The Cybermen are back and they mean business! So, who’s that orphan then?
Tonight’s episode was quite a wallop with non-stop danger interspersed with a tranquil orphan story in a quaintly Georgian or Edwardian, Northern Irish village where the only jobs seem to be farmer (appropriate when following CountryFile and tonight’s series [season for the Yanks] finale of Call the Midwife) and the Garda, the local constabulary.
I’ll get back to the farm boy constable in a moment but first this episode immediately follows The Haunting of Villa Diodati. The half-man, half-Cyberman is back, the Doctor having traced his position from the data left in the previous episode. There, they meet the last seven humans in that part of the Universe.
At this I want to stop. I mean, we got that at the Utopia, one of my all-time favourite Doctor Who serials! In that story, Captain Jack Harkness grabs the TARDIS as it’s taking off from Cardiff. They land on a planet trillions of years in the future, where the last of humanity is protected from total annihilation from lack of resources by a Professor Yana—You Are Not Alone—who turns out to be… the Master.
But I’ll return to that in a moment.
So, our intrepid time travellers, the Doctor, Yaz, Graham, and Ryan, arrive on the planet with the last humans and proceed to totally fail in their rescue attempt. When the Doctor tries to cover everyone so they can escape, Ryan is separated from Yaz and Graham, and he, the Doctor, and one of the human wunderkinds, who is able to hack cyber-ships and able to save the Doctor and Ryan.
Meanwhile, Graham, Yaz, and three more humans—three of the original seven having died—blow out their escape ships engines. But as luck would have it (can you say Deus Ex Machina) they’re in a cyber-war graveyard. They are able to pilot the ship into a Cyberman Troop ship and instead of doing the intelligent thing, knowing that the ship is full of Cybermen, of piloting it back to the planet with the TARDIS, they go and take it to the gateway to try and bring their problems for her to solve.
Screaming Cybermen? What’s that about. It’s mentioned once and then never again? But again, I digress.
Anyway, so the Doctor, Ryan, and the Wonderkind make it to the gateway and meet the last guardian of the gateway. He shows them the portal and the Doctor is aghast to see her ruined home Gallifrey beyond.
At the same time, Yaz, Graham, and a about a million Cybermen have arrived.
To add insult to injury—I told you I’d get back to him—The Master is back, stepping though the portal to Gallifrey.
Meanwhile, remember that orphan Garda? Well, it turns out, he has the same power as Captain Jack Harkness: he cannot die. He’s shot and falls off a cliff. He dies for a moment, and then he gasps, and recovers. On his body is no sign of his injury.
And does a Garda have to have his mind erased when he retires? Are they a cyber-nursery?
So many questions! How does the orphan relate to Captain Jack? How did Jack know about the lone Cyberman? How are the orphan and the half-Cyberman connected? Why was the half-Cyberman rejected for upgrade? Who is the Doctor from The Fugitive of Jadoon? Where is Omega? What happened to Gallifrey? And what was the Master doing there?
Next week, the series finale, Timeless Children!