Monday, September 8, 2014

Battling the Robots of Sherwood

Before writing this review I caught a couple of others and have to begin by recalling Clara's book of things to do/see. She has longed for adventure and to see things and which of us who harbors such desires doesn't also have a few historical places we'd really like to see.

The Doctor asks Clara where she'd like to go. She warns him it's silly and then says she wants to visit Robin Hood. The Doctor writes him off as a legend but sets the coordinates anyway to prove himself right. That they land in the right place and Robin Hood is real, much less that he sticks and arrow in the Tardis (with a neat effect of the Tardis healing itself when the Doctor pulls the arrow out), comes as a complete shock to the Doctor.

Clara is reveling in the history while the Doctor is trying to find out how this was faked. The classic trap of an archery contest draws Robin Hood, with the Doctor and Clara tagging along, to deliberately spring the trap. It probably would have gone down like the classic story, except the Doctor had to get involved and try his hand at shooting. A couple of trick shots and he seems to be the victor, but no matter, the Sheriff has other plans and his robot soldiers move in.

From there proceeded the normal mayhem that surrounds the doctor along with some very interesting character moments. On the surface this is a silly story about Robin Hood and robots. But it goes deeper. Again, like all the episodes so far this season, there is a deeper level to the stories. Here the Doctor is compared and contrasted with that most English of legends, Robin Hood. This episode very clearly states that the 13th century had Robin Hood and the 21st century has The Doctor. Very appropriate from the writer whose previous Doctor Who related project was An Adventure in Space and Time.

This Doctor is still settling in, but the whole process is fun to watch. And he is obsessed with writing equations in chalk. What he is writing I haven't been able to piece together, but I would be it is important.

And it was a nice touch to see him wear a different shirt. If Pertwee inspires his wardrobe, we can expect more variations in costume like that.

The one thing I really felt in this episode is that Capaldi is most certainly the Doctor. He has fully inhabited the role and while he is making it his own, the character comes across as familiar, just hard to place. As someone who viewed each of the first Doctors during their tenure, I feel the ghosts of Hartnell, Troughton, and Pertwee coming out in every episode.

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