“Ascension of the Cybermen” is One of Those Penultimate Episodes That Depends on Doctor Who’s Finale to Either Succeed or Screw It Up

Last week, the Doctor made the hard, terrible choice to give the last Cyberman (basically a British Borg) the thing that he wanted, a lost database or risk that lone Cyberman destroying the timeline and potentially erasing everything after the 1800’s. There was no other choice and now, it’s up to the Doctor and the Fam to journey into the far future and fix her mistake by confronting the last Cyberman and his growing Cyberman army in the post apocalypse where almost every single human has been hunted down and killed.

I said it last week and I’ll say it again: I applaud… Applaud loudly and with gusto how this season of Doctor Who has taken the Cybermen and made them scary again. It’s been tried before, like when Doctor 11 tried to made super-speedy Cybermen on the moon, but nothing has been quite as effective as giving control of the Cybermen to one single psychotic zealot. There’s just something so visceral and ferocious about The Last Cyberman… he’s a serial killer, a cult leader, and a third world dictator all rolled into one. I’ve complained about how the Cybermen of NuWho has been nothing more than Brittish Borg, but with the introduction of The Last Cyberman, they’ve evolved into something truely terrifying and threatening.

Does this make The Last Cyberman the British Borg Queen?

In any case, this was a very fun and fast episode that made excellent use of the compainions, brought Doctor 13 to a much larger universe and scale, something that has been serously lacking in the last two seasons, and teased major events for next week.

As with these two-part (three-part?) season finales, it’s next to impossible to judge the story on its own merits as we haven’t been exposed to the whole story. I mean, what’s with Brendon in Ireland? Where’d the Master come from and what does he want? Who the heck is the Last Cyberman? What does this have to do with the terrible secret that the Master discovered? What is the Timeless Child?

There is so much in the air, all potentially wonderful and game-changing, that the finale next week is seriously Doctor Who’s chance to either make it amazing, or have it all crash and burn in a big letdown. It could go either way and that is both exciting and terrifying.

Jodie Whittaker has really been killing it in the arch. As an actress, I think she’s great, but as a Doctor, through no fault of her own, she’s been lackluster, being given next to nothing to work with script-wise. These last two episodes, though, have given her amazing opportunities to stretch her dramatic legs and have some big Doctor moments that were painfully overdue.

She is the Doctor and it’s about time.

I enjoyed this episode. It did exactly what it needed to do, expanded on the mythos established in the last episode, had some very exciting action sequences, managed to be weird enough to be Doctor Who level weird, and left enough delicious plot tidbits to keep me well interested into next week.

The ball is in your court, Doctor Who.

Please don’t fumble it.

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