By the time the Doctor arrives at the prison, it's empty and burnt out, like a field of war.
Next morning, Joshua Naismith stares at the fires on his computer, summoning someone he calls "darling" to his side and showing her the wreckage. In one split-second of the footage, a man runs wild, darting across the screen like a feral thing. "That would be such a Christmas present!" his partner gasps, just as did Wilf when he saw the blue box. "You just leave it to Daddy," Naismith laughs, and calls out to their staff. In the great room, a giant alien gate begins to spark. "Christmas is cancelled. Prepare the Gate!" Two scientists work, sneaking looks at each other. Once we said that to refer to the Companions as children -- as the Master called his monsters children, as Davros called the Daleks and Companions both -- was a perversion. I don't think it's a mistake that Joshua Naismith's relationship to Abigail is confusing at first. The greatest perversion on this show, in the last five years, has been to seek the end of time. Lazarus, Doctor Yana, Cassandra: All of them wanted to end time, to reach immortality. We'll never really get to know the Naismiths, but their broad strokes fill in the thematic links: They're worse than even Torchwood One. They fight the future.
Wilf whistles, sneaking out of the house with cute reindeer antlers on his head, calling out his vague goodbyes. Once out of the house, he summons a old folks' shuttle bus full of his compatriots, dancing down the lane toward it, overjoyed for an outing, determined to find the Doctor and save the world from these bad dreams. He gives them a dossier and describes the Doctor -- "Modern sort of hair, all sticky-uppy" -- although he refuses to give them any more details than necessary. Minnie the Menace (the dotty mother on Absolutely Fabulous, for Americans) jokes about getting locked in a police box in 1962, and is clearly their group's sexual mascot, which is awesome. They do a lot of old-folks things like saying "wa-hey!" and using words like "skiffle," and finally Minnie puts a name to their network: The Silver Cloak. Distributed human effort has been a theme of this show for a long time, too. It's the only way to combat the power and the strangeness of the universe: You start over there, and I'll start over here. Less magic, more problem solving. An Archangel Network, but a LINDA too. "Answer me this. Have you been having bad dreams? All of you?" Even the driver has. "Dreams you can't remember? Yeah, well, that's why we need him. We need the Doctor. More than ever."