Nightmare in Silver
There’s really only one reason I wanted to write about the episode Nightmare in Silver. The climax of the story has The Doctor playing an intense game of chess against himself.
After The Doctor is infected by some Cybermites, half of his brain is in control by the Cyberiad—the Cybermen’s collective mind. The Cyberiad is pumped to have control of a Time Lord. The Doctor is not so pumped to have been body snatched. But they’re at a stalemate. With each of them controlling half, neither will be in full control.
Hence the game of chess. The game is for full control.
The Cyberiad forces The Doctor to make bad moves by agreeing to give hostages. Noble, but it puts The Doctor in a really bad position. Checkmate in four moves.
The Doctor, with all the his usual swagger, smiles and says he had checkmate in three moves. The Cyberiad begins demanding how. The Doctor taunts that the Cyberiad doesn’t have enough processing power to figure it out.
You should know that at this point in the episode, all of our heroes and friends are about to be killed by Cybermen.
In an effort to figure out The Doctor’s plan, the Cyberiad puts every asset it has on the problem. 3 million Cybermen worth, which shuts down all the bodies of the cybermen, allowing The Doctor’s friends to escape.
The Doctor then makes his three moves, which aren’t even related to the game of chess and wins the game.
It’s a fun episode to watch. We get to see Matt Smith play the hero and the villain back and forth like a tennis match. Even as the villain—made up of millions of computer brains—he’s animated and charismatic.
The episode was written by the legendary Neil Gaiman—another N—a man who’s written in just about every medium out there.
Is this your favorite episode? If not, which one is?