I am going to get to the point: I LOVED ‘Robot of Sherwood’. It was the fun, light episode that Doctor Who needed after two weeks of introducing us to the darkest, most obscure Doctor to date. And, oh, was not Capaldi in his element.
Because Twelve had already proven that he is capable of showing anger, hate, indifference, but this episode gave us moments of pure joy. For the viewers, that is, because Capaldi spent the entire hour distrusting way-too-buoyant Robin and his band of Merry Men, who seemed ripped off from Men in Tights. And everything that resembles anything created by Mel Brooks is welcomed in my world.
The plot shouldn’t feel as important as the interactions, but here it goes: the Doctor gives Clara the opportunity to choose destination, and she decides she wants to meet the famous outlaw. The Doctor is reluctant to believe Robin and his men are actually real (providing the episode with some of its best scenes), although in the end it is the Sheriff of Nottingham who turns out to be the one with secrets. Secrets that involve robots, in case you had not read the title of this episode.
‘Robot of Sherwood’ eventually serves as a fun journey, with the moral of the story being about heroes and Story vs. History. Robin prefers to be remembered as a legend and parts ways with the Doctor after showing him how they are not so different in the end. One just happens to have more hearts than the other.
Nevertheless, there are two aspects of Robot of Sherwood that I found the most noteworthy.
The first one is the script. I have a soft spot for Mark Gatiss: as a writer, as an actor, as a person, as the man who has taken part in three of my favourite shows this year. This is the seventh story he has written for Doctor Who (he also wrote ‘The Unquiet Dead’ or ‘Cold War’ and the lovely TV movie An Adventure in Space and Time. Yes, I cried with that one). I cannot be unbiased here because I enjoy Gatiss’ sense of humour, and ‘Robot of Sherwood’ displayed it with a parade of quick one-liners and absurd situations. Hell, there was even a reference to Errol Flynn, famous for playing Robin Hood, and the urban legend that says he had a huge…erm, ego. Yep, let’s go with that.
The other aspect is the great chemistry between Capaldi and Tom Riley, who plays Hood. All those jokes and those efforts to outwit each other would be pointless hadn’t Capaldi and Riley been this good. And the reason is not even that they want to impress Clara. No, they just have an instant dislike for each other (especially the Doctor) that pays off for the viewer, as it is a delight to watch them argue.
Well, next week we will finally get to watch the episode ‘Listen’, which I have been looking forward to, if only because of that teaser months ago with Capaldi sitting on top of the TARDIS. The new trailer makes it look as if they are going to visit different moments of Danny Pink’s life, so any character development story is welcome, especially one that looks as scary as this one!
…We roam around the forest looking for fights
-Anyone knows if there is going to be a series 8 soundtrack release? And since we are at it, of ‘The Day of the Doctor’?
-I know some people found this episode too light and silly. I don’t care. Not everything has to be about the deep, significant, depressing moments. We have to learn to enjoy the Robots of Sherwood as well, or we will all end up being demanding pedants.
-The Promised Land was mentioned again, so that is a plot point worth following…
-New shirt! Maroon is Capaldi’s go-back-in-time outfit.
-“Robin Hood laughs in the face of all. Hahahaha!!” “And do people ever punch you in the face when you do that?”
-“If you were real, you’d be dead in six months.”
-“It is indeed this jackal of the princes who seeks to oppress us for ever more.” “Or six months in your case.”
-“Right, that isn’t even funny. That was bantering. I am totally against bantering!”
-“It is not a competition about who can die slower.” “It would definitely be me, though, wouldn’t it?”
-“You’re as pale as milk. It’s the way with Scots, they’re strangers to vegetables.”
-“Soiled myself?!?” “Did you? That’s getting into character!”
-“History is a burden. Stories can make us fly.”