Don’t wander off! “Nightmare in Silver” finds the Doctor, Clara, Angie, and Artie at the universe’s largest amusement park. It looks like they’ve landed on the moon, which has a lot of significance for the Cybermen. The Moonbase with the 2nd Doctor, the titular nightmare in silver poison humanity on the moonbase in 2070 for diabolical ends. In The Invasion, involving the 2nd Doctor, Cybermen have set up a firing system on the dark side of the moon. Attack of the Cybermen finds a Cyberman base circling the moon. I could go on about old shows for one image, but it’s just to say that Gaiman’s love of classic Doctor Who is written all over Nightmare in Silver.
When a small platoon shows, the Doctor flashes psychic papers making him the proconsul and they leave him alone. He meets a carnival hawker who challenges them to a game of chess. With a Cyberman! Playing chess. Supposedly an empty shell, The Doctor discovers a tiny man controlling it like a puppet. But he also finds something else. Tiny insects. Is it possible, the
A story with children wouldn’t be a good one without monsters under the bed. And here, there be monsters. At one point, the Cyberplanet uses the phrase “wakey -wakey”, calling to mind a different nightmare concerning the birth of River Song. Yes, nightmare indeed, including tiny cybernetic creatures that can take over the mind and body and they want the children for a better “upgrade.” When they find The Doctor they discover a mind and knowledge and imagination far beyond anything even a child could hold and they want to keep it. Yet the hive mind that is this nightmare in silver underestimates The Doctor’s craftiness and The Doctor’s overprotective nature when it comes to those in his care.
Unlike last week’s episode, which was action-packed and wouldn’t tell us a damn thing (Madam Vastra, Jenny, and Strax’s repeated request for information was rebuffed), this one was loaded with information. I mean, it was still shrouded in mystery, but we learned that The Doctor has been eliminating himself from history, able to be reconstructed by the hole he’s left. Clara learns that she is “impossible.” The History of the Time Lords is in the depths of The Doctor’s brain and Mr. Clever (the Cyberplanet Cyberia) wants all of the information in his head to bring back his people. However, while the Doctor gives humanity time to come up with a plan, salvation comes from an unexpected source.
This episode brought The Cybermen back into the “villain you don’t want to screw with” fold. That upgrade feature is scary. The ability to remove and control bodily features to take over bodies is scary. You don’t know where they could be and their cold, emotionless agenda pushes them unceasingly forward. And did you see how fast they are capable of moving? It’s like finding out you’ve gotten the 28 Days Later infected as opposed to Romero’s usual shuffling nightmare. The nightmare in silver bit isn’t a lie this time.
Every episode so far is hurtling us towards the finale, cryptically titled The Name of The Doctor. We wonder how he’s going to get around us knowing his name. Moffat can’t answer all the questions, now, can he? And the motif I’ve noticed throughout the last half of the season, the Clara half, has stayed trued. We see Clara through the circle, but also The Doctor. We know that Clara has always died to save him and we know that she is a mystery, but these “who is she?” questions are not the first time we’ve wondered about the woman in The Doctor’s life. Nightmare in Silver doesn’t really help us answer those questions, but it does give us enough information to spur us into the next episode. The monster theme stays strong in this episode, making me believe that The Doctor’s name might actually have something to do with being a monster. Also, it was nice to see Warrick Davis, you know, as a Willow fan.