Recap: Doctor Who S25 E3 "Silver Nemesis"
I don't suppose you've completely ignored my instructions and secretly prepared any Nitro-9, have you? Ace:
What if I had? The Doctor:
Naturally, you wouldn't do anything so insanely dangerous as to carry it around with you, would you? Ace: Of course not. I'm a good girl, I do what I'm told. The Doctor:
Excellent. Blow up that vehicle. Ace:
The Doctor and Ace, a crazy noblewoman and her sidekick from the 17th century, a bunch of Nazis, and Cybermen (making their last appearance on the original series) fight for control of a statue made out of living metal capable of mass destruction. Dark secrets of the Doctor's past are revealed... almost.
was promoted as the show's 25th anniversary special; the first episode of the serial aired on the anniversary itself.
- Argentina Is Naziland: De Flores and his crew are hanging out in a South American hacienda at the start of the story.
- Bavarian Fire Drill: Subverted. The TARDIS arrives in the present day on the grounds of a castle. When the Doctor sees a little old lady coming toward them he continues confidently, telling Ace, "Act like we own the place... Always works. We own the place." Ace has to point out that the woman they're approaching really does own the place — and the place is Windsor Castle.
- Big Damn Heroes: Subverted; at the end of episode one, a big spaceship shows up conveniently in time to distract the neo-Nazis who are preparing to execute the Doctor and Ace. Ace gladly welcomes this development ... for about a second, until she notices the grim look on the Doctor's face. Sure enough, when the spaceship opens, the Cybermen emerge.
The Doctor: Don't thank them yet. You might live to regret it.
- California Doubling: Arundel Castle stands in for Windsor Castle.
- Celebrity Star: jazz musician Courtney Pine and his band.
- Chekhov's Gun: The chess set in Lady Peinforte's house, and the question of who is moving the pieces.
- Also the bag full of gold coins she pays the scholar with.
- Comet of Doom: The Nemesis asteroid.
- Continuity Porn: references to Rassilon and Omega, Earth becoming "New Mondas", and in the deleted scenes the Doctor hypnotises some security guards by wearing spectacles in an overt reference to "The War Games".
- Creator Cameo: a number of contemporary and past Doctor Who cast and crew play the tourists at Windsor Castle.
- Deadly Gas: The Cybermen use nerve gas to take out the policemen guarding Nemesis. The original intention was that Cybermats would be used, but there wasn't the budget.
- Deleted Scene: A special-edition VHS release and the DVD provided deleted scenes which helped make a bit more sense out of things.
- Doing in the Wizard : Taken on its own, this episode appears to claim that Lady Peinforte's powers are literal magic, making it the only Original Series episode to allow such a thing rather than handwaving it somehow ("Battlefield" doesn't really count, because the Arthurian characters are visitors from another universe with different physical laws). However, a throwaway line in "The Curse Of Fenric" establishes that, in fact, Lady Peinforte got her powers from Fenric. So there.
- Duck!: The Doctor yells out "Duck!", Ace immediately throws herself flat, scene cut and the Doctor is chasing a small gaggle of ducks out of the TARDIS.
- Establishing Character Moment: De Flores is first seen preparing to shoot an inoffensive and attractive parrot with a bow and arrow.
- Evil Versus Evil: Cybermen versus Neo-Nazis. Ace isn't sure which to cheer for.
- Exact Words: Do you understand the instructions the Cyber Leader has given?
- Exit, Pursued by a Bear: Lampshaded.
Lady Peinforte: The bear will not pursue us. Such things only happen in the theatre.
- Fish Out of Temporal Water: Richard spends most of his time in the future panicking about every single thing he comes across. It helps his Heel-Face Turn towards the end, when he's just so happy that the Doctor can take him home that he resolves to change his ways.
- Foreshadowing: Part of the plot involves breaking into the Peinforte family tomb — where Richard, already a bit jumpy having come across his own gravestone, notes that there doesn't seem to be any sign of Lady Peinforte's body. She's too obsessed and blinkered for it to really register, because if it had then certain ominous implications for her future might have presented themselves...
- The deleted scenes seem to imply that the Doctor is playing chess against an unseen opponent each time he returns to Lady Peinforte's house. Later revelations in The Curse of Fenric would suggest that Fenric is operating behind the scenes in this story, and the chess motif later takes on great significance in that episode.
- Gambit Pileup: Between the Doctor, Lady Peinforte, the Neo-Nazis, and the Cybermen.
- Grand Finale: To the Doctor vs the Cybermen story arc for the Original Series.
- Gratuitous Nazis: There is really very little plot or metaphorical justification for having Nazis in this story.
- Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: The Cybermen. Makes one wonder why they carry guns in the first place.
- It's All My Fault: Ace's guilt when the Cybermens' guards are killed.
They killed them, 'cause I blew up their ship.
- Lampshade Hanging: Ace points out that the resolution is exactly the same as that from Remembrance of the Daleks, a story only two serials before this one.
- Minion with an F in Evil: Richard, to the point where at the end of the story the Doctor and Ace take him home and let him play the recorder for them. He does seem a bit more sinister and thuggish at the beginning of the story, when he's at home and in his element, but his experiences as a Fish Out of Temporal Water go some way towards helping a Heel-Face Turn along.
- Mugging the Monster: The skinheads who try to rob Lady Peinforte and Richard.
- My God, What Have I Done?: Ace has a minor one when she blows up the Cybermens' lander and they execute their human minions for allowing it.
- Names to Run Away From Really Fast / Punny Name: Lady Peinforte is named after "peine forte et dure", a historic English torture method involving slowly crushing people to death with rocks.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: there are hints, especially on the DVD deleted scenes, that "De Flores" is meant to be a pseudonym for Martin Bormann, the most senior Nazi unaccounted for in 1945 who was widely believed in the 1980s to be still alive and hiding out in South America.
- During the scenes at Windsor Castle, the Doctor and Ace encounter a woman who theoretically is supposed to be the Queen. Unfortunately the lookalike hired by the production team doesn't look all that much like the Queen, and in fact more resembles her daughter, Princess Anne.
- No Swastikas: Averted. John Nathan-Turner got cold feet about having actual Nazis in Doctor Who at the last minute and had some of the dialogue toned down to make it less explicit. Unfortunately, the director and set designer didn't get the message so De Flores's introductory sequence begins with a close-up shot of an enormous swastika-decorated ink stand.
- Out of Order: Was originally intended to be shown after "The Greatest Show In The Galaxy". This introduces a minor continuity error: Ace has Flowerchild's earring pinned to her jacket in this serial.
- Proportional Article Importance: Played for laughs; the Daily Mirror has a huge headline proclaiming that the meteor that kicks off the plot is returning to Earth. Ace, however, is more interested in the football results at the bottom of the back page, and the Doctor doesn't notice.
- Secret Identity Apathy: Lady Peinforte (who has managed to divine "Who" the Doctor really is) tries to blackmail him by threatening to reveal that information to the Cybermen. But the Cybermen say they simply do not care about that.
- Shout-Out: Lady Peinforte says a bear wouldn't pursue them as such things only happen in the theatre.
- Stunt Casting: 1950s-1960s Broadway star Dolores Grey shows up for... absolutely no reason whatsoever.
- Thirty Second Blackout: Electricity going in and out for seconds at a time is a sign that the Cybermen are approaching. A Call Back to their first appearance when their objective was draining all the power on Earth to power Mondas.
- Those Wacky Nazis: the only twentieth-century TV Doctor Who story to feature actual Nazis, as opposed to evil fantasy cultures with a suspicious resemblance.
- Troubled Production: As a knock-on from the even more troubled "The Greatest Show In The Galaxy". The problems on TGSitG caused its production to overrun, leading to a lack of rehearsal time for this serial.
- The Unreveal: Lady Peinforte claims to know a dark secret about the Doctor's past, but doesn't get to reveal it; at the end, Ace asks the Doctor what she was on about, and he just smiles.
- Word of God states that the writer intended the Doctor to be...a Gallifreyan God, of sorts. Or the reincarnation of one, essentially.
- A later short story in the Expanded Universe subverted this by suggesting that the 'secret' Lady Peinforte knew about the Doctor wasn't actually that impressive to begin with.
- Villainous Breakdown: Lady Peinforte has a slow-burning one throughout the final episode.
- Weaksauce Weakness: The Cybermen's vulnerability to gold — originally a difficult-to-exploit weakness where gold dust, if gotten into their workings, could take them out, and not instantly — is taken to utterly absurd levels in this story. While they at least regain the resistance to bullets that they somehow lost in "Attack of the Cybermen," you can now cause them to instantly die screaming by throwing a gold coin at their chest. Evidently the writer never stopped to think how absurd it was that the Cybermen could withstand high-velocity impacts without any trouble, but be instantly killed by a low-force impact with any gold or gold-plated object. This came about because, at the time, the only knowledge the writers had of this vulnerability was a throwaway remark about gold from John Nathan-Turner.
- Whole Plot Reference: Has clear similarities to The Ring of the Nibelung, which is lampshaded by De Flores.
- Writing by the Seat of Your Pants: According to Kevin Clarke, he had no idea what story he was going to pitch to John Nathan-Turner until he actually started pitching it.
- You Have Failed Me: The Cybermen kill their ship's guards after Ace blows it up, claiming betrayal.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: The scholar at the beginning predicted the exact time and place Nemesis would land, then was killed to fuel Lady Peinforte's trip to the present-day.