The Ninjabot

Doctor Who – “Nightmare in Silver” Review [SPOILERS]

Posted on May 12, 2013 at 1:31 pm by Amanda Andonian

doctor-who-nightmare-in-silver

A ramshackle amusement park, a couple of irritating kids, and the return of the Cybermen marked last night’s episode of Doctor Who, “Nightmare in Silver.” Neil Gaiman returned for the second time to write this episode, apparently charged with the mission of “making the Cybermen scary again.” Unfortunately, I don’t really think that he succeeded. As with many an installment this season, the setup for “Nightmare in Silver” was promising, yet the show itself was unable to follow through completely.

doctor-who-nightmare-in-silverIn some distant future where the Cybermen have ostensibly been wiped out, the Doctor takes Clara and her two charges, Artie and Angie, to a disintegrating amusement park in an effort to show them a good time around the galaxy. There they find Webley (Jason Watkins), a collector of some kind, Porridge (Warwick Davis), a dwarf with a penchant for chess, and a platoon of soldiers and their Captain (Tamzin Outhwaite) who were banished to the park by their Empire for incompetence. Surprise surprise, the Cybermen aren’t dead and gone after all, so the Doctor and Clara have to rally the troops to defeat them once again.

The inclusion of Clara’s charges didn’t do much for the story except to increase the annoyance level. There was nothing for Artie to do throughout the episode, and Angie was entirely obnoxious from the get go. I understand a teenage girl feeling aggravated over the fact that she still has to endure a babysitter, but Angie’s constant screeching about how “stupid” Clara is had me wondering whether Gaiman actually did write this episode. He’s obviously capable of writing better dialog than this, as evidenced by the Doctor’s verbal sparring with the Cyber Planner, as well as last season’s episode, “The Doctor’s Wife.” However, Angie’s dialog in particular had me rolling my eyes even harder than hers.

doctor-who-nightmare-in-silverSpeaking of the Doctor’s verbal sparring, Matt Smith’s chess match against the Cyber Planner was really the only worthwhile part of this episode. Playing both sides of the fight, Smith demonstrates once again how wide his range is, going back-and-forth from the sneering condescension of the Cyber Planner to the Doctor’s erratic buoyancy. It’s a wonder Smith didn’t pull a muscle or something considering how much he flailed around as the Cyber Planner attempted to take over the Doctor’s mind.

In the end, I’m not sure what all the fuss was about concerning the planet-destroying bomb. Though the stakes were set pretty high for all intents and purposes, the eventual triumph over the Cybermen seemed to come rather easily. Initially, it seemed as though the Doctor refused to let them activate the device because it would annihilate innocent people, but once they actually blew the place up, every loose end was wrapped up quickly. All the good guys were immediately transported to safety, and the Cybermen were decimated once again. Or were they?!?

Overall, “Nightmare in Silver” delivered yet another ho-hum installment of Doctor Who, only saved by Matt Smith’s superb acting range and Clara’s cheeky command of the platoon. If you were hoping for a chilling return of the Cybermen, I’m afraid this episode would just disappoint.

My Score: B

Doctor Who: Season 7 Episode 12, “Nightmare in Silve” aired May 11th, 2013 on BBC America.

You can follow Amanda on Twitter at @reiko516.

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