Friday, May 17, 2013

Doctor Who review: Nightmare In Silver

Another fine job by Neil Gaiman. I can't say I was blown away by more than a few scenes, but it was the same with "The Doctor's Wife". But I love both of them and both episodes cleverly bring new ideas to the show. In "Nightmare In Silver" we get Cybermen in the future, already advanced to such a state that nothing short of blowing up a planet will do to defeat them. The duality of Matt Smith's performance as he battled the Cyberplanner for control of his mind was really effective. My one complaint is that I'm not a fan of his tendency to twirl around, and he seemed to feel the Cyberplanner would enjoy doing this repeatedly. It's smart and at times touching and here is my review for it.

Hedgewick's World, the biggest and best amusement park there will ever be, and The Doctor has a golden ticket. Having bullied their way into a trip in the TARDIS, the oh so polite Artie and the rotten brat Angie are along for this journey. Angie calls the TARDIS a stupid box. A man pops up to see if they are his ride finally come to get him, but darts quickly away when soldiers show up. When it's obvious the golden ticket holds no weight, The Doctor uses the psychic paper and is appointed Pro-Consul, leader over any there. The Captain mentions a missing emperor and expresses her concern at his return. The amusement park is long closed, old and dilapidated now. 

When the soldiers leave, the man pops back up and takes them inside to his waxworks, Webley's World of Wonder. The Doctor perks up at the mention of chess, but Artie is asked to play against a modern marvel. Defeated a thousand years ago, he says, and unveils a Cyberman sitting at the chess table. These are not the parallel Cybus Cyberman from the RTD era, last seen in "The Pandorica Opens". These had just a circle chest symbol so were the ones last seen in "A Good man Goes To War". 

The Cyberman is just a shell, a trick puppeted by Porridge, a great character played by Warwick Davis. They take the kids out to play in the anti-grav zone, and when Clara says it's time to get the kids home, The Doctor has other ideas. In the chess room he spied little metal insects. They lay the kids down for a nap, a baffling concept given their ages and location. The Doctor spooks them and warns them not to wander off. Webley gets grabbed by the Cyberman shell and the insects crawl onto him and he is upgraded, or given a partial face plate. Angie bellyaches and wanders off.

Porridge tells Clara how the Cyberwars trashed the park, but they defeated them in the end by destroying a whole system, the Tiberion spiral galaxy, now an empty space in the sky where a billion trillion people used to live. 

The military are talking about their parts and components for machinery, including communicators, are missing. Angie comes in and complains about being bored. She mentions Porridge and the Captain wants to know more. In the waxworks, a nervous Artie gets up and turns the lights on, but a Cyberman gets him. You can just tell that it's a newer model Cyberman, too. Clara finds Angie, who yells at her (I wouldn't have been sad, that's all I'm saying) when a Cyberman, a new one, shows up. They're nice, sleek. The face has a very classic quality to it. Then it moved. FAST. That was a mind blowing moment. They shoot and it upgrades and ZOOM again, bu this time they show it in slow motion, or regular motion for the Cyberman, awesome scene, another mind blower. Oh, and best of all, he snatches up Angie and takes her. 

The military troupe is a punishment troupe, out of the way because of mistakes they made. The Doctor (Pro-Consul) appoints Clara in charge as he goes off to get the kids, leaving them with a warning NOT to blow up the planet. The Cyberman brings Angie to where Artie and Webley are being controlled and she screams. Nice creepy shushing moment from Webley. The troupe decide to defend themselves in Natty Longshoe's Comical Castle, which doesn't seem very comical besides the multi-colored lights shining on the outside. And is that the castle Martha went to in "Journey's End" in Germany? Porridge reminds the Captain that Clara is in charge and she calls him "Sir". 

The Doctor finds an insect and names it, Cybermite. I like them much better then the Cybermats. Great little sleek tiny versions of Cybermats, basically. Who doesn't get creeped out by bugs? He finds the transmat location and sees the kids and Webley. Webley tells The Doctor that the children had stopped coming and they needed them, thanking The Doctor for bringing them and saving the Cybermen. 

Clara finds out blowing up the planet means no rescue. She tells the Captain and others she trusts The Doctor, but when asked if she thought he knew what he was doing she humorously answered that she's not sure she would go that far. Webley is telling The Doctor of the Cybermen rebuilding, but needing the infinite imagination of a child. He then said now they don't need the children because of The Doctor. He argued they can't use him, he isn't human, but is told that was true long ago and throws Cybermites on him. He ends up with a plate with circuitry on the left side of his face. 

The scenes in The Doctor's head are great, seeing the division. The Doctor has an effective mental block and bargains for control. He allows access to information about regeneration and we get to see images of all The Doctor's incarnations. He says he will regenerate, so stalemate. It was funny when he said, "use this me up, who knows what we'll get". The Doctor proposes a game of chess. They Cyberiad gets his brain or nobody dies. Back at the troupe we see the cool way the Cybermen walk now, and that they can detach body parts like a hand to attack someone unawares. The troupe only has one gun, rare to find since the cyberwars ended, and also glove like hand pulsers to electrocute. Oh, and a trigger or voice activated bomb to implode the planet. Clara takes the trigger. The Captain has the voice print. The Captain asks Porridge upstairs, who figures she knows who he is. 

Playing chess, The Doctor pops back and forth between himself and the Cyberplanner. The Cyberplanner discovers the records of The Doctor are gone, but mentions that he could be reconstructed by the hole that he left. Interesting comment. The Doctor Concurs and says he will have to do something about it. The Doctor discovers they are still running a code that contained a weakness used against them many times in the classic series, gold. He also mentioned cleaning fluid. He slaps the golden ticket onto the left side of his face and gains control of himself, the kids, and Webley. 

The Capatain decides she will make up for her past by activating the bomb, but is shot by a Cyberman and killed. Suddenly it feels like Clara is leading a ragtag band of misfits. Nice shot of a Cyberman detaching it's head to trap a soldier. Then a cooler shot of Clara shooting their gun and destroying the Cyberman. They deactivate their team members that had been controlled. The Doctor shows up and fills Clara in on the situation, and the kids, at which she is not pleased. The Doctor insists on being tied up, but with his hands free for chess.

The Cyberplanner takes the golden ticket off, regaining partial control, calling Clara the flesh girl and the impossible girl, which intrigues her. The Doctor scribbles "HIT ME" with his right hand and she slaps him. He regains control but is gone again and the Cyberplanner tells Clara it's time for her to die pointlessly and very far from home. This has to be a nod to a companion of the past who i won't mention and spoil his/her ending.  The troupe electrocutes the moat with a huge electric cable. The Cybermen begin to wake up, with awesome tomb shots. The Cyberplanner tries to get the trigger from Clara by fooling her into thinking he's The Doctor. But he begins to confess deep feelings for her and she slaps his face, bringing back The Doctor. But the Cyberplanner still controls the left arm, so he grabs the trigger and destroys it, delivering an over the top "They're Here!!"

The first Cyberman enters the moat and is electrocuted, but no time to celebrate as it almost instantly upgrades and they all approach. Porridge takes the bomb with him. The Cyberplanner bargains a chess move to get the kids back, which The Doctor accepts, freeing the kids from control. The Cyberplanner asks the question I wondered about, about whether or not the death of the kids would effect The Doctor's relationship with miss Clara. Webley activates and approaches the kids, but Porridge enters and uses the hand pulser on him. 

In the battle there is a good shot of a Cyberman turning his head around to see the person sneaking up behind it. They shoot another with the gun, but this time is hits him, and he then upgrades, rendering the gun useless. The Doctor tells the Cyberplanner the Time Lords invented chess, and he would win in 3 moves. The Cyberplanner pulls in the local resources of the Cybermen for more processing power to solve the chess problem, stopping them from killing Clara and the Goonies, I mean military troupe. The Doctor makes his 3 moves, turning on sonic, activating the hand pulser Porridge dropped, and amplifying pulse. He slaps his right hand on his face and we get The Doctor back. 

With the Cyberplanner out of his head and back in the 3 million Cybermen, they need to activate the bomb, but the Captain is dead. Angie then finally does something useful, she lets them all know Porridge is the Emperor. But porridge doesn't want to be Emperor, still he activates the bomb, giving them 80 seconds. Plenty of time for his people to locate him from the signal, warp and transmat them all to the state room. The Doctor comically mentions that his ship is a bit big but not blue enough. He gives the coordinates of the TARDIS to be transmatted, and then boom go the Cybermen. Which if you think about it was more of an EXplosion and not so much of an IMplosion, but whatever. 

Porridge proposes to Clara and Angie thinks she's stupid to turn him down, claiming one day she will be queen of the universe.  As if. The TARDIS troupe leave lonely Porridge to rule the galaxies. Artie is ever so polite in thanking The Doctor and Clara. Angie actually says thanks and apologizes for calling the TARDIS stupid. Okay Angie, it's ok this time, but no more trips for you.I love how Artie called back "Thanks, Clara's boyfriend".

Clara tells The Doctor she will see him next Wednesday, to which he says next Wednesday, last Wednesday, a Wednesday. Alone he calls her a mystery, wrapped in an enigma, squeezed into a skirt that's just a little too tight, and the last part seems to please him until he snaps back to reality, asking what she is. Above the destroyed planet, Porridge makes sure there are no signs of Cyber tech before leaving, leaving behind a lonely Cybermite in space.

Next up is a review of the finale, "The Name of The Doctor", which airs in 
19hours 21minutes 10seconds

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