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Recap / Big Finish Doctor Who 086 The Reaping

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The second story in the Cybermen arc, following "The Harvest" and followed by "The Gathering".

Just before "Planet Of Fire", Peri says goodbye to her mom...

The Sixth Doctor takes Peri to Earth's moon in the far future, where it's been hollowed out and made into a giant media centre. Everything that was ever recorded in Earth's history can be watched there. While the Doctor goes off to find a book that might save the universe from something, Peri decides to have a look at what's going on in her own time period. She immediately discovers that a very close family friend, Anthony Chambers, has been murdered.


The Doctor brings Peri back to her home in 1984 Baltimore so she can attend the funeral. She's greeted very coldly by her mother Janine, Anthony's best friend, who thought that her daughter was dead for four months. Janine and Howard had divorced in the meantime (after she accused him of murder), and she turned to the Chambers family for emotional support. After all, she'd similarly been there for Anthony when his own wife died, and Anthony's children — Kathy and Nate, now staying with Janine — are Peri's closest friends. But realising that her daughter is not only alive but now also plans to draw all the attention during the funeral to herself, Janine can only give Peri the cold shoulder. Peri breaks down into tears by Anthony's grave.

The Doctor, meanwhile, decides to investigate and soon discovers that the murder wasn't what it looked like at all. When he finds the accused, a grieving widower named Mr. Woods, at the police station, the policemen turn out to be mind-controlled. He and Woods escape and have a long, serious discussion about Woods' emotional state, and his grief over losing his wife — through which the Doctor makes him realise that it's their duty to find out what did happen.


While Peri struggles with her grief and her mother's extremely cold reaction to her return, she also finds out that her best friend Kathy has been having a much easier life without Peri around. Despite getting more and more emotionally broken, she agrees to watch a video recording of Anthony's last birthday together with Kathy, Nate and Janine. And, having a few years of TARDIS experience under her belt, notices that something's very wrong — there's a message tacked on at the end of the video, in which Anthony tells everyone he's being controlled. Janine is thoroughly disturbed by how mature and experienced her daughter is when it comes to danger. But after a quick attempt at explaining everything, the makeshift family agrees to folow Peri back to the Doctor.

Meanwhile, the Doctor and Woods realise that Cybermen are behind it all — specifically, Cybermen from the Doctor's own future. Their main agent is a partially converted Anthony. While Janine, Nate and Kathy attempt to cope with seeing him stumbling about, the Doctor finds the Cyberleader, who's badly damaged and trapped inside a stolen TARDIS found "on a burning planet". He needs the Doctor to steer it, to convert the dead into Cybermen, and to change Earth's future forever. The Doctor is definitely not over his Cybermen guilt yet, and tries to explain what a horrible idea changing the future is.


Also, everyone keeps saying "8687"...

Anthony's children, Woods and Janine try to confuse his cyber-implants, using the video tape to remind him of who he truly is. It's enough to halt him while the Doctor talks to the Cyberleader, but Nate is very badly wounded in the process, and Woods is killed. The Doctor, who faces the idea of Nate being murdered just to convince him, begs the Cyberleader to reconsider. But the Cyberleader reveals that everything — the murder, the manipulation of the police force, Woods — was set up using their data surveillance, just to manipulate the Doctor into coming down to Earth and helping to restore the Cybermen.

The Doctor eventually relents. He sets about converting corpses into Cybermen and leaves them the technology so they can convert others. The Cyberleader makes the Doctor take him several months into the future of 1984, so he can see the glorious new future of the Cyber race... which the Doctor does. To be precise, he takes the Cyberleader to several months into the future of 1984 on Mondas. Where the Cyberleader is promptly carried off by commander Zheng to be repurposed. The Doctor (who, of course, didn't convert anyone whatsoever) wishes him a very Orwellian rest of his life.

In the aftermath, Nate is taken to a hospital and survives, if just barely. Peri and Kathy re-kindle their friendship, and Peri decides to stay home, instead of travelling with the Doctor. She wants to keep the rest of the Cyber-technology as a bit of a souvenir. Six is heartbroken by her goodbye, but realises that everything ends, no matter how much they love each other. Back on the moon, he looks in on Peri... only to see her standing by her mother's grave. While Peri was out enrolling in university again, Janine accidentally activated the Cyber-technology, which recognised her as an unauthorised user and self-destructed. Peri goes back to travelling with the Doctor, thoroughly broken.

To Be Continued.

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