Cybermen gather around Lumic in his office. "My everlasting children. Tell me, how does it feel?" They feel nothing. "But in your mind? What do you think?" They think the same: "We are uniform." He presses: "But you think of...what?" The Cybermen get creepy/helpful: "We think of the humans. We think of their difference and their pain. They suffer in the skin, they must be upgraded." Nice. "Excellent! Then let's begin!" He activates the next EarPod sequence: "City of London. I've just declared independence. Begin transmission!"
On the street in London, there are people doing people things in the evening, and then all at once their EarPods flash, and they all stop moving, completely frozen. In the Tyler basement, Jackie's EarPods flash, stopping her stock still. Everyone begins walking in the same direction, on the street; down in the basement, Jackie troops purposefully up the stairs.
As Lumic dines on scenery -- "You will come to me. My dear children, the Immortal Ones!" -- the television reports are wigging out: "All of London has been sealed off. There are reports of an army, an army of metal men. All citizens should remove their EarPods. Repeat: Remove all EarPods. London has been placed under martial law. If you're hearing this, stay in your homes. I repeat: stay in your homes!" Crane winces, grabbing at his ears, and finally manages to rip them free: "Oh, no you don't." The thing about Crane is that he's forever creepy to me because of the whole marching the homeless and Cyber around puppeteering bullshit, but this works for me. I don't think I have a really great handle on Crane's whole character, to be honest.
The Doctor's gang, Pete, and the Preachers get caught in the rush of EarPod people, and stare at them walking past. Jake and Rose ask Excellent Questions of the WTF variety, and the Doctor explains that it's the EarPods: "Lumic's taking control." Rose reaches to yank out an EarPod from a nearby man, and the Doctor hisses at her. "Don't! Cause a brainstorm." Proving how upset he is about all this new development, the Doctor bitches about the human race and its susceptibility not only to cool gadgets, but also to the Long Game: "Give anyone a chance to take control, and you submit. Sometimes I think you like it. Easy life." Life of a Companion, dude. Jake and Rickey usher them all over to a corner, where they watch the Cybermen marching the EarPod zombies along. Pete informs them of the herd's destination: "Battersea. That's where he was building his prototypes." (It's also where the Pink Floyd album about the sheep being slaughtered got its cover, for what it's worth. I hate 'em, you might not, but they talked a lot about control systems and Britain and just the kind of thing this show does best.) "He's dying," Pete explains, about Lumic. "This all started out as a way of life by keeping the brain alive. At any cost." Which is abominable, as we've seen countless times: keeping the brain alive without the body is both literally and another metaphor for how Cassandra happened. Takes balls to prioritize the brain, of all things, above the rest of your stuff: body, soul, will. Just because the brain is the part you sit in; just because the brain is what wants, and fears, and hates, and loves. It's unnatural because it contains things other than itself, and wants to go on continuing more than anything. Rose remembers the time she saw that Cyberman head, and the Doctor reminds her that these are parallel-world Cybermen, with their own origin story and gold allergy. The 616 Cybermen came from another world and spread like a virus, but the Cybus version started out on Earth, in an Age of Steel. Pete, of course, is irritated by their crazy talk, and Rickey is more interested in leaving town than worrying about it.