"It's happening again. I've seen them before."
— The Doctor
Written by Tom MacRae, this episode was adapted in part from Marc Platt's Big Finish Doctor Who
episode "Spare Parts"
Past, future... where HAVEN'T we been yet, in the new series? How about... ANOTHER DIMENSION!
The TARDIS falls into a parallel universe where Rose's dad isn't dead, Rose was never born, Mickey's grandmother never died, everybody wears earpods and there are, for some undetermined reason, zeppelins everywhere.
And they have a power problem. The TARDIS will only run off power from its home universe, which they are not in. So it's a good thing the Doctor finds a little power crystal that can recharge itself with the right kind of energy (don't ask
); now all they have to do is relax for 24 hours while it does its thing. Surely they can stay out of trouble for a one day, right?
Like THAT would ever happen. Despite the Doctor warning about not interfering with anything, Mickey and Rose run off to find out what's different about where they are, besides the earpods and the zeppelins and the President of Britain and everything.
Rose and the Doctor crash Rose's mum's birthday party. Mickey runs into Ricky, his parallel self, and Ricky is not very happy about it. Newly-created Cybermen show up at the party and kill several people before surrounding the Doctor and Rose. The Doctor tries to surrender, but the Cybermen will not back down. Cliffhanger ending.
- Agony of the Feet: The Doctor kick his precious TARDIS. He promptly sits down in the command chair to massage his foot.
- Alternate Universe: Somehow the TARDIS fell through a crack in the universe and ended up in another dimension.
- Big Entrance: The new Cybermen make a memorable entrance. John Lumic lampshades it.
- Call Back: During the first half of the episode, the Doctor wants nothing more than to escape from the alternate universe. The last time he was in a parallel universe did not end well at all.
- Cast from Lifespan: The TARDIS needs energy from its home universe to start working again. The Doctor finds a component with some remaining power and breathes on it. "I just gave away ten years of my life. Worth every second!"
- Casting Gag: Roger Lloyd-Pack as John Lumic provides an interesting example. He played Barty Crouch Sr. in the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and David Tennant played Barty Crouch Jr. in the same film.
- Catch Phrase: "I'm sorry. I'm so sorry." makes its second appearance, albeit from the president, this time.
- Chewing the Scenery: John Lumic steals his scenes with his grandoise lines.
- Crapsack World: What little we know for sure about Pete's World paints a dark image.
- Creepy Monotone: "DELETE."
- Deadly Euphemism: "Recruitment Drive."
- Digging Yourself Deeper: How long has it been since Mickey could've let go of that button, Doctor?
- Disposable Vagrant: They're lured in with promises of free food and instead they are robotized.
- The Dreaded: The minute the Doctor figures out what's happening, he's scared. Actual, proper scared. He doesn't even try to fight the Cybermen, he just tries surrendering.
- Evil Counterpart:
- Ricky, Mickey's alternate self is set up to be this but subverted in the next episode as they turn out to be similar.
- Alt!Jackie is a straight version; a snotty, elitist Rich Bitch.
- Evil Cripple: John Lumic, who gives off a whole bunch of Davros vibes.
- Foreshadowing: When the TARDIS crashes, odd devices descend from the ceiling. Those will be important later.
- French Maid Outfit: Rose poses as a serving girl at Pete Tyler's party.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: Mrs Moore's suggestion for why Micky and Ricky look the same is that either they're clones, or Ricky's father had a bike.
- Gilligan Cut: When the Doctor and Rose are trying to find a way into parallel universe Jackie's birthday party:
Rose: February the 1st. Mum's birthday. Even in a parallel universe, she still loves a party.
The Doctor: Well, given Pete Tyler's guest list, I wouldn't mind a look. And there is one guaranteed way of getting inside. (flips his psychic paper)
Rose Tyler: Psychic paper!
The Doctor: Who do you want to be?
(cuts to the Doctor and Rose dressed as waiters, and carrying trays out of the kitchen with the rest of the wait staff)
Rose: (annoyed) We could have been anyone.
The Doctor: (looking at her) It got us in, didn't it?
Rose: You're in charge of the psychic paper. We could have been guests, celebrities, Sir Doctor, Dame Rose. We end up serving. I had enough of this back home.
The Doctor: If you want to know what's going on, work in the kitchen.
- Immune to Bullets: The Doctor has to tell Jake and Ricky that bullets won't do squat to a Cyberman.
- In Spite of a Nail: The normal-universe Cybermen are alien, from a planet called Mondas. In this Universe they're invented by a guy on Earth, somehow looking and being mostly the same.
- Interdimensional Travel Device: The TARDIS acts as one and this worries the Doctor because this sort of thing doesn't happen anymore.
- Janitor Impersonation Infiltration: The Doctor and Rose see cars pulling up to Pete Tyler's estate and Rose realizes it's Jackie's birthday. The Doctor then shows Rose his psychic paper and asks her what she wants to be. The scene cuts to them dressed as waiters carrying trays out of the kitchen with the rest of the wait staff, with Rose very annoyed that the Doctor couldn't have passed them off as invited socialites like "Sir Doctor and Dame Rose". The Doctor counters, "If you want to know what's going on, work in the kitchen."
- Never Be Hurt Again: John Lumic, who has some undisclosed and presumably painful terminal illness, decides to enforce Unwilling Roboticisation upon himself and humanity in order to eradicate death and emotion.
- Newspaper Dating: Mickey, when he thinks they've just landed back in London.
- Oh Crap: "Cyber!"
- Our Presidents Are Different: They're British for one.
- Percussive Maintenance: The Doctor angrily kicks the dead TARDIS in a fit of rage.
Mickey: Did that help?
The Doctor: (defensively) Yes!
Mickey: Did it hurt?
The Doctor: Yes...
- Pun: "A remark about crashing the party would be appropriate."
- Pre-Mortem One-Liner: John Lumic to a dissenter.
John Lumic: And how do you expect to do that from beyond the grave?
- La Résistance: The Preachers, run by Rickey, Mickey's alternate-universe self.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: The President of Great Britain.
- Rich Bitch: alt-Jackie Tyler chews out her husband for petty details, wears diamond studded accesories, and withholds wages from well meaning employees if they accidentally offend her.
- Shirtless Scene: When Mickey is captured by the Preachers once they figure out he isn't Rickey.
- Shout-Out: Jake mentions "The Child-Catcher", the intensely creepy villain from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
- Soundtrack Dissonance: Deliberate. Crane finds the agonised screams of the converted to be an unpleasant sound, so he orders "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" by Tight Fit to played on the facility's speaker-system to cover it up.
- Spoiler Title / Trailers Always Spoil: For all that it makes an effort to avoid showing the Cybermen clearly up until The Reveal, the episode preview made it pretty clear who the villains are and the title said it outright.
- Tempting Fate: The Doctor knows exactly what he's doing. Cue Stuff Blowing Up. He does it again later. Twenty-four hours in a parallel world, what could go wrong?
- This Is Reality: Mickey mentions how characters can dimension-hop a lot more easily in comic books. The Doctor replies that isn't that simple in the real world, before remarking that it was easier before the Time War.
- Visible Boom Mic: When Mickey visits his blind grandmother, the entire crew (including the man holding the boom mic) can be seen in the reflection of her sunglasses.
- Was Once a Man: The Cybermen, who are stripped of their humanity.
- We Named the Monkey Jack: In this dimension, "Rose" is the name of Jackie's Yorkshire terrier. The Doctor valiantly tries not to laugh.
- The X of Y: "Rise of the Cybermen"
- You Look Familiar: Well, You Sound Familiar — the President of Great Britain is Don Warrington, who plays Rassilon in Big Finish Doctor Who.
- Zeppelins from Another World: The first clue that this isn't their London comes in the form of London's airspace swarming with airships.