It's Lucie's first day at the office. She's a bit confused, because she could have sworn she was on an interstellar adventure just now. The Headhunter quickly reassures her and shows her her desk.
Things seem off. She can't figure out why the company has a growling and barking security guard at the door. And she has intrusive thoughts about Daleks and Doctors and planets. The Headhunter, meanwhile, collects her fee for having successfully headhunted a nice new employee.
The Eighth Doctor gets a rather unwelcome visitor from Gallifrey. If he rescues Lucie from that odd office, the Time Lords will fix the TARDIS and enable a trip to 2006 Northern England again. If, the Doctor counters, they enable his TARDIS again, he can then go rescue Lucie. The Time Lords disagree and give him a time travel ring instead. The Doctor thinks it's a bit tacky.
Lucie's stuck in Logistics for a bit, together with a girl named Karen whom she met during the job interview. After meeting Pointy-Haired Boss Jerry, she's thankfully able to escape his misogyny and general idiocy when a new boss upstairs wants her as his new personal assistant. It's the Doctor, of course, who entered the company to find Lucie and was immediately assumed to be an employee, then unceremoniously Kicked Upstairs. The two decide to split up.
The Doctor attends a strategy meeting, which sounds suspiciously like an actual war strategy meeting. He gives his own input and devises a new tactic that involves less bloodshed and more tunnel-digging. Rather confused as to why that sort of stuff is being discussed at all, he goes back to his office to shred everything he can find, hoping to annoy someone that way. (Annoying people is a marvellous way to get information.)
Lucie and Karen, meanwhile, are fired when they make a minor mistake in data input. Being fired involves being thrown out of the office building — which is a Humongous Mecha, as it turns out. Lucie calls the Doctor to explain that they're running away from a giant robot with guns. He struggles with the idea for a bit. She texts him a picture and he has to admit that, yes, giant robot with guns is a rather apt description. Luckily, Lucie and Karen are rescued by other ex-employees led by a man Karen used to know, the previous boss of the company, Malcom. He gives them food and a general idea of what's going on. People at the office are brainwashed, sleep at their desks and get enough nutritional supplements to work every day. And there's a war out there.
The Headhunter is right cross when she hears that Lucie's been fired. (Not in the least because that means she won't get her commission.) She goes after the girls.
The Doctor eventually saunters over to Human Resources, where a human greets him and assumes he's a new client. The HR manager, Hulbert, explains that he was a regular employee once, resisted the brainwashing and did a little hostile takeover before getting properly into the war business. The office workers are plucked from Earth to become literal Human Resources; the language of the meetings is universal enough to be applied to logistics or war; the office view resembles London. (It used to be Ipswich, but aliens got a bit cross after travelling billions of miles and ending up in Ipswich.) The Doctor quite casually asks what options are available for clients. War on Gallifrey seems rather nice, he says, seeing how they exiled him and all.
Hulbert takes him up to the shielded platform to have a look at the war they're in right now. The Doctor, deciding that he's done siding with them, disables the shield and let down their defences to even out the battle for the other side. He then realises he's made a huge mistake when, to his horror, he hears the sound of mechanical marching.
A sound he recognises all to well to be the telltale signs of... The Cybermen.
- Bad Boss: Jerry Cooper seems to be a mild version, being obnoxious, sexist, "overly" friendly towards staff that doesn't reciprocate, and "isn't really racist he just says embarrassing things".
- Big Bad: While the Headhunter is set up as this throughout the season, Hulbert seems to take her place at the end of the episode... Only to then be replaced by the true villains, the Cybermen.
- Continuity Nod: Before recovering from the brainwash, Lucie though that she just dreamed the Daleks, the Tomorrow Twins and what happened on Phobos.
- Deadpan Snarker: The Doctor asks Lucie why she always greets him with sarcasm. She tells him that she's Sarcasmo, the Lord of Sarcasm. She will hurt him with her... barbs. He's not impressed.
- Double-Meaning Title: Nearly every company has a HR department, but the title suggests the Cybermen using the humans as literal human resources.
- Giant Mecha: The office
- Go-to Alias: John Smith.
- Hijacked by the Cybermen
- Hurricane of Puns: When Karen and Lucie meet they deplete a plethora of rope jokes.
- Late-Arrival Spoiler: Don't look at Part Two's cover before listening to Part One, or you'll have the main twist spoiled for you.
- La Résistance: The ex-employees.
- Let's Split Up, Gang: The Doctor and Lucie when they meet up again, is to split up.
- Names to Run Away from Really Fast: The Headhunter at first seems to be one, and then it turns out she's a Headhunter for ... "The office"... then it loops back around.
- Not In Townsend Any More
- Not Saying The F Word: When the Doctor tells his "PA" Lucie to "Take a letter" she says "She'd take four letters and arrange them in a word for him".
- The Reveal: The climax of the episode, revealing the main villain for the season's overall arc: The Cybermen.
- Spoiled by the Format: If you plan on listening to the episode unspoiled, be sure not to read the credits on the cover. They list Nicholas Briggs as the Cybermen, despite the appearance of the Cybermen being The Reveal at the episode's climax.'
- Stompy Mooks: The Cybermen.
- Title Drop: "You can get a copy from Human Resources"
- To Be Continued: "I thought you were going to say tune in next week"
- The Unintelligible: Clive speaks in tongues that only a select few can understand.