The Cybermen have always been my personal favourite when it comes to the Doctor’s enemies. Aesthetically the 1980’s Cybermen have always been my favourite. To see them return, all be it in a hybrid looking form with the Davies Moffat era Cybermen, was a joy for me.
Building on the momentum set by last week’s episode Ascension was fast paced and full of action. Tonally it was brutal, to the point of near cruelty. The characters almost felt played with by the writer and director. Their fates never felt secure and even the Doctor’s companions seemed at risk.
The episode also left us with many questions. The fate of Gallifrey, the identity of the Timeless Child, the secret the Master is keeping that will change the Doctor’s world. We were also left with a question over Graham’s stumbled introduction of himself; did he nearly say he was the Doctor? If so was this him thinking along the lines of reassurance to his current comrades or was it something more. The Chameleon Arch has already revealed a previously unknown incarnation of the Doctor, could it be about to reveal one more.
If I was looking for a criticism of Ascension then it would be that it felt like a prelude. The foreshadowing of ‘there is so much more to come’ hung over nearly every scene. On occasion this made wish that the show was streamed so you could just watch the next episode straight away and finish the story.
Verdict: 9/10. A very strong episode in what has been one of the strongest modern era series of Doctor Who.