Nightmare in silver is the 13th episode of the seventh series of Doctor who and sees Clara and the Doctor travel to a far away planet and theme park as they take Clara’s cared for children for a trip that was referenced in the last episode (The Crimson Horror).
This episode was written by Neil Gaiman who I consider to be a pretty good writer for the doctor who series and I enjoyed his previous episode “The Doctor’s Wife” back in 2011. I think he did well in writing this episode to handle the children element added in to it from the episode that was last week. I liked the character dynamics and dialogue so it would be pleasant if Neil Gaiman was able to write more for the series.
When it comes down to it what the episode does well is good character dynamics between the Doctor and Clara and a little bit more on what the Cybermen are up to. First I’ll talk about the Cybermen who seem to have returned somewhat back into good form after a few disasterous episodes for them. There is the introduction of upgrades to their units, the upgrades being my only complaint though. It seems the Cybermen are damaged by certain things like gold for example, but they must simply change their code in their design to counter it. What I don’t understand is why it doesn’t effect their hardware? Why does the water damage them? But then a simple update stops the damage? It’s like issues are an imagined danger and Cybermen’s weakness is psychological rather than physical. They really can just withstand anything but think they can’t. Once they get over it they can. Well through an update of course!
The Cybermen aside, we get some great character dynamics from Clara and The Doctor. One such great scene is during the chess match when the possessed Doctor is telling Clara about her feelings and just for a moment she’s falling for it, but then doesn’t. If the machine is in the Doctor’s head, just what is the true Doctor thinking? I have a theory that the Doctor and Clara may possibly be in love, but I keep getting thwarted to find proof as there’s always something like this that counters reasoning. The Doctor never really said it, but yet he did. Then there’s the dialogue Clara said where she knew he was to proud to say something like that, so she knows that he’s thinking it, but wouldn’t say it Ugh! Then there’s the subtle movements like the Doctor’s reaction when Clara is proposed to or the comments of boyfriend from the children. I just don’t get why the writers don’t just put them together, or keep making the Doctor wonder why Clara might mean something to him! Why extend this so much!
Another good thing about this episode was the acting both from Matt Smith and Jenna-Louise Coleman which I thought was a step above the previous episode and stand out for the series. Matt Smith was given much more room during this episode to show a much better acting range as he switched between the evil Doctor and the good. Matt Smith is energetic and quite good at doing such a task and I really liked what he did with his role for this episode. While Jenna-Louise Coleman did well. She didn’t have as much range to work with but was put in a much different position of leadership which made her character develop slightly more. I also thought that once she held a gun and started shooting things, she kept pointing it up almost to shoot anyone, even the Doctor. She’s quite cheeky like that and it matches her character quite well. This little detail along with the writing and dialogue allowed this episode to be quite entertaining and likely one of the better episodes for the series.
Other characters in the episode such as Warwick Davis (Porridge or the Emperor) were quite interesting to. I thought it was good to add the element of loneliness to his character in the end and possibly not leave him resolved. Not only does this leave his character open to a possible return but I thought it was a welcome change compared to the very silly and light-hearted uncharacteristic characters such as the helpers in The Crimson Horror.
Overall I thought this was a very entertaining episode of Doctor Who. As it’s delivered in these one week only story lines the characters in this episode were well written, enough not to be annoying and completed well in the end. While it had good acting moments and had some classic series characters return to form. I liked it!