Doctor Who: Robot of Sherwood – Series 8 Episode 3 Review
Based on the previews of tonight’s episode, The Robot of Sherwood, I’ve got a few ideas in mind of things that may happen, and things that I kind of hope will happen. For the last few years I’ve been a little upset about the overuse of the sonic screwdriver. It has become far too easy an escape for the Doctor, and a crutch for the writers. Can’t figure a way out of the predicament you’ve written? Just use the sonic screwdriver. Why not? It can be a weapon, a tool, a tricorder, a laser, a computer interface, just about everything. Unfortunately, I think it hurts the character of the Doctor. I’m not alone, back in 1982 John Nathan-Turner (series producer from 1980-1989) thought the same thing and had the screwdriver destroyed in the season 19 serial The Visitation. A serial where the alien Terileptils had planned on taking over earth by unleashing a plague and using their androids to enforce their control over the population. Well, tonight we get robots, and in the preview someone other than the Doctor holds the sonic screwdriver…maybe, just maybe history will repeat itself. Don’t get me wrong, I like the sonic screwdriver. I’m a bit of a prop collector and have reproductions of all the sonics. I just want the use to be scaled back and to be logical again. It’s a tool, and a key. It should be able to open electronic locks, scramble a few computers, put up some cabinets, and that’s about it. Well, that’s enough of my Who History Lesson, let’s see what actually happened tonight. (Sorry, I guess the secret’s out, I write up the first paragraph the night before the episode airs so I’m more timely with my post)
- Historical stories are always fun, and the BBC has lots of costumes, and I’m typing some of this during the commercial breaks.
- Well, I was sure off in my hopes of “no more sonic” as the Doctor has scanned everything in the first ten minutes of this episode….hopefully this is a fond farewell? (It won’t be, I saw the preview for next week’s episode already on Twiitter…sonic is there.).
- Were there really fears that this “older” Doctor couldn’t keep up and be exciting? We got to see the Doctor’s sword-fighting skills again, even if it was with a spoon, which I loved. Remember the Doctor is quite a skilled swordsman, we’ve seen it in The Sea Devils, Kings Daemons, and a whole bunch more…
- Excellent dialogue and banter between all the characters. I do like how Mark Gatiss’ writes dialogue, and speeches, but some of his stories fall flat in the science part of science fiction. (fighter planes against multi-coloured Daleks anyone? How about if we put them in space?)
- Nice little teases in the episode, when they started fixating on the gold, I instantly thought Cybermen, but then the circuit construction was revealed and that made sense too.
- I was a little disappointed to see a link to the “promised land” storyline. Not every episode has to link to it, unless it will be revealed that this story (and the robots) will factor in a much bigger way. Did that first knight who lost his arm have cogs inside him? hmm…..
A very fun little episode, which is a nice lead in to next week’s episode which looks pretty darn terrifying. I will say that the end of this one fell apart a little bit, but that could have had something to do with the commercial breaks, I don’t know. Also, how exactly did that spaceship function? They were building gold circuits to repair the engines, but the gold content was not sufficient to repair them properly. Okay, I get that. The gold content wasn’t refined, or pure enough to make a good conductive set of circuits. How did firing a gold arrow into the outside of the ship accomplish anything? Yes it was a neat way to showcase the archery skills of Robin Hood, and a good way for everyone to team up, work together, but it just didn’t make sense to me. Fire the arrow through a window to complete the broken circuit, that works. Though an open window on a spaceship makes even less sense, how about a two meter thermal exhaust port? ….
I did love the exchange at the end between Robin and the Doctor about heroes and their origins. The Doctor is a hero, even if he thinks he is just pretending to be one, and I think that this Doctor may become the most heroic yet. Clara was excellent (again). It’s amazing how when you treat the companion with intelligence what can happen. We also got to see more of Capaldi’s Doctor’s character come out. He’s grumpy, still the most intelligent man in the room (even if he gets it slightly wrong), a bit of a schemer, and we got to see a lighter, kinder and somewhat humorous aspect to him. I’ll say it again, Capaldi is absolutely top notch. Now I can’t wait to Listen…