Cyberleaders in 1980s Doctor Who have a reputation of over-using the word "Excellent!" but I think this mainly comes from 1982's Earthshock when it is said by the Cyberleader 13 times.
In contrast, he says it only twice in Silver Nemesis, and both uses occur early on in part three, when things seem to be going well for the cybermannys and he has a chance to enjoy himself. They are the last two examples in this video:
Karl pretends to betray De Flores so he can join the cybermannys and this makes the Cyberleader decide to make both Nazis into cybermannys instead of killing them. The Cyberleader is confident that they will soon get the silver bow, to which De Flores replies:
"From the Doctor? Don't delude yourself. He is no common adversary. Do you think he'll simply walk in here and hand it over?"
Now on the one paw, how does De Flores know this, or indeed anything at all, about the Doctor when he only met him once back at the end of part one? On the other paw, the Doctor is obviously an adversary beyond the wit of the Nazis to defeat, seeing as how he stole the silver bow out of their special case without them noticing. So maybe De Flores is basing his assessment entirely on this?
Anyway the very next thing that happens is that the Doctor walks into the room holding the bow. This moment of comic timing is followed by a bit of business where the Doctor and Ace evade the cybermannys' clumsy attempts to take the bow from them until the Doctor can give it to the statue momentarily, then he takes it away again and they both run away back to the TARDIS while the cybermannys are confused and, as a result, completely fail to capture or kill them.
The Nemesis wakes up, and screams...
... and then a model somebody made of Lady Peinforte's tomb explodes!
Lady Peinforte hears the scream and says
"Fear not, Richard. It is the Nemesis come alive."Then we see that maybe the cybermannys' plan from part two did work after all, it just took a while to become obvious, as Lady Peinforte goes mad and says
"All power... all power past, present and future shall be mine. Why, I shall be mistress of all of that is, all that shall be, all that ever was... yes all! All!"
The Doctor and Ace go back to 1638 again for yet another scene that really shouldn't be here. There is no need for the Doctor and Ace to have gone back to Lady Peinforte's house on three separate occasions when they could have done everything on the first visit - no new clues are picked up by the Doctor and nothing happens there to move the story forward. The Doctor plays chess against someone who makes their moves in between the scenes, but this bit makes no sense.
On this last visit Ace takes the gold coins that were the fee to Lady Peinforte's murdered henchmanny, and which she will shortly make use of, but there is no reason she could not have done that earlier except that the viewers would have had to remember about it for longer.
Richard tries hitch-hiking back to Windsor, unsuccessfully, until Lady Peinforte stops a car by standing in front of it.
Karl frees De Flores from the cybermannys, thereby demonstrating the most cunning either of these characters have shown in the whole story.
Now back in 1988, the Doctor leads the Nemesis to a great big room where he properly gives it the silver bow at last. Meanwhile there is some comic relief from Richard when he gets confused by the American in the car that they got a lift from.
"I am beautiful, am I not?"
The Nemesis speaks to Ace in a haunting, ethereal voice that adds to its mystique even more than its pure white-silver appearance with empty black eyes. It doesn't have a lot of dialogue, but what it does say hints at its origins so as to complement the suggested backstory of Lady Peinforte and the Doctor. In particular
"It is only my present form. I have had others which would horrify you. I shall have those again."
The cybermannys come in and Ace fights them with the gold coins that she fires from a catapult, and which their pewpewpew guns are no match for. This cleverly foreshadows their eventual defeat by the Doctor, with the inert metal gold of the coins that are launched from a primitive weapon symbolically reflecting the high-technology living silver of the Nemesis that will be their final undoing.
Or maybe it is that the cybermannys are just a bit rubbish?
"We ride to destiny!"
"We surely do, honey. We surely do."
Meanwhile there is some more comedy from Lady Peinforte and the American in the car, and while this is pure padding, as the earlier scene with Richards was too, they both manage to reveal more of Lady Peinforte and Richard's personalities by showing their reactions to a character who comes from completely beyond their frame of reference.
As well as her lethal gold coins, Ace tricks two of the cybermannys into shooting each other. Because she is busy fighting the cybermannys, Ace misses the Doctor's conversation with the Nemesis. It wants freedom, but the Doctor says "not yet," which is an unexpected response coming from him and hints at a darker side to his involvement in this story.
The Doctor destroys two cybermannys with the rockets from the Nemesis's comet spaceship, leaving only the Cyberleader. De Flores and Karl come in and take the silver bow but then the Cyberleader comes in and kills them. So much for the Nazis. I suppose Donald Trump can console himself with the fact that they went out in a marginally more dignified manner than their counterparts in The Blues Brothers.
Lady Peinforte and Richard come in. The Doctor holds the bow and both Lady Peinforte and the Cyberleader want it, with the idea being established that whoever the Doctor gives the bow to will control the Nemesis.
All the hinted at backstory of Lady Peinforte, the Nemesis and the Doctor comes to a head, as Lady Peinforte threatens to tell the Doctor's secrets if she does not get the bow. Sophie Aldred is on great form, looking genuinely scared as Ace asks how Lady Peinforte knows the Doctor's secrets in the first place. The answer is as simple as it is evocative:
"The statue told me."
Unfortunately for Lady Peinforte, the only mannys there for her to tell are Ace and the Cyberleader, and he is more concerned with getting the Nemesis, so the Doctor calls her bluff and hands the bow to the Cyberleader, who then tells him to launch the Nemesis into space.
Lady Peinforte does not take losing well, and so she jumps into the statue and is absorbed by it before the spaceship takes off. Using the tape deck they watch the Nemesis go and blow up all the cybermanny spaceships, because the Nemesis obeyed the Doctor's orders, not those of the Cyberleader.
The Cyberleader is about to kill the Doctor and Ace when Richard takes Clarke's Arrow from the TARDIS and stabs the Cyberleader with it. In this way, Richard redeems himself, and so the Doctor and Ace take him back home to 1638 in the TARDIS.
In the last scene the Doctor and Ace recap the story for us.
"So you sent the Nemesis off into space to draw the Cybermen so you could finish them off."That last line is a bit too close to the truth, isn't it?
"I suppose I did. How clever of me."
"Just like you nailed the Daleks."
Where did it all go wrong?
Silver Nemesis is not the worst Doctor Who story evar, but it is the biggest missed opportunity.
Despite having a plot that possesses a strong resemblance to that of Remembrance of the Daleks - I could sum them both up as 'multiple factions of baddys chasing a MacGuffin that turns out to be a trap set by the Doctor a long time ago' - Silver Nemesis is three-quarters the length and yet appears to have more padding than the longer story. (And it was just two stories earlier, which makes this much less forgivable than if there had been a greater gap between them.)
In part that is because Remembrance of the Daleks is better at disguising its padding, wrapped up in the 1960s setting and the pseudo-UNIT supporting characters of Group Captain Gilmore and his friends. Silver Nemesis, conversely, seems to draw attention to its padding - even when the scenes are enjoyable ("Social workers!") you are always aware that they are not vital to the plot.
Remembrance of the Daleks is also far more successful in its minor characters. Compare Mr Ratcliffe to Herr De Flores - since both serve a similar purpose in their respective narratives - we learn only a little more about Ratcliffe's motivation than we do about De Flores's (they both have exactly one scene each where they give us exposition about their backstory) and yet Ratcliffe easily seems the more rounded character of the two. As far as Silver Nemesis is concerned, De Flores is a baddy because he's a Nazi and a Nazi because he's a baddy, and that's all we know and all we need to know.
Where Silver Nemesis does succeed is in the two vital characters of Lady Peinforte and Richard. Richard goes on a complete journey over the course of the story, from a simple, villainous henchmanny to a bewildered time-traveler (he is essentially Lady Peinforte's Companion), to confronting his own mortality, and finally to an act of redemption.
Lady Peinforte, meanwhile, is one of the most intriguing baddys in all of Doctor Who, simply because her unseen backstory is so mysterious. (Actually that's not quite true... being played magnificently by Fiona Walker helps a lot as well.) However, it is probably for the best that she was killed off at the end of the story and did not become a recurring baddy like Davros or the Master, as it is highly doubtful that the mystery could have been successfully sustained over multiple appearances* - we have recently seen, in Steven Moffat's era of Doctor Who, that not all writers have the skill to pull this off, and that if one continually hints and teases at dramatic secrets and revelations, eventually he has to deliver a payoff worthy of the build-up or else risk looking like the little manny who cried "wolf!"
(On the subject of Steven Moffat, it is clear that the awesome-but-vague powers of the Nemesis as a Time Lord weapon were a big influence on his version of the Time War, in particular "the Moment" as seen in Day of the Doctor.)
Still, for this one story Lady Peinforte is easily the best thing about it. The core of the story is her struggle with the Doctor, with the other two factions of baddys being merely a distraction - the Nazis are shown to be out of their depth as soon as the cybermannys turn up, and even the cybermannys are heading straight into the Doctor's trap all along.
This leads me to a big part of the problem with the story - the different elements do not work together at all well. There are a lot of disparate ideas - not just in the three diffring baddy factions, but in the minor parts such as the jazz musicians, the mannys at Windsor castle, the robbers, or the American in the car - but not enough is done to tie them all together into a single thematic whole.
On top of that, with the Doctor and Ace keeping out of the way for so much of the plot's duration, there is a curious lack of a sense of peril to the story - even when fighting multiple cybermannys at once, there is not the feeling that Ace is in much actual danger. But then the one time there is a sense of threat is when Lady Peinforte confronts the Doctor and threatens to reveal his secrets - a psychological threat, rather than a physical one. The conflict here is on a different level from most Doctor Who stories.
This difference makes Silver Nemesis a very memorable story, but as a celebration of Doctor Who's 25th birthday I am left feeling it ought to have been memorable for better reasons than that.
* In the end Lady Peinforte is killed off without revealing any of her secrets. This should by rights be an anticlimax - we don't even find out why she was a baddy and an enemy of the Doctor's, never mind any of the things she claimed she knew about his past. But there is another TV series that once successfully pulled off the trick of ending without answering any of its own questions, proving that it doesn't always have to matter.