May 15, 2013

Nightmare in Silver

Title: Nightmare in Silver
Episode: 7.12
Hedgewick's World

Guest: Warwick Davis {289}

Writer: Neil Gaiman {W50}
Director: Stephen Woolfenden

Rating: *****
The Doctor and Clara peek out of the TARDISWhen you hear that an amazing writer, like Neil Gaiman, is back to write an episode of Doctor Who, you know that something great is going to be shown.

Last time he gave us the TARDIS in human form, she was 'sexy'. This time he brings the return of the Cybermen, an old enemy of the Doctor that hasn't been very frightful in its last few appearance. These Cybermen are upgraded.

Impresario Webley introduces us to his collection and a cyberman, who is empty, but can play chess. Its unfortunate that Webley is a throw-away character  once he's taken over by the Cybermen, that's it. But then we meet Porridge, a dwarf, under the table operating mechanics of the Cyberman.

This is where I start to have an issue with the logic of the show. Warwick Davis, as Porridge is, in truth, Emperor Ludens Nimrod Kendrick, called Longstaff XLI, and he knows who and what the Cybermen are and how to destroy them, blow-up the planet.

Regardless, Webley's museum of wax creatures from across the galaxy is the perfect place for a 10 year old to nap, not. I grew up in a city with a Wax Museum, and the dungeon was always the creepiest part. The scene with Artie getting up from his nap, could have been a little more hide behind the couch. I think if Jamie Payne {D13} had directed the episode the whole family would be behind the sofa.

When the Cyberman shows up in the barracks and abducts Angie the battle is over too quickly. These Cybermen are upgrading themselves, moving so fast, time seems to freeze around him. This is a real 'whoa' moment, as you realize how lethal these new Cybermen can be.

At first when the Cyberplanner activates the Cybermen, it looks like there are dozens of them, then we quickly see there are thousands and we have a real problem. How are the Doctor and Clara going to solve this one? Turns out that the Emperor, who's been running away, like the Doctor, has the solution. As reluctant as he is to provide it, Porridge knows that the only way to save himself and the Universe, is to return to his lonely life as the Emperor, and blow-up the planet.


The mind battle between the Doctor and the Cyberplanner is great and in some very small ways telling of what the Doctor feels for Clara and how confused he is by the enigma that she is.

Maybe this story touches a little on the Doctor's own tale of running away, maybe this is part of what sends the Doctor to the plains of Trenzalore, where the 'Silence must fall'.

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The following minisode was broadcast shortly after the episode "Nightmare is Silver" it has been added to my Doctor Who Episode index.




BRAINS: With respect, ma'am, we ought to be hunting the creature.
CLARA: The only reason I'm still alive is that I do what the Doctor says. Can you guarantee me you'd bring back my children alive and unharmed?
(Brains shakes his head.)
CLARA: I trust the Doctor.
CAPTAIN: You think he knows what he's doing?
CLARA: I'm not sure I'd go that far.

DOCTOR: Impossible girl. A mystery wrapped in an enigma squeezed into a skirt that's just a little bit too tight. Oh yeah. What are you?


Quotes courtesy: Chrissie's Transcripts Site
Opening: 7
Setting: 6
Conflict: 9
Plot: 9 
Dialogue: 8
Aliens: 9
Costumes: 7