Doctor Who
Army Of Ghosts (1)

Episode Report Card
Jacob Clifton: B+ | 2 USERS: A+
YOU GRADE IT
Et In Arcadia Ego

Hundreds of Cybermen stand in the light, stand ready for war. "They're invading the whole planet," Yvonne freaks, but the Doctor knows it's worse: "It's not an invasion, it's too late for that. It's a victory." They finally notice the SPHERE ACTIVATED notice on Yvonne's laptop. He stares, brow furrowing even more intensely.

The sphere glows with light. Mickey retrieves a BFG he'd taped under one of the lab counters, and stands with his feet planted solidly before the sphere, aiming and waiting. "This is gonna blast them to Hell." Literally! Rajesh is blamflasted: "Samuel, what are you doing?" "Samuel" cocks his gun as the sphere continues to come apart: "The name's Mickey. Mickey Smith. Defending the Earth."

It's an equation: add two worlds and find the difference, burn off what doesn't work. You solve for pi and end up where you started, in a whole new configuration. Regeneration isn't just for the Doctor, and that's the highest truth the show will ever tell you. Hell is the difference between simile and metaphor, and that's not Jacob talk. I'm being literal. You're talking about two groups -- three, in a second -- all of which find their purpose, and their horror, in thinking like. Not being, not Bad Wolfing, not being everything at once, you and me both; that's a meditative experience of the divine. This is not contemplio and this is not delicto. It's the opposite of all of this, the "like or as," laid alongside the Bad Wolf's simple "I am." The army of ghosts exists to obscure the reality -- war -- with sympathy, with pity, with self-aggrandizing generational bullshit. It's sensationalism and using the Orpheus tendency to blind the world -- to say "Look back, not forward. Don't investigate the information. If it feels good, use it. If it's entertaining, swallow it. Let it brush up against the angles of your life until you can't remember what it was like without it." It's the recipe for conquest. It is the very definition of human evil, modern and historical. And there's Torchwood, so interested in thinking like, in acquisition, that they become what they behold. They lose their hearts, get hard like Cybermen, and all through the fear of what they secretly cherish, and the jealousy of knowing they can't touch it. Fear of death and change and dying. The Age of Steel. And they bring the war through.

"What I don't understand," the Doctor says conversationally, " is [that] Cybermen don't have the technology to build the Void Ship. That's way beyond you. How did you create that sphere?" The Cyberman admits that it's not theirs, and the Doctor is stunned. "The sphere broke down the barriers between worlds," says the Cyberman. "We only followed. Its origin is unknown." Then what's inside it, wonders the Doctor, starting to panic. "Rose is down there," says Jackie, fear in her voice. If the Cybermen are human evil, the Age of Steel, Victoria's World, coming through across Hell, what could possibly have led the way? Every Companion has her Doctor.

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Doctor Who

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