For the record, I really, really loved Gaiman’s first time writing Doctor Who, the sublime The Doctor’s Wife. It dives deep into the show’s 50-year old mythology and adds something to it and takes the Doctor’s relationship with the old sexy TARDIS into another level. That episode isn’t just the best of New Who, it’s one of the best episodes of the show, bar none. With that in mind I had really high expectations coming in to Nightmare in Silver.
I really want this episode to not suck. Series 7B has been, in a word, directionless. I know Moffat was really adamant in his desire to have a no two-parter, no series arc season, but… wow. I can’t really describe what a mess this half of a season turned out. Except for Journey To The Centre of the TARDIS, the episodes suffered from the no two-parter rule.
Nightmare in Silver sees the Doctor, Clara, and her two wards, Angie and Artie, travelling. The children are unimpressed. Really, kids? The universe’s last Time Lord takes some time off his schedule saving random races and unraveling the Clara mystery to entertain you kids by making you ride his bigger-on-the-inside time machine, brings you to a space theme park in the future, and you’re bored? I wonder how Clara hasn’t quit her job yet.
Anyway, it’s revealed that the planet where the theme park is located is abandoned – except for a platoon of very incompetent soldiers, an awesome midget named Porridge, and the theme park owner. Thanks to a nasty Cyberman invasion.
- Gaiman promised us that he is out to make the Cybermen scary again. I can’t say they scared me, but I could imagine the new and improved Cybermen scaring the shit out of a twelve year old.
- I love the idea that the Cybermen are such a a threat to people not named “the Doctor” that they have to blow up an entire planet once a single Cyberman is spotted.
- Awesome upgrades, by the way. The instant upgrades and how they quickly adapt to new situations is the logical extension of how the Cybermen should be.
- That bullet time sequence was beyond cool, by the way.
- The kids are fucking annoying. I, for the life of me, cannot figure out why Clara and the Doctor thought they were worth saving. Seriously, you’re in the future, and in space, and you’re bored?! Get a little perspective.
- Gaiman said that a LOT of scenes were cut out from his script. I really wish they made an exception to the “no two-parters” rule, because if anyone deserved a two parter it would be Neil Fucking Gaiman.
- Matt Smith’s menacing evil Cyberman-controlled Doctor was easily the best part of the episode. A chess battle with oneself? Brilliant.
- Thank GOODNESS they remembered that Cybermen used to be vulnerable to gold.
- Granted, this isn’t my favorite episode of the season (or the series as a whole) but I enjoyed it a lot.
- I am pretty worried because we’re at the penultimate episode and we have not seen the Doctor-Clara relationship progress at all. We have not seen any plot advancement as well. Are we going to see next week’s finale to feel really disconnected from the rest of the season?
All said, I think this was a pretty good episode. Not exactly The Doctor’s Wife level of brilliance, but as a Cybermen episode, it was fun. I just wish this season had more brilliance to it instead of having one mindless blockbuster-style episode after another.