"You had the right game, but the wrong pawn. Check."
IN THIS ONE... The Doctor lets the Cybermen have Nemesis and it destroys them.
REVIEW: It's when I look at the deleted scenes (see Versions) that I can see they very nearly had something in Silver Nemesis. Is time travel chess, or is it jazz? That would have been the question had many of the scenes stayed in. Is the Doctor a logical grandmaster, or is he a mad improviser? Probably both. Time is too complex a chessboard not to have a talent for handling chaos. The Cybermen are the logical villains, and insane Lady Peinforte is at the other end of the scale. The Nazis, well, that's what I mean about "very nearly" having something. In reality, the story's a real mess and could have done with a very different trim from the one it suffered. Cut the Cybermen or the Nazis, either will do, but not the chess and jazz stuff! The cuts also savage the scenes meant to build mystery. The chess game advancing alone while the Doctor isn't in 1638. The 200-year-old painting of Ace. Lady Peinforte delving deeper into the secrets she might reveal about the Doctor and the Old Time, the Time of Chaos. It's true the series doesn't get a chance to address a lot of this, and it IS frustrating that things introduced in a story aren't actually paid off in the same story, but if the scenes HAD been there, maybe there would have been more of an imperative to resolve these issues. And in Silver Nemesis, would have earned the final shot (above) - and Ace's question "Who are you?" - much better.
Something else I might have sacrificed to restore some of the cuts - or just to make the story more coherent! - is the limo ride with star of stage and screen Dolores Gray. For some reason, I often misremember her rich Southern belle as being from Delta and the Bannermen, which also has a cast of what Shakespearean scholars call "zanies", but she's not even as useful to the plot as Delta's (the beekeeper, the Americans, etc.) are. She's just the kind of star cameo JNT would have plugged into stories. Not unpleasant, but her character's inability to notice she's given a ride to a couple of Elizabethans is really ridiculous. But then, this is a story that dares treat the Cybermen as a potent enemy when they can be defeated by a teenager with a slingshot and gold coins. The idea that gold now turns explosive contact with their skin makes the 80s Cybermen a real joke. If you buy the premise though, you buy the bit, and Ace's action scenes with the silver giants are pretty exciting, with cool hand held motion and a brave companion. And I like how Cyber Leader is a little tougher than the other and throws the golden bullet away. But I'm not really buying the premise.
And then there's the comparisons to Remembrance to the Daleks, which Ace makes worse by directly referring to them! Just as before, it all ends with the Doctor giving up the Time Lord artifact, which promptly destroys the enemy. That would be the Cybermen, in this case. The Nazis get shot by Cyber Leader (that gives THEM the status of the story's dunsel) and Lady Peinforte jumps into the Nemesis statue for unexplained reasons. I mean, it IS currently in her likeness, and she IS completely bonkers, but it's still a bit of a mystery. Just as Nemesis' contention that she's retribution NOW, but won't always be, or the Doctor promising one day, conditions will be perfect for setting her free. A lot of questions, no answers forthcoming, blame the Time War. If that all sounds very negative, it's that there are a lot of intriguing, exciting and amusing elements in Silver Nemesis, which makes its failure all the more frustrating.
VERSIONS: The deleted scenes on the DVD include the 7th Doctor's impression of Louis Armstrong, the old painting of Ace, the revelation that the Doctor gave Peinforte's mathematician secret help to get his Lady to the right date, and a sequence of Richard hitchhiking. Many of these were included on the extended cut video release, but the DVD includes them separately. The Target novelization also has most of these scenes, but none of the other changes are too notable.
REWATCHABILITY: Medium - Mostly exciting, but not satisfying. Loose ends, comedy padding and redundant story elements do it in.
STORY REWATCHABILITY: Medium - Starts out well, with a celebratory feeling, but there's just too much here getting in the way of telling a good, a forward-moving story.