Who Review – Nightmare In Silver
If you listen closely Evil Geeks, you’ll hear the gentle whirring of the TARDIS materializng which can only mean one thing: A new Who Review is upon us! This week we’ve got a tremendous episode ahead of us, as we see not only the return of the slow, clunky menace that be the Cybermen PLUS if that’s not enough to get your Whovian sense tingling, Neil Gaiman is back to pen the episode. Someone get me a can opener, because we’re getting to the heart of these robotic terrors!
The Cybermen catch a lot of crap for not being a scary enough threat, but I’ve always thought they were cool. There like shiny zombies. In fact, they’re the only thing scarier than a zombie: an armored, laser-wielding zombie from space. Their true threat is in their ability to reproduce easily, allowing them to grow their numbers quickly. Once, they’ve “upgraded” you, you’re nothing more than a walking coma victim. Well, more like a stomping coma victim. They do tend to tromp around wherever they go. Just think about that clanging foot stomp being multiplied by a hundred, as a swarm of them encircle you. Now that’s freaking scary!
The story starts off with the Doctor bringing Clara and the 2 children she takes care of (Angie and Artie) to a planet that is home to the universe’s largest theme park. They arrive to find that it has been decimated as a result of a centuries long war between the Empire that controls the planet and the Cybermen. The Cybermen have supposedly all been wiped out in a blast that destroyed an entire galaxy, but the Doctor and Company quickly manage to find a few remnants of the Doctor’s robotic foes. Gaiman brings with him to this episode what is easily the most terrifying version of the Cybermen seen to date. What “28 Days Later” did for the lumbering zombie stereotype, Gaiman does to the slow, clunky Cybermen. Being constantly at war with the Empire has had the unwanted side effect of having the Cybermen be in a state of constant upgrade as well. They’ve adapted to nearly all of the humans ways for killing them so they’re incredibly durable and on top of that, they can move at a Quicksilver-like speedy pace.
The Cybermen have also learned another incredibly handy little trick. In all the years they’ve battled the Doctor, the Cybermen have never been able to assimilate the Doctor because he’s not human. The ever evolving Cybermen can now process non humans, which spells bad news for the man from Gallifrey. If the Cybermen manage to gain all of the knowledge in his head, they’ll have access to information on the Time Lords, specifically the secrets of regeneration and time travel. You’ve probably heard the saying the only thing that will survive a nuclear war are cockroaches; well so have the Cybermen. Similar to the Cybermouse from the “Closing Time” episode from last season, the Cybermen have survived the annihilation of their galaxy in the form of Cyberroaches. The Doctor is infected by the nano-sized baddies setting off a confrontation between the Doctor and possibly the only man in the universe capable of defeating him: himself. It’s the Doctor versus the Mecha-Doctor (or as he’s keen on calling himself, the Cyberplanner) with the winner getting control of the Doctor’s body. The chosen battlefield for this epic struggle: a chess board! The Doctor and the Cyberplanner engage in a chess match, which allows Matt Smith to essentially play two different parts in the scene as the dueling personalities each take control of the Doctor while the battle in his mind rages on. I really loved seeing the back and forth between the two clashing personalities as well as the Evil Doctor’s attempts to manipulate Clara to gain control of a device that will implode the planet. IT was so great that the thing that tips Clara off to the Cyberplanner pretending to be the Doctor si when he tells her he’s falling in love with her. As Clara points out, even if he did feel that way, he’d never actually admit it.
Speaking of Clara, thanks to the help of some good old psychic paper, Clara is able to assume control of the Imperial Army’s security forces on the planet. I loved how Clara just took over the leadership role of a military unit successfully even though her day job is being a nanny. While the Doctor is battling himself, Clara is handling the ever-growing numbers of Cybermen gathering outside the castle where everyone is holed up. She gets to the verge of finding out about why the Doctor is so interested in her when the Cyberplanner let’s slip that the Doctor calls her the Impossible Girl and thinks about her constantly. She never gets the truth revealed of course, so I’m hoping that’ll happen next week. They’ve really been dragging out the Clara mystery for a while, so I really hope it gets resolved before the end of the season. We want answers damn it! But as this Prologue to the season finale shows, we might actually get some!
Warwick Davis of “Return of the Jedi” and “Willow” fame (Although, is “fame” the appropriate word to use for anyone who’s appeared in the movie “Willow”?) guest stars in this episode as a resident of the planet, named Porridge, who may just be a little bit more than he seems. Let’s just say he’s got some connections, which will pay off in spades for everyone before the episode is through. When we initially meet him, he’s pretending to be a chess playing Cyberman who’s never lost a game. In actuality, Porridge is controlling the shell of the Cyberman remotely.
In his second outing, Gaiman once again puts up a fantastic story for Doctor Who. His first episode “The Doctor’s Wife” in which the Doctor meets the personified TARDIS for the first time is also a must see, but it’s an episode with a completely different feel than “Nightmare In Silver” and by no means is that a bad thing. The first one feels more profound and serious as it basically reframes the Doctor’s relationship with his favorite mode of transportation, whereas the second one is more of a fun, action episode. The look of the souped up Cybermen seem like they were designed by Tony Stark himself, with their glowing chest pieces and Gaiman does an amazing job of making them a terrifying threat. The constantly adapting and upgrading techno-horror of the Cybermen can only be disposed of using extreme measures, so eventually the universe’s largest theme park gets an Alderaan style send-off, but that may not be the end of the Super Cybermen, since we see one sparking back to life amidst the planetary debris. Hopefully that means we’ll have Neil Gaiman back soon with another episode! That’s all the Who Review we can do for you right now, but come back again next week as Arthur Harkness will be handling the Who Review duties for this season’s finale: The Name of the Doctor!
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Posted on May 12, 2013, in Reviews, TV, Who Review and tagged bbc, BBC America, Clara Oswald, Cybermen, Doctor Who, Neil Gaiman, Sci-Fi, sonic screwdriver, Tardis, The Doctor. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.