Nightmare in Silver
Original Air Date: May 11, 2013
Maria – Associate Staff Writer
What happens when your companion looks after a couple of children, those kids realize her “boyfriend” is a time traveling alien and want a go in the magical blue box or they’ll tell on her? Well, if you’re the Doctor you give in, manufacture a “golden ticket” so you can get access to the best theme park in the universe and take little Angie and Artie along for the adventure.
But, since you’re the Doctor you land the TARDIS a few decades late and find the themepark to be mostly disused and abandoned. The emperor of the galaxy has been missing for years and there is a bumbling mix-match, odd ball, army platoon, led by the Captain (Tamzin Outhwaite), and a man called Webley (Jason Watkins) who uses little person Porridge (Warwick Davis!) to manipulate the shell of a Cyberman into playing chess with visitors. Yes, you read that right. This is the Cyberman episode.
The Cybermen seem to have learned a lot from their crossover with Star Trek and with the Borg. They’ve learned to adapt quickly, assimilate quietly, and can infect people with cyborg implants. One of the first people they take over is Mr. Webley. The second person they take over is young Artie Maitland, because he did as he was told and didn’t wander from where he was left to nap along with his sister. Teenage Angie slipped away to the barracks though.
That isn’t much safer. The “soldiers” aren’t prepared to fight a Cyberman. The last time anybody fought a Cyberman, an entire galaxy had to be sacrificed just to defeat them. So many lives lost, but lives that would have only been converted and used as spare parts to create more Cybermen. That blackness where the stars should be is a constant reminder how dangerous the Cybermen are. Angie is under their control before the so-called soldiers and even the Doctor can stop her.
The Doctor uses his psychic paper to put Clara in a position higher than the Captain and issues one command, that she doesn’t let them blow up the planet. Last episode he accidentally let slip that Clara was the boss, and indeed she is. She’s a good commander, and it helps that Porridge seems to respect her and the Captain seems to respect him. Clara is put in charge of the trigger for a bomb that would implode the planet. Captain’s voice command can trigger it too, but Clara orders her not to.
Meanwhile, the Doctor is trying to get the children free from the cybercontrol because they wanted children to be the new Cyberplanner. However, the Doctor’s brain will do even better and even though he’s not human, the Cybermen have adapted and Cybermites create an interface. The Doctor battles with the Cyberplanner for control of his mind, a battle which lasts for most of the episode.
The battle is epic, both between the “soldiers” and the cyberarmy and the Doctor and the Cyberplanner who nicknames himself “Mr. Clever” (oh yeah, that’s a real clever name). A lot of trickery, pain and adapting on both sides. The Captain is killed, and Mr Clever destroys the trigger for the bomb. It really looks bad for the good guys.
The Doctor and Mr. Clever are battling control for the Doctor’s mind over a game of chess. The Doctor sacrifices his queen to make the Cyberplanner release the children but he still insists he can win. The Cyberplanner is so angry he makes all the Cybermen work on the chess problem to prove it’s impossible for the Doctor to win. This makes the Cybermen pause, giving Clara and the rest of the soldiers time to escape. Then the Doctor uses his sonic screwdriver and some soldier tech to overcome the Cyberman interface.
Unfortunately, that means the Cyberplanner has been redistributed into the minds of three million Cybermen so the only viable option left is to blow up the planet. But with the Captain dead and the trigger destroyed, it does seem possible. But Angie knows someone with a higher rank. Porridge is the Emperor, who went into hiding after the whole destruction of the galaxy to stop the Cybermen incident. Time for him to come out of retirement.
Porridge activates the bomb and his impressive ship beams all the survivors onboard. The Doctor also convinces him to beam aboard the TARDIS too. Impressed by Clara’s skills, Porridge asks her to marry him, but she replies she doesn’t want to help him rule the galaxies. Angie tells her that if someone invites you to be queen of the galaxy you reply yes. Thankfully, Porridge doesn’t hold it against them and he lets them go.
There have been several casualties and Porridge has been forced to re-assume his lonely, guilt-ridden position of Emperor, but at least Clara and the children are able to go home safely and the cybertech has been destroyed. Wait, is that an active piece of tech floating in the galaxy? Eep!
Did you guess that Porridge was the emperor? How awesome is Warwick Davis. Are you a Neil Gaiman fan? Do you think the Cybermen will return? Did you find Angie insufferable or could you bear her bratty ways? What will happen next week on the fields of Trenzalore? Please, leave a comment with your TwoCents on the show.