After last week’s deduction by Angie and Artie of Clara’s time traveling the Doctor takes them out for a bit of fun ad Hedgewick’s World. It was once the greatest theme park that could ever be, but is now in shambles. When they arrive they meet Webley, a washed-up showman with a collection of oddities including some “dead” Cybermen, and Porridge, a dwarf who fought in the Cyber Wars. The Doctor presents a “golden ticket” Wonka-style as their all-access pass to the park.
Oh, there’s also a platoon of Imperial soldiers from the wars. They’re a band of misfits in a “punishment platoon.” A group made up of soldiers who were incompetent or otherwise rather useless. They were assigned to the amusement park by the Emperor as punishment for not following orders.
After Porridge gives the two kids a few minutes in the low-gravity moon simulator, the Spacey Zoomer, Clara says it’s time to go home. The Doctor, however, has other plans. He’s noticed some “funny insects” and wants to investigate.
Backing up a second, why would the greatest amusement park ever have a low gravity moon simulator that uses Earth’s moon? I assume this is taking place in the future and far-away space, or at least one of the two. So why Earth’s moon and not the moon of “Makeupaplanet III” or something more exotic?
Dunno. Just curious.
Later that evening as Webley is cleaning up his collection, one of the dead Cybermen suddenly grabs him. As it holds him, a bunch of tiny, robotic bugs come crawling out of it and onto Webley. They look like tiny Cybermats and as they’re crawling along the Cyberman utters, “Upgrade in progress!”
Outside, Clara and Porridge are walking and he tells her about how they defeated the Cybermen. The war seemed hopeless as the Cybermen would continually upgrade themselves, but Porridge pointed out a black area in space and said that’s how the humans finally won. They created a weapon that completely obliterated the Tiberian spiral galaxy, wiping out a “billion trillion people” and eliminating the menace in the process.
Webley had allowed Artie and Angie to sleep on some sofas in his collection room, but Angie gets bored and goes to where the platoon is working, leaving Artie alone. Artie gets scared, gets up, then gets grabbed from behind by a Cyberman. The Doctor and Clara show up at the barracks to get Angie, but shortly thereafter a Cyberman pops in. He’s unbelievably fast and immune to their weaponry. He practically ignores everyone while he grabs Angie at super speed and absconds with her.
The Doctor finds the where the children and Webley have been taken. It’s a hidden base where the Cybermen took people from the amusement park for spare parts. Apparently they wanted the children because a child’s mind has infinite potential, but now that the Doctor’s there they know his brain has far more potential.
Okay, another aside. If the Cybermen were taking people from an amusement park surely they would have had access to tons of kids before now. Maybe I’m missing something here, but don’t kids go to amusement parks? Maybe this all happened after the war was over, but I didn’t find that very clear.
The Cybermen had previously only been able to use humans, not Time Lords, but times have changed and they’ve upgraded. The Cyber Planner takes over the Doctor’s mind and his face ends up with some very Seven-Of-Nine-ish adornments. Well, they take over almost half of it. The Doctor still has control of nearly half of it, too, and Matt Smith has fun arguing with himself.
Since control of his brain is at a stalemate, the two halves agree to a game of chess to decide who gets control. The Doctor uses an old weakness of the Cybermen, gold, to gain control of his mind for a bit. He slaps the golden ticket across the Borg electronics on his face which gives him temporary control over his brain.
The Doctor takes the chess pieces, Webley, and the children to Natty Longshoe’s Comical Castle where Clara, Porridge, and the soldiers are making a stand. He has them tie him up before the Cyber Planner installs a patch for the gold weakness. He does, however, insist that his hands remain free so they can finish their chess game.
Okay, I’ve gotta back up one more time here. The weaponry is bugging the crap out of me. It’s not the number of weapons since it’s mentioned the Cybermen were wiped out something like a thousand or a bajillion years ago. No, it’s the design of the weapons. Let me
A planet-killer bomb I get. When all hope is lost, you want to make damned sure all the Cyber-thingies are ended but good. That makes sense. But who designed a 12-shot BGF9000 that needs a recharge? They’re battling millions of Cybermen and they design a gun that only shoots twelve-fracking-times before you have to find a USB port and recharge it?
Well, compared to the “pulsers” even the twelve-shot zapmaster seems downright useful. Some scientist, in the midst of an immense war with the Cybermen, comes up with a weapon design that’s basically a joy buzzer and this gets the thumbs-up from the big brass? Um, no. If you come to me and say, “Hey, boss. I’ve got this weapon that’ll knock out a Cyberman. All you’ve gotta do is sneak up behind it and pat it on the head,” I’m going to show you the business end of my BSG9000. That is, after it’s done recharging.
Okay, rant off.
While they’re playing chess, the Cyber Planner wakes up all the sleeping Cybermen in the hidden base. Suddenly, three million metal monsters are active and storming the castle. Clara and the soldiers are about to lose to the Cybermen, but the Doctor, still in the chess match, tells the Cyber Planner he can have checkmate in three moves.
The Cyber Planner can’t figure out how this is possible, so he draws on the processing power of every Cyber brain at once, which stops all the Cybermen in their tracks. The Doctor takes one of the hand pulsers used to fry Cyber brains, amplifies it with his sonic screwdriver, then slaps it onto the electronics on his face, defeating the Cyber Planner and freeing himself from its control.
Now they’re left with three million Cybermen out to kill them and a planet destroying bomb that is voice activated only by the Captain, who was killed in the initial attack. Angie says they should ask Porridge about the activation codes because he’s the Emperor. Everyone looks surprised, but Angie says it’s obvious because he looks just like the picture on the imperial currency and the waxworks figure in Webley’s collection, only the wax figure was made taller.
Porridge admits he’s the Emperor and uses a voice phrase to activate the bomb as the Cybermen are entering the castle. He gets the Imperial flagship to transport them all safely on-board just in time to watch the planet explode. Although I thought the bomb was supposed to implode the planet.
Oh well, either way it ‘sploded the crap outta the Cybermen.
As the Emperor’s flagship flies away, we see one small, flashing bit of Cyber-tech floating in space. Yeah, we knew the Cybermen weren’t gone forever!
I enjoyed this episode well enough, but couldn’t help but feel a little disappointed overall. Maybe I was just expecting more from an episode written by Neil Gaiman. It was a fairly straight-up adventure and there seemed to be less moments that made me smile, especially when compared to last week’s “The Crimson Horror.” Neither episode was special in terms of any universe-shattering revelations, but last week’s was just more fun.
Granted, the twist on the Cybermen with them being able to “upgrade” both themselves and others was a refreshing upgrade in itself. The Cybermites, though, seemed to be treading awfully close to the Daleks’ nanotech introduced in “Asylum of the Daleks” so it didn’t seem all that original. Still, watching the Doctor argue with himself was a hoot.
I also have to add that I think the Emperor’s proposal to Clara was a FedEx overnight direct from left field. Sure, they hung out a bit and had some meaningful conversations. That might be enough to ask a girl out on a first date, but to go directly to “Marry me,” is a bit desperate. Yes, Porridge was lonely, but he never seemed desperate or lacking in social skills.
Maybe I’m just feeling grumpy. Go away.
What did you think? Were my expectations set too high? I’m usually not very critical of my Who adventures, but this one fell a bit flat for me.
Please feel free to use the comments section to tell me what an idiot I am.
Quoteishness And Babblings:
Doctor: No. No weapons. Golden ticket! Spacey Zoomer! Free ice cream!
Doctor: Insects. Funny insects. I should add them to my funny insect collection.
Clara: You collect funny insects?
Doctor: Yeah, I’m starting to.
Doctor: As Imperial Consul I’m putting Clara in charge. Clara, stay alive until I get back and don’t let anyone blow up this planet.
Clara: Is that something they’re likely to do?
Doctor: I’m getting Angie, finding Artie, and looking for funny insects. Stay alive. And you lot, no blowing up this planet!
Clara: We need to find somewhere defensible. Where?
Captain: The beach, Giant’s Cauldron, Natty Longshoe’s Comical Castle.
Clara: A real castle? Drawbridge? Moat?
Captain: Yes, but comical.
Doctor: Firstly, if anybody’s watching this, those children are under my protection. I’m coming to get them. Secondly, little metal machine, you are beautiful.
Doctor: Not even a Cybermat anymore, eh? Cybermites.
Clara: The only reason I’m still alive is because I do what the Doctor says. Can you guarantee you’d bring me back my children alive and unharmed? I trust the Doctor.
Captain: You think he knows what he’s doing?
Clara: I’m not sure I’d go that far.
CyberDoctor: I mean I’m going to have to completely rework the neural interface, but this is going to be the most efficient Cyber Planner! Not a great name, that, is it? I could call myself, “Mister Clever.”
Missy: Don’t move! I’m in the Army!
Doctor: Hey, Clara, you haven’t let them blow up the planet. Good job!
CyberDoctor: Hello flesh girl. Fantastic. I’m the Cyber Planner.
CyberDoctor: Afraid not. I’m working the mouth now. Allons-y! Oh, you should see the state of these neurons. He’s had some cowboys in here. Ten complete rejigs.
Doctor: If he wins I give up my mind and he gets access to all my memories along with knowledge of time travel. But, if I win he’ll break his promises to get out of my head and then kill us all anyway.
CyberDoctor: Now, if you don’t mind, I have a chess game to finish and you have to die pointlessly and very far from home.
Clara: Prove you’re you. Tell me something only the Doctor knows.
CyberDoctor: Clara, I suppose I’m the only one who knows how I feel about you right now. How funny you are. So funny. And pretty. And, truth is, I’m starting to like you in a way that is more than just… <Clara slaps him>
Doctor: Ow! Ow, ow, yes! It’s me! That really hurt. How did you know that was him?
Clara: Because even if that was true, which it’s obviously not, I know you’d rather die than say it.
Clara: One gun, five hand pulses, and a planet-smashing bomb that doesn’t work any more.
Brains: Why not?
Clara: Broken trigger unit.
Brains: But, you signed for that.
Webley: Welcome to Webley’s World of Wonders, children. Now presenting delights, delicacies, and death.
CyberDoctor: There’s no way you can get to mate in three moves.
Doctor: Three moves! You wanna know what they are?
CyberDoctor: You’re lying.
Doctor: No. Move one, turn on sonic screwdriver. Move two, activate pulser. Move three, amplify pulser. Haha, see ya! <slaps pulser to face>
CyberDoctor: That’s cheating!
Clara: Do you think I’m pretty?
Doctor: No. You’re too short and bossy and your nose is all funny.
Clara: Good enough.
Angie: When someone asks you if you want to be Queen of the Universe you say, “Yes.”
Artie: Thanks, Clara. Thanks, Clara’s boyfriend.
Doctor: The impossible girl. A mystery wrapped in an enigma squeezed into a skirt that’s just a little bit too…tight. <catches himself thinking out loud> What are you?!
Doctor Who airs on BBC America Saturday nights at 8/7c, immediately followed by Orphan Black and The Nerdist.
**DO NOT miss next week’s finale, “The Name of the Doctor” or I’ll taunt you mercilessly.**