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Saturday, 15 September 2012

Skaro's: Doctor Who A Town Called Mercy Review

A Town Called Mercy is yet another episode which toys with the Doctors range of emotions and morals. It also gives us a new view on 'villans', some may be doing bad things for a reason, and we don't give them a chance to explain... maybe that is what, to me, makes this episode one of the best from the new series.

As much as some fans could argue that I could easily compare this to the classic episode 'The Gunslingers' it really doesn't compare. The only similarity is that it is set a Western town and that the Doctor wears a stetson (again).

The general story but Toby Whithouse is an amazing one, I wasn't a fan of his previous episode 'The God Complex' so I didn't expect that much from this episode - but I was proved wrong, it's a brilliant episode and the main praise has to go to Whithouse for making such a originally complex seeming storyline into something that slow unwinds to a masterpiece of morals!

We not only have superb writing but we have a great cast in this episode too. The usual great acting of Matt, Karen and Arthur is supported by Ben Browder as Isaac, the town's Sheriff and Adrian Scarborough as Kahler Jex. Not only did Adrian as an actor have me convinced his character was a 'kind' doctor right up until it was blatantly pointed out.

The set's was already built because of being filmed in an actual town in Spain but the costumes in this set was probably some of the best I've seen for these 'classically set' episodes of Doctor Who. One slight criticism I have of the episode is the limited use of the 'western' side of the episode. We only see the Doctor ride the (transgender) horse - Susan, for about 30 seconds on screen.

I know I keep repeating myself from past reviews but now more than ever, Praise the king of music, Murray Gold and his fantastic music! Truly it makes the episode more 'Cowboy-y' (if that's a word...if it's not, it is now!). Honestly the music as they walk into Mercy is one of the best things I have heard Murray compose, it may not be as iconic as such things like 'River's Theme' or 'Doomsday' but it's great music, Murray at his best!

To cut my review short, I loved this episode more than the previous episode, Dinosaurs on a Spaceship but not as much as Asylum of the Daleks, for that reason I give it an 8/10.

Oh - and The Power of Three trailer looks mega-super-awesome-foxy-hot episode!

"There are soldiers all over my house and I am in my pants..."


Matthew Bagnall said...

Ok, i might as well review this episode also.

Let me start off by getting this over and done with. Fans of the possibility of a future 'evil doctor/Valeyard' will be pleased, the Doctors darker side is portrayed nicely with him coming close to murdering Kahler Jex.

Anyway, onto the episodes. Let me start off by saying this is one of my favorite Moffat era episodes. While the lack of a main villain is a slight problem - given that both 'villains' turn out to become good at the end - even if its only fleeting.

Despite being set in the wild west and featuring several cliches the episode feels rather fresh and is a nice break from the more comedy driven previous episode. The cast performed well with the Doctor and surprisingly the Gun Slinging cyborg who perfectly portrayed his nature of more machine than man while still containing some humanity without showing emotion on his face.

The Doctors darker side is brilliantly displayed with once again having 'Amy' quote some of the Doctors former companions. "This is what happens when you stay on your own for too long" a quote which has essentially been said by all the Doctor's new companions recently.

One problem is the 'continuity' i feel more and more like Moffat is setting up these characters for a big return similar to how he introduced madame kovarian fleetingly for her to return in later episodes. With Riddell now with Queen Nefertiti, Rory's father now back at home (awaiting Episode 4) and now having a Cyborg staying in the wild west i cannot help but feel either the Doctor is getting more 'lax' on letting time be rewritten.

One minor issue i am having is the ending voice over by someone who is not named. I presume this is meant to just be like a legend or story however it brings so many 'Oswin Oswald' vibes that it is practically tapping away at me.

Overall this episode is a nice story that was bound to happen around the time of the Doctor getting new companions or losing old companions. The entire episode feels like it is meant to emphasize that the Doctor really can no longer be on his own as time is making him less of the person he was.

In terms of this series; 4.5/5
In terms of a timey-wimey episode; 3/5

Notes - if you are looking for an episode centered around the Doctor this is probably one of the closest you will get

Next time trailer shows that it will likely be Rory and Amy centered with the inclusion of Rory's dad. The episode seems to be more comedic and less serious and given the invasion/episode takes place over a year i doubt it will be anything more than short segments showing the life of Rory and Amy change over the years - similar to 'One Day'

Lucille7777 Lucille7777 said...

I liked it, not as much as the first two episodes of the new series, because this got a little slow at times, but it was pretty good.

Gavin Bollard said...

That moment when the Doctor compromised his morals was scary and very well done. I really hope that they do the whole Valeyard story one day. Ideally, they could have the twelfth doctor very very conflicted.