Yeah, OK, I know I’m a moron. As soon as I headed over to imdb to check the title of the next episode I realized my mistake... This is the penultima installment of the seventh season! So no two-parters for us this year! I just wish I had kept my brain in gear before last weeks review went live. Ah well! Never mind - on with this weeks episode!
We seem to be on the moon overlooking the Earth as Sexy materializes in. The doors open and one, two... Three and four faces peek around the edge. That’s right, Clara caves into blackmail! The time-traveling Nanny (that premise alone has spin off material written all over it doesn’t it?) has brought the kids along on their own timey-wimey adventure.
Despite appearing somewhere in actual space, and coming out of a box that is bigger on the inside, the kids aren’t so impressed; “the stupid box can’t even get us to the right place. It’s like a Moon-base or something.” Pretty sure I’m not the only one who wanted to slap her when she said that... nobody calls Sexy a stupid box! The Doctor puts them right:
“Guys, it’s not the Moon, it’s a Spacey Zoomer ride. Or it was...”
Around the corner comes a distraction; Ian Watkins - or to those of us who also watch Being Human - Herrick. Bizarrely he’s dressed somewhat Dickensian for a guy from the future. Maybe he’s into Steampunk?
“Are you my lift off planet?” He asks. Dave’s Interstellar removals is six months late.. Then things get a little weirder; a bunch of soldiers arrive, the man vanishes, and they, guns pointed, order that the TARDIS team throw down their weapons. The Doctor tries to smooth things over. Showing off his golden ticket;
“Golden ticket! Spacey Zoomer... Free ice cream?”
The female solider, who I suddenly recognize as Eastenders alumni Tamzin Outhwaite, demands to know who they are. This planet is closed by imperial order. Aaand out comes the handy dandy psychic paper! The Doctor and his trio of companions are part of the Empirical Proconsul and are suddenly welcome. There’s a brief discussion of the Emperor who seems to be missing. I wonder if this will become relevant later on?
Dickens reveals himself to be Mr. Webley, the owner of the old fairground, he shows them to the only remaining attraction. A space-version of Madame Tussaud's by the sound of things, with waxwork representations of the famous and infamous. He then leads them to a shiny red covering dramatically demonstrates; ‘the wonder of the age, the miracle of modernity, defeated a thousand years ago but now, he’s back to destroy you...”. He whips the red cover away to reveal a very familiar metal humanoid.
“Cyberman!” The Doctor yells before ordering everyone down!
Don’t worry, no need to panic, Webley tells the foursome. “there are no more living Cyberman.” The doctor examines the six hundredth and ninety-ninth wonder of the universe. An empty shell that plays chess! Artie sits down and begins to play. The ‘cyberman’ playing against him. The boy is quickly beaten - the rules seem to have changed since 2013... but its an empty shell. How does it work?
“Mirrors?” Suggests the eldest child, Angie. The Doctor’s impressed but the answer is wrong. He opens a hidden door to reveal... Warwick Davies! Using dwarves for skullduggery still happens in the future!
I’ll wrap up the re-cap here. It takes a little while to get going but when it gets going it is an absolute blinder of an episode. It has everything a Who fan could want and, let’s be fair, who was expecting anything less than that from Neil Gaiman? This is the genius behind The Doctor’s Wife after all!
One thing that was slightly irritating was just how easily Clara seems to take to her new role in charge. One minute she’s just normal bubbly Clara, and the next she’s seasoned in the art of war. This is either a really irritating mistake or hints at her actual identity. Could it be that Clara’s ability to do just about anything have something to do with her own Great Intelligence perhaps?
The Cybermen were amazing, a huge step up from the Cybusmen we’ve been subject to since Rise of the Cybermen/Age of Steel. The right combination of classic series and new & shiny, these Cybermen evoke the feel of the powerful, tenacious foes they’re supposed to be. I loved the Borg style adapting and upgrading, altering their own systems to counter their enemies attacks, though they weren’t portrayed as terrifying as they should have been. Still, I personally cant wait to see more of these new Cybermen and the infamous Cyberwar in show’s future.
There’s only one way to sum up what I’m thinking about the finale and that’s the way the good Doctor did it himself; “The impossible girl. A mystery squeezed into an enigma wrapped in a skirt that’s just a little bit too... tight.”
So, he’s noticed that one too has he?
“What are you?”...