Doctor who, My review of Episode 12 “The Nightmare in SIlver”

Posted: May 13, 2013 in Gossip/News/Reviews - TV

Here is my review of episode 12 (series 7) of doctor who which was on BBC1 on Saturday 11th May 2013.  Please don’t read if you have not seen this episode, spoiler alert.

This episode found The Doctor and Clara taking her babysitting charges, Angie and Artie, to the largest theme park in the universe—a theme park that’d long since been abandoned because people kept disappearing from it. All that was left was a very jumpy platoon and a friendly oddball of a guy, Webley, who still had a few remnants of the theme park he was willing to share with the kids. One of his tricks was a hollowed-out Cyberman who played chess, which scared the hell out of The Doctor, until he realized it was actually being controlled by a man named Porridge (Played by Warwick Davis).

After having fun playing at some of the park’s attractions, Clara is ready to take Angie and Artie back home. However, the Doctor decides to stay, becoming suspicious of strange bugs infesting the park. The bugs are revealed to be Cybermites, which reactivate the Cybermen in the museum. The Cybermen then abduct Webley, Angie, and Artie.

The Captain and her platoon are shocked that there are still active Cybermen, and admit that they are a punishment unit that was banished to this planet to keep them out of the way. The Doctor then puts Clara in charge of the troops, warning her not to let them destroy the planet while he goes to rescue Angie and Artie. Since communications with the rest of the Empire are cut off, Clara has them relocate to a nearby castle to fortify it. Meanwhile, the Doctor finds Angie and Artie have been infected with the Cybermites and are under the Cybermen’s control. A partially converted Webley reveals to the Doctor that the Cybermen have been secretly rebuilding themselves, kidnapping people from the amusement park before it closed. However, to further their plans, they need an advanced brain like the Doctor’s. The Doctor points out that Cybermen can only use humans, but Cyber-Webley reveals that they have upgraded themselves to the point where they can convert any organic lifeform, and infects the Doctor with Cybermites. The Cyberman consciousness known as the Cyber-Planner that attempts to take control of the Doctor’s mind, powered up by having access to a Time Lord brain, then dubs itself Mr. Clever. To prevent Mr. Clever from seizing control of his mind, the Doctor threatens to initiate a regeneration, which would destroy the Cyberman implants in his brain. Realizing that they are at a stalemate, the Cyber-planner agrees to the Doctor’s challenge to play a game of chess, with the winner taking control of the Doctor’s mind.

Meanwhile, at the castle, Clara takes stock of the platoon’s anti-Cybermen weapons. However, they only possess one anti-Cyberman gun, several hand pulsers, and a planet-destroying bomb. Clara takes possession of the bomb trigger and orders the Captain not to use the bomb’s verbal command. In a private moment, the Captain reveals that, having once been part of the Imperial Guard, she knows Porridge, who is later revealed to be the missing Emperor. Porridge tells Clara that drastic measures are the only way to fight the Cybermen, and if a Cyberman cannot be immediately destroyed, then the entire planet must be destroyed. The Captain, having been sent to the punishment platoon for disobeying orders, decides to make up for her past failure by activating the bomb, despite Clara and Porridge’s protests. However, the Captain is shot and killed by a Cyberman before she can give the detonation command. Clara decides to go on the offensive, and working with the platoon, she manages to destroy the Cyberman attacking them.

In the Cyberman base, the Doctor manages to temporarily disrupt the Cyber-planner’s control over him, and reunites with Clara, warning her that Mr. Clever will reactivate the rest of the dormant Cybermen in order to wipe them out. He then continues the chess game against Clever, knowing that it will not keep its promise if he wins. Posing as the Doctor, Clever then tricks Clara into giving it the bomb trigger, which he destroys. With no more threats to himself , Clever then sends its entire Cyberman army against Clara and the platoon. As the humans and Cybermen battle, the Doctor agrees to sacrifice his Queen and guarantee his loss in return for setting Angie and Artie free.

The Doctor’s insistence that he could end the chess game in three moves stumped Mr. Clever, and he shut down all Cybermen mid-attack in order to focus on the puzzle at hand. The Doctor then uses the distraction to disable his implants with a powered-up hand pulser, banishing Clever from his mind…. but no one was really safe until the Cybermen were destroyed.

So the Cybermen begin to reactivate. Porridge, who never wanted to be Emperor, reluctantly uses his voice command to activate the bomb, revealing that using this command will immediately summon his flagship which will automatically teleport him aboard. Everybody is transported to safety while the planet is destroyed along with all of the Cybermen. Porridge then asks Clara to marry him, impressed by her beauty and intelligence. However, Clara turns him down saying she has no wish to be the Queen of the Universe. The Doctor and Clara then return Angie and Artie home.

The episode ended with The Doctor once again wondering about his “mystery wrapped in an enigma squeezed into a skirt that’s just a little too tight.” 🙂

This on the whole was a pretty good episode. Although I don’t think it was as good as last weeks effort it still had plenty of thrills and the Cyberman were pretty frightening. especially the scene where there are loads of columns of cybermen marching up to the moat of the castle. And then watching the Cybermen move lightning fast, shoot lasers, and steadily clomp their way across the moat to get to the platoon was really chilling.

With the upcoming 50th Anniversary a few months away, it was nice to see all the Doctors in this one. Sure, it is just a fleeting glimpse but still a nice little nod to previous Doctors.

Matt Smith is good as usual, displaying good and evil tendencies. The dialogue for the Doctor’s internal battle was written well.  He looked quite eerie at times. And when the Doctor screams ‘Good news, boys and girls! They’re heeeere!’,  it is a proper ‘Here’s Johnny!’ moment.

The effects were good and the visuals were fantastic. Clara also had some good moments with the Doctor, both versions, and this was a welcome return as last week there was little, if any, interaction between them. Warwick Davis had a good part as Porridge. He played his role wonderfully. However, I thought Tamzin Outhwaite was underused as the Captain.

But what did you think? Do you agree?

A prequel to next weeks finale….. I cant wait.

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  1. noelypb says:

    This one didn’t do it for me, I’m afraid. I’ve been patient with this series and not found it as “bad” as some critics have (I need to read your other reviews, I must confess I haven’t yet), even “Rings” was ok for me. But Nightmare was a big disappointment and mainly for the Cybermen. I don’t think new era Doctor Who has done a good Cyberman story at all. Maybe I’m a child of the 80’s Cybermen, but I think the 80’s design style was classic and needed no tweaking and their behaviour / performances (“Excellent” aside) had character. With new-Who there seems to be this belief that the Cybermen cannot have dialogue. Well even in the early classics such as The Tenth Planet and Tomb of the Cybermen they had more dialogue than here. And character. Am not even sure if here they are parallel universe Cybus or original Mondas / Telos Cybermen. There’s plenty of potential backstory to add character. Plus we had the rehash of the musical cue from the dreadful Rise of the Cybermen.
    There was also the Cybermen “adapting” sorry, wrong show, updating to weapons shots to become resistant.
    Matt Smith has been fine, though his double performance here (I turn my head left I’m good doctor, I turn my head right..) was cringeworthy. I put that down to poor script and direction, he tried his best to act that out. Failed though. Just as I thought the last few week’s performances may finally get him Best Actor noms and awards.

    ..and where was the 6th Doctor reference? A past doctor ref in the the last five episodes being a subtle and delightful Easter egg.

    I fear for next week’s finale. I’ve been excited for previous finales in the past and so disappointed. I’m not excited for this season’s finale so I hope to be impressed. For Nightmare in Silver, Gaimen’s fallen short for me.

    • I agree with you. This series has been OK, but not great. I keep waiting for something to happen but thought it was just me and my high expectations. A lot has been promised but not delivered in my opinion. And yes having a hive of adapting Cybermen did feel wrong… I didnt mind them being more advanced but being able to adapt was just wrong. I was half expecting jean luck Picard to appear. I really hope next weeks finale and the 50th anniversary live up to hype and don’t prove to be a damp squid.

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