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File:The Next Doctor 2886.jpg
I'm the Doctor. Simply, the Doctor! The one, the only and the best.
The Next Doctor

Visiting 1851 England on Christmas eve for the sheer hell of it, the Tenth Doctor hears someone screaming his name. Grinning madly, the Doctor speeds to the scene of trouble and finds a young woman in distress -- only to be scoffed aside by her. Instead, David Morrissey shows up, claiming to be The Doctor! Ten looks at what appears to be a future incarnation, his jaw slightly slackened... but both are immediately interrupted by the trouble that united the two Doctors in the first place: a Cyberman... cat... thing called a "Cybershade". One awesomely silly chase sequence later, the pair of Doctors are fast friends and the young woman is introduced as Rosita, this Doctor's companion. But Ten is worried: the Next Doctor hasn't recognized him one bit. Not wanting to accidentally mess with the 1851 Doctor's fragile memory, Ten introduces himself as "John Smith."

Chasing after the Cybershade, "John" and Next Doctor wind up in a rather neat looking house, filled with futuristic technology. Ten describes some tube-looking devices as "infostamps," and realizes that the alternate-universe Cybermen must be here in force after falling through the Void, together with some stolen Dalek technology. He also notices that Next is wearing a fop watch, and quickly puts two and two together, realizing this could be him in human form... but no, it turns out to actually be a perfectly ordinary fop watch. Next explains that he lost his memory while "regenerating".

The infostamps seem to mean that The Cybermen are a little lost and need help -- absorbing information of the era and their enemies to replenish their collective memory banks. Of course, the pair of Doctors wind up running into the Cybermen, and "John" blows his cover, announcing himself to the Cybermen as the real Doctor, while Next suddenly remembers how he dealt with Cybermen last time and kills the Cybermen with an overloaded infostamp. Ten comments that Next had a great idea, but claims he was just lying a bit about being the Doctor to protect Next. He also decides to simply check Next's chest for his number of hearts, but we don't find out just yet what the answer is. With that out of the way, it's off to the Next Doctor's TARDIS!

No, not the Time And Relative Dimensions In Space. We're talking a Tethered Aerial Release Developed In Style. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, Next Doctor has made a dirigible out of household ingredients. Ten loves it. Nearby, the Next Doctor and his companion are staying in a large barn, alongside the luggage and belongings of a victim of the Cybermen: Jackson Lake. As it turns out, the Cybermen have been stealing people away in the night, with the help of Miss Mercy Hartigan making damned sure that the Cybermen get their guy. And, also coincidentally, Jackson Lake was their first victim.

The Tenth Doctor begins to put things together rather quickly -- especially upon noticing the initials 'JL' engraved into the Next Doctor's fop watch. As it turns out, the Next Doctor isn't a Time Lord at all, but Jackson Lake. The Cybermen assaulted Lake one night, and Lake's panicked fumblings wound up turning an infostamp into a deadly weapon... but also burned quite a lot of information on the Doctor into Lake's mind. But, Ten reasons, this wasn't enough to make Jackson believe he was the Doctor... and he's right: Jackson also had a wife, who was murdered mercilessly by the Cybermen. Certainly more than enough to make Jackson flee reality. Understandably, he doesn't take this well -- believing he was completely a fake. The Doctor says otherwise, pointing out what Lake's done isn't the result of the Doctor being imprinted on him, but the result of Lake himself being awesome.

Having left earlier to let the Doctor and Jackson be alone together to speak, Rosita runs back, shouting out how the Cybermen are taking the children of London away. The Doctor and Rosita race out to see what's going on, while Lake decides to stay behind. He figures that he's not worthy of helping the Doctor. Finally, the Doctor and Miss Hartigan come face to face, and the Cybermen update their records as to who the Doctor is with a fixed infostamp and slowly march in. Looking somewhat worried, the Doctor tries bargaining with the Cybers... until blasts of electricity rip into the Cybermen from offscreen, utterly destroying them. A quick turn to the source of those blasts reveals...

...Jackson Lake standing in a high position, wearing a bandoleer of infostamps around his chest and grinning at the Doctor.

Lake comments that he still feels like something else is missing, but he just can't sit on the sidelines while the Doctor's in danger. Finally, the Doctor, Rosita and Lake break into the main base of the Cybermen and find out what's going on. But not before Miss Hartigan is turned into the Cyber Leader of the Week. The Children are being used to put the finishing touches upon what is only known as a "Cyberking", and it's just been finished. Since the Cybermen are done with the children, the facility begins to self destruct. Wasting no time, our trio begin to rush everyone out... and then Jackson Lake recovers another memory, and realizes what was still missing: his son, who was also captured by the Cybermen. Luckily, the Doctor is awesome and saves the poor young Lake, and everyone escapes and has a Merry Christma-

...

...why is there a giant Steampunk robot rising up from the Thames River? Wait, that's a Cyberking?

While Lake and Rosita help everyone slowly evacuate London by running with them, the Doctor leaps into Lake's TARDIS and flies up into the skies. He takes along a piece of Dalek technology salvaged from the Cybermen base and the rest of those infostamps. To his surprise (and a bit of delight), Miss Hartigan is driving the Cyberking with her mind. She's one of the cleverest humans that ever lived, and she's completely taken over the Cybermen with the sheer force of her own will. And now she wants to take over the world. As is the tradition for the Tenth Doctor, Ten offers the Hartigan a chance to live in peace (albeit on another planet with no life to take over) and marvels at what an extraordinary human she is. Of course, Hartigan refuses, so the Doctor blasts her with the collective group of infostamps, boosted by a handy sonic screwdriver. Rather than directly killing Miss Hartigan, though, it simply frees her mind from the Cyber-Conditioning she's undergone. Needless to say, she freaks out, the Cybermen turn against her, and the Cyberking begins to topple as she and the Cybermen slowly explode. ... And topple on top of London.

Luckily, that chunk of Dalek tech is a handy key to send it into the Time Vortex, where it seemingly blows up harmlessly. Jackson Lake gets up atop a lamppost and begins to preach to the crowd about how the Doctor has just saved them all, and how he deserves applause just this once. Of course, the crowd does.

Finally, the Doctor tries to sidle off to his own TARDIS and leave, but Jackson follows. The Doctor offers to take Lake along with him, but the Lake only limits himself to a quick look inside the real TARDIS, which his mind can barely handle. He absolutely insists that the Doctor join the Lakes and Rosita for Christmas dinner. The Doctor tries to weasel out of it, like he does every Christmas. But Jackson is persistent enough to change the Doctor's mind, a rare feat. Wishing one another a Merry Christmas, the camera slowly moves off into the snowfall... which is, for once, actual freaking snow.


Tropes

  "Well, uh, it makes a noise. (tap tap tap) That's sonic, isn't it?"

    • The TARDIS is also his transport through time and space. Although he's referring to all the time to himself and space away from others it grants.
  • Foreshadowing: The Doctor wonders why no-one ever talks about the Cyberking incident in the future. We later learn that the event itself was erased by the Cracks, leaving only time travellers capable of remembering it.
  • Genre Savvy: The Doctor, seeing as he's dealing with himself.

 Next Doctor: "You ask many questions."

Doctor: I'm your Companion."

(Next Doctor accepts this without question)

  • Heroic BSOD: Next Doctor is prone to them. In fact, it's the reason the Doctor's memories took over so well -- he was mid-BSOD due to the death of his wife and kidnapping of his son at the hands of the Cybermen.
  • Hooker with a Heart of Gold: Hartigan implies Rosita is a prostitute when she tells her "He didn't pay you to talk". Word of God confirms it, although the outfit gives an indication.
    • As does her statement that she was out alone, late in the night, at the docks when the man she knows as The Doctor rescued her from a Cyberman attack.
  • Humongous Mecha: The Cyberking, of course.
  • I Lied: "That was designated a 'lie'."
  • Instant Awesome, Just Add Mecha: The CyberKing. It's supposed to be a ship to launch an invasion, but it's in the form of a mecha because of this trope.
  • Internal Homage: The Doctor, staring seriously in a TARDIS that has just taken off for the first time the viewer sees, with the current opening theme graphics over his face? Where have we seen that before?
  • Ironic Name:

 Hartigan: You know, all these years, and not one of you has asked me my first name. It's Mercy.

  • Large Ham: David Morrissey.
  • Lady in Red: "Is it too exciting?"
  • Oh Crap: When the (real) Doctor is casually searching through the house only to come across a complete, living Cyberman in the closet.

 The Doctor: Okay... I think we should run.

 Rosita: Who are you, anyway?

Doctor: I'm the Doctor.

Rosita: Doctor Who?

Doctor: Just the Doctor.

 Miss Hartigan: What do you make of me, Sir? An idiot?

Doctor: No. The question is, what do you make of me?

Miss Hartigan Destroy him!

Doctor: You make me into this.

 "You monstrous witch!"

"Merry Christmas to you, too."
 

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