Jackson hears him, in there, and fights his way to the surface, closes his eyes, trying to listen. To hold onto it. "You wanted to become someone else, because Jackson Lake had lost so much..." The bells ring, in the cloisters, and Rosita calls it midnight. Christmas Day. It brings Jackson Lake back to himself. It is a birth, and it is a tragedy, and that's what regeneration means. That is what change is.
"Oh my God," say he, and remembers his wife. She was murdered, that night he lost his mind. Lost time. "Caroline," he mumbles, as the Doctor watches, and he looks up into those eyes. "They killed my wife." Rosita cares for him while the Doctor looks on, while he loses it, but soon enough the infostamp starts beeping, and then there's another, like easter eggs hidden around the place. The Doctor pulls out a bandolier of them, a whole cache, and moans in awe. But why are they beeping? "Activation. A call to arms... The Cybermen are moving!" The Doctor runs into the street, and sees something in shadows against the wall: by firelight, after Christmas has been packed away for the night, a line of people being marched somewhere, against their wills.
"The Doctor needs help," Jackson Lake says, and we'll hear it a dozen more times before the Doctor does: "I learnt that much about him, there should be someone at his side." She gives in, but he's talking about her: she's the Companion. She's more capable and readier for battle, and so she goes. Without a second thought, without a word.
It's children, being marched. When Rosita arrives asking what's up, the Doctor doesn't blink. "That's Mr. Cole, he's master of the Hazel Street Workhouse. Maybe he's taking them to prayers?" Nothing so holy. The Doctor speaks directly to the old man, irritating, but to no avail. "Mr. Cole, you seem to have something in your ear," he says, reaching for his screwdriver, but soon enough sees the Cybershade guarding against just this kind of tomfoolery. All five of the Creepy Old White Guys Of The Apocalypse lead their herds of children toward the Cyber Court, and ordering them to march. And the children do, crying and afraid -- but no more so than with regard to any other incomprehensible demand these men have made on them, okay, in their short lives, so probably less afraid than your very fortunate children would be in this circumstance -- with Cybershades nipping at their heels, in the middle of the night, in the snow.
JL weeps in his fake house, in his fake life, and I guess this is how long it takes to pull it together, because he eventually remembers something and goes tearing through the house for something and it's all very exciting and meaningful for some reason, and just the fact of him going "Where is it? Where is it?" means we've reached the part of most episodes, but especially Christmas episodes, where I remember how much I dislike this show. Which I thought we already did with the rope thing, but no. So there's much Doctor/Rosita talk about getting into the factory, gotta get into this sluice or whatever, but they get interrupted by two Cybermen -- "That's cheating, sneaking up! Did you have your legs on silent?" the Doctor adorably shrieks -- followed by Mercy, who appears just in the nick as usual.