Welcome to episode three, written by Toby Whithouse. Things I know about this episode: it's a robo-Western that reminds me of that Red Dwarf
episode 'Gunmen of the Apocalypse' in that there's a robot in the Wild West. Except this time the robot's a psychotic gunslinger and not an alcoholic sheriff. So basically, one of Red Dwarf
's rogue simulants is the villain of this Doctor Who
episode, except from what I've seen he really
looks like Kryten from 'Angels and Demons'/
This will be the first time since 1966's serial 'The Gunfighters' that the show's visited the Wild West, and sadly, I do know that Toby Whithouse was asked not to watch said serial because it wasn't all that good. Chances of shout outs: low.
Also, I am not much of a Western fan, and the vast majority of my knowledge comes from Saturdays when I was younger. Specifically, Grandpa and an aunt or two loved Westerns, and they usually watched one over lunchtimes, and we were stuck watching them when we were over there. Granted I normally ended up reading a book while munching on my chips (UK chips), but I still picked up a bit. They were mostly John Wayne Westerns from the 1950s and early '60s, so this is dead. straight. Western. tropes.
In other words: rambling!
And John Wayne is the best ever person to be in a Western ever. So cool my Elder Little Brother would get up a three in the morning to watch them. So cool said sibling wanted to be
Rambling again. But it's twenty to six. Yes, I write these little intro nothings at least thirty minutes beforehand. I actually don't know when Doctor Who
's on today actually. This is problematic and should be rectified.
Eh, on with the show.
(Also my enter key is shot, so formatting will be broken)
Oh Lord! Now Strictly
's on just before Doctor Who
(how is Brucie still alive? Isn't he older than the - oh hello boobs! And everything else! - universe by now?) I don't think I'll be getting my Bowie advert. This is atrocious and shocking and awful.
Then again, the only time I ever watched Strictly
was once or twice when Matt Baker was on. It was nostalgic, and I already knew he was a good dancer.
Okay, for realz: on - how dare they be covering QUEEN HOW DARE THEY! AND IT'S A BAD COVER TOO THIS IS AWFUL AND
DOCTOR WHO IS NOW STARTING ON -1 WITH BAD FEELS!
Oh this isn't fair. Dad's Army
's on the other channel. That's another - 1!
On with the show.
Oooh, new period drama starting next week though. Up half a point.
Voiceover of stereotypical Southern woman. And . . . deliberately cheesy space ship that looks from a 1950s B movie.
The Gunslinger as a TERMINATE screen like Hudson from Red Dwarf
and oodles more - oh Lord, it is
Kryten. And Kryten's off to kill the Doctor.
But wasn't he wiped out of existence last series? Could have sworn he was. Eh. This takes place post-wipe, in a pre-wipe setting>
Oooh! Random adventure for gits and shiggles. And Kryten's already zooming in on them.
D: "I see 'Keep Out' signs as more sugggestions really. Like 'Dry Clean Only." A Time Lord after my own heart.
Lovely music that. And yes, that is a stereotypical strolling down the town centre.
Rory left his mobile behind in Henry VIII's suite. Also, the Christmas list was mentioned again! And I think about half the teaser trailer for this episode was from that
D: "Tea. With the strong stuff. Leave the bag in." Excuse me while I go die. And he's flirting with the bar lady.
What is it with the bad grammar? 'Is you an alien?'
And the Doctor is getting . . . lynched now? Now. They chucked him just over their town border. About two yards over.
Preacher: "He's coming, oh God he's coming." *does the Lord's Prayer* Eh? And - ooooh, the sheriff has a spiffy green waistcoat.
Also, Kryten can't cross the town borders. Ah, the sheriff is Aaaahhhhzik. Also, was the a banjo or a mandolin?
Exposition dump! Kryten's holding
S: "He wasn't aiming for the head."
D: "He was aiming for their hats?!" And he's so shocked. Hey, the TARDIS got lost again. Also, the electricity's all fizzing
D: "Two alien Doctors, we're like buses." And it's that other alien Doctor who - monocle glasses
. Carla Jakes is also
the Doctor. He has a metal snakey thing on his face and is ginger. And British.
He's ultimately the bad guy. He's a Brit in America. He's the villain. Oh, and Carla (I can't make out his name properly, so Carla) - I forget. Sidetracked by Carla being all genial and understanding and so on. And taking advantage of the obviously welcoming, sweet and so on American's hospitality.
D: "Did you try to repair your craft? Surely someone with your skills . . ?" Point. AND THE DOCTOR HAS A STETSON AND WANTS TO WATCH THE ARCHERS.
Oh, and remember the situation from 'Closing TIme', the Doctor's now utterly denying his interest in anything, meaning he's very interesting and knows what Carla's done.
And his distraction is having the sheriff and Rory . . . I think? - My telly's freezing up something wicked - run pell mell through the desert. And seeing as Kryten's HUD informed him 87% chance of injuring an innocent I was so right.
Ten minutes max.
C: "YOu're a mother. There's kindness in your eyes. Sadness too. ANd ferocity." I CALL BULL!
And this doctor just so happens to be a father?! BULL. He's telling fibby pops!
Oh, it was the ship. The Doctor's picking people up in the TARDIS when he reaches it.
MATT SMITH ON A HORSE IN A STETSON!
And even though he's in a hurry - he can speak horse
- he gets distracted and finds a VERY POORLY HIDDEN ELECTRICAL CABLE. And fiddling with it makes the bad guy suspicious. Spain looks very like the West?
D: "Yes, I wear a Stetson now." . . .Where's the rest of the line. "Yes. Good point Susan" REFERENCE TO 'THE GUNFIGHTERS' OR AT LEAST THE FIRST DOCTOR.
So Rory and Sheriff are hiding by a cliff while the Doctor jumps on top of an egg shaped ship with ho damage. Until he sets off the car alarm and opens the door.
- oh KARLA -
the Distraction Boys this well, distracts everybody. And yeah, Carla's a villain and he's going to end up taking someone - probably Amy - hostage, because he's been playing
Heh. Abraxas security is funny. And the sonic screwdriver overrides it.
Called it. He's an EVIL SCIENTIST who does illegal cyborg experiments on - that was a child - people who are fully conscious.
Called it: hostage!Amy.
Isn't there a Star Trek
character called Jex? Yyyyyep. It's Kryten-meets-the 'Justice' episodes.
A: "We?? Uh, I'm coming with you." Bit thick there. Obviously when someone points a gun in your face you're in trouble. And then the sheriff and Rory stumble upon Carla holding a gun to Amy's face.
C: "It was stupid of me." He thought it would be easier if he left. And now the Doctor is peed off
. The Doctor is furious because of illegal experiments. Carla considers himself a "war hero"
C: "We built an army that brought an end to the war in less than a week." Then he begins talking about how war is another world that shouldn't have ordinary defintions applied to it.
GREY AREAS! GREY AREAS!
Carla is the town's hero, but he's a war criminal! And Rory and Amy are on different sides and the
C: "Looking at you Doctor, is like looking into a mirror. Almost. [...] Everything but the nerves to do what needed to be done." Oh boy.
So it's no surprise the Doctor just bodily hauled Carla out of the town and over the border. AND HE DREW A GUN. UP YOURS TEN!
Okay, that's going too far.
C: "You wouldn't."
D: "I genuinely don't know." More honest than Ten too.
S: "Everyone who isn't an American: drop the gun."
Oooh, okay. I wasn't all that sure about this episode until the last five or seven minutes or so, but know there's mercy
and its applicability, the Doctor's Issues, GREY AREAS. All sorts of things. And then the Doctor agrees that he's maybe doing something wrong, and then Kryten comes.
KRYTEN SHOT THE SHERIFF, BUT HE DIDN'T SHOOT THE DEPUTY! Sorry, but this was obvious. And now the Doctor's being held beholden to "protect Jex, protect [his] town. You're both good men, you just forget it sometimes."
And now the Doctor's the Marshall of Mercy. Appropriate. Kind of. And Kryten broke his programming (ish?) by killing an innocent.
D: "THis has gone on long enough."
K@ "You're right. You've got until noon tomorrow. Give him to me, or I'll kill you all."
GOODBYE GREY AREAS!
A: "Oh my God, you're the Marshall."
D: "Yeah. And you're the deputy." Beat you to it.
And night: awwww, poor Rory's just a "fella". And I'll be surprised if there's not a lynch mob outside the prison. Well, there's a group? And the Doctor's wearing guns in holsters.
My mind is boggled.
Random dude: "He in there? Leave the keys and take a walk. [...] Protecting [Carla] got him killed." Ehm. It's a mob of mixed feelings then. Although I do find it amusing the prostitute/saloon girl was the one to vocally stand up for Carla.
The Doctor's smooth talking his way into making an eighteen year old drop his gun. D: "Don't you see, violence doesn't end violence, it just extends it." Hello Anvil! Deservedly though. And the Doctor tells the kid "you are [worth the risk".
The Doctor then makes a very relieved face as the crowd disperses. "Frightened me. Give me a Dalek any day." Black and white is easier than grey./
The Undertaker gave the Doctor coffee, and the Doctor wigged out. Quietly. Also: calling it: poison. And behind his back the Undertaker measure's the Doctor. Again. Amusing.
And now Carla's being needlessly antagonistic. D: "But I can't can I? Then Isaac's death would be just another casualty in this bloody war!"
C: "It would be so much simpler if I was just one thing [...] the fact that I'm both [mad scientist and good doctor] confuses you."
D: "[...] You can't get to decide when and how your debt is paid!" Then there's alien religious talk that reminds me very much of Dante's depiction of Purgatory. He must carry all the souls of those he's wronged up the mountain.
C: "Can you see now why I'm afraid of death? We all carry our prisons with us. Mine is my past, yours is your morality."
I like that. Truly I do.
Yes, the Doctor's standing in the town square at noon waiting for the bad guy/antagonist to arrive as the rest of the town waits in eerie silence. Yes, it's a cliche, but it fits the moment.
Why does a town with eighty-one people require a bank?
Oh, it's twelve. The Doctor sonicked things into exploding as a banjo and choir kick into action. THis is awesome. Also, it was a distraction. And there are now three Carla's running around/. Or more. More. They're playing hide and go peek with Kryten. Also, someone turned his face too much and made Kryten realise "It's a trcik."
Showdown in the OK Church. Little girl made a noise and now panic.
I call heroic sacrifice. Any minute now. Sure the Doctor shoved him off (metaphircally), but he's coming back. Also, there was an empathic moment where Kryten depowered his gun because he looked at a little girl. Obvious reason is obvious.
Oh. Carla is running away.
K: "Deactivate automatic targeting. Switch to manual." Kryten confronts the Doctor and demands to know where Carla is etc. etc.
Oh. It's an audio connection with a last moment of empathy. K: "I will find you. If I have to tear this universe apart, I will find you." And Carla talking about how no matter what other's will be brought into the fight.
Suicide is good? Carla's killing himself to end the war. "I have to face the souls I have wronged. Perhaps they will be kind."
Kryten vows to go self-destruct in the desert, "I am a creature of war, I have no place in a world of peace."
D: "Except to protect it."
Given there's a rapic cut to the Doctor trying to talk the Ponds into going on another trip (which they kindly refuse) Kryten's Marshall now.
I really don't like that voiceover, even if that little girl in the church is the ancestor of voiceover lady. And Kryten is "their very own angel who fell from the stars."
Amy voiceover. And "the ytear of the slow invasion."
R: "There are soldiers all over my house, and I'm in my pants" UK pants. That's undies. AND MR. WEASLEY'S BACK AGAIN!
MORAL GREY AREAS ARE LIKE MEAT AND BREAD AND FIZZY POP TO ME GUYS.
Also, I need to talk this out a lot
down below as I have words upon words.
don't like the voiceovers at the beginning and end. I think the end is worst because of that cheesy Guardian Who Watches Over Us thing.
There's good voiceovers and bad ones. That was a bad one. Also, she sounds eerily like River Song.
But my Big Worst Moment
is below. I had to edit it in because I forgot The Line in the wonderful grey areas.
Three-way tie with the Doctor, Carla and Kryten. And seeing as I Googled to find out who played Carla, I found out it was Adrian Scarborough
. This guy has won Laurence Olivier awards and has been in works that I greatly enjoyed. That was a pleasant surprise.
Now, while that does
makes me want to tip the balance more in favour of a two-way tie with Matt Smith, I do think that the guy who plays Kryten did well with his shtick. When he's sitting on his outcropping looking down at the town you can tell he really doesn't want to do this, but the revenge is just too compelling. While I do think the end was a little over-the-top, it still fit rather well in his depiction of a man pushed to the very limits of sanity by his need for revenge.
But the Doctor and Carla, wow
. Look, just wow. I don't think I need to say more about these two in particular as this is the meat of the episode I want to get into talking about down below, so let's just say that their interactions were very tense and there were several occasions where I was unnerved.
While in general the American accents just . . . probably were not good at all . . . I have to say the eighteen year old boy who tried to lead the lynch mob. He was very unrealistic, and was just too obviously acting to fit very well.
Best Special Effect:
Kryten cloaking and decloaking. It looked cool, and also felt and looked a little broken which fit the broken down appearance Kryten had.
Worst Special Effect:
if I'm honest, I don't think there were many good
special effects in this episode at all. Not that they were bad
, but they were sub-par and . . . average. I think Kryten's make up was worst because it felt really inconsistent, and I'm not sure why. It felt a little too
made up more often than not.
Most Punchable Character:
Morally grey areas mean most people are punchable, but I think I will choose Amy for being so thick she couldn't figure out an attempted kidnapper when the prospective kidnapper held the gun directly to her face
Considering it deals with the messy aftermath of a war? Presumably millions pre-episode, but only two in the episode proper.
Kink of the Episode:
Half-naked Rory. I consider the episode to be until the end of the credits
Was Not Expecting:
Deliciously grey moral areas that will probably have people arguing over the 'correct' (note the quotation marks) way to solve the problem presented in the episode.
Also, genre savvy Amy not realising she was being kidnapped? What the Hell Amy.
First off: The Independt posted this review almost the second the episode was over and I read it while I was trying to find out who played Carla.
It's a bit general in my opinion, but I do tend to agree with the general thrust. I love
Carla and the Doctor throughout.
But first: my niggles. Amy and Rory were extraneous. Completely. I did like the banter in the beginning, but for the most part, I . . . aside from Amy pulling a Donna on him, anyone could have done what they did.
Also, wasn't the whole 'the Doctor is getting darker and darker' thing a Thing back with Ten? I like TVTropes, but when you stumble across references to the Time Lord Victorious and combine it with what I know of season four . . . how can I get deja vu without having seen season four properly?! OH RIGHT. SEASON SIX!
Can we just have happy-go-lucky Doctors? Well, mostly happy-go-lucky Doctors.
That said, I did like this episode quite a bit. Despite that, I think it's the weakest episode so far because I didn't really like the beginning bit until I saw the grey areas on the horizon, and well, the ending is definitely going to be a tricky issue because suicide is a tricky issue no matter what
When I say 'weakest so far' I do mean 'weakest upon immediate reflection'. While with 'Dinosaurs' Neffie just confused me more and more, and with 'Asylum' well, the ending, 'Mercy' just.
I love the grey areas! I hated the voice overs, and the American accents did make me cringe a lot. Can I just say that the first ten minutes, and the last two or three are poor and bring down an otherwise very interesting episode?
Yes? Yes. Good.
So, grey areas. Make me happy as Larry. While it was obvious from basically the beginning that Carla wasn't good I was pleased to find out he was a mad scientist. Then he went from being just
a good and kindly alien from outside space (a Doctor clone) to one who seemed to be trying to repent for his sins experimenting on people who are fully conscious to turn them into Terminators
It made you sympathise with Kryten, but you couldn't like
any one of the pair because Carla is basically a war criminal and tried to justify his crimes after the fact - and to some extent you can see their motives behind creating Terminators - but at the same time, he has
done good things.
Similarly, you can well understand Kryten's desire for revenge, but not to the extent that it goes as far as hurting people not directly involved in the conflict.
And the Doctor? Well. Talk about Carla driving him up the wall. Repeatedly. I believe he sympathises with all the sides in the conflict, and all he can do is try to moderate something with no clear-cut areas. Moreso when you think that Carla could be lying about Kryten being more than a rogue simulant. We
know that Carla's likely to be telling the truth about Kryten hunting down scientists after he was meant to have been decommissioned seeing as we saw the beginning of the episode; but
the Doctor doesn't know that.
I very easily sympathise with the Doctor here because there's no easy solution. Well, except suicide, and I have a lot of things I could say about that, but aren't forum friendly due to Things. I will, however, say that I find it fitting that such a grey action is used to resolve such a troubled issue.
This episode is a little clunky talking about the Doctor's prison in a town called Mercy (ha ha ha), but I can see what they're talking about. The Doctor often (especially
as Ten) tries not to kill because he respects life, and in doing so he feels as though he's slighting the victims of his enemies. Here he tries to think of the victims first, but while Kryten is Carla's victim (as all the cyborgs are), everyone in Mercy is Kryten's victim. No matter what he chooses he feel 'bad', so tries to pick the most obvious victim; and well, in the end he can't just throw someone to the dogs. Especially when that final ultimatum comes.
From there, I don't know, maybe the Doctor had plans to take Carla to face proper justics as opposed to a vigilante? I don't know. But he could no longer cater to someone who deliberately and aggressively brings 'innocents' into the fight.
And also, though I said I found this the weakest episode so far, it's also very strong. If it wasn't so obvious from the beginning that Carla wasn't exactly who he said he was, and if it weren't for the ultimate beginning and end, I would very much be hailing this as amazing. Instead it's just very good overall, and amazing in the middle.
Everything about this episode is grey except for the acting from the Our Boys, Carla and Kryten! Seriously, Carla's amazing, and I do like the intensity of the discussion he has with the Doctor that last night where they talk about guilt and all the souls harmed by their actions or inactions. I think that is flat out wonderful, even if it's too similar to 'The God Complex' which was also written by Toby Whithouse. Not necessarily bad, but well, why does the Doctor keep running into mirrors of himself? I think there's a theme coming.
Also, the Sheriff was in Farscape
which is really cool.
EDIT: Yes, I forgot an Issue I wanted to mention. Carla's comment to Amy? Why did it pee me off? Because only
mother's can have tenderness, sadness and ferocity in their eyes all at once? NO.
While I think this is meant to be a compliment it rubbed me all the wrong ways. Not all mothers are ferocious (sometimes not even when their children are in danger or did something stupid
), not all mothers are tender.
If you make this comment of Amy - who certainly has reason to have sadness mentioned alongside her motherhood - so does Rory
. Did he not feel and experience many of the same things Amy did? He. Did.
Yes, there's the whole carried-the-baby-birthed-it-may-not-physically (perhaps)-have-children-again thing, but dad's also feel much of it too.
Mother's are not paragons of virtue.
Not all mother's feel these things.
Men and women can feel these things at once regardless
. Especially those in caring professions - nurses, doctors, teachers, social workers, police officers and everyone in the emergency services and normal services.
By mentioning these qualities of Amy's - all of which I do agree she has - and then implying they are directly
because of her motherhood/lack thereof (she technically didn't raise River, nor was she really aware of her pregnancy for the most part, so I'm thinking more along the lines of Amy perhaps being like a mother who miscarried/had a still birth/gave away her child for [reason]) is insulting to her as a person
See! This another of those Weird 'Feminist' Things That Are Meant To Be Positive that you see under Moffatt's reign. Like with Neffie last episode, or River
in her entirety or . . .
I'm not certain, but I think most of these moments of uncomfortableness happen when a male writes things. Maybe they're honestly meant to be compliments, but sometimes they just sound weird or feel wrong.
This one got on my tits. Maybe not everyone feels that way, I have Issues and Buttons, and this pressed the wrong ones; but, argh. You can't just reduce emotions in females to mother/not-mother binaries like that. It's offensive.
I'm certainly ferocious enough to tear into people; sometimes it's for family/children reasons, but often . . . did you not just read this rant? I'm empathic, but sometimes I'm not. Often I'm not.
I'm a bit of a jerk.
Nothing is clear cut when it comes to emotions and the reasons behind them. Don't break it down to mother/not-mother. Certainly people who have had children are likely to feel those things towards their children.
Be they mother or father. Birth, surrogate or adopted.
Siblings and relatives feel all these things too. You can't just say that kind of thing and then not expect eveyrone else who has ever cared about anyone
to not feel insulted.