Ten Thoughts About Doctor Who: A Town Called Mercy

Ten Thoughts About Doctor Who: A Town Called Mercy

Posted by September 15, 2012 Comment

A few thoughts of watching Doctor Who tonight. There may be spoilers. In fact there are…

1. They Like Their Lightbulbs Don’t They?

In Pond Life and all three episodes of Doctor Who this series, we’ve had flickering lightbulbs. A common sign that something, somewhere has gone terribly, horribly wrong. What is that future that the Doctor was talking about? What will Rory and Amy be required to do? How many Doctor’s companions does it take to change a lightbulb anyway?

2. They Like Their Christmas Lists Don’t They?

Two mentions of the Doctor’s Christmas list two episodes in a row? Maybe in December we might get a peek as to see what else is on it?

3. They Like Their Summarily Capital Punishment, Don’t They?

We began with the Doctor blowing up a room full of Daleks, admittedly in self defence. Still, walking through their corpses holding Amy was a rather chilling moment. Last week’s cold blooded execution of Solomon was a rather shockingly out of character moment for recent Doctor Who. The difference this week is that Amy was hand to point out what a load of old nonsense that is and that something is wrong with the Doctor. Shame she was otherwise engaged shooting mini-Tyrannosaurus Rexes at the time last week.

4. Talking About That…

What we did get this week was a lot of talking about relative morality, but in text and subtext. And here we have a Joseph Mengels unable to be tried by and war crimes court because their side won (and clearly rewrote their own history so not even the Doctor was aware of their crimes). But his executioner outside threatening to kill everyone. What would you do? Rather similar to Boom Town in the first series, this was more successful in that it was set in an Wild Western town and not Cardiff. And the more pointed moment of life, death, redemption, punishment was in a prison cell and not over a checkered table in an Italian bistro. Talked about, discussed, reasoned with, debated. It’s rare you see this kind of thing on a serious documentary, let alone a sci-fi show for the family. It’s rather obvious and on the nose – thankfully the Doctor didn’t land in a town called Gravy – but that just reminded me of classic sixties drama TV plays. Nice to see it back.

5. A Horse Called Susan

I really hope his granddaughter didn’t use a Chameleon Arch for this. But yes, the Doctor talks cat, talks baby and talks transgender horse. Why ever not?

6. A Doctor With A Gun

It’s one of those weird things. The Doctor is pretty much the only lead in an prime time action adventure series who doesn’t wield a gun or some sort. I mean, it happens, but only out of effect of in a situation where he is forced to. This time? He chooses it. Then accepts a position where it is mandatory. It’s been said how these episodes are the last days of the Ponds. With the Doctor at least. But it’s feeling more like the last days of The Doctor, this Doctor anyway. He’s changing. And a moment too soon. We see Kahler Jex commit suicide as a way to resolve the situation, protect the townsmen, and punish himself, taking matters into his own hands. Is the Doctor going to have to do the same?

7. The English Are The Aliens

“Everyone who isn’t American, drop your gun.” Thank you Ben Browder. But it’s telling that Kahler Jex is being played not only English but Upstairs Downstairs English. With the Doctor, Rory and Amy (Scottish, but hey), there are those who belong and there are those who do not belong and their accent sets them far apart.

8. High Noon… Wasn’t

Those look like mighty long shadows, partner.

9. But It Does Rather Look Good Doesn’t It?

It does though. Shot in Spain like a proper spaghetti western, lots of lovely colour and texture and detail and… stuff. The titles may look a little shonky but this episode was a beaut for the eyes. I was spoilt for screencaps, I really was.

10. Part Man Part Machine All Dredd

Handy that the film just came out. Because, yes, there was lots of Robocop here, but also lots of Judge Dredd, especially in the final scenes.  So in the present day, where is this… I say town, more like a sprawling suburn called Mercy,with a shockingly low crime statistic, being looked over by a cyborg alien fascist cop? He is the law after all.

Next Week!

The mobile phone company 3 must be really happy. Say, didn’t the tattoos of faces this week look a little like 3s too?

About Rich Johnston

Chief writer and founder of Bleeding Cool. Father of two. Comic book clairvoyant. Political cartoonist.

(Last Updated September 16, 2012 5:08 pm )

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