Ascension Of The Cybermen
23 February 2020 at 13:27 #69786
It is the aftermath of the Great CyberWar. The Doctor arrives in the far future intent on protecting the last of the human race. But in the face of the relentless threat of the Cybermen, has she put her companions at risk? What terrors lie hiding in the depths of space, and what is Ko Sharmus?
This is written by Chibnall and is directed by Jamie Magnus Stone, the Scottish director and animator, who did the series opener “Spyfall part 1” and who will also be directing the final episode next week.
Slight spoiler warning!!! – Patrick O’Kane, an Irish actor with mostly theatre credits, returns as The Lone Cyberman from last week.
It also guest-stars Julie Graham, a Scottish actor who is becoming, below the radar, a national treasure, having been in just about everything you could think of on UK TV, including “The Sarah Jane Adventures”, and several films. And Steve Toussaint, an English actor of Barbadian descent who has also been in a load of TV shows and some movies including “Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time”.23 February 2020 at 20:23 #69796
I didn’t know Ian McElhinney from “Game of Thrones” was going to be in this too. Bonus.
As someone who is 50 next month I kinda like that all the main guest-stars are older than me for a change!
I thought that was frenetic, but this time it probably was the right choice. If you drop into a war zone don’t expect a quiet build up or even any time to breathe. And it mostly looked great, apart from some dodgy CGI near the start with the flying cyber heads (or whatever they were called).
And the end had shades of “The Tomb of the Cybermen” (Chibnall does like to steal) so as a first part I’ll give it a thumbs up. But, as I’ve said before, I really hope they stick the landing as there is only one episode left.
And have we seen a Dalek this season?23 February 2020 at 20:35 #69797jomomentor @jomomentor
When Brendan Snapped back to life it reminded me of Captain Jack…am I just wanting the Barrowman too much or am I on to something? https://dexterdiscuss.wordpress.com/2020/02/23/doctor-who-season-12-episode-9-discussion-ascension-of-the-cybermen/23 February 2020 at 20:48 #69798
Am I the only one to think that jumping on a forum to link to your own elsewhere is kinda rude? Just saying….
As the first part of a two-part Cyber finale the one this ep had to beat was WEAT and it certainly didn’t manage that. But there was lots to love there. Having seen them in action, I have to say that I do love the new Cyber-Design. It’s a perfect synthesis of Old and Nu Who.
But as a story this had Chibs’ trademark of being so breakneck that you struggle to attach to anything really emotionally. And there was nice character work here. Graham was great throughout, although Yaz’s endless wittering on about hope was grinding my gears by the end. Here’s to a speedy Cyber-conversion next week.
And Jodie was on top form. I’m enjoying her Doc a lot more now that she’s brought this hard, abrupt edge to the character. If she is indeed paired up with a solo companion next series then I’m expecting some great things. It’s taken a while but I think her Doc has bedded in finally. Certainly, I at last have more of a sense of who she is as a character now than I did last year.
I’m not sure I’m quite enjoying Cyber-Psycho as much this week but it’ll be interesting to see where that part of the plot goes. And I did really enjoy the Irish segments – I actually could have watched a whole hour of that stuff. So I want to see that pay off too. My theory at the moment is that this is the origin of the Lone Cyberman or it’s what is playing inside his head.
Am I the only one who saw that Gallifrey reveal coming the minute we started getting the lightshow on the beach? And I had a feeling the Master was going to be the cliffhanger after he was taking so long to show up. But the overall pace of this was kind of plodding and it didn’t help that it actually reminded me of Av Kolos on more than one occasion. Starting off on alien quarry before segueing into poorly lit industrial gloom. One thing’s for sure though, this finale has got some serious heavy lifting to do next week if they’re going to stick a landing on all of this. I really hope they don’t mess it up.23 February 2020 at 20:56 #69799
Yeah, I thought Captain Jack as well. Captain Jack became immortal as a by-product of the Time Vortex, so if Brendan is a similar type of immortal there’s a fair chance that he’s the Timeless Child or something related to the Time Lords.
But that explains why Captain Jack had a scene in Fugitive from the Judoon.23 February 2020 at 20:57 #69800
@jimthefish All links are “No follow” so no harm done, no rankings improved. I don’t really mind.23 February 2020 at 21:09 #69801
Anyway, my bet is that Brendan IS the Timeless Child, and his ‘minders’ are responsible for wiping his memory at the end of every ‘life’.23 February 2020 at 21:46 #69802
That transition into the opening titles was bloody lovely though, it has to be said….24 February 2020 at 03:04 #69804
Good episode that in my eyes, but left feeling confused with more Q’s than answers. Seems as though a lot needs to happen next week.
Most enjoyable part for me was opening Doctor and fam scene. Ending was rushed, cliffhanger was over and done with before you had chance to contemplate it. Too much time farting about in the middle on the war ship.
Plots that remain to be answered:
- Who’s Brendan?
- Gallifrey and the boundary?
- The timeless child?
- The alliance (Jack mentioned)?
Also, how does the lone Cyberman fit into the timeline.
Assuming the war with the humans happened first, the Cybermen were reduced to ruins and then the lone Cyberman went back to find the Cyberium to rebuild?
The lone Cyberman admitted himself, when the Cyber empire arrived he was declined at first. Meaning he wasn’t even part of the Cyber Empire when they first arrived.
Again, how does this fit with the Alliance and the thing they sent back through time to defeat the Cybermen… or was that the Cyberium? I don’t know.
Too many things unanswered if you ask me, a lot to cram into next week. But still a good ep.24 February 2020 at 03:07 #6980524 February 2020 at 05:44 #69807lisa @lisa
If Brendon is the proto-Doctor then this is like the ‘Highlander’ immortality concept and
if Brendon’s ginger hair isn’t a conclusive clue about this I shall be very disappointed!
Although he could become the Master? Or maybe even the lone Cyberman !
Can this be the secret of the Timelords that our unbalanced Master is taking great
offense about. The Toclafane with Cyber faces (the dark monster story originating from Galifrey).
I got a very Utopia vibe from this episode several times from the Cyber drones, the Earth
invasion, the time paradox, and the chameleon arch stuff.
So if Rose (Bad Wolf) created Jack and Jack did have kids (Torchwood) Brendon could have
inherited Jack’s (his father) immortality? Then in a timey wimey loop the Timelords swooped
in and created themselves an origin using this immortality gift. And we just saw Jack.
Can anyone read what was on the front of the clock face that Brendon got as a retirement gift?24 February 2020 at 07:17 #69808
@jimthefish The Doctor is definitely getting interesting, more edge. The bouncy freshness of her original regeneration feeling the pressure, perhaps, of so much time and memory
.@ollie14, I think so too, but I also agree wit @bluesqueakpip that he’s the timeless child
We now know that the Time Vortex can do one of two things to human style bodies. Jack-like immortality (that gives an interesting context to the Irish scenes, because if he is like Jack, he ought to have been ageing slowly, surely?) or Time Lord regeneration.
I’m not sure where CC is going with all this, but I can’t imagine many things that would piss The Master off quite as much as discovering the Gallifrayans came not only from humans, but Cybered Humans.24 February 2020 at 07:26 #69809Vervain @vervain
I agree with the Utopia vibes: Cyber-drones + Toclafane are flying heads after all
I have a few theories:
Brendan + Koshamas are both precursors to Professor Yana (he with the desire to serve and protect those in his care as well as apparently being found as a child on a beach with nothing but a watch)
His minders are following the instructions given to them by (Sacha Dawan’s) the Master – who is using another Paradox engine to link Gallifrey up to both a Cyber Fleet and ensuring his own timeline diverges – that divergent timeline that is created subsequently is where the Ruth/Doctor and the more militarisitc Gallifreyan we met previously in the series come from
The creatures from Ep 1 & 2 of the series are what the humans that Ko Sharmus waved off to Gallifrey turned into – Shadow People
Or their descendants trying to get back to N-Space after a long time away in a different place
Ruth is actually a regenerated Doctor’s Daughter (wasnt that clone tech? which is why they have the same DNA?)
The Master has decided to rewrite Timelord history by unravelling the web of time – helped by creatures from other universes
The portal rather than being at the boundary of two galaxies or universes is a stable tunnel through the time vortex24 February 2020 at 07:50 #69810Vervain @vervain
The Cyberium reminds me of Silver Nemesis – aka Validium the living metal created by Omega and Rassilon as the last line of defence for Gallifrey
Cybermen eventually appear wherever humans are – and the universe thanks to the web of time is more likely to have human shaped creatures evolve in it
Create a sentient weapon to defend a Time Travelling society and what will it do should it fail? Go back and keep trying to fix its mistake.
Is N-Space caught in one big timeloop thanks to the timelords?24 February 2020 at 11:20 #69811
I’m really not sure what to make of this episode, I’m not sure there was any particular pay off to it, it was just all building to next weeks big Doctor Who changing secret reveal. I know this is true of many 2-part finales, maybe it’s just because I’m nervous where Chibbs is going with his storyline…
I liked the Irish bits, I’m assuming they are something to do with the creation of the Lone Cyberman (purely on the basis he is played by an Irish actor lol). The electrocution scene at the end was certainly reminiscent of a Cyberman with the apparatus they were using on his head. But I felt this could have been a standalone episode almost, and I assume they will pick it up later but I thought it was all rather rushed and confusing – maybe I wasn’t paying attention but I don’t know who those two guys were or why they electrocuted him, or why he was able to survive being shot and falling (and why he was lay the wrong way around on the beach when he was found). Is the Timeless Child and the Lone Cyberman one in the same thing maybe? Will we see The Doctor (or Captain Jack?) drop him off on that lane on next week’s episode? So many questions.
Then there was the Cyber Wars bit, presumably this was the timeline caused by giving the Lone Cyberman the Cyberium (which is starting to feel more and more like a McGuffin to me unless it has more of a pay off next week). I was caught off guard by how rude The Doctor was to the refugees, I’ve noticed this darker personality slip out a lot this series, it’s almost as if she is just pretending to care for humans but really they are just ‘toys’ to combat her own loneliness. I thought again the whole scene was decent in it’s execution but ultimately pointless – all those contraptions being explained and then destroyed with zero effort, the guy that didn’t speak getting killed and then no one really caring much in the next scene. Maybe they have a part to play in the bigger story? Or was it just a way to show the Cybermen are winning and explain why The Doctor won’t have her Tardis for the finale? Also, have Cyber Drones been a thing before? There was something familiar about the flying heads, but I wasn’t sure – can’t say I’m much of a fan either way. It was nice to hear the ‘You will be deleted. Delete. Delete’ catchphrase again though (but where were the rest of them – 2 ships and only 3 cybermen?)
I did like the bits on the Cyberships, and I do really like the new design of the Cybermen. Graham for me was by far the best of the companions this week, and as someone as already pointed out Yaz was borderline annoying this week. Again a way to split up the fam and put some of them in danger – a choice for The Doctor to make next week maybe?
Then there’s the last scene, again it may have been my lack of attention, but all the portal to the universe thing sounded like a lot of McGuffin, and I had zero surprise when it linked to Gallifrey and the Master popped out. I hope they explain how he escaped in the first place next week though…
And now we’re back to where we started – the big deep dark Time Lord secret that will blow up canon forever – I’m excited to see what it is, considering this episode was basically a 40 minute trailer for next weeks episode – but I am not hopeful Chibbs will be able to pull it off. I’m waiting to be surprised and will happily eat my words next week if he does…
To his credit I’ve still not got the foggiest clue what it could be at this point…
One thing’s for sure though, that retirement carriage clock will be key to resolving it!24 February 2020 at 12:33 #69812
And what, by the way, do we make of Graham saying ‘I’m the Do … I’m the most normal person you’d ever meet.’
That can’t have been accidental surely. (Unless Chibs is bringing back the Billy-fluff.) So, is it a red herring or has the Doc transferred part of her consciousness to Graham or something like that?24 February 2020 at 13:06 #69813
I’m surprised that more people aren’t going with the theory that Brendan is one of the Doctors rather than the Lone Cyberman. Unless they and the Timeless Child are all one and the same? That would certainly shake up the franchise.
Basically, Brendan is the first of many many Doctors (the name and box come later) and at this point the other Time Lords would wipe their memory before each regeneration, perhaps at the behest of the Timeless Child. Ruth is one of the later ones who undergoes this. But starting with the First Doctor they say nuts to that and start just living out on their own and retaining memories. Other Time Lords like the Master follow suit.
I think the biggest clue we have to where this finale will go is — what is the season’s theme beyond secrets coming out? The poor Doctor had finally been able to move past her past as it were in becoming 13, in letting it go, and was enjoying the chance to just live a life in the moment, more like humans do. She and her fam were happy. But now the past has butted in and she doesn’t even know what that is anymore. So even though they ask she doesn’t want to put her companions through the drama, but they are curious anyway even though they haven’t shared a lot about their pasts or even presents with her either. And she’s cracking under the stress.
But the truth can set her free and allow them — those who make it anyway — to be happier for it, on even terms. That’s what this is, isn’t it? The truth will fix the Cyber-dilemma, save Gallifrey, etc. I mean, there has to be a point to everyone being miserable this season. Otherwise the story isn’t worth telling.
Yeah, Chibnall is not going to stick the landing on this.24 February 2020 at 16:33 #69815
@bluesqueakpip Anyway, my bet is that Brendan IS the Timeless Child, and his ‘minders’ are responsible for wiping his memory at the end of every ‘life’.
Oooohhhhh … boy, am I thick. I was trying to work out who the heck Brendan is, and how he figured into this story. Just as I forgot about him (not a good sign), he kept randomly reappearing. So I wondered if he was the Lone Cyberman. If Brendan is the Timeless Child, then that makes sense. Except that for me, as a viewer, it made no sense at all within the flow of the story. So I found that very jarring.
Beyond that, I felt the companions (with the exception of Graham) were almost an afterthought. As in, “Oh, we must have something for the companions to do.” That, combined with the “too much crammed into one episode” narrative, was disruptive, as well.
So, like others, I’m worried about whether Chibnall can nail the climactic ending next week. But I do take hope in the good episodes. Fingers crossed!24 February 2020 at 17:44 #69816
Okay, so I had a chance to rewatch this episode – some thoughts on that.
Firstly, while I’m going to wait and see what next week’s like, I think I may have to apologise to CC for saying his ‘future-set’ episodes aren’t that good. Given the massive amount of information that had to be given to the audience, this was a very well paced first act.
@jimthefish – I agree that Graham has a definite flub in which he starts to say ‘I’m the Doc’ and then changes it to ‘I’m the most normal person’. Even if it’s a Billy flub, I’d still have to ask why he’d start to do that particular line. Running off-screen gag? Or he says it next episode?
Graham has now been mistaken for the Doctor three times. Skyfall. Fugitive of the Judoon. Can You Hear Me? In the first two, it’s blatant, in Can You Hear Me he gets the vision of the trapped godlet that one would think should have been sent to the Doctor…
And now, as you’ve spotted, he starts to tell someone he’s the Doctor.
Agreed that Chibbers didn’t do a great job of making us care about the last remaining human refugees – sorry, we’ve spent the budget on the Cybermen and the Brendan subplot so there are only six speaking parts plus one non-speaking. But what I did notice was that they all had traditional Doctor Who Sci-fi names. Very traditional – Ravioli, sorry Ravio, Meerkat, sorry Feekat, Ascot, no Bescot, Fuckitt, no Fuskle, oh let’s just do a random letters and vowels thing, sorry Yedlarmi and Ethan.
Uh, Ethan? How did Ethan creep in there? And people on T’Other Place have pointed out that Ethan is a very knowledgeable young man.
RyAN. BrendAN. EthAN. Could be some writery subconscious thing, but is there some kind of connection between Ryan, Brendan and Ethan? And plus, while the Last Remaining Humans seemed to include several disposable characters, a lot of effort was spent making us like Brendan. He had an entire subplot to himself, from babyhood to ‘death’.
The props department seem to love their details with Doctor Who, and one thing I noticed was that Abandoned Baby Brendan had the most lovely white baby quilt with flowers and stuff – and a definite ‘circular’ motif. Very Gallifreyan.
@missrori – I still think ‘The Timeless Child’, but there is a very ‘Doctor’ motif in that he’s a Garda, which the script spells out means ‘guard’ (a guardian?). He spends his human life wanting to protect people, which is very Doctorish and he tries to talk the thief down in a very Doctorish way.
Bonkers theories – one idea I had back when the Doctor had killed billions of kids was to wonder why the Time Lords hadn’t hidden their children using chameleon arches. Now we’ve been deliberately reminded of that tech via Ruth, I’m again wondering if the surviving Gallifreyans are hiding among humans.24 February 2020 at 17:50 #69817
Oh, and an Irish Brendan is almost certainly named after St Brendan the Navigator, or sometimes St Brendan the Voyager. He sets off with a bunch of companions and has many exciting adventures, finally finding the Blessed Isle, or the Isle of St Brendan.
Remind you of anyone? Especially considering the long-running fan joke (repeated by RTD in Human Nature) that Gallifrey is clearly somewhere in Ireland…24 February 2020 at 18:34 #69818
It’s been pointed out elsewhere that Ko Sharmus and old Brendan are played by the same actor, which means Brendan probably cannot be Ashad, the Doctor, or the Master. But they still could be the Timeless Child, and will thus help the Doctor in the next episode. They seem nice enough. 🙂24 February 2020 at 18:46 #69819
Also — who wants to place bets that we get an “everybody lives” finale? Think of it: The Cybermen become good as part of their ascension, while humanity gets a fresh start somewhere else. Gallifrey and its people gets restored, while the Master gets away as per usual. The Doctor and the fam can keep travelling hopefully on their own terms now that the Doctor knows and can share her past again. It would be lovely, and send a good message. 😉24 February 2020 at 20:45 #69820
@miapatrick. Yeh I’m really not sure regarding Brendan. That’s why I was left a little disappointed at the end of the episode, there was so much left open. I was more confused and had so many questions rather than feeling excited for next week… but I guess if next week delivers it doesn’t really matter. It is a 2-parter after all.24 February 2020 at 21:03 #69822
@missrori. Do we know how far into the future this is set? Would then be interesting to see how that ties in with other future Earth/human stories. Surely you can’t always say… “time is wibbly wobbly” etc! 😅24 February 2020 at 21:22 #69823
Agree with pretty much all of what you both said @psymon, @nerys.
It was a 50 min trailer tbh. We’ve still got the same questions we had at the start of the episode and more.
And yes I thought that too regarding Cybermen, they get their hands on the Cyberium so are in reality able to rebuild their empire as it was in ruins… but there’s only three of them and with two ships! Maybe the Doctor got back in time just before they were about to rebuild and the number of humans and Cybermen dead was just collateral damage. This is obviously way in the future so human tech, you’d assume would be advanced.
And finally, can Chibs answer every question, tie up every lose end and deliver an emphatic season finale… I’d say no but would love to be proved wrong!24 February 2020 at 22:23 #69824Whisht @whisht
Lots to say about this episode but mainly I really liked it. Pacing was better, several strands but easy enough to follow each.
So this week’s episode was brought to you by the subject Religious Fundamentalism, refugees are ordinary people, and the sound of metal (I’ll do that on Music Thread).
The Lone Cyberman is great. He is a believer. He volunteered (to be upgraded). He was rejected (shades of “The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone” ?)
But now believes he is “chosen”, the “perfect vessel” for the “death of everything is within me”. What is that death to everything…? Just being an even ‘better’ Cyberman that can feel emotion – which in his case is hate? [hope not as that’s what the Daleks are!].
Brendan – the Boy in the lane.
While watching I had thought the Doctor had left him (that would be revealed at the end of the story), but when at the end of the episode his father and the Gardaí took him in (appearing as they looked 40 years before he looked like this), then I thought “is Brendan something that needs to experience human life and then repeat that?” perhaps in order to learn what humans are – their emotions – and how to defeat them.
Maybe his life is purely virtual and not real (the sepia glow being even more appropriate).
His ‘torture’ is reflected in the Cybermens’ torture by the Lone Cyberman “that makes other Cybermen scream”.
Brendan’s having his memories wiped (!!) they’re having their memories returned.
In Utopia Professor Yama said that he was discovered as a baby (on the coast of the Silver Devastation – which could then be fudged/ retconned to Cyber massacre?). And his watch/ Brendan’s clock…? But… nah.
The Boundary – refuge for whoever approaches (so Doctor sees Gallifrey).
Ko Sharmas as guide/ psychopomp(?) (especially with that Druid-y staff).
Now I read here that its the same actor as ol’ Brendan?? Really? erm… not sure what to make of that!
But beginning to think that the Master really is The Wizard of Oz…25 February 2020 at 03:13 #69827
In order to explain why, I would compare what we just watched with “The Pandorica Opens” and “The Big Bang”. When Moffat did that resolution to his first season, he had seeded the entire season with indicators and references that would pay off in the conclusion–the crack in the wall, the Amy-Rory relationship, River Song, etc. Now, compare that with watched we just watched. The Master jumps out of the portal (it goes both ways?) right at the end. Yes, we saw The Master right at the beginning, but then we had a bunch of episodes that completely ignored anything introduced at the beginning of the season. With “Pandorica Opens/Big Bang” we were both given information in preceding episodes to make sense of where “Pandorica Opens” was leading and also yet not given so much knowledge that we were disappointed by the resolution in “The Big Bang”. But here, as @psymon points out, it was, in essence an episode length trailer for the next episode. But also, as @whisht points out, the pacing was better, the lone cyberman is a really
creepy antagonist, the connection between Brendon and Yama being discovered as babies is fascinating, and I am with @psymon in thinking that the retirement carriage clock is crucial.
But, at the end, I am still hoping that the bonkers idea that I raised back in discussion after “Spyfall” and brilliantly articulated by @whisht above turns out to be correct:
But beginning to think that the Master really is the Wizard of Oz.25 February 2020 at 05:48 #69828
One final thought before bedtime…I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Graham ends up going off with Julie Graham’s character at the end of the next episode. Why? Perhaps a Blenkinsop predicliction for middle-age infatuations.25 February 2020 at 06:40 #69829
@blenkinsopthebrave I saw a little shared ‘moment’ between the two of them and predicted: Graham’s leaving, either through death or re-marriage.
Both are actually set up too. He’s worried about the cancer returning. He still has feelings of guilt about Grace. Please, please, please be the second one, though. The man’s earned it, and it leaves potential for the odd re-appearence, big finish episodes etc, which both the character and the actor warrant.25 February 2020 at 06:48 #69830
Not to mention showing Ryan’s growing confidence, working alone.
So anyway, I’ve made my decision, and I’m sure CC is on tenterhooks to hear what I’ve decided, but: I’ll accept Graham leaving, Bradders does love doing his quiz shows, on condition that he returns for Christmas/New Year episodes and if they do a multi-Doctor story for the next anniversary. Especially the last one, let’s at least give him one last, huge ‘Actually I’m not the Doctor’ scene.25 February 2020 at 09:34 #69831
@missrori I’m not buying that the Irish Garda is a Doctor/Time Lord – despite some similarities with the Police Box visual. Otherwise why would he not regenerate when he was shot and fell from the cliff? As pointed out by @jomomentor the recovery was more Captain Jack in style so lends itself more to him being a fixed point in time and immortal – maybe that is why the conversion to a Cyberman didn’t go so well because they couldn’t completely shut off his humanity?
Do we think his position on the beach is significant or just REALLY bad continuity? He literally did a 180 from where he was falling (given the effort they went to to show the fall in detail cutting just before the point of impact), unless the suggestion is he got up briefly and fell back down or bounced a few times on impact?
I think people are reading too much into Graham’s comment about saying ‘I’m the Doc…’, I took this to him about to say something like ‘I’m the Doctor’s family/companion/associate’ but changed his mind to make himself just a normal guy like the other survivors. Although now that I think of it, why was he disassociating himself with her in the first place – thinking of parting ways already maybe? My guess is he would become a Wilf/Mickey type part time companion assuming his grandson remains on the Tardis for next year. He’s done what he needed in getting through the loss of his wife and now I think he’s ready to return to normal life…
As an aside did anyone pick up on the clue about the Master’s return in the BBC cast details for this episode? When they announced the guest stars they announced Barak Stemis – an anagram for ‘Master is Back’, the character he was supposed to be playing was ‘Fakout’. I’m staying out of the spoilers section so don’t know if anyone figured that one out – it was a very old school clue. But as @blenkinsopthebrave says it would have been better for Chibs to put these clues in the actual show rather than the press release for the episode! Not even a subtle hint about a disturbance in that other realm he was trapped in (I forget exactly what/where it was), or even a prophesy, or cryptic clue, or message, or residual readings from another Tardis, cloister bell – anything! We all knew the Master was coming back – not seeding the return does not make it more of a surprise, it just makes the writing lazy IMHO…25 February 2020 at 10:41 #69832
Has anyone seen the story about the ‘Trig Point’ theory? I don’t think this classes as a spoiler as it was in the ‘Next Time On’ preview at the end of the episode – basically eagle-eyed fans have realised that the Doctor and the Master are stood next to what looks like the same plinth used in the 2017 build up teaser to unveiling Jodie as the 13th Doctor – remember the one where the Tardis key dematerialises on top of it and loads of things have a 13 on them?
Maybe Chibs isn’t so bad a placing clues after all – although we could just be giving him too much credit at this point. If you watch the teaser back you’ll see an interesting angle that shows that there appears to be some kind of smoke/fire/activity on the horizon – coincidence or more foreshadowing of impending destruction?
These are the kind of little easter eggs and callbacks I really like in Doctor Who…25 February 2020 at 16:00 #69835Cath Annabel @cathannabel
Are people thinking that Brendan is the lone Cyberman? I can’t quite see that. I saw somewhere (possibly on The Other Place) that the same actor plays old Brendan and Ko Sharmas (sp?) but IMDB doesn’t give the actor for the former (it defo wasn’t a prostheticised Evan McCabe). Whoever he is though, who are his adoptive dad and the Garda officer really? There’s no clue in the first few scenes that they are anything other than what they present at – the first unease comes with the dad giving him a very odd look at the dinner table after he’s survived the shooting and the fall (a la Captain Jack, as others have said). But then when we see old Brendan getting his retirement gift, they haven’t aged, and he has. The other thing that’s puzzling me (well, OK, one of the other things…) is what Lone Cyberman was doing to the cybermen he woke up (or some of them at least) – was he turning off whatever suppresses their pain and other human responses, and if so, why? Because wasn’t that what the Doctor wanted to do, with one of her shortlived bits of tech? OK, I have no idea what’s going on. All will, possibly, be revealed next week…25 February 2020 at 17:31 #69836
Yes, everything you point out do seem like troubling inconsistencies. When Brendon falls off the cliff, we are led to believe he has also been shot. Yet the newspaper headline makes no reference of that part of his miraculous recovery. When his police superior finds him at the bottom of the cliff he seems genuinely surprised when he wakes up. Yet at the end he is presented as one of the two ageless minders (cannot think of another description) who presumably knew of Brendon’s unique condition. So why the surprise at the bottom of the cliff? Similarly with the ageless father at the end, who engages in a very unfatherly way to the old Brendon. This would imply the role of the caring father was an act, and yet when he finds the baby Brendon he seems genuinely surprised. Like you, I have no idea of what’s going on. To go back to my previous comparison to Moffat, Chibnall does not provide us with the interpretive clues to make sense of what we are watching.25 February 2020 at 18:31 #69837Mudlark @mudlark
@blenkinsopthebrave and others who have speculated about the seemingly ageless ‘minders’.
Could they have been Time Lords who were chameleon arched and have now rediscovered their identity? Or maybe they were entities who simply assumed the appearance of the father and the senior policeman. Either way the presentation clock is obviously a Chekov’s clock.
As for the rest, I am reserving judgement until I have seen the finale. The episode was well paced on the whole, often visually spectacular, posed some intriguing questions and built up to an appropriate cliff hanger, and the lone cyberman continues to be effectively menacing as well as an enigma, but I was nevertheless left feeling vaguely frustrated and I’m not sure why, unless it was that, as you said, Blenkinsop, this had more the character of an over-extended trailer than a fully realised episode.
I could also wish that over these two series we could have seen more of how the three companions acquired the degree of knowledge and competence they have shown recently’ rather than being left to imagine unseen adventures; and although in general I have liked Graham as a character, his chirpy flippancy in this instance grated. I could almost hear some of those lines delivered to different effect by Tom Baker, but whether in this case it was the context or the speaker, they seemed somehow inappropriate.25 February 2020 at 19:44 #69838
Or maybe they were entities who simply assumed the appearance of the father and the senior policeman.
I noticed the different reactions when I rewatched as well. I think you’re probably right, Mudlark – the minders assumed the appearance of the two people that Brendan would trust most in all the world. His father, and the policeman who mentored him. Because before that final scene, neither of those people act as if they know who Brendan truly is – the policeman is completely shocked when Brendan wakes up, and the father is visibly wondering if he’s fostered Superman.
If they’re TimeLords, they were also chameleon arched without their memories and came to pick up Old Brendan. Which is, I suppose, possible, though as I said up above, it would be a terrible pun on the old ‘Gallifrey is in Ireland’ gag if that entire Irish village consists of chameleon arched Gallifreyan refugees.
I suspect the cliff to beach problem was technical: they did or planned the cliff top shot with Brendan being shot in the chest and falling backwards, which looks really good. Then they realised when filming at the bottom that they couldn’t get both actors and the cliff in the shot unless Brendan had his head to the cliff.
So they probably decided that either it enhanced the dream-like feel of the fall/coming back to life or that Brendan could have flipped over in flight, so to speak. Not terrible continuity, just a camera angle problem.25 February 2020 at 20:22 #69839
@blenkinsopthebrave …, the connection between Brendon and Yama being discovered as babies is fascinating,…
I’m totally blanking out on this. Who is Yama?
Also, I agree with you that there are hints of Graham and Ravio heading off together into the sunset.
@psymon I agree with your take on Graham’s verbal stumbling as he introduced himself. I thought he started to say he was the Doctor’s companion, then thought better of it and just introduced himself as himself, to lend normalcy to the situation.25 February 2020 at 20:31 #69840
Yama was the Professor, played by Derek Jacobi, who turns into the Simm Master back in “Utopia”. (I think the spelling was Yama.) He says at one point in the episode that he was found as a baby.25 February 2020 at 20:34 #69841
Is there anyone out there who has the capacity to read the writing (if there is any) or the symbols on the retirement carriage clock? It might not be important, of course, but the aging Blenkinsop eyes are not up to the task.25 February 2020 at 21:51 #69842
Just popping in. My brain may be fuzzy as it’s been a long day and I’ve had a couple of after dinner G&Ts. But I think he was called Yana – which stood for “You Are Not Alone” (a running theme that series).
Why that makes any sense whatever, I have no idea. But it was a great reveal.25 February 2020 at 23:33 #69844
I had a good look at a freeze-frame of the clock and I’d say it’s an ordinary carriage clock with Roman numerals.
The only odd thing about it is that the Roman numerals look a bit funny – at first I thought they were in the wrong places, but it’s just that the right hand stroke of the X is really thin and difficult to see.25 February 2020 at 23:56 #69845
Thanks for that. I suppose I was thinking of the Master’s Tardis taking the form of a clock in “The Deadly Assassin” (particularly since it was a Gallifrey/TimeLord story). But in reality, I think I am just clutching at straws in trying to find meaning in what we were presented with.26 February 2020 at 00:09 #69846
Oh, I think the clock has a meaning and I don’t think you’re grasping at straws. The camera focus on the clock wasn’t casual – the actor placed it quite deliberately for its very own close-up and that close-up was long enough to have made a real live actor a very happy bunny.
But I think its significance is as a symbol of time rather than there being anything significant about the clock.26 February 2020 at 00:57 #69847lisa @lisa
I’ve been thinking that clock has a Time Lord in it and its waiting for his immortal body.
It might be KO ? My hunch is that he’s another Time Lord using a perception filter like
the Ruth Doc. There was a resemblance between KO and old Brendon.
If you look with a magnifying glass at the screen shot of the clock it looks a bit like some one
is standing in a tiny window with a staff…. but my imagination is probably in over drive.
Why was KO the boundary gatekeeper? He was waiting for all the humans to go thru the boundary
just like Yana was waiting for them all to go to Utopia.. Seems strange.
I think Brendon might also actually be the Hybrid? The Time Lords were searching for the
Hybrid and tormented the 12th Doctor to find out who it was.
The fact that they brought Jack back makes me wonder if there will be a possible link to Brendon.
I would really like to see this turn into a multi season, Doctor, companion arc.26 February 2020 at 02:00 #69848
@craig Ah, I think I’ve got it. It’s Professor Yana from the “Utopia” episode (David Tennant era). Derek Jacobi played Yana/the Master before regenerating. I’d forgotten all about this episode, but now I see (as others have been pointing out) parallels between this episode and that one. And yes, “you are not alone/y-a-n-a” was a running theme.26 February 2020 at 04:23 #69849
Just did a rewatch. If others have already referred to what I am about to say upstream, apologies. Anyway, Brendon. Why was his story set in Ireland? Perhaps because the police force is called the Guarda. He is asked at his job interview why he wants to be a guard. He replies: “I want to make a difference.” Now think of the English meaning of “guard” or…”guardian”. What might he be guarding, or be the guardian of? Perhaps, the Cyberium. Perhaps the reason why he is seemingly immortal is that he is able to guard the Cyberium from one life to the next.
The carriage clock. Does it contain the Cyberium? Or will it be transferred from Brendon as a result of his mindwipe into the carriage clock?
When the Cyberium leaves Shelley it goes into the Doctor. I think the Doctor explains it because of some kind of Time Lord magnetism (?) I’m a bit fuzzy on that. I suppose I’ll have to rewatch that episode.
There has been a reference to something like the Cyberium in “Who” before–in “Tomb of the Cybermen” with the Troughton Doctor. And the current crop of Cybermen have a similar look/design as the Cybermen from from “Tomb of the Cybermen”.
And my conclusion is…I have no idea.26 February 2020 at 06:19 #69850
@blenkinsopthebrave yes – I already knew it was Guarda, but this episode really bought it out. I even said to my boyfriend ‘I like that it’s guard in Ireland.
So I looked on OED and I feel that my response is reasonable. Police comes from public order, administration, possibly regulation. To police something is one kind of thing. To Guard is to take care, protect. I double checked that it is the latin based word, and apparently Guarda is usually short for ‘guardians of the peace’ or ‘civic guards’.
So I think at the very least setting this in Ireland was deliberate.
Now to police your emotions is to try and regulate yourself. Order and regulation are, I’d think, part of being a Cyberman. However cynically ‘keeping the peace’ can be applied to police, taking the words and connotations literally, we can see this young man not wanting to regulate, but to protect.
Rethinking him as the last Cyberman. We were told in the episode before that he’s had children, and that he’d killed them, though this doesn’t quite chime with his (as @bluesqueakpip observed, slightly unsettling) reaction to the baby. We didn’t, I think, see anything of him having children here. So I’m leaning still towards him being the ‘Timeless child’ but less towards him being the last Cyberman as well unless he’s on some kind of loop, and what we’ve seen is a much earlier life span.
In t’other place there have been some comments about the supposed unlikelihood of one of the handful of survivors being a nurse, another a teacher. I think teachers and nurses feature in war – nurses especially during war, teachers who keep on teaching in refugee and concentration camps. And it might be coincidence of course, but their professions chime in better with ‘guard’ than ‘policeman’.26 February 2020 at 12:01 #69852
the supposed unlikelihood of one of the handful of survivors being a nurse, another a teacher.
I found those comments a bit odd, to be honest. Soldiers wouldn’t be the last people to survive: they’d have died – or the good ones would – protecting the nurse, the teacher or fighting the Cybermen. The people told to refugee out would be the people who could keep human civilisation going – like the teacher – or people alive – like the nurse.26 February 2020 at 13:21 #69853
@bluesqueakpip yes it was odd. Not to mention the profession of nurse as we know it came about during a war, because of a war even, arguably.
Also people who practice medicine, and people who teach are pretty much the oldest and most consistently found members of a civilisation.26 February 2020 at 14:26 #69854
As others have pointed out, coppers in Ireland are indeed known as Garda. I’m still wondering if the decision to set this little section in Ireland is going to have more import as a setting than just to make a slight teasing pun. The time period has to be significant too. Did we get a specific time for this action. Is it, for example, around the time of the Easter Rising or a bit later? Brave of Chibs to touch on that stuff, if so.
Also been wondering idly if the Cyberium (I still prefer Cyberiad) is going to have been affected by having been hosted by first Shelley (a passionate idealist if ever there was one) and then the Doctor (same). Is it going to change the philosophy and outlook of the Cybermen in some way? Are they going to become good? Or at least, less evil?
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