Ascension Of The Cybermen

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    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip


    The Easter Rising was in 1916, but Brendan’s Garda mentor (do we ever find out his name?) is wearing a Garda uniform when he’s investigating the finding of Baby Brendan. Which means that has to be 1922 or later (unless we’re doing a Whoniverse thing of fudging the dates/uniforms because it’s not our universe).

    So when Brendan is seen retiring it would be 1982 or early eighties and he’s stayed in the Gardai for as long as he legally could. This is all if we’re seeing ‘real’ events, of course, and not some kind of simulation.

    Now, if he does arrive in 1922, that would mean that he’s probably 18 in 1940. So we have a very interesting vibe of a soldier aged Brendan making a deliberate choice to be a Guardian of the Peace when the world outside Ireland was in the middle of a deadly war. Remind you of anyone else who hated the very thought of being a soldier?

    So is this a simulation in which ‘Brendan’ is a cyberman who really wants to be a guardian of the peace, dreaming some kind of fluffy Irish fantasy? Or is it a hint that we’re seeing a hidden ‘guardian’? Or does it fit with Ko Sharmus, who’s chosen to guard the portal in the middle of a deadly war?

    JimTheFish @jimthefish
    Time Lord


    That’s really interesting. I am definitely intrigued now whether this is, as you say, some nostalgic twee Irish fantasy. (In which case, why not just imagine some quaint English bobby scenario?) Or is it going to tap into something more directly political? A pastoral idyll that’s actually riven by civil war — as an analogue for what we’re going to find with Gallifrey perhaps? There’s something actually quite daring and actually amusing too if Chibs is indeed going to run with that ‘Gallifrey? Isn’t that in Ireland?’ joke of all those years ago.

    blenkinsopthebrave @blenkinsopthebrave
    JimTheFish @jimthefish
    Time Lord


    That’s really interesting. Thanks for sharing. So, the 1950s then. So, it’s just a nostalgia trip then rather than something more politically charged (although t’interwebs tell me that the 1950s was a time of intense IRA activity with a sustained border attack campaign, so maybe it is going to play into it, after all. Otherwise, again I ask, why Ireland and not some other cliched rural idyll?

    And the point the writer makes about Celtic worlds not being considered suitable for SF/fantasy and being framed as ‘golden pasts’ is an interesting one but not strictly accurate from a Scottish perspective. There was apparently a strong tradition of science fiction written in Gaelic here throughout the 20th century. I’m wondering if the same might not be true for Ireland, if a little digging was done….

    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip


    To be honest, when the robber pulled out his pistol my first thought was dissident Republicans, but I can see why an Irish reporter might not be too keen on saying that. We in the UK tend to see the troubles as Northern Ireland, but most Gardai deaths on duty (that aren’t accidents) result from a crime investigation that turns out to be investigating a crime committed by armed paramilitaries.

    You are absolutely right: do a little digging and loads of Irish SF turns up. Fortunately, I didn’t have to do the digging: Jack Fennell did his PhD on Irish SF. Worldcon 2019 (sadly, I couldn’t go) was held in Dublin, and Jack very kindly allowed them to publish a pdf copy of the book list in ‘A Short Guide to Irish SF’.

    I think he argues that the problem with Irish SF is simply that the Irish literary establishment doesn’t want to be Irish. Or rather, they wanted to create a new idea of ‘Irish’, where Ireland takes its rightful place among grown up, serious nations. Traditional Irish stories are fantastical; they didn’t want to go there, they wanted ‘serious, meaningful’ literature about the famine. Grown up stuff, not kiddie style SF. As well, the people who could have become Ireland’s scientific establishment (and wrote SF on the side) had mostly emigrated to where the research money was – put the two together, and you get ‘hidden’ SF, where everyone goes ‘Bob Shaw was an Irish SF writer?’

    Anyway, Jack Fennell’s Worldcon article is here.

    JimTheFish @jimthefish
    Time Lord


    That’s really fascinating. (Though annoyingly you’ve now furnished me with a long list of books that I really want to read …) I’m also interested in the gap between 1880-odd and 1982. Was there really nothing SF-ey published in Ireland for a 100 years? Admittedly, it’s a 100 years in Ireland that are pretty packed with incident, but all the same.

    But the whole argument is really interesting. (I wonder if we can pin some blame on Yeats for shackling the ideas around Celtic mythology and therefore fantasy together with the fight for Irish independence? Did it mean that anything with a fantastical bent automatically had overtones of the political struggle?)

    Davros @davros

    This is the kind of ep I like. Mystery, WTF, action, pathos.

    I suppose you all have covered all the possibilities. The connection between Jack’s condition and Brendan’s is an obvious thought but I don’t think it is hereditary. Sadly we know that Jack’s descendants can be killed…

    Are Bren’s guardians Time Lords? Is the master stocking Gallifrey with refugees? Is Ko Sharmus Rassilon?

    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip


    It wouldn’t surprise me at all if Yeats and the Irish Literary Revival helped make ‘fantastical’ political in Southern Ireland, but I think he might have been riffing off an older tradition. You don’t get much more political than Dean Swift, even if his most famous work is now seen as a children’s story.

    Yeah, I think the gap is because there just wasn’t much in the way of Irish publishing companies to publish with until the 1980’s. Not unless you were writing SF in the Irish language, anyway. The Irish diaspora meant that the population was falling right up to the 1960’s, so you’re looking at a market of about 4 million people in Southern Ireland versus a market of ten times that many if you sell your book to a London publisher…

    lisa @lisa


    Are ‘all’ of  Jacks kids human?   Couldn’t one have been Hybrid?  Maybe he had a fling  with

    another  Time lord?   Anything is possible in Doctor Who.  He always did have a thing for the

    Time Lords.

    Ko Sharma’s staff.    How many of the Time Lords besides Rassilon  carried one of those?


    I like these  mystery episodes that build on the Galifrey mythos too !



    blenkinsopthebrave @blenkinsopthebrave

    Latest idea about where all this is going. It is a re-working of RTD’s 3 linked episodes”Utopia”, “The Sound of Drums”, and “The Last of the Time Lords”. Remember back to when the Doctor sent a message to the Master back in “Spyfall part 2” which she stated was not Morse code but something personal that the Master would know…the sound of two hearts beating.

    More to follow…but in order to collect my thoughts it is time to delve into the Blenkinsop cellar.

    lisa @lisa

    Also wondering if  all these possible Time Lords running around on Earth

    (or at least in Brenden’s little village) are all using perception filters then

    maybe Ashad  the lone Cyberman might have been one of those filtered Time Lords

    and he  got captured? This is why he couldn’t be completely converted.

    Imagine if Ruth Doctor was captured by Cybermen while she’s still under the

    influence of the perception filter  then she couldn’t possibly get properly converted.

    Are the Kasaavins Ahshad’s ascended Cybermen?  His invincible army against

    the Time Lords?  His grudge doesn’t seem any less diminished from the Masters.




    blenkinsopthebrave @blenkinsopthebrave

    After a very nice bottle of Shiraz from the cellar, I am not sure I am any closer to a more detailed explanation of why Chibnall is drawing on RTD, but the more I think about it the more I am convinced that Chibnall is using RTD as his template and completely ignoring the Moffat years. Everything I have said about pacing, for example, I think was an issue during the RTD period (parictularly early RTD). And there is something that is obvious (as opposed to nuanced) that seems to be in common. I just feel that the more I watch Chibnall, the more I am reminded of RTD.


    Davros @davros

    Maybe what we’re seeing through the gate is not the Citadel destroyed, but the Citadel being built.


    BTW do you know the name of the actor who plays old Brendan? Often when DW doesn’t include someone in the credits, it is significant.

    Old Brendan

    Cath Annabel @cathannabel

    @davros I read somewhere – probably on the Other Place, and whether it was info or speculation I know not – that the same actor played Old Brendan and Ko Sharmus….

    Davros @davros

    “@davros I read somewhere – probably on the Other Place, and whether it was info or speculation I know not – that the same actor played Old Brendan and Ko Sharmus….”

    I don’t see how that’s possible. They look completely different.

    Rob @rob

    Late to post on this episode, blaming real life….

    Bonkerising theory No. 47.6

    The baby that the Lone Cyberman picked up and says “Don’t be afraid, little one. You will be like us.” (Quote courtesy of a great resource for Dr Who) could be Brendan,  who could be The Lone Cyberman, very much A Timeless Child.

    Literally split from on time and inserted into a another. Child of the creator of Frankenstein dies and resurrected 3 times William to Brendan, Brendan off the cliff, Brendan to Lone Cyberman


    Davros @davros

    I’ll tell you something else for free: when Brendan falls off the cliff, right after he opens his eyes there is a moment when he is covered in freckles. In every other shot he has clear skin.

    GalaxyMage @galaxymage

    This was an amazing episode! I’m looking forward to the finale, but then I won’t have anything new to post… 🙁

    Brendan’s name means King…could he be Rassilon? But he really doesn’t seem to be in control of things.

    He wants to make a difference, and he joins the Guardei, which seem to be police that are more involved with keeping the peace and keeping everything running. The Doctor also has an obsession with helping people, and travels around in a police box. Plus, he’s ginger. Maybe he could be The Doctor?

    Or perhaps he’s a dormant Cyberman? I think he’s more related to the Timeless Child plot than the Cybermen, but those already seem to be interconnected.

    One major thing is, I think, his father saying “He wants to serve.” Now, that seems just like slightly pushy dad who wants his kid to get the job…but coupled with the ending where he’s told “Thank you for your service” it develops a sinister feeling and the word serve is used twice. Now who do we know this season who has served and gotten recognition for it?

    Well, Lee/Ruth’s husband has a service metal, doesn’t he?

    Now I’m not saying that they’re the same person, but there’s certainly a connection. And a service metal from an alien war in the possession of Lee is not something that’s just going to be thrown aside.

    So, Brendan is connected to Lee, who is connected to Ruth. Definitely important in the Timeless Child mystery, whoever he is.

    Vervain @vervain


    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

    The entirety of the 25th Anniversary story Silver Nemesis is about sentient metal – Validium. Which was being hunted for on earth by the Cybermen, the Nazis, Lady Peinforte (!6th century practitioner of magic) and the 7th Doctor

    It was created as the last line of defense for Galifrey by Omega & Rassilon.

    Ollie14 @ollie14


    Have you got a link for the video the first time we saw Jodie and the plinth?

    lisa @lisa

    Ok I’m just going to make my prediction that Brendon is inside a Matrix experiment.

    This is why  Dad and the other police guy aren’t aging (and of course why its in  Ireland).

    He keeps getting chameleon arched over and over to see how many times he can regenerate.

    This is why he might be that original timeless child? Brendon is just a host in a Time Lord experiment

    so that they can upgrade regenerative abilities.  I think the Time Lords gave to Brendon the same

    energy Rose gave Jack and were surprised when he fell from the cliff that this was working out!

    So possibly where this is all going has to do with how Galifreyans are just an upgraded species

    like the Cybermen with maybe even a bit of borrowed cyber tech as well? That might be the lie

    which is giving the Master heart burn.

    But I wont be too surprised if I have this all wrong.


    Dentarthurdent @dentarthurdent

    Impressions on a first viewing –

    I’m not overly fond of Cybermen – actually they scare me. But definitely an improvement on the naff monsters that Chibbers conjured up in his first season.

    Brendan’s is a delightful rural story – so obviously something bad is going to happen to him (a pity, but this is Who, Brendan is obviously there for a reason).

    The Cybermen ships look quite similar to the Cylon raiders from BSG (2004).

    And the Doctor arrives laden with technogadgetry. This is a bit of a departure from his/her normal MO, isn’t it? (I said ‘his/her’ because I’m referring to all recent generations of the Doctor, not sure what the proper definite article is but I’m pretty sure it isn’t “its” 🙂
    Not that the technogadgetry works. Why do cyberdrones look like Cybermen heads? Or, in fact, a little bit like the Mantrid drones from Lexx (now that was a seriously weird series).

    The Lone Cyberman seems to be a particularly garrulous individual, doesn’t he? Maybe he caught it off the Doctor (this iteration of the Doctor, I mean). “Tell them, be afraid.” (I was mentally completing that, Be Very Afraid).

    The Gravraft, trying to reach the Boundary and jump where the Cybermen can’t follow – definitely reminiscent of “33”, the first episode of BSG, where the fleet tried to jump through hyperspace to somewhere the Cylons couldn’t follow them. I was a little maliciously amused when the Doctor was taken aback by Ethan’s superior Cybership piloting skill.

    I did like Ravio – “If anyone’s got any heartfelt end-of-life speeches, now is probably the moment” Yaz: “Well, er..” Ravio: “Oh god, you’re not actually going to do that, are you?” I love a cynic.

    The wrecked ship did look a bit like the remains of a BSG Battlestar, too. Oh, and Graham says “Don’t panic.” Srsly, were the writers trying to cram in as many scifi references as they could?

    Umm, the way that venting air caused the craft to go spinning, then straighten up in exactly the right orientation to fit in the Cybercruiser’s docking bay, was a little wrong, technically. And if the cybercruiser was meant for Cybermen, why would it have air on board? Do Cybermen need air? Maybe they do, if they have any human bits remaining. Why were there no Cybermen left on the cruiser, if it’s still functional, what chased them away?  But these are minor nitpicks, not remotely near KTM territory.   (“Never give up” says Graham. He’s doing it again – Never give up, never surrender – Galaxy Quest). Graham and Ravio seem to be quite compatible, are they going to get a thing going?

    Oh, it seems the cruiser is full of Cybermen – in stasis. (But why no crew?). And why is the Lone Cyberman blasting a just-woken one?

    And what *is* going on with Brendan. Who, it seems, can age but cannot die. Unlike his adopted father who didn’t age at all. Obviously cyber-connected, but how…?

    And so we have Yaz, Graham and 3 humans on a cybercruiser now full of Cybermen. And the portal at Ko Sharma’s place now leads to Gallifrey – and the Master pops out through it.

    Chibs certainly put *everything* into this episode. Buildup, lots and lots of buildup. (I stole that, can’t remember where from). Altogether, not a bad ep, it certainly kept moving from start to finish and it has more unanswered questions than a Moffatt puzzle.

    janetteB @janetteb

    @dentarthurdent I recall both liking and hating this episode, mostly though because of where it leads I suspect. So much potential and some cracking story telling and it sets up a lot of intrigue.

    Laughed at your mention of Lexx. We did a Podcast about it earlier this year. It was awful. Really awful. needless the say the youngest member of our group, (just turned 8) was not present for that one.

    Galaxy Quest on the other hand, (which we have also done a podcast on) is one of my favourite films. Up there with Princess Bride.



    Dentarthurdent @dentarthurdent

    @janetteb    Yes, I recall Lexx as a bit rough around the edges.   For some reason Farscape always reminded me of it, though a slightly more polished production.  (Only slightly, they had their moments).

    I like Galaxy Quest, though not as much as Princess Bride.   There’s one sequence in Galaxy Quest that I only ‘got’ in retrospect – when they were racing to get to the self-destruct mechanism and failed to reach it – and it stopped on One anyway.   I was like “huh?”.   I can’t recall if it was explained in the dialogue, but Of Course, the aliens had built the ship to behave exactly like the TV series they had been watching, and on TV self-destructs *always* stop on One.

    winston @winston

    @janetteb  There is certainly a lot going on in this episode and the Master and Cybermen are their old evil selves.

    I also really like Galaxy Quest and actually just watched it the other day. It is funny but still tells a very nice story. I love the fact that the aliens, who believe that Gilligan’s Island is real, feel so sorry for the castaways. I think they say “those poor people” very funny.

    stay safe.


    janetteB @janetteb

    @winston “Those poor poor people” (I think) is an oft quoted line here. I it a film with heart as well as humour, I wonder what they would say if they had got hold of Dr Who as well.



    Dentarthurdent @dentarthurdent

    @janetteb   If the Thermians – who could not comprehend a lie and therefore took TV fiction as real – if they’d seen Doctor Who they would have been horribly confused trying to replicate the Tardis, wouldn’t they?   Never mind the ‘bigger on the inside’, that would be only the start, what would they have made of ‘The Doctor’s Wife’?

    Incidentally, on another tack, I was just watching an episode of New Tricks series 8 (which I’m also working my way through) and one of the guest characters was a bent copper who had rather rugged looks, but oddly attractive and charismatic.   I knew I’d seen him in something, but didn’t recognise him till I read the credits – it was Paul McGann.   Some actors have just got “it” whatever they’re in, it was a pity we never got to see more of the Eighth Doctor.

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