Monday, September 08, 2014

Who Robs from the Rich to Give to the Poor? - The Doctor meets Robin Hood

A light hearted episode. It shouldn't be that much of a surprise for New Who. A light hearted episode always slides in there early on. Yet I can't help feel it was a mistake. We're going for a darker Doctor, it feels way too soon to be throwing an episode like this around.

Then again it does manage to tell us a bit about our new Doctor. By teaming him up with Robin Hood, a man who as far as history is concerned doesn't exist, and having the Doctor spend most of his time refusing to believe he was real, we get to see a more cynical Doctor. Tennant and Smith would have both gone along with the Robin Hood ruse with smiles on their faces. The reveal that it was a robot would be the twist for their version of this story. That Capaldi refused to admit it, and the twist being Robin is real, sets him very much apart from his two big predecessors.

In fact even going back to the old ones, I can only think of two that would outright complain about Robin Hood in the same way as the Twelfth Doctor did. Noticeably Three is one of those, the one most people point at as Capaldi following in the footsteps of when you compare their dress sense, and a little of his personality. We even got a little bit of karate thrown in when he disarms Robin at the archery contest.

Robin Hood himself I wasn't keen on though. I'm a bit of a Hood fan, but I prefer the more realistic depictions rather than the dashing, laughing, joking Robin. It just doesn't feel right. Of course that's kind of the point because we're more likely to go along with the Doctor's “But he's not real” with this version. It also gave a nice little nod to it with Clara realising it was all to cover up his hurt.

The use of Robin Hood towards the end was telling though. A lot of talk about stories, and tales of legend to inspire people. On the one hand, this could be addressing Moffat's old trick that River mentioned back in 'A Good Man Goes to War', that of the Doctor inspiring battle, instead of healing and being wise. We know this Doctor is all about fixing his past mistakes. That speech by Robin is a way of addressing that, and getting the Doctor thinking along those very lines.

On the other hand, there's the whole admittance that these are just stories, that this is all fiction and just a good laugh to give people something to aspire to. The TARDIS Eruditorum would probably call it the mercurial nature of Who, but I'll let him worry about that.

Another good episode for Clara, which is becoming a bit of a thing this season. Which is awesome, and no that unsurprising considering Capaldi is still finding his feet. I wouldn't be surprised if this was one of the earliest in production as he did seem a little less certain of his role as he did in 'Deep Breath' and 'Into the Dalek'.

But overall, it was a pretty skippable episode. I laughed in the right places, and we got another nod at the Promised Land, and that's about it.
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