The episode beings with the TARDIS arriving on what appears to be the moon. The Doctor explains they have arrived at an amusement park, and they have a golden ticket (Willy Wonka anyone?). The children and Clara are not impressed (did we mention how unexcited we are about the children appearing this episode?), and say it looks like the moon. The Doctor says that this is definitely not the moon. The “Imperial Order” has a platoon guarding the planet we learn, as a troop of soldiers march out and surround the Doctor. They tell the doctor that the planet is off limits, but the Doctor fixes that easy enough with his psychic paper (he hasn’t used that in a while I don’t think). There also has been a man popping in and out, who once the soldiers have disappeared, invites the Doctor and company into what remains of the amusement park. To me he actually seems dressed similar to both the Mad Hatter and Willy Wonka, which I assume is no coincidence.
So dumb to bring the children. The Doctor has enough trouble keeping up with one companion, how’s he going to keep track of 3?
Once inside, we see that the amusement park is in shambles, but he has a room called “Webley’s Room of Wonders”, and we also learn his name, Impresario Webley . This room is full of wax works of people and aliens. The man then unveils a Cyberman, to which the Doctor warns for them to take cover as it begins to move.
If the amusement park is shut down, why not bring the kids back in time to before it was shut down?? I’m sure the kids would have a lot more fun, and the purpose of entertaining the kids would be fulfilled. That’s what I would have demanded to do if I were one of the children. I would have felt gypped if I was one of those kids, being brought to this broken down amusement park. And apparently they have enough bargaining power if they were able to get the Doctor to bring them with him in the first place. (Which I commented in last episode’s recap seemed ridiculous that Clara wouldn’t be able to easily talk her way out of the kids’ “blackmail.”)
The impresario says that the Cyberman is “empty” however. But he also says that the Cyberman apparently is very good at chess. Artie decides to play since he is in the chess club at school, and he loses rather quickly. Webley then asks how the Cyberman can work, and it is revealed a little man named Porridge is operating the robot from an area under it. We learn that the Impresario actually has three Cybermen in his possession. This seems rather dangerous, especially when it revealed that he Doctor and company are being watched by some sort of robotic device. The group continues their tour and Porridge explains one of the wax figures that helped defend the human race from the Cybermen. Funny enough his face resembles that of Porridge but is about twice as tall. Hmm… The children end up playing with “anti-gravity” for a while. Clara decides it’s time to leave, but the Doctor doesn’t really want to leave yet, and seems intrigued by some “insects” he’s found. The Doctor puts the children to bed in the wax museum, and warns them to not wander off. What could he begin investigating? Cyberman related activities I assume.
Why can’t the Doctor take the children home and come right back? Especially if he suspects something fishy with the Cybermen is going on! No matter how harmless a Cyberman may seem, we’ve learned by now (and Doctor should definitely know) that they’re always trouble. It seems extremely irresponsible of the Doctor to put the children in danger like that, when they’re supposed to be under his protection . And yeah, like the children are really going to listen to the Doctor and stay put!
The impresario begins to clean up the chess board, when the Cyberman grabs him. A bunch of little robot centipedes attack him, and the Cyberman says “upgrade in progress”. We then see that these robotic centipedes are closing on the children as well.
Clara talks to Porridge, who provides the history of the Cybermen war, and we learn that the Cybermen were usually fought to a stalemate. We learn that the human race winded up destroying the Cyberman’s home world, but along with them several worlds of people. Porridge then explains he feels sorry for the person who pushed the button.
The episode then moves to the platoon on the planet, who are discussing difficulties with their machines malfunctioning, and Angie wanders into the barracks of the military people stating she is “bored”. The Captain begins to walk her out of the base. Back with Artie, he is getting scared in the wax museum since it is dark. He looks for the lights, and is then grabbed by a Cyberman.
Clara and the Doctor find the base and Angie. They are then attacked by a Cyberman. He is able to “upgrade”, and begins to move really quick. It grabs Angie and takes off. The Doctor asks the Captain about the state of their platoon, and we learn that it is a “punishment platoon” that hasn’t seen much action. In light of this, the Doctor assigns Clara as the leader of group, as I guess he trusts her judgment more than the Captain’s. The Doctor goes to search for Artie, and tells Clara to make sure no one blows up the planet. We see that Angie is taken to where the Impresario and Artie are being held, and they both have been “upgraded” by the Cyberman. Meanwhile the Captain as begun her “blow up the planet” phase.
Wow, these Cybermen sure have upgraded a lot. We’re used to them walking at a slow pace, but apparently now they can move faster than the eye can detect!
The Doctor finds one of the “cybermites”, and warns them that the kids are under his protection. The Doctor is able to locate a frequency on the “cybermite” and is teleported to the Cybermen’s lair. We learn that the Cybermen were using the children from the amusement park to repair Cybermen. The Cyberman Impresario explains that they intend to take over the Doctor. The Doctor doesn’t think it will work, but we learn that it will now, as the Cybermen have “upgraded” to use any living organism. The Cyberman threatens the doctor, and he is attacked by the cybermites.
Apparently they used to only be able to use human parts, which is why the Doctor didn’t think it would work on him, being a Timelord and all. But now being able to use any living organism is just another one of the Cybermen’s many convenient upgrades!
Back with Clara, the Captain explains the protocol for the “blow up the planet” plan, which is to blow it up, even if the people don’t escape it.
The cybermites are able to take control of the Doctor, after they’ve battled wits for a while. The Cyberman says he is able to use the doctor’s mind more efficiently than a human’s. The doctor threatens that he could regenerate and blow the cybernetic parts out, but he doesn’t want to yet. The Doctor and the Cyberman infiltrator are fighting for a specific part of the brain, and they decide that a game of chess will decide who gets full control of the brain, to which the Doctor agrees.
Meanwhile, a military personnel named “Missy” is wandering around a creepy area, and runs into a Cyberman. She attempts to flee, but she is located, and taken by the Cyberman’s hand.
Yes, just the hand, which disconnected itself from the Cyberman’s body to go after her.
The Captain leads Clara and Porridge to finding one anti-cyberman gun. They also found the device that implodes the earth, which responds only to a triggering device and the captain’s voice.
The Doctor begins his game of chess with himself. They discuss why the Doctor isn’t in the cyber databanks. We learn that the Cyberman is able to access some of the Doctor’s thoughts, and learns that the Doctor has erased himself from history. The Doctor informs the Cyberman infiltrating his mind that gold messes with their functions, to which the Doctor takes advantage of by using his golden ticket on the cybernetic parts. Back with Clara, the Captain tries to arm the exploding device but she is shot by a Cyberman.
Clara then tries to get the other soldiers to a defensible place. The battle then begins with a woman trying to destroy a Cyberman. Her plan backfires unfortunately, and she is captured. They are also able to shoot another, and deactivate the implants on a few soldiers that were captured with the “pulse” devices. The Doctor finds Clara, and we learn that the kids are currently in a “cybercoma”. We also learn that the Cybermen are trying to patch a program to stop the gold from causing a malfunction. The doctor then continues the chess game with himself. The Cyberman resumes control of the Doctor, and reveals to Clara that she is “The Impossible Girl”. She doesn’t know what to make of that though. The Doctor writes down a message for Clara to hit him, which deactivates the Cyberman temporarily. The Cyberman comes back and says that Clara must die, and specifically makes a point to say she must die pointlessly and “far from home”.
I was hoping the CyberDoctor might let a little more slip about the “Impossible Girl,” but no dice.
Clara then finds a cable to put in the water that the Cybermen army must cross to attack the military base, which is supposed to fry anything that comes into it. Back inside the Doctor’s head, they continue the mental battle, and the Cybermen begin to be activated for the invasion of the planet.
The Cybermen army approaches. The Doctor tries to ask for the trigger for the bomb. Clara doesn’t trust the Doctor, and asks him to tell her something that only the doctor knows. He begins to say his feelings about Clara. Clara knows this is a trick, and she says that the Doctor would never say such things even if they were true. She then smacks him, causing the Doctor to come back, It isn’t for long however, and the doctor grabs her hand, destroying the trigger. Meanwhile, the invasion continues, and the Cybermen walk into the water, and are temporarily damaged, but they are able to continue across due to another “upgrade”. They come through the door and the fighting begins.
When the impostor Doctor starts spilling his feelings, Clara seems to enjoy hearing it and appears to believe it for a few seconds, but she was quickly able to see through this. Since the CyberDoctor was genuinely trying to get Clara to believe that he was the real Doctor, and considering that he has access to the Doctor’s brain, does that mean he was sharing the Doctor’s real feelings? Or did he just think that was what Clara wanted to hear?
Back with the Doctor, he sacrifices the game in order to free the children, but likely lost the game, so the Cyberman thinks. Just as the Cybermen nearly capture the remaining humans, the Doctor threatens he has checkmate in the three moves. In order to provide further processing power for the chess game, the Cyberman shuts down the other attacking Cybermen, saving the humans temporarily.
The Cyberman and doctor struggle back and forth, and the Cyberman tries to figure out the 3 moves left. The 3 moves are revealed to not be chess moves, but, he is able to activate the sonic screwdriver, grab a pulser, and pulses himself in the face, removing the implant. They then decide they need to evacuate the planet, and blow it up to destroy the Cybermen. They no longer have their Captain to activate it nor the trigger, so how will they blow it? It turns out that Angie discovered that the midget is the emperor, by identifying him on the coin she received and the wax form as well. We learn he didn’t want to be emperor, and was in a self imposed exile.
He activates the explosive, and teleports everyone to safety aboard his ship. The Doctor of course requests that the TARDIS is teleported as well. The midget then out of nowhere asks Clara to marry him. She declines of course. Angie seems to think she should accept the offer. The Doctor and Clara and two kids then head for the TARDIS and go back home.
Back in the TARDIS, the kids head home, and Clara thanks the Doctor for saving them, and everything else. Interesting the Doctor talks about the impossible girl to himself, specifically mentioning her skirt that is “a little too tight”. Naughty doctor, naughty! The episode closes out with the Emperor searching for remains of the Cybermen, to which an officer says there are none. Unfortunately, we see a piece floating through space, so she apparently missed something.
I enjoyed this episode more so than that most of this season. While a little forced at times, I mostly enjoyed the battle of “wits” between the Cyberman invading the Doctor’s mind, and the Doctor himself. I also liked how this forced a little information regarding Clara to slip to her as well. What did bother me was this hidden Emperor, as it seemed like this whole episode could have been resolved in five minutes, with the Emperor teleporting the humans and blowing the planet from the beginning. Again, I spent the episode looking for information regarding “the impossible girl” storyline, and really feel this should be answered so that I can stop being distracted by this story that they seem to be purposefully avoiding answering at the moment. I hope we get a lot of answers next week in the season finale. What would be amazing is if somehow there have been hidden things throughout this season’s episodes that I have missed that make everything fall into place during the finale. I suppose I will have to wait and see though!
I also enjoyed this episode a lot more than the past few, despite the unnecessary presence of the children. Are they going to be recurring travelers in the future, or was this a one time thing? If we have to see them on the show, I hope they stay at home from now on. Mostly what I enjoyed was the internal struggle between the Doctor and the CyberDoctor, as Matt Smith was able to brilliantly portray the Doctor’s battle. Also, I’ve always been a Cybermen fan, so it was fun to see all their upgrades. Alas, we still have no further information on the mystery of “The Impossible Girl.” I really thought we would have gotten something to go on by now, considering the mystery is supposed to be solved by the end of the season. Well, the next episode is the end of the season, so I’m hoping for a mind blowingly awesome episode that makes up for the weak season we’ve had so far, that’s been seemingly devoid of clues that would help at all with solving the mystery. What’s the point of a mystery if you have no clues to work towards a solution? Like Josh said, maybe there have been subtle hints throughout the season, which will be revealed and tie everything together. Here’s to hoping that the season finale does not disappoint!