Mark Gatiss has done it again, though perhaps not in the way he intended. Gatiss has enough of a track record by now in nu-Who that we can rate some of his stories against each other and have a healthy debate about it (hey that sounds like a mid-week mid-season list post–note to self). While some of his stories are beloved, Victory of the Daleks was divisive and although not as pronounced, we suspect that Robot of Sherwood might also, and that rather depends on how you like your ‘legends’ presented to you.
The ‘celebrity historical’ has long been a fixture in Doctor Who going all the way back to Marco Polo. In Robot of Sherwood we are presented with the full Robin Hood myth, an especially deliberate choice given the ongoing questioning about the nature of heroism that has run through the season, ticking off all the boxes of Robin in manner and dress. It’s no wonder that the Doctor is skeptical of how-down-the-line it all seems to fit. But it is this underlying and ongoing skepticism that we here at the Tour suspect might very well undermine the episode for some fans.
This Capaldi Doctor so stubbornly clings to his notions that something must be up with Robin that while at least initially it’s comedic, and the competition with Robin over Clara’s attention is well-served, after awhile it did start to wear thin, so much so that the moment when the Sheriff finally points out the flaw in the Doctor’s reasoning is a bit of a fizzle.
That said Jenna Coleman was amazing in Robot of Sherwood, and this season has served her very well. Having her once again verbally fence with the antagonists of the week is a nice turn, and well realized.
Unlike Into the Dalek where images were hard to come by, this week we’re positively overflowing with medieval goodness. The caps are also a treat. BTW did you spot Patrick Troughton in Robot of Sherwood? We sure did.
Next week … Listen up!