Wednesday, June 05, 2013

The Repeated Meme: Nightmare in Cardiff

Nightmare in Silver

Central Premise Recycled From: Remembrance of the Daleks” and “Asylum of the Daleks” (the Doctor's old enemy need children and/or the Doctor to resolve their problems).

Moffat Autorecycling: Moppets, humorously incompetent soldiers. The comic fat soldier would probably be played by James Corden if they hadn't already used him for something else. Another mention of how special Clara is.

Gaiman Autorecycling: Steampunk Victoriana; there was a Sandman comic which dealt with a Roman emperor who used to disguise himself as a beggar and go out among the people in the company of the court dwarf. A villain calling themselves “Mister Clever” is a very Gaiman sort of thing to do.

Recycling Other People: Lots of references to “The Moonbase” (e.g. a lunar surface mockup; weather control). The eighteenth-century chess-playing “automaton”, the Turk, which was actually controlled by a hidden dwarf operator and the Blake's 7 episode "Gambit" with its chess-playing dwarf; “Dalek” (indomitable enemy that is currently a theme-park exhibit); “Death to the Daleks” (the chess-playing Cyberman is the 699th wonder of the universe; the City of the Exxilons is the 700th). “The Curse of Fenric” (the Doctor playing chess with the villain and trapping him by telling him he can win the game in three moves);The Hand of Fear” (the Cyberman's independently-moving hand). The Cybermen have supposedly been wiped out for a very long time, like in 90% of all other Cybermen stories. The Matrix (bullet time). The original-series Battlestar Galactica episode “The Young Lords” (group of children/incompetents attacking/defending a fairy-tale castle against robots). The Cybermen base features design elements which appear to stem from a misunderstanding of “The Tomb of the Cybermen” (those semicircular depressions around the doors were steps in “Tomb”), and the final scene showing a live Cybermite is also a reference. The Star Trek: TNG two-parter “The Best of Both Worlds” (that's the one where Picard is absorbed by the Borg, for those of you who don't remember); actually there's a lot of Borg references, e.g. the Cybermen being vulnerable to each weapon only for a brief period. Poltergeist (“They're he-eere!”). The Cyberiad was a book of satirical and allegorical short stories by Stanislaw Lem, set in a universe populated by robots. “Bad Wolf/The Parting of the Ways” (act of self-sacrifice needed to destroy the evil alien enemy). There are allusions to the Anglo-Russian imperial rivalry popularly known as the Great Game, or the Tournament of Shadows, which would suggest that there's a theme of two empires, mirroring each other, in competition, but it only really works as a theme rather than contributing any major subtext to the story.

Evil Household Objects: None, but there's an evil theme park.

Doctor Who!: “Doctor, Doctor, Doctor, Doctor, Doctor!”

Outfits!: The Doctor's Borg-like facial implants.

Small Child!: Angie and Artie.

Murray Gold's Top Ten: Exaggeratedly bombastic orchestral score during the battle.

Clara Dies Due To: Nothing, but after the annoyingly arch way she acts this episode, most sane people are wishing she would.

Clara's Job of the Week: Child-minder and senior officer.

Run, you clever boy, and remember”: Nope.

Topical Reference to Puzzle Future Generations: Warwick Davies is seriously flavour of the month right now.

Continuity Frakup of the Week: Last week, Angie was so eager for a time and space adventure that she strongarmed/blackmailed Clara into taking her into the Tardis; this week she's sulky and bored. I know teenagers are famous for their mood swings, but seriously. Also, what the hell age is Angie supposed to be? She looks about twelve, but acts about seven. “You are full of surprises”, Clara says to Angie (cough). “The Pandorica Opens” showed that Cybermen can indeed operate on a basic level without organic parts, so why has the Doctor forgotten it this quickly? The fool's mate is one of the first chess gambits anyone interested in the game learns, and yet Artie, who's in his school chess club, doesn't catch it. The Cybermites remake Angie's mobile phone, but that particular gun on the wall never gets fired. How did the Cybermen build a bloody great facility like that, and cybernise enough theme-park-goers for an army of that size, without anyone noticing? And why do they only make their move now? A Cyberman walks through the moat of the castle, but the rest enter the castle through the door, which means they crossed the bridge instead. If only the Cybermen's brains are human, why do they need people for “spare parts”? Clara's skirt isn't tight.

This is not a frakking drawbridge, people.
Other Frakups Special To This Week: Are the people of the Empire, for whom space travel is a normal boring part of everyday life, really going to be that thrilled by a “spacey zoomer” anti-gravity ride? Why does the Emperor think it's a fun idea to go to an abandoned theme park housing a punishment battalion of soldiers, and sit around in the bottom of a chess-playing automaton hoping for someone to come along and trade a sandwich for a game? “Punishment platoons” were generally put on the front line to absolve their crimes through blood (and/or conveniently get killed), rather than being put in the rear where they won't do any harm. The bridge in front of the castle isn't a drawbridge, so can't be drawn up (corollary frakup: 
the Cyberman walks into the moat rather than cross the bridge). It's been a thousand years since the last defeat of the Cybermen, which should make their return the equivalent of a party of Norman longships turning up in the English Channel, but the military seem unsurprised and even apparently have standard tactics in place for fighting them. Why do the Cybermen only do the bullet-time thing once, as it would have been pretty useful when storming the castle? Why does Clara say she can see nothing in that particular sector of space when there's a huge nebula there? That's an explosion, not an implosion.

Nostalgia UK: Fantasy Victoriana, with empires and shillings and waxworks.

Item Most Likely to Wind Up as a Toy: Foregone conclusion again. I'm also betting we'll see cosplayers with Cybernetic face implants one way or the other, regardless of whether they're official or not.