So in “A Town Called Mercy,” the Doctor goes all Wild West, and although this particular episode was still a lot of fun, things are starting to grow a little darker. Obviously, SPOILERS AHEAD.
First of all, I’m sorry for the later than usual review. I like to get my Doctor Who episodes reviewed by Mondays, but I’ve been on vacation and was enjoying some well-deserved time off in Paris. You can forgive me, right? However, the first thing I watched when I returned home was Doctor Who, as to be expected.
So what was this one about? The Doctor lands in the Wild West in a town (obviously) called Mercy. There, a cyborg gunslinger is looking for an alien doctor, but fortunately it’s not ours. No, the town is harboring a war criminal who is responsible for turning people into things like cyborg gunslingers.
Enter the town and its sheriff, portrayed by Farscape‘s Ben Browder. They are protecting the man because to put it simply, “Everyone deserves a second chance.”
The Doctor, however, doesn’t quite agree, once he breaks into the criminal’s spaceship and sees the nature of his crimes. But, as usual, he is reminded of why he has companions: to keep him in line.
In the end, though, the war criminal destroys himself in order to save the town and the cyborg gunslinger becomes its protector.
So far, “A Town Called Mercy” is my least favorite episode from the new season. However, as I say that, I still think it fares better than several episodes from the previous season. Maybe it’s jet lag, but my interest began to wane towards the middle.
So what did I like? I liked Ben Browder. He was just so darn good in the role of sheriff of Mercy, and the character felt an awful lot like John Crichton to me (except not as snarky). His final scene in the episode was touching and I loved when he handed over his badge to the Doctor.
I also liked Amy, as I’ve been doing for the past few episodes. She’s not quite as annoying and we aren’t having her saving the day, although she does remind the Doctor of why she’s there. Unfortunately, AGAIN, Rory, was just Amy’s arm candy in this episode. And that bothers me, after his brilliant turn in the last one.
We see a darker side of Matt Smith’s Doctor, which we haven’t seen a lot of. We see what he’s like when someone doesn’t keep him in check. Smith played this very well, at one turn the Doctor who may very well send a man to his death without a second thought, and then on the other hand, a man who refuses to shoot at a young man who is pointing a gun at him.
What didn’t I like? The story, in and of itself, was okay. But it was rather predictable. This was an episode where you knew how things would turn out. Maybe it was the narration that gave it away or just the way it played out, but this is why I found it waned in the middle of the episode.
That’s not to say it isn’t watchable, as it is. Even a not-so-great Doctor Who is better than anything else on t.v. (as I often point out). This one certainly was not as much fun as “Dinosaurs on a Spaceship,” but it’s still an entertaining adventure.
This episode also sets up the lack of the Ponds in the immediate future. At the end, we see that Amy and Rory are seeming to want a more normal life, away from the Doctor, and if the trailer for next week’s episode is any indication, that comes to a head very soon.