I was not looking forward to this weeks episode of Doctor Who. Firstly, there were children, who would undoubtedly stink up the Tardis with childish glee and the smell of yoghurt (all children smell like yoghurt. They do). And then there were cybermen. Stephen. Now, Stephen. Didn’t we discuss this? I SPECIFICALLY VETOED recycling of villains before the series began, and yet you continue to defy me. And while I’m on the subject, why the cybermen? Big, mechanised dullards with the face of a very specific fetish doll. Boo. BOO.
But. BUT. This episode? Actually, it wasn’t too bad. At all. Neil Gaiman was at the helm of the story, patently wazzed off his spunk on something I’d like to get my hands on, and rolling about in Matt Smith’s acting talent like a pig in space-shit. The cybermen were gratifyingly played with a little, with the episode splitting itself between Clara leading the traditional Who misfit soldiers (including the adorable Will Merrick, who played Alo in Skins) against an army of the metal monsters and the Doctor playing a high-stakes game of chess. The prize? HIS OWN MIND. The kids were annoying- Christ, and how- to the point of eliciting an enthusiastic middle finger from my viewing companion every time that bratty little girl one rolled her eyes like a fucking pinball machine. But, to the credit of the episode, they were essentially muted by some sort of cyberman brain slug thing at the end of the first act. Good shout, Gaiman.
Matt Smith simply went mad with this episode; playing both the normal Doctor and the part of him that was being taken over by some sort of Cyberman ubermensch. Most of this psychological battle took place in a floating low-res galaxy, which was pointless but very fun, and seeing the good Doctor playing against the more nasty Doctor in one episode was so very wrong that it became completely excellent. Seeing Clara being a bit ballsy and Doctor-free was a nice change, but Jenna-Louise, honey? That chemistry is a massive, nationwide cock tease. Somebody fuck somebody. On another note, Warwick Davis cropped up to bring some class to the episode, even in a comedy aviator hat (his performance very nearly wiped the taste of Life is Short out of my mind’s mouth), and, like every guest star, looked delighted just to be anywhere near a Tardis.
To be honest, the reason I enjoyed this episode so much was because my standards were so low. But Nightmare in Silver went somewhere I didn’t expect it to go, and with the balls-to-the-wall silliness and Gaiman’s glorious verbosity, it went to the right place. But was that River Song’s name I spotted in the promo for next week? I’ll have you yet, Moffat.