silurians and Sea Devils, The Master, The Rani….and he has protected the Earth and the galaxy from them all and so many more.
But for many of us, the worst foe of the lot has to be The Cybermen. There appears to be an underlying fear of these cybernetic giants in many of us, because they ARE us. That’s the difference, that’s what seperates them from all the others.
Daleks are mutated blobs of goo and tentacles in bonded polycarbite armour. Ice Warriors are frozen space lizards, Sontarans are giant potatoes, Silurians and Sea Devils are just creatures from Earth’s history. But Cybermen? Cybermen are human (or Mondasians, or Telosians, but ultimately all human).
What started out as a way to preserve life, became a way of life. The human colonists on Mondas needed to find ways to carry on, to help the survival of their race. And bit by bit, piece by piece, the humanity in them just….evaporated.
We saw the progression, from The Tenth Planet, through The Moonbase, The Wheel in Space, The Invasion, Earthshock, Attack…, Silver Nemesis and beyond. Every time The Doctor happened across them, they had changed more. They had upgraded, evolved. And each time there was less and less of the human in them. But right from the start, there was one constant – the removal of all emotions.
And if you look to how the world is in real life today, things are not much different. We’re not as far ahead as the Mondasians were in Spare Parts. But we’re not far off. Whether it’s elective cosmetic surgery such as face lifts, breast augmentation or hair transplants, or essential proceedures such as organ donor transplants, false teeth or prosthetic limbs for those that need them. Many of us do indeed have ‘spare parts’. We’re already half way there.
But the biggest thing we rely on as a race, is our emotions. Happy, sad. Fun, miserable. Humour, apathy. Love, hate. From one end of the scale to the other, we couldn’t live without emotions. Being transformed is scary. But having our emotions removed? Not beeing able to feel, to hope, to love? That’s what scares us the most.
And that is why, above all the other others, the Cybermen are the scariest of all the Doctor Who enemies. Because unlike all the others, the reality of the Cybermen is that we are closer to them than any of the others….that one day we could BECOME them.
“Exterminate”? Doesn’t scare me at all. “You will be like us” – now that, frightens me to death.