Doctor Who “Nightmare In Silver” could be my least favorite episode of season 7.5
The Cybermen of Doctor Who scare the crap out of me. I have nightmares about that stomping metallic sound they make when they march and their upgrade process terrifies me. Remember those whirring blades above the skulls in previous episodes? Just yikes! And then there’s the whole bit about how they used to be human and are, in fact, humans stuck inside metal shells with their emotions and pain turned off. They’re freaking scary!
(Please note that the following contains spoilers).
But in the latest episode of Doctor Who, the Cybermen seem to be lacking all of the above. And, in essence, they’re just “meh.” And that’s how I felt about the entire episode. This is entirely surprising as it was penned by Neil Gaiman, who is responsible for my favorite episode, “The Doctor’s Wife.” So how did this episode fail?
Let’s start with the story. The kids that Clara takes care of are along for a ride in the TARDIS. The Doctor thinks they would like to go to the largest amusement park on earth. Unfortunately, the park has been shut down, one of the kids is a complete brat (what kid would not be impressed by traveling through space and time, I mean really?) and The Cybermen have come back to life in order to take over the planet, and eventually the world.
I could go further into the story, but it was so blaise, that there’s really not a lot I want to cover except that it just doesn’t provide a lot of entertainment. The entire episode could literally have been done in five minutes, except there is a lot of unnecessary running about and fighting Cybermen. What gets me is that the emperor had the power all along to blow up the planet and destroy the Cybermen and save everyone, but he doesn’t do it until the very end of the episode. And I will admit that I was banging my head in frustration against my television when this revelation is made.
Warwick Davis was completely wasted in this episode of Doctor Who as the emperor who didn’t want to be emperor. I had such high hopes for his guest starring role, but this did not do him, as an actor, justice. I wasn’t even impressed with Jason Watkins (better known for his role as Herrick in the UK Being Human), who really doesn’t get much to do.
The only truly enjoyable part of the episode was The Doctor being converted. Now, the conversion process is not nearly as nasty as it once was (and I miss those whirring blades) and takes place with little cybermites invading the body. The Doctor’s conversations with himself after being converted were very enjoyable and showed off just a bit more of Matt Smith’s wonderful acting skills. In fact, I found myself wishing that the entire episode would have been just that – a war inside The Doctor’s mind. How fascinating would that be? There were also little tributes to previous incarnations, with The Doctor uttering things like “Fantastic!” and “Allons-y!”
However, this doesn’t save the episode and in the end, it really does feel like a futile attempt at a story that really isn’t much of a story. I am also disappointed because this is the first episode in season 7.5 that hasn’t scared me in some way. The Cybermen are just metal robots now and no longer as horrifying as they once were portrayed. The children tagging along with Clara and The Doctor are equally as pointless and I can’t imagine anyone not wanting to strangle the girl within her first 10 seconds on-screen. Needless to say, “Nightmare In Silver” proved to be less a nightmare and more of one of those dreams where you keep thinking you’re waking up over and over, but you’re not – it’s utterly frustrating.
In Gaiman’s defense, he did state on Twitter that a lot was cut out of the story. That actually makes sense. Perhaps the episode would have been better had it been a two-parter. I suppose we’ll never know…
Next week sees everything come to fruition, though. Supposedly, “The Name of The Doctor” will be revealed. It’s also the last episode of season 7 of Doctor Who, so it better be a good one.’