Doctor Who: Robot of Sherwood (803)

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 Doctor and Clara find themselves keeping company with Robin Hood.

The gang’s all here: robot guard (oops, spoilers!), Clara, Robin Hood, and the Doctor.

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.


9 responses to “Doctor Who: Robot of Sherwood (803)

  1. I am loving Doctor New because this is the kind of Doctor I grew up reading about – grumpy, cocky, over confident but always saves the day. I did notice the robot theme so I’m guessing it all leads to Cybermen? The teaser trailer of the next episode looked really spooky though. Should be an interesting watch!

  2. It’s so funny…this was my favorite of the season so far. I do agree that the humor was sometimes forced and the friction between the Doctor and Robin tiresome, but it did lead to some amusing lines (“…the good news is that Clara didn’t see that”) and YAY TO THE WOO with Clara’s portrayal. She was finally showing some of her Oswin Oswald competence, smarts, and reason, and I loved that the enemy recognized her as the “leader.”

    I’m reserving judgment on the Promised Land theme. It doesn’t sound as sinister as Bad Wolf, but I do like when they leave a subtle trail of breadcrumbs leading us to the big bad at the end of the season.

    I agree with Corinne that the preview for next week was very creepy and psychological thriller/horror movieish.

    This doctor to me doesn’t feel dark so much as cold. Maybe one will lead to the other. I think I get their intentions: he’s always looked outward, hiding from himself and what he’s done, and he faced all of that, everything that was tormenting him, all the walls he’d put up, and now that’s all gone and he’s facing the monster within. Except it doesn’t feel that interesting. It feels self-pitying and broody, and that’s not fun. He’s also brusquely impatient instead of cheekily so, and always before his disregard for loss (like with the soldier inside the Dalek) has felt like not wasting time on something he can’t fix when there’s a big problem in front of them, a bit dismissive but too fast-paced and charming to be offended by. Now he’s harsh and almost mean in that dismissiveness. And WOW, I didn’t intend to get that analytical about it. LOL It sounds like I don’t like him, and I do, just not as much as the others.

    • I went back and watched the preview. Yep, creepy—but in a good way. 😉

      Your take on the Doctor is thought-provoking (as are most of your comments!). I’m trying to think back to the first three episodes of the other Doctors, to remember if we’d gotten a good sense of them. I’m not sure we did…

      Ok, just checked IMDB, Yep, for 9-11, the third episode was the defining one. But then, they weren’t as light-hearted as this one.

      I think Moffat & co. have done a disservice with all their “this Doctor is the darkest one yet,” talk. They’d probably have been better off to let US decide what this Doctor is.

  3. Pingback: Doctor Who: Robots of Sherwood Who Listen | Damsel Undistressed

  4. Moffat has said that they’re slowing down the pacing this season, taking more time for things to play out and for characters to talk. I imagine that’s what makes you impatient; you’re used to fast-paced stories and everything taking place on the run. 🙂

    • No, I’m not impatient for the series, I just found the forced humor a bit overdone. 🙂 I enjoyed “Listen” much, much more. (I just didn’t catch it in a timely manner, so no post on it. Yet.)

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