Thanks to having watched some of the classic Doctor Who episodes on Netflix, I actually knew what a miniscope was! Pretty impressive for a non-Whovian, yeah?
So, what did you think of the latest episode of Doctor Who? (I used speech recognition to “type” that sentence and what appeared was was Dr. Who. Sacrilege!)
The episode was written by Mark Gatiss, Steven Moffat’s longtime writing and creative partner. In case you’ve been living under a rock, the two co-created the hit Sherlock, and together or separately, have written the majority of its episodes. Gatiss, a bona fide actor, even plays Sherlock’s brother Mycroft Holmes (initially uncredited).
The point of all this rambling is partly because I’m in the midst of rewatching all the Sherlock episodes, but mainly is due to the fact that Gatiss and Moffat have similar writing styles. In this case, it was the heavy-handedness.
I found myself getting a little impatient with the episode, anxious for the plot to move forward. I couldn’t quite put my finger on why until someone wrote on a message board that the pacing was poor, the dialog clunky, and the comedy forced.
For me, the many references to the new Doctor’s cadaverous appearance grew wearisome, the verbal sparring between Robin and the Doctor while imprisoned felt useless. Even the archery comeuppance, with arrow splitting arrow upon arrow became tedious. It’s as if they didn’t know when enough was enough.
That’s not to say I didn’t like the episode. The duel with the spoon was enjoyable. (Apparently this too was a classic Doctor Who reference, but one which I missed.) The ricocheting laser beams was fun. And the reveal of Maid Marion was a great surprise, at least for me.
But it’s still early days for the Twelfth Doctor, and I don’t yet have a sense of who he is. I’m repeatedly told he’s “the darkest Doctor yet,” but I’m not sure I’m seeing it. Perhaps we haven’t yet had his “defining moment.”
This season’s overarching theme seems to be the idea of Paradise. It’s not nearly as interesting as the crack in time, or as creepy as the Silence (even if their explanation was a huge let-down), nor does its consequence seem particularly dire.
We’re three episodes in and have so far had three robotic enemies (if you count the Daleks as semi-robotic). Things better pick up and diversify soon, or the season could turn out to be a dud.
Lots of people have been left wondering if Robin Hood was real or robot, legend or factual. I choose to believe neither Robin nor the sheriff were robots, that both were real people. Sometimes not being a super fan is easier on the brain cells.