Oh, wondrous steampunk Cyberfactory done right. Steampunk has lost its meaning: you get either generic fantasy -- or delightful New Weird, if you're lucky -- wearing steampunk clothing, or those damnable codebreaking pirates that dorks are now dressing like. The usual trickledown, but still a little embarrassing for everybody. Cyber Leader comes in with his domino face and discusses with his compatriots how "Cybershade 16" has made contact with the Doctor: "This man is dangerous. This man is our enemy. This man is the Doctor." Even the baddies are letting John Smith off the hook this Christmas.
Cyber Leader walks through the Cybermen toward a lovely dark woman. "Plans for the Ascension demand a successful intervention. Is everything in position?" She quirks a smile at him. (Her face is all planes and lines, beautiful and cruel. She's been in London Town her whole life, and paid the price for not giving in to that engine of blood. Too pretty for a mudlark, too smart for a wife. Her story is long and ugly, and best left between the lines. Suffice to say it started when she was young, and never really ended. Suffice to say her imagination and intellect have been warped by the status quo the Cybermen will overturn; the status quo of Victorian Christmas sing-along's, yes, but also of, and entirely supported by, mudlarks and slatterns and the madness of cities. Like any terrorist, her grievance is sound: it's her methods that are unacceptable.)
"Well, that's rather dependent on you! All I can promise is to do my best." Parameters of which, she clarifies for Cyber Leader in his own language, mean she "will operate at maximum efficiency." And in return for her aid? "You will be heralded in the new age, at the Court of the CyberKing." They all salute. The Cybermen have an allergy to gold and a deficiency of imagination that leads them here: they are in the Court of St. James and thus their lives become a court. "The CyberKing will rise," they chant; she doesn't know what she means, what sort of engine CyberKing designates; she has been trained by life and men to sexualize every utterance and moment: "Indeed. How like a man." (Once, with quirked smile is liberated, but twice is silly and three times a deeper issue.) "Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a funeral to attend."
It's snowy, and beautiful in another way. Black draft horses pull a black carriage to the graveyard, trailed by pallbearers in black tophats. The Doctor and Rosita watch them go from near the Reverend's house; the snow's thick and getting thicker and you can't see things fifty yards away. John Smith, for example, skulking and watching them just as they're watching the mourners. "The late Reverend Fairchild, leaving his place of residence for the last time. God rest his soul... Now, with the house empty, I shall effect an entrance at the rear while you go back to the TARDIS." They talk about how breaking into houses isn't women's work, but saving her life is women's work, and finally he yells "The Doctor's Companion does what the Doctor says!" Which makes John Smith grin, because no she fucking doesn't, and all three of them know it.