Doctor Who: Robot of Sherwood
September 6, 2014 11:20 PM - Season 8, Episode 3 - Subscribe

In a sun-dappled Sherwood Forest, the Doctor discovers an evil plan from beyond the stars and strikes up an unlikely alliance with Robin Hood. With all of Nottingham at stake, the Doctor must decide who is real and who is fake.
posted by mumkin (66 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
Notably, one of the images of Robin Hood "the legend" flashed up on the spaceship's screen is a black and white photo of a youngish Patrick Troughton (the second Doctor) as Robin Hood.

Deriving a "Maximum Power Surge" from a golden arrow made me sad, though. I was along for most of the ride, but that really really sucked.
posted by mumkin at 11:45 PM on September 6, 2014 [6 favorites]


I rather liked this, it was about as good as an episode with Robin Hood in it could be. Forgettable, but enjoyable. The golden arrow moment was ridiculous, but I'll go with it, sure. Note that there was about a minute cut from the final fight: originally the sheriff gets beheaded and puts his head back on, but that was cut due to recent events.
posted by Cannon Fodder at 12:05 AM on September 7, 2014


It was nice to see Ben Miller. He made a good sheriff. Faux menacing. I've heard that the missing decapitation scene was quite funny.

I was really surprised to learn that Robin was played by Tom Riley from Da Vinci's Demons. The attitude and hair color was enough to make him unrecognizable. Riley also seems much taller and leaner in Demons.

The gold arrow was ridiculous. I liked the continuing mystery of The Promised Land. The winks at the audience when the Doctor was talking about the women from Mars (or wherever) and Errol Flynn were just stupid.

Overall, this episode was disappointing, though. Either the writing has gone down to fit children more or I've finally outgrown Doctor Who.
posted by Ik ben afgesneden at 12:23 AM on September 7, 2014 [1 favorite]


I thought this one was lots of fun. The arrow was silly but so was the rest of the episode. I was surprised the robots actually blew up. I figured once they got out of the atmosphere they would keep going to the "promised land" since that seems to have some significance to the season's overall arc.
posted by Gary at 12:53 AM on September 7, 2014


The work cut (b+w) of the beheading scene edited out can be seen here. It's a shame, they could've done legs chopped off for the Monty Python references and kept the lines, but understandable.
posted by viggorlijah at 2:01 AM on September 7, 2014 [1 favorite]


I really didn't like it at all - it was too winky and pantomimey. Glad to see Clara taking charge of some things, though.

The actual, current Nottingham Castle isn't really a castle (it's a 17th-century ducal mansion built on the same site as the original castle) and it's nowhere near a river. It's not even that close to the canal. Seems like a weird detail to miss considering it's a BBC production. I guess it's easier to shorten the distance between Sherwood Forest and the castle (about 24 miles now, although of course the forest used to be bigger, etc., etc.).
posted by minsies at 4:36 AM on September 7, 2014 [1 favorite]


minsies, I turned to my husband at the arrow shooting scene and said "It's a pantomine!" and meant that as a compliment. It was goofy silly fun, broadly played with little moments, and rumbled along briskly enough to overlook the cracks. The spoon-sword fight was delightful. My older son who watched the season opener and said he wasn't interested in this doctor anymore as too grim and dull, ended up watching this over my shoulder.
posted by viggorlijah at 4:54 AM on September 7, 2014 [1 favorite]


Ugh. I get that they were trying to do some meta- legendary hero thing with this episode but it just didn't work for me.
posted by octothorpe at 6:35 AM on September 7, 2014 [1 favorite]


I had a bad feeling about this one at the start, but to me it turned out to be the best of the three episodes they've done this year. Strong writing minus all the needless convolutions, great comic chemistry between the actors, one-liners that were in character and actually really funny -- I'd be delighted if they could do this every week, personally. Next week looks like another variation on "Blink," though.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 7:06 AM on September 7, 2014 [1 favorite]


I thought it was hilarious. Yes, the golden arrow thing was a groaner. And really, it was piffle. But it was fun piffle. And a nice palate cleanser.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:36 AM on September 7, 2014 [1 favorite]


It was ridiculous and silly, and exactly like a pantomime. Minsies got it right on the head. I fear this episode is going to fall entirely flat for a lot of non-British viewers who won't be familiar with that particular tradition.
posted by Magnakai at 7:56 AM on September 7, 2014 [1 favorite]


Actually, I should give an example of that. The golden arrow thing felt exactly like the kind of hail mary magic that saves the day in a pantomime show. In Peter Pan, they traditionally get all the audience to chant "I do believe in fairies!" to save Tinkerbell. This felt just like that, and it's something that Doctor Who has been doing for a long time.
posted by Magnakai at 8:00 AM on September 7, 2014 [1 favorite]


Truly pantomime, down to the ridicules costumes, with the doctor running around frustrated that he is stuck in a pantomime.
I liked it.
posted by thegirlwiththehat at 8:26 AM on September 7, 2014 [1 favorite]


Welp. I'm a huge Who fanboy and a big fan of both Moffat and Gatiss, but at this point, this show seems to have its head entirely up its ass. Far too self-aware. The Doctor is simultaneously an elegant older gentleman and an insecure doofus, and every third line seems directly aimed at Internet commenters.

Whovian for life, but this season is making me sad so far.
posted by jbickers at 8:28 AM on September 7, 2014 [3 favorites]


"It was ridiculous and silly, and exactly like a pantomime. Minsies got it right on the head. I fear this episode is going to fall entirely flat for a lot of non-British viewers who won't be familiar with that particular tradition."

I find pantomime almost completely baffling and know only a little of it (prompted, I think, because of Barrowman) but I thought this episode was great. Much better than the previous two.

I think it's funny that people are complaining about the golden arrow and the silliness when I complained about the stupidity of the shrinking in the last episode -- but that's the difference, this episode didn't try to make sense of this stuff, it didn't take it seriously in that way. I'm totally fine with that and if it's going to do things that are self-evidently absurd, I'd prefer that it just go with it and not imagine that it's being realistic.

If you put the silliness aside, the characterization and theme were much more coherent and compelling than in the previous episodes. Granted, for most of the episode the Doctor was intentionally a caricature. But Clara was very interesting, increasingly coming into her own, and the scene at the end between Robin and the Doctor made the episode worth it to me with regard to what they're doing with the Doctor. The writing was just better, overall.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 8:52 AM on September 7, 2014 [3 favorites]


The Doctor is simultaneously an elegant older gentleman and an insecure doofus

Not to be too snarky, but that's how I would describe most of the Doctors.
posted by Gary at 8:52 AM on September 7, 2014 [2 favorites]


Though Tennant could often be goofy, I wouldn't characterize either Eccleston or Tennant as insecure doofuses.
posted by Ik ben afgesneden at 9:09 AM on September 7, 2014 [1 favorite]


It may not play as intended, but I don't think they're trying to make the Doctor a doofus. I think they're just trying to establish that he's not necessarily some mastermind who's thought everything out fifteen steps ahead, and that he's capable of falling on his face. That would seem to be much needed after years of the entire cosmos quaking at every mention of his name, et cetera.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 9:23 AM on September 7, 2014 [2 favorites]


My inner medievalist was horrified (no Robin Hood is NOT real!) but I really enjoyed the episode anyway. I was particularly pleased at Clara's increasing independence and plot prominence in a useful way. It felt very much in the vein of a light episode from the better years of the classic series. The thing that sold me on the panto-style silliness of the episode was the spoon vs sword duel.

Ben Miller was a treasure on Primeval and I really enjoyed him here. I understand why they cut the decapitation scene, but I hope we see an extra of it later.
posted by immlass at 9:31 AM on September 7, 2014 [1 favorite]


I wouldn't characterize either Eccleston or Tennant as insecure doofuses.

But it is how I would characterize Troughton, Pertwee and Tom Baker to various degrees. I think that's what I like about Capaldi so much. It really seems like the old Doctor Who but with modern pacing to the stories.

I think the only downside is that all the bad guys so far have been very clearly evil, even when they've had harmless motives and accidently crashed on Earth. It's nice to at least sometimes have the alien be misunderstood and not intending to do harm. That way the Doctor can be more of a peacekeeper who sorts things out instead of an exterminator. But with all the talk about him being a "good man", I'm hoping they are going somewhere with this.
posted by Gary at 9:32 AM on September 7, 2014


I don't really get people not liking this similar to how I didn't get people not liking Dinosaurs on a Spaceship. Dr Who has room to tell lots of different kinds of stories, and this was a silly romp. As such, it was a very well executed silly romp.
posted by Cannon Fodder at 10:06 AM on September 7, 2014 [1 favorite]


God, this was terrible. Funny, because Moffat can write funny dialogue, but holy hell, he can only create 2 or 3 plots. Let's see: Robots who have a very obvious weakness (mirrors, holding your breath) are building a ship that's not a ship (restaurant, castle) out of stolen stuff (skin, gold) but are taken out by something really silly (talked into suicide, golden arrow).

Mostly, I spent the episode wondering just how that headpiece was staying on Jenna Coleman's forehead. Double-sided tape? Chewing gum?
posted by xingcat at 10:13 AM on September 7, 2014 [3 favorites]


Moffat can write funny dialogue, but holy hell, he can only create 2 or 3 plots

This episode was written by Mark Gatiss.
posted by immlass at 10:17 AM on September 7, 2014 [3 favorites]


Magnakai: "It was ridiculous and silly, and exactly like a pantomime. Minsies got it right on the head. I fear this episode is going to fall entirely flat for a lot of non-British viewers who won't be familiar with that particular tradition."

Maybe that's it. I just sat there dumbfounded at what I was watching and had given up long before the golden arrow thing.
posted by octothorpe at 10:47 AM on September 7, 2014 [1 favorite]


I rather liked the unserious tone as a change of pace. This episode could have easily fit into the Graham Williams/Tom Baker era.

After all the complaints about Clara's lack of character in the last season, I'm glad she keeps on getting lots to do and is able to take charge. in this episode, The Doctor was more her companion than the other way around.
posted by Uncle Ira at 10:53 AM on September 7, 2014 [2 favorites]


This episode was written by Mark Gatiss

Who also seems to be suffering some sort of plot recycling malaise, considering this had the exact same plot as the last episode he wrote (the one with Diana Rigg as some despotic Victorian mill owner building a spaceship for a space foetus of some kind).
posted by dng at 11:41 AM on September 7, 2014 [1 favorite]


plot recycling malaise

Enh, I think it was Terrance Dicks who said there are only two plots in Doctor Who: the aliens are coming and the aliens are already here. My husband and I (both longtime Classic Who fans) came up with a half-dozen episodes/serials of the "the knights/troopers are really robots" and "the castle/fortress/factory is really a spaceship" in various forms of dress in both the classic and new versions of the show, and those were just the ones we could think of off the top of our heads. If people don't like the plot recycling, that's certainly cool, but it's something viewers will see a lot of through all of Who.

In fact this whole season so far has been a serious recycling effort: the first episode brought back the Paternoster Gang and the robots from the Madame de Pompadour episode, the second episode was a Dalek episode with a lot of antecedents in both series, and I can, as mentioned, think of several serials the current episode harks back to (The King's Demons, for one; State of Decay, for another; The Androids of Tara for a third). So maybe that's their thing for this season, to just hit the genre mine. As long as it's fun, I don't care.

One of the things I quite liked about this particular outing of that sort of plot was that the Doctor knew immediately what sort of plot it was, without breaking the fourth wall, and the mystery was "who is the alien/robot/whatever?" and not "what's going on here?".
posted by immlass at 12:12 PM on September 7, 2014 [12 favorites]


I liked it. Silly fun that was very much the flavour of panto. (Panto is definitely not something we do in North America.)
posted by Kitteh at 3:16 PM on September 7, 2014 [1 favorite]


It reminded me of Silver Nemesis in some ways. The 50th anniversary golden arrow was an exact parallel to the 25th anniversary silver one. And 7 was the one who played the spoons. I think this season is working harder to pull those strings of recognition from the classic series, and it's my impression that many people's concerns about the tone are rooted in that. This season is not going for a New Who feel. It's trying for a classic feel (not always succeeding, mind you).

Of course, a lot of the people who aren't liking this season are classic Who fans, and I do think there's an uneasy tension between the attempted callbacks and the essential facts and pacing of the new show. Personally I'm having an immense amount of fun with it. I love Capaldi's take on the Doctor, and I've always loved how the show balances cheese and seriousness.

Everyone has their limits on that balance. I was disgusted by DobbyDoctor, but really liked Survival. Some people will feel the opposite, or hate both, or love both. But I feel like the show has always, since the 2005 revival, felt like the bones of the old show enfleshed with modern TV production. Whereas the 1996 TV-movie was the opposite: the bones of a US/Canadian syndicated action show (ala Hercules or Highlander) with the details of Doctor Who slapped on.

Moffat's far from my favorite producer, but he loves the show and has tried to push it in new directions while evoking a lot of great memories as well. I'm already looking forward to the next producer, but I'm willing to have fun in the meantime.
posted by rikschell at 6:46 PM on September 7, 2014 [4 favorites]


As we learned long ago with its ability to somehow suffocate Cybermen with even just a small amount crushed up, gold is magic in Doctor Who.

I mean the arrow was fucking ridiculous but it's certainly got a precedent.

I enjoyed this episode much more than I thought I would when I first heard the title and assumed the premise. Taking Doctor Who too seriously will be the death of it, so I'm glad for episodes like this. Panto all the time, no; panto entertaining and every once and a while, sure.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 7:53 PM on September 7, 2014


I think you're right, rikschell, about Moffat et al going for a classic feel and the skeleton of the old show with a modern casing.

But even though I'm a classic Who fan, I feel the show could and should do more and take chances. If I didn't want more, I could re-watch the classics.

But I know trying new things is very tough. For instance, I enjoyed Love and Monsters but I was perhaps the only one. But it was different and the ending was bleak and the Doctor was shockingly absent.

I would take L&M over Robin Hood most any day.
posted by Ik ben afgesneden at 8:48 PM on September 7, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'm familiar with panto; but this was terrible.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 10:45 PM on September 7, 2014 [1 favorite]


If anyone needs a reminder of the target audience for the show, then they need look no further than this episode. I think Gatiss takes the focus on kids (or at least, family friendly) slightly too seriously, judging by his previous episodes. And looking back at those episodes, I wouldn't want to rewatch any of them. I mean, they're all embarrassments. The iDaleks in Victory of the Daleks, for example. Need I say more?

For one viewing, it's watchable and enjoyable at that. I can forgive the uber-cringeworthy golden arrow moment, mostly because I won't be watching this one again.

One question: is there a reason why we've had robots twice already this season?
posted by Juso No Thankyou at 2:08 AM on September 8, 2014 [1 favorite]


Daleks are a kind of robot too
posted by dng at 2:25 AM on September 8, 2014 [1 favorite]


Actually, come to think of it, including the Daleks (thanks dng), the common denominator is not actually robots but robot/biological hybrids. I think I know where we're going with the Missy plot, but alas, spoilers are included in that theory.
posted by Juso No Thankyou at 3:31 AM on September 8, 2014 [1 favorite]


On preview, Juso No Thankyou beat me to it -- the series theme so far is cyborgs.

I'm finding myself growing fonder of this episode as time passes. I enjoyed it a lot as it aired, especially Clara's interrogation and the exploration of heroes and legends, but I did the middle third or so to be a bit cartoonish for my tastes. But of course thinking about it as panto puts it into context.
posted by bettafish at 3:41 AM on September 8, 2014


Ik ben, I think Moffat's big innovation has been the season-long arc. Doctor Who never used to have a Big Bad season finale, and RTD found that that was very popular. But the whole interconnected mysteries building through multiple seasons is very Moffat. Personally, I found it pretty tiresome in practice, and am happy that we seem to have a more minimalist version of it this season.

Because the format of the show means we can go anywhere, any time, any reason, it starts to feel claustrophobic when every place is a piece of the same puzzle. I appreciate the try, but Doctor Who is not a Joss Whedon setup.

The 11th Doctor years are kind of a self-contained show of their own. I enjoyed them, but it's been such a relief to move on, and Moffat seems to know that the whole feel of the show has to be rejiggered. I don't have a good feel for exactly where he's going yet, and I'm sure he loves it that way.
posted by rikschell at 4:47 AM on September 8, 2014


I did enjoy robots killing people using "cross-beams." That was amusing.
posted by Ik ben afgesneden at 5:37 AM on September 8, 2014 [1 favorite]


Ik ben, I think Moffat's big innovation has been the season-long arc.

I think of that as a Nu Who invention starting with Bad Wolf and Vote Saxon, but Moffat has definitely elaborated on it. Moving towards minimizing season arcs--especially time spent on it per episode--is a good thing as far as I'm concerned. One of Moffat's problems is trying to stuff 10 lbs of story into a 5 lb time bag and while the TARDIS is bigger on the inside, the 45 minutes he has to tell an episode story in are not, alas. Character and plot and occasionally the end of the story get shorted.

As for Love and Monsters, I liked it quite a bit (though I rolled my eyes at the gross sexual implications of the end) but it's not sort of episode I'd want every week any more than the broad panto humor of Robots of Sherwood. The show in its current incarnation does better when they vary the emotional tenor every episode. I enjoy experimental episodes and pushing the show to grow, but the show has 11 regular non-finale episodes every season and that doesn't leave room for a huge lot of experiments, particularly if they're a ratings risk. I have no idea what the viewer numbers for L&M are, but you can be sure the BBC does. If they were terrible, there won't be more like that.

In terms of the fact that there's a lot of recycling, another point to consider is that the show's 50 years old and there are more than 30 seasons of material now, 7 seasons in the new series alone. It's not a terrible surprise that everything is no longer fresh and new. The new show is settling into something like middle age, and I'd rather see conscious callbacks than recycling without acknowledgement or notice, which would just be stale.
posted by immlass at 8:43 AM on September 8, 2014 [1 favorite]


I would like to see the effort to comfort the doctor over insecurity of whether he's a good guy or not finalized, as it kind of exists right now as a distraction to the over all plot and storylines of the episodes. You're a good man, Doc. No, in fact, you're a hero! Really, MY HERO! WE GOT IT.

I did enjoy the Doctor's refusal at first to take any of the events seriously and kept on waiting for his suspicions to be validated. I don't know if I was pleased or not that they weren't. Perhaps if Robin Hood and the Merry Men hadn't been so classically designed and inspired. How about a John Little that was actually little? Something along those lines, to allow for the reality to become legend, as the show implied.

And yes, that may have been the WORSE Robin Hood disguise for the archery contest I have ever witnessed.

Was I crazy, or were they using the set of the BBC Robin Hood show for the village scene? Or at least from Merlin?

I did like that Oswin is being given more independence and agency.

It wasn't a terrible episode, but it wasn't the best. As of this season, I may have liked it more than the first two.
posted by Atreides at 9:22 AM on September 8, 2014 [1 favorite]


The Doctor's anguish over whether or not he is a good man is shaping up to be wrapped up in Missy's story and the cyborgs "reaching the promised land". The cyborg story seems to be a metaphor for the Doctor reaching his own promised land.

My hunch, and this is pure speculation, is that being granted a new regeneration cycle through a crack from a pocket universe did not go as intended and this Doctor is not yet whole.
posted by plastic_animals at 10:24 AM on September 8, 2014


I couldn't watch more than the first few minutes of this, I know dr who is a mostly children's show and has been very silly for ages now - but just reading the blurb for this, ugh it is more than silly it is dumb. I despair of getting an episode for adults that isn't last series's "complex plot maguffin ontop of other complex plot maguffin"

Capaldi is a good enough actor, but I doubt Dr Who has good enough writers.
posted by Another Fine Product From The Nonsense Factory at 11:39 AM on September 8, 2014


The dungeon scene was painfully bad (apart from the joke at the end of Clara being the leader) - I felt the lines for bickering could've at least been entertaining. Although I guess the "he's soiled his pants" was pretty good - but the rest made the Doctor and Robin seem a bit too juvenile and stupid.

I think this is a Doctor who hates people and can hate on people with no qualms whatsoever. Not sure how I feel about that. It's very different from, say, the David Tennant era.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 12:23 PM on September 8, 2014


And don't write off the stupid dungeon scene as oh it's panto.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 12:25 PM on September 8, 2014


(that looks more aggressive than I intended it to be :o - sorry about that.)
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 12:27 PM on September 8, 2014


And don't write off the stupid dungeon scene as oh it's panto.

Ugh, no, I liked the episode and that was just weak.
posted by immlass at 12:28 PM on September 8, 2014 [1 favorite]


Wait so the Sheriff was really a robot then?

Yeah really dull episode. Best part was the preview of next weeks episode.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 12:57 PM on September 8, 2014


I had a hard time getting through this whole episode, but I gave the whole thing a chance over the Doctor fighting Robin Hood with a spoon. It was good, knowing that was just how seriously he was taking the whole thing. Also, Ben Miller as the Sheriff was great, and the Doctor cheating at the archery contest was pretty funny.

Also, loved the exchange that went something like:
Doctor: Has anyone ever punched you for laughing?
Robin: No, not yet.
Doctor: Good thing I'm here, then.

12 is a jerk, almost reminding me of Rick sometimes, and it's... hm, if not exactly fun yet, at least a nice change of pace after 10 and 11 spent so much time cozying up to humans. I kind of miss the old days, where he was always offended when he was mistaken for one.
posted by mordax at 1:03 PM on September 8, 2014 [1 favorite]


Ben Miller as the Sheriff was great

Although pretty transparently a Count Rugen knock-off. Made a change from the Prince of Thieves pastiche, though.

Clara interrogating the Sheriff was somewhat reminiscent of Marion drinking with Belloq, I thought?

I find that "it's <trope>, but <twist>" episodes rarely work very well -- they must feel very clever in the writers' room, but in practice they just seem flimsy.

"It's THE WILD WEST, but he's a PSYCHOTIC ROBOT."
"It's VAMPIRES, but they're BITEY FISH ALIENS."
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 2:16 PM on September 8, 2014 [1 favorite]


Nobody has mentioned the Doctor using his sonic screwdriver to blow up the archery target. Am I crazy in thinking that the sonic screwdriver has up to now very explicitly not been a weapon? Obviously, it could easily have been weaponized but I think the point is that the Doctor doesn't shoot things.

"As for Love and Monsters, I liked it quite a bit (though I rolled my eyes at the gross sexual implications of the end) but it's not sort of episode I'd want every week..."

I didn't like the end of L&M, but I liked the rest of it a lot. Although Turn Left and The Girl Who Waited were also "Doctor-lite" episodes, they were "companion-heavy" episodes in compensation, which Blink and L&M were not.

And I really liked the idea of one episode a season that showed us the perspective of an outsider's life being changed by stumbling into the fringes of the Doctor's world. There's so many interesting possibilities in this, and both Blink and L&M did a good job with it. I've been very disappointed that this didn't become a thing.

I guess part of why I responded so positively to this episode was because I think that the show has been doing a piss-poor job of being a serious, adult-ish show. If it had a recent track record of being better at what this episode was not, then maybe I would have found the silliness more off-putting. As it was, I was pleased to see the show actually succeed at what it was aiming for, rather than fail in ways that have become all too familiar.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 4:11 PM on September 8, 2014


Nobody has mentioned the Doctor using his sonic screwdriver to blow up the archery target.

He mentions later he cheated by using homing arrows. I'm assuming he used the sonic screwdriver to overload whatever circuitry was inside of those. He has certainly used the sonic to blow up electronic things before.
posted by Gary at 4:29 PM on September 8, 2014 [1 favorite]


I didn't think of that. I can go with that and as part of the "overloading/disrupt machinery" thing. Much better than what it seemed to be, which was aiming his sonic screwdriver at some random (non-electrical) thing and exploding it with fire.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 4:47 PM on September 8, 2014


And I really liked the idea of one episode a season that showed us the perspective of an outsider's life being changed by stumbling into the fringes of the Doctor's world.

I would love to see this done where the Doctor is not in it. Like.. not at all in it.
MAYBE there is a glimpse of the Tardis in the background, or the companion walks past (but no lines). A sort of mystery whereby the viewer can infer what the doctor has done by how the world reacts, the implication that the doctor is just round the corner being, well generally terrific.
But all the viewer sees is the world through this other observers eyes, who never has an explanation for what happened or how it got fixed, but we know.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 5:31 AM on September 9, 2014 [4 favorites]


I have no problem with Peter Capaldi biting Rick Sanchez's style, nor with the Doctor Who writers being sat down in front of the one short season of Rick and Morty, which contains roughly the same amount of universe and character building as the entirety of nuWho.
posted by whuppy at 6:07 AM on September 9, 2014


I think the point is that the Doctor doesn't shoot things. Yeah, no.
posted by hawthorne at 7:42 AM on September 9, 2014


It's a theme of the new show, though, and one I strongly approve of. It's a family show, after all.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 10:47 AM on September 9, 2014


Well, but, one can be in a family that does not include children.
posted by Ik ben afgesneden at 1:40 PM on September 9, 2014 [1 favorite]


I totally didn't see these threads, d'oh!

I enjoyed the episode overall; loved the Troughton photo (he was the first TV Robin Hood!) and the briefly Venusian karate and the moment when Robin Hood used the Doctor's tactic on the Sheriff. Capaldi had this look on his face, and I knew what was going to happen. Nice acting.
posted by wintersweet at 2:58 PM on September 9, 2014 [1 favorite]


One genuine complaint I do have about this and the previous episode is just how dumb it has made the Doctor. He didn't realise fixing the dalek would make it bad again, when that was blatantly obvious, and he sticks on to the notion that Robin in a robot well past the point that that would make any sense at all.

Also, at the end they ask if Robin is bothered that he's become a legend. Seeing as the legend is apparently completely accurate (other than the robots of course) I imagine he's not super bothered.
posted by Cannon Fodder at 11:44 PM on September 9, 2014


I don't disagree about the Doctor's 'dumbness' being a bit too much... But I don't think it's dumbness. Instead, it reads to me as self-confidence taken to the point of foolishness. (Hubris, perhaps?) The Doctor keeps insisting that Robin Hood isn't real because that's what seems obvious to the Doctor and the Doctor is certain the Doctor isn't wrong.

I'm not sure how I feel about it. On one hand, I like the idea of the Doctor's predisposition for always being right being deconstructed. On the other hand, I don't have confidence that's what the writers intend.
posted by meese at 8:17 AM on September 10, 2014


I've been wondering if the Doctor's 'dumbness' is not so much a new personality of the regenerated Doctor but a sign that something went wrong with the regeneration that's somehow tied into the mystery of "the promised land" and Missy. The arrogance to the point of foolishness makes sense in the short run but it's not a person a Doctor I want to watch week after week.
posted by plastic_animals at 11:53 AM on September 10, 2014


Liked bits and pieces of this episode but not others. Definitely appreciate the change of style (very Who-y!). The arrow was daft, but I've forgiven worse in episodes I liked (just about!). Some of the banter worked great, some less so. Not what I expected from a Gatiss episode, but it's the second one that's made me think he's got a bit of RTD's aesthetic in him. Here, for embracing the silliness which Who teeters on the edges of and previously with Night Terrors' council estate setting. Don't think I've loved a Gatiss episode yet, but I'll happily defend them, spoon-in-hand.

Ben Miller was great (naturally!) and that beard was excellent. Really tied his face together.

meese: Instead, it reads to me as self-confidence taken to the point of foolishness. (Hubris, perhaps?)
Heading off at a tangent here, but I remember learning the word "hubris" from The Mysterious Planet where Six (a.k.a. Doctor Hubris Himself) accuses the cool Gobot-lookalike of that particular flaw.
posted by comealongpole at 1:14 PM on September 10, 2014


I was a bit disappointed by the fact that climate change was dismissed as a reason for the unusually clement weather, in a episode set right in the middle of the Mediaeval Warm Period. I actually wonder if that, or something similar, was meant to be a plot element, which got lost somewhere along the way. As the episode stood, the odd weather seemed like a bit of a loose end. In general, in fact, this episode felt like there was possibly a more complex plot that ultimately ended up sacrificed for the sake of moving things along.

This episode was mostly pretty reasonable but the squabbling in the cell part was irritating, although getting Clara into the action on her own was entertaining.
posted by howfar at 1:58 PM on September 10, 2014


"I was a bit disappointed by the fact that climate change was dismissed as a reason for the unusually clement weather, in a episode set right in the middle of the Mediaeval Warm Period."

That was weird, but maybe the explanation is just sophomoric ignorance? Where "climate change" was meant as "anthropogenic climate change", which obviously couldn't apply then, but Gattis didn't know about the MWM which, ironically, would mean that Sherwood Forest was actually warmer at that time than it is even today.

It wasn't a loose end, though, because the (supposedly) ahistorically warm weather was a clue to what the robots were doing, and the Doctor explained it with something something I don't recall.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 4:56 PM on September 10, 2014


I'm sure this wasn't intentional, but I liked the bit where the Doctor took a bite of an apple then scanned it with the sonic, because he was right to be suspicious...the kind of apple he was eating wouldn't be around for centuries yet!
posted by Ian A.T. at 10:21 AM on September 11, 2014 [6 favorites]


I kept expecting the sheriff to be The Master.

But most Doctor Who characters don't regenerate to look much like a previous incarnation, so I'm not sure why I expected that.

...If there's one thing I hope Moffat does retcon it's the electricity-shooting Master.
posted by johnofjack at 4:20 AM on September 15, 2014


« Older The Wire: Stray Rounds...   |  The Knick: Where's the Dignity... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments