Saturday, August 18, 2012

Doctor Who-Silver Nemesis
           During 1988,the year in which this particular Doctor Who serial was aired,was the programs silver anniversary. At a quarter of a century it was a bit of a pitty that Doctor Who wasn't exactly at it's highest point of popularity with BBC or the general public. Popularity or not,the fact is the show was entering into another creative high point. Starting with 'Remembrance Of The Daleks' there was a feeling of bringing the program somewhat back to the questions Ian and Barbara asked of the Doctor when they first encountered the doctor and his TARDIS. And this episode,although like many of the seventh doctor era represents one of the shortest serials of the series,seeks to answer some of the shows biggest questions.

            The story begins with the doctor and Ace enjoying an outdoor jazz concert from Courtney Pine when the are attacked by a pair of armed henchmen. Meanwhile in 1638 the conniving Lady Peinforte believes she's found the secret of the Nemesis. But the doctor already knows that secret. It's an artificial life form made of a living metal called Validium,which comes from the time of Rassilon and Omega. It circles around to Earth every quarter century,causing mass chaos in it's wake such as the first world war and JFK's assassination. Which is why in 1988 a neo Nazi faction are after the Nemesis as well,along with a fleet of Cybermen who are about to invade Earth with a swarm of clocked ships. In the end it's the Nemesis that defeats all parties based on their own avarice. Though more questions are raised about the doctor than are answered as a result.

           In this serial one begins to wonder if the Doctor has access to a source of enormous power he isn't letting on. He has intimate control over Nemesis,implying to a degree he has participated first person in the evolution of life on Earth. The idea of "the doctor as god himself" has been hinted at many times before,but is almost directly answered here. The idea of Ace using Courtney Pine's jazz cassette type to jam the Cybermen's signals is an excellent analogy: the adversarial relationship between improvisation and clinical totalitarianism. The Doctor's manipulative and highly cryptic manner is played up to a huge degree here. In particular when you see his genuine mentoring/father figure relationship to Ace,who shares his earnestness and mutual trust even if she has questions as to his identity. Solid proof the questions of Doctor Who are more important than the answers.
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