Huh. An episode with two Game of Thrones actors as guest stars. Granted, they’re from two different shows, one of them is killed off in this episode, and the other…OK, that was pretty appropriate casting.
Once again, it’s the future, and once again, there aren’t many humans left.
However, it’s also the past in early 20th century Ireland where a guy on a bike finds a baby in a basket, adopts the boy, and after he grows up becomes a local cop. But then he’s shot and knocked off a cliff, but he’s fine, and when he reaches retirement age, his father and his cop mentor, having not aged, grab him and wipe his memory. I have no idea what that has to do with anything, so it better be good.
Regardless, the Doctor is trying to save the last seven humans (down to four by episode’s end with one more found later) from the last of the Cybermen, led by angry Ashad. And no, pointing out Ashad is a Cyberman with feelings does not foil his plans to delete or upgrade everybody.
Besides, these Cybermen may be something that I don’t think the Cybermen have been for a long time: legitimately scary. The Cybermen were always the runner-up bad guys to the Daleks. Daleks were generally indestructible. Cybermen were wimpier by comparison. Their only advantage in the past was generally sheer numbers and being generally tougher than humans. Ashad’s Cybermen just seem more formidable. Maybe because the defenses the Doctor set up to take care of them, the sort of thing that would have worked just fine in the past, were easily dispatched by Ashad’s Cyberdrones, and soon the seven humans she’s trying to protect (alongside her fam) are down to four (see above). These people aren’t soldiers. All they can do is run, and run they do, with the Doctor and Ryan (with one survivor) swiping a Cyberman vessel while Yaz and Graham head off with the other three to try and find refuge in what they thought was a deserted ship that turned out to be a Cyberman vessel full of thousands of sleeping drones.
Oh, and when Ashad shows up, he does something to a sleeping drone that makes it scream.
Yes, one Cyberman is making other scream.
Now, it’s not as if they humans lack a plan. They’re trying to get to somewhere called Ko Sharmus since there’s a portal there to somewhere the Cybermen can’t follow. It turns out Ko Sharmus is a man, not a planet, and he’s also…Ser Barristan Selmy? OK, if I want a guy who will stay behind and guard a portal to guide any stragglers through it, I think the greatest swordsman in the Seven Kingdoms will do fine. I mean, the Sea Snake died when the Cybermen attacked…
The Doctor does manage to get to Sharmus first with Ryan and that one other guy, and as if the threat of Ashad wasn’t bad enough and the mystery of that Irish orphan didn’t seem weird enough, there’s still a few more bombs to drop. See, Sharmus explains that the portal will open if someone stands close enough to it. And yes, the Doctor goes out and the portal opens. She can see through to the other side. And what’s over there? What random, remote place is over there that is supposed to be a safe place for humans to hide from the Cybermen?
Apparently, it’s Gallifrey.
And then the Master pops out from the other side with a promise to blow the Doctor’s mind.
Well, if I wanted something big and complicated…well, that sort of describes this whole series of episodes, but it looks like they’ll be wrapping up something next time.