Doctor Who Recap and Review – Robot of Sherwood

Beware! Spoilers below!

I’ve been concerned about this episode ever since I first saw that the Doctor was going to meet Robin Hood. I mean, the Doctor has been to a lot of places and met a lot of strange people, but, it’s truly rare for him to meet a fictional character. So rare that I could only find four other instances where fictional characters appeared on screen. All four were with the first two Doctors, so…’s been a while. I know it’s kind of weird to complain about a fictional character meeting other fictional characters, but Doctor Who is supposed to be grounded in a bit of reality, especially in the historic episodes.


Doctor Who Robot of Sherwood


That having been said, this episode was actually not as bad as I was expecting, and we can thank Mark Gatiss for that. I just went with the whole Robin Hood story and tried to enjoy it as a Doctor Who episode. And you know what? It worked! The animosity that the Doctor and Robin have for each other leads to some really funny scenes. Robin has a tendency to laugh at everything no matter how mundane, and the Doctor just despises it. This new Doctor also has a tendency to be a little less trusting; he doesn’t believe Robin Hood is real, he didn’t believe that Daleks could be good, and in that first episode he didn’t really believe anything anyone was saying. It’s a very nice character choice especially since he tends to be wrong.


Doctor Who Robot of Sherwood

The episode opens with the Doctor asking Clara where she would like to go. She says that she wants to see Robin Hood regardless of how weird that sounds. The Doctor tries to convince her that Robin Hood is fictional but she insists and the Doctor obliges, if anything, to prove his point. And wouldn’t you know it, they land right in front of Robin Hood himself who promptly shoots the TARDIS with an arrow…uh oh…off to a rocky start…what follows is a bit of arguing and a wonderful “sword” fight where the Doctor uses a spoon with great skill against Robin’s sword. They end in a stalemate and Robin takes the Doctor and Clara back to camp to meet the yet unnamed Merry Men. The Doctor proceeds to examine the group trying to figure out why they appear so real. This is a very funny scene where the Doctor plucks hair from one man, steals a sandal from another and falsely accuses it as being fake, and finally does a blood exam where he informs the minstrel that he only has 6 months to live. We also find out that the Doctor has a hatred for the band’s constant, inane laughing, something that plays out throughout the episode. The Doctor also mentions that they may be inside a microscope which is a nod to a First Doctor and Third Doctor story.


Doctor Who Robot of Sherwood


If you’re familiar with the story of Robin Hood at all, then you know that the archery competition is next. It comes down to Robin and the Sheriff, but, the Doctor soon intervenes with what later turns out to be homing arrows. Sick of the constant arrow splitting, the Doctor finally whips out his sonic screwdriver and blows the target up. This immediately leads to his, Clara’s and Robin’s capture. But, in the ensuing battle, we find out that the Sheriff is not exactly who you’d think he was. He actually has an army of robots disguised as knights. Robin eventually severs one of the robots arms and we get a look at the inner workings, which bear a striking resemblance to the clockwork robots from the Series 2 episode “Girl in the Fireplace” and Capaldi’s first full length episode, “Deep Breath.” Perhaps all these different robots are just the same “species” of robot and we’re just seeing them at different points in their “evolution” or maybe they are just all related somehow. I mean, every Capaldi episode so far has featured a robot of some sort. Either way, our intrepid trio has been captured…


Doctor Who Robot of Sherwood


The scene when they’re all locked up together is probably my favorite in the episode. Robin and the Doctor continue to bicker over who is in charge, who would survive longer (it’s the Doctor if you’re wondering), whether or not there’s a guard outside the cell. Finally, Clara chimes in and brings both of them to a more focused state of mind, although not quite entirely. This is when we discover there was a guard who was posted to find out who the ring leader was. While the Doctor and Robin argue over who will be the better interrogatee, the guard is busy unchaining Clara to go speak to the Sheriff. This next scene is absolutely brilliant. Clara proves that she is one of the strongest companions of late and she solidifies her place as my favorite companion. In fact, if you showed me this scene and I knew nothing about Doctor Who, I would believe you if you told me that Clara was the Doctor. She manages to manipulate the Sheriff in a way that is so smart and clever. Right now, I feel she has more of a grasp on things then the Doctor. He really needs her right now, as more than just his caregiver.


Doctor Who Robot of Sherwood


Meanwhile, the Doctor and Robin escape and eventually find themselves inside of a spaceship. The Doctor starts trying to find out why the robots are here and finds out they were headed to The Promised Land, which he recognizes from the robot in Deep Breath. Here, the Doctor also shows Robin that he is a fictional character by showing him the robots’ database’s records of Robin Hood. Here, we actually get a glimpse of Patrick Troughton when he once played Robin Hood. Troughton, of course, played the Second Doctor. There have actually been quite a bit of references to classic Doctor Who throughout Capaldi’s run so far. Eventually, Robin and the Sheriff end up in the inevitable battle we all knew was coming and, of course, Robin comes out on top. Without a leader, the robots leave Earth and because they didn’t have the proper fuel, they explode shortly after entering orbit.


Doctor Who Robot of Sherwood

Even though this episode was risky, I feel like they pulled it off as best they could. The actor playing Robin Hood was absolutely fantastic in bringing such an absurd character to the small screen and really making you feel for him. He was able to portray the bombastic nature of Robin Hood but still keeping him grounded in reality. He had a purpose and feelings masked behind the hero persona he put on. Overall, I give this episode a nice solid B. Did I ever think I’d rate an episode like this that high? No, but it really was a lot of fun. It’s also going to make a nice episode to put in between last weeks crazy Dalek episode and next week’s intensely scary one.

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Doctor Who Recap and Review – “Into the Dalek”



Last week, we got to meet the new Doctor, and this week we get to know him a little bit more; ultimately, we get to see a side of the Doctor we never have, at least in the new series. We were promised a darker Doctor with Capaldi at the helm and he does not disappoint, as this episode had some of the darkest moments and decisions the Doctor has ever made, especially for anyone not familiar with the other darker Doctors from the original series.

Picture Shows: Zawe Ashton as Journey Blue

The episode starts with the Doctor saving a soldier from an exploding ship. After an initial conversation, she has the Doctor take her back to her ship where we learn it is a secret ship, and due to the Doctor finding it, they must kill him until they realize he can help as he is a doctor but they don’t know he is THE Doctor. They say they have a patient that the Doctor could help and proceed to take him to the patient which ends up being a Dalek. If that is not surprising enough, The Doctor has the normal conversation with the initial Dalek which reveals that it is “Sick” by yelling “ALL DALEKS MUST BE DESTROYED!”


After the credits we are immediately introduced to the new Character of Danny Pink (Samuel Anderson) who is a teacher at Coal Hill School, which is of course the same school Clara teaches at. We get a bit of an odd glance between the two as Clara is walking into school and after we are told Danny is a Lady Killer by people who don’t know him and any idea that may be so is shot down immediately when he meets and starts talking to Clara. However, before that happens, a kid in Danny’s class asks if he has ever killed anyone, and especially outside of the military where he starts crying. This is definitely going to be an important part of this character as there was too much focus on it to be forgotten. Clara being the wonderfully cute companion she is, forgives Danny’s initial awkwardness and invites him to take her out for drinks and she is walking away she runs into the Doctor and the Coffee he promised her.


Of course, this meeting is short and they both head straight to the ship to help the crew with this Dalek. It doesn’t take long for them with some of the crew to shrink down in a special craft made for Doctors to shrink down and combat illness on a molecular level. After just about the trippiest sequence ever in Doctor Who where they exit their craft into the Dalek, it all seems made for molecular-sized beings and a lot safer than the inside of a Dalek should feel. That is, until one of the officers decides to shoot a cable line to get down to a lower level. As the cable stabs into the side, it alerts the Dalek and antibodies show up to remedy the problem. The antibodies surround the officer that shot the cable line and the Doctor, already mad at him for shooting and hurting the Dalek, throws him a pill and just assure the man to trust him. Immediately, the Dalek antibodies kill the man and the Doctor had only given him the pill to track where the antibodies sent his remains inside the Dalek. As the antibodies now start chasing the group and they jump down a shaft and end up landing into a huge puddle of what we learn is protein from people the Dalek has killed; this quickly ends and they end up finding out what the “problem” is.


The “problem“ ends up being a slight radiation leak which seems to both please the doctor and really upset him as it ends up he is right in arguing that there is no good Dalek, and yet in fixing the Dalek it goes back to normal and of course starts to “EXTERMINATE!” After this, the Doctor is being kind of an ass to everyone in telling them he was right up until Clara slaps him in the face, making him realize it isn’t that the Dalek is pure evil and had a malfunction, but the moral of everything that happened is that the malfunction made a Dalek good. So they then set off to try and bring the Dalek’s memories back to remind him of why he believed humans should live in the first place.


They head up into the memory banks to access the old memories and try and turn the Dalek good again. As they start that journey, the Doctor realizes in order to get to the memory banks one of the officers must sacrifice herself by shooting cables while the antibodies continue to chase them. We see this officer die and immediately be transferred to “Heaven” with the strange Missy character we saw last episode. The moment with her doesn’t offer much but exactly what we saw last episode with the clockwork robots. After this, we see Clara and Journey, the woman the Doctor saved at the beginning of the episode, go up to the memory banks to access its memories and set it up for the Doctor to invade the mind of the Dalek. Once he does this, the Dalek sees everything he did before to change his mind and then he looks into the Doctor’s mind and sees his hate for the Daleks, which in turn makes the Dalek, now know as Rusty, take out all the other Daleks whom have been attacking the ship saving the crew. The next thing we see, somehow the Doctor, Clara and Journey are outside the Dalek as the ship Aristotle’s soldier come into the room with all the destroyed Daleks.


As everything is resolved now and the Daleks are gone, Rusty rides away to Davros knows where; but before he leaves he notices the Doctor is sad and asks why he is since they won the battle. The Doctor tells him it is because he saw so much hate in him. The Doctor tells him that he is a good Dalek to which the Dalek replies, “No, you are a GOOD Dalek.” The doctor then abruptly walks out leaving Clara to run after him. As they are getting into the Tardis, Journey runs up asking to travel with the Doctor, but the Doctor turns her away because she is a Soldier, which will obviously cause some sort of conflict with Danny Pink when he joins in on the adventures.


Ultimately, this episode did not offer a good Dalek story but it did make you realize that, just like Clara says, you don’t know if the Doctor is a good man but since he tries to be, that is what matters. It is an episode that sets Capaldi apart from all of the young energetic and bouncy Doctors we have seen in the new series, and although they all are fantastic, there has not been a certain Doctor that I have even really disliked of all 13 so far. Just like he should, Capaldi is offering us something completely new and although people grew to love Smith I am fairly confident Capaldi’s run will end up being one of the best, if not the best of the modern series. For next week, we get a Robin Hood story in the episode, “Robot of Sherwood,” where somehow the Doctor and Clara travel to a place where fictional characters exist.


Overall I would give this episode a B as I enjoyed it and it offered a lot, but I still was left a little confused at a lot of parts and there were slight plot holes. Overall, though, this episode shows what this season has to offer and if all the episodes offer this amount of insight into the new Doctor we al have a lot to look forward to.


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