To better understand the context of the action of The nightmare in silver there are 2 things that have to be explained: the first one have Clara Oswald in the center of attention. At the end of the previous episode, The Crimson Horror, the Doctor’s companion is blackmailed by the children she’s taking care to take them with her in the next adventure. So the TARDIS get to Hedgewick’s world, the best and the wonderful amusement park in the galaxy, a quarter of a million years in the future, with four time travelers: the Doctor, Clara, Artie and Angie. The reason? The Doctor had a very useful golden ticket (he will use it to some point to block the Cyberade) that gets you free access and free icecream for 4 persons.
On the other hand, one thousand years before that moment, the empire that included the human race fought for a long time to the cybernetic organisms called the Cybermen in the Cyber wars. The humans won that war, but with huge costs: an entire galaxy and its inhabitants just dissapeared (died), along with the enemies. Since that war the humas had taken only drastic measures: when they found a Cyberman that they could not destroy on the spot: to destroy the entire planet, even with the price of their lifes. The reason was very simple: the upgrading function these cybernetic organism for the features of any kind (a long time ago they were humans upgraded for war and not only) was very efficient, many times having the chance to use the enemy troops as spare parts to defeat the enemy side considered to that moment on the virge of victory.
That’s why the new versions of Cyberman are a lot better than the one met in the previous episodes: the move quicly, almost incredible fast, they offer many surprises to the ones hunting them (not only detachable hands and head), and the extensions they use to gather information and to repair damaged cyborgs have reduced remarkable in size. They are called now Cybermite and play an important role in killing the team of soldiers sent on this empty planet.
Returning to the action of the episode, once arrived on the Hedgewick’s lost world, the Doctor and his companions met the troopers maneuvering on the surface and Mr. Webley, a showman that got there without knowng that he would not get any spectators. He invites the new guys to play chess with a non-functional Cyberman, but manipulated by the small Porridge.
In some moment, after they have explored the area a bit, Clara and the kids were ready to go, but the Doctor stoped them observing the mechanism in small sizes that apparently infested the place. The problems start to appear when Artie and Angie are taken prisoners and their transformation into Cyberman, along with Webley and the Doctor, is initiated. The Cyber Planner is not a new idea, it has been used in the old series, but it’s the first one when it is addressed directly to Doctor’s mind creating reactions internal and external of the struggle between multiple personalities in the same body.
Maybe you are wondering how the cybernetic organisms could infect a Time Lord attempting (more or less successful) to transform him… To this episode the Cybermen could not convert beings other than humans, and Doctor is an alien. The problem of the constant technological upgrading is that, unavoidable, the technology adapts to any situation and being it gets in contact with – on this thing Neil Gaiman based when he wrote the story. In a way he did it, the Doctor’s enemies got more frightening than before, but the story have some faults (how the soldiers got the weapons used in a war that took place one thousand years before, electrocuting the cyborgs using water seems a little too trivial in that context, etc.).
The action is based on a game of chess, the soldiers’ resistance against the asalt of 3 milion Cybermen and the attempt to stop them without destroying the entire planet. If I made you curious enought you will watch the episode without other details. The story could be a lot better, but it works. I hope you’ll enjoy it as you should.
Cast: Matt Smith (The Doctor), Jenna-Louise Coleman (Clara Oswald), Jason Watkins (Webley), Warwick Davis (Porridge), Eve de Leon Allen (Angie), Kassius Carey Johnson (Artie), Tamzin Outhwaite (Captain), Eloise Joseph (Beauty), Will Merrick (Brains), Calvin Dean (Ha-Ha), Zahra Ahmadi (Missy), Aidan Cook (Cyberman).
Writer Neil Gaiman, director Stephen Woolfenden, producer Marcus Wilson.
Behind the scenes of Nightmare in Silver with Matt Smith and Jenna-Louise Coleman. Narrated by Richard Bacon.