Ascension of the Cybermen is the latest Doctor Who episode and is the beginning of the two-part season finale. Jodie Whittaker continues in her lead role alongside Bradley Walsh, Tosin Cole, and Mandip Gill. Head writer Chris Chibnall presents this episode which was under the direction of Jamie Magnus Stone. Patrick O’Kane, Steve Toussaint, and Julie Graham are included in the guest cast.
The Lone Cyberman was introduced in the previous episode, and he is now not alone. The Lone Cyberman was somehow only partially converted and is wandering around in a rather dilapidated armor. He looks suitably intimidating too. He is also a bit more expressive than his cybernetic peers.
The Doctor has brought her friends to a distant planet in the far future where the remains of humanity are in hiding from the remnants of the Cybermen. She is also trying to find the answers to other mysteries which have been introduced this year. The Doctor tries to send her friends to safety, but of course that doesn’t go as planned.
Now in the midst of all of the intergalactic chaos, there is a story which takes place in Ireland where a couple finds a child left in the road and take them in. This takes place in the early twentieth century. How this relates to the main story has yet to be revealed,but it’s interesting.
There is a real effort to make the season end on an epic note. The visual effects were pretty good. Whittaker seems to be getting a little more to do as the Doctor. She can almost sound fairly authoritative now.
There are still too many companions traveling in the TARDIS, but there is not much to be done at this point. They get separated which is common in the series. Yasmin and Graham end up on an abandoned cyber warship where a vast army has been asleep.
The Doctor and Ryan find a portal on a distant planet where a man helped others escape the Cybermen. Another secret is about to unfold as another adversary appears from the portal.
There is a lot of confusing things going on here, but I would probably need to see the resolution to judge this one fairly. Chibnall seems to be making an effort to revisit some of the grandiose styles of his predecessors and bringing back some familiar menaces, which I don’t mind.
There are still some issues with the Whittaker era, however this season is a little better than the last one.
There are some intriguing ideas, yet I share the concerns of some of my fellow fans that Chibnall plans to turn the canon of the program on its head. I guess on shouldn’t be beholden to such things, but I do not think it’s right to entirely write something to disregard the history that is so familiar to those who have followed this show for so long.
Unfortunately, this episode does not stand out among the other finales in recent years. The story is somewhat engaging, but I expect to be more enthralled than this is able to do. On the other hand, the Cybermen are back, and they are my favorite of the Doctor’s adversaries.
There are some cool visuals and decent performances, but I am still skeptical of how Chibnall intends to wrap up this series,