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Recap / Doctor Who S28 E6 "The Age of Steel"

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See ya, Mickey...

Mickey: Let's go liberate Paris.
Jake: What, you and me? In a van?
Mickey: Nothing wrong with a van. I once saved the universe with a big yellow truck.

Original air date: May 20, 2006

Production code: 2.6

The One With… a Cyberman that left its high-beams on.

Alternatively, the one with not-AVALANCHE and not-Shinra.

Written by Tom MacRae, this episode was adapted in part from Marc Platt's Big Finish Doctor Who episode "Spare Parts".

When we left off, in "Rise of the Cybermen", the Doctor, Rose, Mickey, and the Preachers are unsuccessfully trying to surrender to Cybermen. The Doctor uses a trinket from the TARDIS — the small Artron cell — to kill the Cybermen.

Mrs. Moore drives up in the Preachers' van and shouts for them to get in. The Doctor and the others are climbing in, but Pete wants to go back for Jackie. The Doctor tells him that anyone inside the house is dead and that if he wants to help, he should make sure Jackie's death was not for nothing. Pete reluctantly gets in the van. Rose also is torn about going back in, but the Doctor reminds her that this Jackie is not her mother, and the group make their escape from the rest of the Cybermen.

Inside the house, Jackie Tyler is trapped helplessly behind the basement door as the invading Cybermen patrol her mansion.

In the Preachers' van, the Doctor tells Rose and Mickey that the power cell will recharge in about four hours. Under threat of execution, as the Preachers view him as a traitor due to his association with Cybus, Pete reveals that he is in fact Gemini, the source of the Preachers' inside information on Lumic. Apparently, he only joined Lumic to feed information to the Security Services but instead got the Preachers. Ricky also confesses that he is not as much of a badass as he purports to be, for he is indeed London's "most wanted"... for parking tickets.

Meanwhile, Lumic is inside Battersea Power Station, in the cyber-conversion factory. Pleased and ready to begin his next plan, Lumic broadcasts a signal via the EarPods throughout London. In the city streets, the population is suddenly stopped by the signal. After a brief pause, they all drop whatever they were doing and begin making their way towards Battersea to be converted. Jackie too is among those who get summoned. Mr. Crane gets an idea of what's going on when his EarPods attempt to activate, and rips them off in disgust.

The Cybermen begin stalking the streets as the city is sealed off; the Doctor and the others have arrived amidst this, and Rose suggests removing the EarPods from the passersby, but the Doctor warns her that this would be too dangerous as it would cause a "brainstorm"; he goes on to express disgust at the human race's willingness to let themselves be taken over.

Jake and Ricky do some reconnaissance and determine that the Cybermen are everywhere, taking the people to their lair. When asked, Pete tells the Doctor that Lumic's base of operations is at Battersea, and that the Cybermen were born out of the dying Lumic's obsession with prolonging his own life... no matter the cost. Rose suddenly realizes she's seen the Cybermen before, as Henry van Statten kept the head of one in his museum. The Doctor confirms that the Cybermen exist in their universe and began on a small planet like this, before they swarmed across the galaxy. To keep this universe from suffering the same fate, the Doctor plans to "nip" the birth of the Cybermen in the "bud".

The group decides to split up to increase their chances of getting out of the city. Ricky and Mickey will head in one direction as Mrs. Moore and the others go in the other. Fleeing from the advancing Cyber army, Mickey and Ricky match each other's personalities before splitting up.

Elsewhere, the Doctor, Mrs. Moore, Pete and Rose also run from the Cybermen. Whilst hiding around a street corner, the Doctor uses his sonic screwdriver to send a Cybermen platoon away.

However, in the process of fleeing, the Cybermen catch up with Ricky while he is climbing a fence, Mickey on the other side. They grab him by the foot and electrocute him. Ricky drops to the ground, dead.

Inside the factory, Crane is brought before Lumic for his seeming treachery. Lumic states that he thought Crane was a trustworthy ally. Crane falsely claims that his earpiece malfunctioned and requests an upgrade. However, this is only a ruse to get him close to Lumic's wheelchair, and when he is close enough, Crane grabs Lumic's vital breathing apparatus and damages it badly, causing Lumic to go into shock. The Cybermen quickly come to his aid and electrocute Crane, but the damage has already been done. The Cybermen say he must be converted, but Lumic protests that he will upgrade with his last breath. The Cybermen automatically move his chair into a conversion room.

Near the river, the team all meet up beneath a bridge, when Jake states that the Cybermen are everywhere. Suddenly, Mickey arrives and tells them of Ricky's death; Jake reacts with a mixture of grief and anger, turning on Mickey. The Doctor says that they can mourn Ricky when London is safe, but for now they move on.

The team walk up a hill, viewing Battersea Power Station from across the river, and see Lumic's zeppelin moored on the roof. The Doctor states that the whole of London has been sealed off by the army, and the entire population is being taken inside there — to be converted. They must get inside the factory and shut it down.

Mrs. Moore calls up a schematic of the factory, which shows old cooling tunnels that lead beneath it. Pete suggests another way in: through the front door, using dummy EarPods provided by Mrs. Moore. Rose demands to go with Pete, even though to successfully infiltrate the building, neither of them must show any emotion. The Doctor relents and thinks of a third way, to sabotage the EarPod transmissions so the people do not walk to their deaths like sheep. He tells Jake to take out the transmitter, which the Doctor, using the sonic screwdriver, determines is on the zeppelin. The Doctor and Mrs. Moore will enter the factory from below, through the cooling tunnels.

The group then are about to set off, when Mickey realises that, once again, he has not been assigned a role, and complains about being the "tin dog". He decides to go along with Jake, despite Jake's resentment at his survival. Ultimately, however, Jake lets Mickey go with him, and the Doctor wishes him luck.

The Doctor and Mrs. Moore enter the cooling tunnels, which they find are filled with hundreds of inactive Cybermen. He tells Mrs. Moore to move carefully and keep an eye out for any trip devices. Meanwhile, outside the factory, hundreds of Cybermen patrol the area as thousands of hypnotised citizens walk inside to be converted. Amongst this, Rose and Pete retreat behind some barrels and place the dummy EarPods upon their ears. They then successfully join the line of humans entering the factory and manage to fool the Cybermen they walk past.

Meanwhile, Mickey and Jake make it to the mooring station on the roof. The Zeppelin is guarded by two hypnotised guards. Jake wants to kill them, but Mickey makes him realise that if he does, there's no difference between him and a Cyberman. Jake then shows Mickey several knock-out drops provided by Mrs. Moore that should prove effective. They launch upon the guards and render them unconscious with the drops. The two then climb into the airship.

Below, Mrs. Moore and the Doctor move through the cooling tunnels. They make small talk along the way, with Mrs. Moore explaining how she came to be involved with the Preachers. Her real name is Angela Price, and she was married with two children. She used to work for Cybus Industries as a secretary, until one day, she came across a file she wasn't supposed to read. Lumic went on a full-scale manhunt in an effort to eliminate her for knowing too much, so she changed her name and joined the Preachers. She picked the alias to bolster the impression that she had died and to protect her family. She makes the Doctor promise not to tell a soul. However, they do not notice a red light flashing at their passing. Inside the factory control room, two Cybermen notice an alarm in the tunnels. They activate the stored army to remove the intruders.

Inside the tunnels, the hundreds of Cybermen suddenly awake. The Doctor and Mrs. Moore quickly escape just in time through a hatch which the Doctor seals behind them.

In the main conversion area of the factory, Pete and Rose move towards the conversion chambers, keeping an eye out for Jackie. The conversion machines activate as many unfortunate humans walk inside and they swoop down, with sharp cutting equipment, and the human's brain is removed and put into a Cyberman. Rose and Pete watch as a woman is converted. Suddenly, a Cyberman approaches them, identifying Pete. To Pete and Rose's horror, it identifies itself as originally having been Jackie. Pete shouts out that this is impossible, but the Cyberman confirms this, stating that Pete worked with Cybus Industries and must be rewarded — by force. Rose and Pete are captured and taken to the control room, as the Cyberman that was once Jackie fades back into the mass of identical steel creatures.

On the bridge of the zeppelin, Jake and Mickey search for the transmitter controls and find what seems to be an empty Cyberman shell. They dismiss it and continue to look.

In the tunnels, the Doctor and Mrs. Moore meet a Cyberman, which she quickly deactivates with an EMP bomb. The Doctor opens the chest of the downed Cyberman, finding bits of an organic nervous system and an emotional inhibitor. The Doctor explains that if the Cybermen realised what they had become, they would go insane. The Cyberman stirs, and with its inhibitor broken, it remembers that it was once a bride-to-be named Sally Phelan. The Doctor apologises and eases Sally into death with the sonic screwdriver.

The Doctor realises this is the solution: if they could find the cancellation code for the inhibitor and feed it throughout the system, the shock of realising what they are would probably kill the Cybermen. He hesitates at the thought of this, but Mrs. Moore convinces him that they have to do this before they kill anyone else. Suddenly a Cyberman appears from behind and electrocutes Mrs. Moore. Two more appear and capture the Doctor. Their only response is to note his alien biology; his binary vascular system registers as an "unknown upgrade." The Doctor is to be taken to the factory's central command to be studied further.

On the zeppelin, Mickey finds the transmitter control behind a steel plate, but there is no way to cut through it. Jake suggests setting the autopilot of the ship to crash and then escaping. Mickey begins to hack into the ship's systems but activates a silent alarm in the process.

The Doctor is brought to Cyber Control where he meets Pete and Rose, who tell him of Jackie's demise. The Doctor asks where Lumic is, and a Cybermen tells him that Lumic has been upgraded into a superior Cyberman modelthe Cyber-Controller. A wall slides back and reveals what was once Lumic, now a specialised Cyberman with glowing eyes and a transparent braincase, seated upon a mechanical throne.

The Cyberman on the zeppelin comes to life in response to the silent alarm and tries to kill Mickey and Jake. Mickey baits the Cyberman into punching him, ducking out of the way at the last second so it punches through the steel plate protecting the transmitter control instead. Electricity crackles through the Cyberman's body and it falls at the same time the transmission is cut off.

The humans in the factory snap out of their trances and, seeing the conversion machines above them, realise what they're walking into and flee. The Cybermen that try to stop them end up knocked aside like skittles in their panic. In the control room, the Doctor hears the cries and knows that his friends have succeeded in their task. However, the Cyber-Controller refuses to admit defeat, saying that he has factories around the world, and if he cannot use the EarPods, the conversions will take place by force.

Knowing that Jake and Mickey are observing through a monitor in the zeppelin, the Doctor stalls Lumic, challenging his assertions of an emotionless utopia. The Doctor points out that Lumic is creating a world without imagination, emotion and creativity and that with such thinking humanity will cease to progress. Lumic may have an army, but he is forgetting about the ordinary people, and even an ordinary person — some "idiot" — can save the world.

Mickey, listening, understands that the Doctor is referring to him and is dropping hints about finding a code that will shut down the emotional inhibitors. Mickey searches the Lumic database to decrypt the code, 6879760, which he sends to Rose's mobile phone. The Doctor points out to Lumic that in his drive for technological dominance, he made his systems able to interface with anything. The Doctor proves this by plugging Rose's phone into the console, sending the code across the Cyber system.

All over the factory, the Cybermen's inhibitors shut down; they see each other and realise what they have become, overloading from the emotions they start to feel. The Cybermen begin to malfunction and collapse, some even exploding. One Cyberman catches sight of its reflection and shakily touches the image, emitting heartrending gasping sounds as the human inside it realises what it has become; the Doctor can only solemnly tell it, "I'm sorry."

The Cyber-Controller calls out to the Doctor in horror of what is happening to his fellow Cybermen, all his creations, demanding to know what he has done. The Doctor retorts that he has given the Cybermen back their souls; the Cybermen can now see what Lumic has done, and it's killing them. He, Rose and Pete run out of the control room as the factory begins to be consumed in fire and explode from the inside. With all the destruction, escape doesn't seem possible; but, despite Jake's urgings, Mickey refuses to leave the others behind. He calls Rose and tells her to make for the roof. Rose, the Doctor and Pete retreat up the stairs as the factory explodes all around them. In the midst of the flames, the Cyber-Controller, displaying pure rage at the destruction of his creations, frees himself from the chair and goes on a rampage after the Doctor.

Mickey, meanwhile, lowers a ladder from the zeppelin for the Doctor and the others. As the Doctor, Rose and Pete climb upward, escaping the factory's destruction, the ladder is suddenly jerked by a great weight — the Cyber-Controller climbing up after them. The Doctor throws Pete his sonic screwdriver and tells him to use it on the rope. Pete does so, and Lumic falls down from the zeppelin and is consumed by a huge fireball which rises up from the burning factory, presumably destroying him.

Pete, Rose and the Doctor keep hold of the remaining ladder as the zeppelin floats away into the night.

Sometime later, the Doctor returns to the TARDIS with the fully charged power cell and restores power to the ship. Outside, Rose tries to persuade Pete into boarding the TARDIS, but he refuses. She tries to explain about parallel universes and that she is his daughter, but Pete is unable to handle this information and leaves to tell the authorities about Lumic and the other factories.

The Doctor says they have only five minutes of power and have to leave. He tells Jake Mrs. Moore's real name, asking him to find her family and tell them how she died saving the world. However, to his shock, Mickey announces he is staying. This world lost its Ricky, there are other Cyber-factories to destroy, and his blind grandmother needs looking after. Rose promises that they will come back and see him, but the Doctor reminds her that they only arrived in this parallel universe by accident, and when they leave, they must seal the crack in time, meaning they can never come back. The Doctor gives Mickey Rose's mobile phone, telling him to get the code out there and wishes "Mickey the Idiot" luck.

Rose and Mickey reminisce about their childhood and how they wondered what they would do with their lives, never imagining they would be travelling to the stars. They share an emotional farewell, and Rose tearfully returns to the TARDIS, which dematerialises before Jake's astonished eyes.

Returning to the home universe, the TARDIS rematerialises in Jackie's flat on the Powell Estate. Rose breaks down in tears upon seeing her mother alive and hugs her tightly. Jackie wonders where they went, and asks the Doctor where Mickey is. The Doctor simply responds that Mickey has "gone home."

On the parallel Earth, Mickey tells Jake that he does not intend to replace Ricky but be his own man. They can remember him by fighting in his name. Mickey wonders if there is a Cyber-factory in Paris, and suggests they go liberate the city. Jake is sceptical that they can do that with the two of them in a van. Mickey tells him there is nothing wrong with a van. After all, he once saved the universe with a big yellow truck...


  • Absurdly-Spacious Sewer: The Cybermen lurk in the "cooling tunnels" beneath Lumic's factory. Justified in that Lumic's factory is based out of the iconic former Battersea Power Station, which actually does have tunnels underneath it, though nowhere near as extensive as depicted.
  • Age of Titles: "The Age of Steel".
  • All There in the Manual: A deleted scene reveals Jake is gay. There are still enough moments within the episode to deduce that he's homosexual.
  • And This Is for...: "JACKIE TYLER!!! THIS IS FOR HER!!!!"
  • Apologetic Attacker: After shutting down the emotional inhibitors en masse, the Doctor sadly says "I'm sorry" to a Cyberman reacting in horror to the sight of what it's become in a reflective surface.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Ricky's group of freedom fighters. Despite claiming to be freedom fighters, stockpiling weapons and hacking into various organisations, Ricky's only most wanted... in London for parking violations. The Doctor backs him on the "park anywhere" thing, for obvious reasons.
  • Assimilation Plot: As Cybermen are known to do.
  • Behind the Black:
    • Parodied. "I've been captured, but don't worry, Rose and Pete are still out there, they'll save me — oh, well, never mind."
    • Played straight with a couple of the deaths at the hands of the Cybermen, who always make very loud noises whenever they take a step, except when they need to suddenly show up in the picture, right behind someone.
  • Big Bad: John Lumic, who ends up becoming the Cyber-Controller.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Complete with very brief American accent. "Welcome to Mickey Smith Airlines! Please enjoy your flight. WOO!"
  • Big "NO!": Cyber-Controller/Lumic, as his planetary conversion plans fall apart thanks to the Doctor and Mickey, and later as he falls to his death.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Lumic's dead, but the Cybermen are still upgrading, Pete (unlike his main universe counterpart) desperately wants to get away from the fact he's been followed around by his alternate-universe daughter, the Preachers are down to one, and Mickey decides to stay to replace Ricky.
  • Body Horror: Cyber-conversion. Tellingly, the Cybus Cybermen include a vital component that represses their emotions, so they won't react to their condition with suicidal despair.
  • Book Ends: The Doctor, who often scornfully referred to Mickey as "Mickey the Idiot" in his ninth incarnation, uses it as a term of affection as Mickey departs.
  • Brief Accent Imitation: While rescuing his friends from an exploding factory via zeppelin, Mickey seems to decide airship captain = American accent. "Welcome to Mickey Smith Airlines; please enjoy your flight."
  • Brought to You by the Letter "S": The new Cybermen's letter-C Chest Insignia is commented on by the Doctor, who notes that Lumic's "turned them into a brand".
  • Call-Back: As noted by Noel Clarke on the commentary, Mickey phones Rose and says, "I'm coming to get you!", which echoes the Ninth Doctor's words to her at the climax of "Bad Wolf".
  • Canned Orders over Loudspeaker: An unpleasantly angry voice can be heard calling out through the Cyber-conversion factory.
    "Chamber 5 now open for human upgrading. Chamber 7 now open for human upgrading. Chamber 12 now closed for sterilisation. All reject stock will be incinerated."
  • Catchphrase: The Doctor begins using "I'm sorry. I'm so sorry." In earnest.
  • Chain-Link Fence: When Mickey and Ricky are running away from a squad of Cybermen, they wind up on opposite sides of one. Ricky has to climb it to escape the pursuing Cybermen, but doesn't make it.
  • Cliffhanger Copout: At the end of "Rise of the Cybermen", the Doctor tries to convince the Cybermen who've cornered his group that they're surrendering, only for the Cybermen to ignore this and ominously chant "Delete! Delete!" as the episode ends; when this episode begins, the Doctor suddenly pulls a tool out of nowhere which kills the Cybermen then and there. Because if the Doctor had this tool at his disposal, there was little reason to try and surrender and even less to hesitate for about 10 seconds before killing the enemy; they don't even suggest that he was possibly trying to buy enough time until the tool was fully charged to destroy the Cybermen, which actually make sense if it's the case. This is justified by the "tool" actually being the TARDIS's charging power cell, whose use as a weapon started the charging process all over again. For obvious reasons, the Doctor was reluctant to cut off his ultimate escape route.
  • Cool Car: After Pete insults Preachers' van, the Doctor looks around with a little smile, like he quite likes it.
  • Continuity Nod:
  • Creative Sterility: The Doctor points out that Lumic's Assimilation Plot is robbing his victims of the one thing that powered all his efforts to survive: imagination.
  • Curse Cut Short: Mr. Crane's last words: "Die, you bas–"
  • Deadly Dodging: Mickey takes out a Cyberman this way, also destroying the transmitter controls in the process.
    Mickey: Come on, you brainless lump of metal! Come and have a go.
  • Deus ex Machina: The Doctor's power source for the TARDIS also emits an energy beam that selectively zaps all surrounding Cybermen.
  • Disney Villain Death: John Lumic is climbing a rope ladder when Pete Tyler cuts it, causing Lumic to fall to his death in his exploding factory.
  • Ditto Aliens: Played for horror; Pete tries to think of a way to reverse what happened to Jackie, only to realize she's already lost in the crowd of identical Cybermen.
  • Doppelgänger Gets Same Sentiment: Continued from the previous episode. Rose is horrified and shaken by her mother's counterpart's fate and afterwards needs to visit her real mother to get over it. Rose also comes clean to the alternate Pete, but in contrast to his prime counterpart, he rejects her, leaving her shaken. Mickey's still-living grandmother's counterpart is a major factor in his decision to stay in the parallel universe.
  • Dying as Yourself: The Doctor destroys all the Cybermen's emotional inhibitors, causing them to remember their humanity and realise what they've become, which in turn causes their heads to explode.
    Cyber-Controller: What have you done?!
    The Doctor: I gave them back their souls! They've seen what happened to them! And it's killing them!
  • Evil Is Sterile: The Doctor accuses the Cybermen of this. They're programmed to simply expand and "upgrade" all other life-forms, lacking any of the creativity that led Lumic to make them in the first place.
    The Doctor: The Cybermen won't advance. You'll just stop. You'll stay like this forever. A metal Earth with metal men and metal thoughts, lacking the one thing that makes this planet so alive: people! Ordinary, stupid, brilliant people.
  • Exact Words: John Lumic insists on postponing his own cyber-conversion until "his last breath". Since his life support has just been damaged, the Cybermen immediately take him to a conversion chamber.
  • Expo Label: Lampshaded: Mickey and Jake are looking for the transmitter controls, and Mickey asks what it looks like. Jake responds sarcastically that it'll have a sign with "Transmitter Controls" in big red letters on it. It does.
  • Facepalm: The Doctor does this during the conversation with the Cyber-Controller.
  • Fatal Family Photo: As soon as Mrs. Moore tells the Doctor her real name and mentions her family, she's doomed. She wasn't killed by the long line of dormant Cybermen they were sneaking past at the time, but rather in another encounter soon after.
  • Go Mad from the Revelation: The army of Cybermen once their emotional inhibitors are switched off.
    The Doctor: It's still got a human brain. Imagine its reaction if it could see itself, realise itself inside this thing... it would go insane.
  • Go Through Me: The Doctor after the Cyber-Controller offers to convert him:
    The Doctor: You might as well kill me.
    Cyber-Controller: Then I take that option.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Lumic's use of Plug 'n' Play Technology is what allows Mickey and the Doctor to broadcast the code deactivating the Cyber-army's emotional inhibitors.
  • Humans Are Morons: The Doctor briefly lapses into this when Lumic activates his mind control.
    The Doctor: Y'know, the human race, you aren't half susceptible. Sometimes I think you like it. A simpler life.
  • Hypocrite: Lumic forces upgrading on everyone else but refuses to upgrade himself until he's on his last breath. (Too bad for him, the Cybermen took this literally...)
  • I Choose to Stay: Mickey stays in the alternate universe because it's a world where his grandmother's still alive and he wants to honour the memory of the fallen Ricky, and one where he doesn't feel useless — taking up his alternate universe counterpart's mantle to fight the Cybermen.
  • If You Kill Him, You Will Be Just Like Him!: Mickey tells Jake that killing a guard would make them no better than the Cybermen.
  • I Know Mortal Kombat: Mickey sarcastically responds to his acquired Zeppelin skills with: "PlayStation".
  • I'm Cold... So Cold...: Subverted when a downed Cyberman whose emotional inhibitor has been removed asks "why... am... I... cold?" It's revealed she has no idea what has happened, and still thinks she's on the way to her wedding. (The trope name drop is especially apt, as this is what finally convinces the Doctor that the Cybermen are no longer really alive, and therefore can be destroyed.)
  • Indy Ploy: Mickey calls the Doctor on it.
    Mickey: You're just making this up as you go along!
    The Doctor: Yeeep! But I do it brilliantly.
  • I Say What I Say: Mickey and Ricky, while fleeing the Cybermen, at one point stop to catch their breath, each go off on their own panicked monologue, and culminate with reciting, in unison, "They know where we are!"
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Complete with an oblique Shout-Out to Casablanca (see the page quote).
  • Lampshade Hanging: The "transmitter controls" exchange.
  • Mauve Shirt: Mrs. Moore gets just enough characterisation for it to matter when the Cybermen suddenly kill her.
    The Doctor: No, no! You didn't need to kill her!
  • Meaningful Echo: "I'm sorry, I'm so sorry." Was first said to the Cybermen the previous episode by the President, before being repeated by the Doctor in this episode.
  • Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal: Crane turns on Lumic and sabotages his life support after narrowly escaping the activation of his earpods to bring him to the Cyberman factory.
  • Mortality Phobia: Pete explains to the Doctor, Rose and the Preachers the Cybermen were born out of Lumic's desire to cheat death.
    Rose: Why's [Lumic] doing it?
    Pete: He's dying. This all started out as a way of prolonging life, keeping the brain any cost.
  • Multitasked Conversation: The second half of the Doctor's big speech during the climax is a blatantly transparent conversation with Mickey via the security cameras.
    The Doctor: You just don't get it, do you? An army's nothing! Because those ordinary people, they're the key. The most ordinary person could change the world! (The Doctor glances up at the security camera) Some ordinary man or woman... some idiot. All it takes is for him to find, say, the right numbers. Say the right codes. Say, for example, the code behind the emotional inhibitor. The code right in front of him. Because even an idiot knows how to use computers these days.
  • Mercy Kill: The Doctor quietly shuts down the nervous system of Sally, a would-have-been bride "upgraded" into a Cyberman and then incapacitated in such a way that her emotional-inhibitor chip was shut down. Particularly merciful in that she never realizes what's been done to her, unlike all the other upgrades.
  • Nom de Guerre: Mrs. Moore works under an alias to protect her family and reveals her real name to the Doctor shortly before her death. The Doctor tells Jake her real name and asks him to find her family and tell them how she died saving the world.
  • No One Gets Left Behind:
    Mickey: I'm not leaving them behind! [fighting Jake for the steering wheel] There's no way I'm leaving them behind!
  • Oddly Small Organization: The Preachers are essentially this despite being the only group that pose a direct threat to Lumics' Cybus Industries, consisting of just three members all working out of the back of an electronics service truck: Ricky Smith, Mrs. Moore, and Jake Simmonds.
    Pete Tyler: I thought I was contacting the Secret Service, and what do I get? Scooby-Doo and his Gang? They even got the van!
  • One Scene, Two Monologues: Mickey and Ricky while fleeing the Cybermen.
  • Poke the Poodle: Ricky is most wanted in London... for parking tickets. The Doctor can't help but smile at Mickey being Mickey, even when he's Ricky.
  • Pretend to Be Brainwashed: Rose and Pete, with the help of fake earpods, infiltrate the Cyberman factory by pretending to be two more of the mind-controlled civilians marching in to be cyber-converted.
  • Put on a Bus: Mickey, though he was dodging that inevitability since his first appearance anyway.
  • The Quisling: In this reality, Pete Tyler is a high-ranking official in Lumic's company. When he's captured by the resistance, he reveals that he's actually working as The Mole, being the insider responsible for sending them information on the Cybermen.
  • Remember When You Blew Up a Sun?: When Mickey and Jake set out to stop a Cyberman army with nothing but a blue van, Mickey explains how he once "saved the whole universe with a big yellow truck".
  • Shout-Out: Pete compares the Preachers to the main characters of Scooby-Doo, saying "They even got the van!"
  • Slow-Motion Fall: The parallel universe Cyber-Controller falls to his doom after Pete Tyler cuts the ladder the Controller is climbing with the sonic screwdriver.
  • Something Only They Would Say: What winds up telling Mickey that the Doctor is more talking to him than the Cyber-Controller during the climax? The Doctor mentioning the various kinds of ordinary people that could change the world... including "some idiot".
  • Stealth Pun: Lumic's conversion of Battersea Power Station into the Cyber-Factory just has to be a reference to the Pink Floyd song "Sheep" from Animals.
    Meek and obedient, you follow the leader
    Down well-trodden corridors
    Into the valley of steel.
  • Stock Sound Effect: That "ZORP!" sound Cyber-Controller!Lumic made as he fell to his death? Yeah, that was in The Little Mermaid (1989), guess where!
  • Stuff Blowing Up: When the Doctor deactivates the emotional inhibitors, the Cybermen panicking leads to the entire factory exploding.
  • Tempting Fate:
    John Lumic: I will upgrade only with my last breath!
    Cyberman: Then breathe no more.
  • Title Drop: "This is the Age of Steel, and I am its creator."
  • Unwilling Roboticisation: "Upgrading" is mandatory. If you disagree, then you will be herded like sheep into the factory anyway. Yes, this also applies to the Cybermen's master and creator (though only after Crane damaged his life support).
  • [Verb] This!: "Upgrade this!"
  • Villainous Breakdown: Lumic goes through one after the Doctor shuts down the emotional inhibitors, driving the Cybermen into suicidal insanity:
    Lumic: What have you done?!
    The Doctor: I gave them back their souls! They can see what you've done, Lumic, and it's KILLING them!
  • Weak-Willed: Humans, according to the Doctor, are easy to herd and mind control.
  • The X of Y: "The Age of Steel".
  • You Have GOT to Be Kidding Me!: Pete's reaction to Mickey dropping the rope ladder.
  • Your Head Asplode: One of the Cybermen.