Sunday, 16 September 2012

Doctor Who: A Town Called Mercy

Well! That was NOT at all what I expected! I expected light and funny and simple...This was SO dark and complicated and sad!

To be honest, after my first watch, I wasn't entirely sure how I actually felt about A Town Called Mercy, and after seeing a few tweets and messages after it aired, it would appear that this episode is either completely love or completely hate...and there's a LOT of hate for it!

I do understand why--The message has been done again and again--but, thankfully, I've decided that I'm in the other camp.
I pretty much loved A Town Called Mercy.

It did have it's flaws...and many of them. It definitely wasn't a perfect episode.

For one-- Amy and Rory.
Um...why were they needed, exactly? They didn't do much of anything. At least not until Amy brought the Doctor back down to earth, which I'll get to in my recap.

Second--As mentioned above, the moral of the story has been don SO many times in Doctor Who. "I'm a monster, just like you are". Yeah, we get it. Why do they feel the need to keep reminding us of this?

Third--The western thing. It might just be me, but that felt so awkward. I LOVE westerns, but maybe they're not for Doctor Who. ;)

Okay! Lets get to it, shall we?

We begin with a voice over. A woman tells of her favourite story as a child, about a man who lived forever and fell from the stars.

We then see what appears to be a cyborg killing a man. The man asks if he's the 'last one'. The cyborg answers that there's one more. "The Doctor'.
Aaaaand, cue the opening sequence!
(This week the logo looks like an old wooden wall! Did you notice?)

The Doctor, Amy and Rory are in a town called, surprisingly, Mercy!
Although they were apparently supposed to be in Mexico for the Day of the Dead celebrations.

After the Doctor meets the townsfolk and gives his name, the react rather...oddly...and kick him out of the town. At gunpoint.
Luckily the Marshall comes along and puts things right...but not before we catch a glimpse of that same cyborg we saw in the opening.

The Marshall explains that the cyborg--The Gunslinger--showed up one day and won't let anyone (with food, I guess?) in or out of the town.
The Gunslinger wants 'the alien Doctor'....but not OUR alien Doctor.
The new Doctor, Kahler Jex, crashed just outside of Mercy, and he stayed on as the town Doctor.
He saved the town from a cholera breakout, and gave them electricity. The Marshall seems quite fond of his Doctor, and keeps him safe from the Gunslinger.

The Doctor has a plan to get to the TARDIS, load the town inside, and take everyone to safety.
With Rory and the Marshall playing decoy, the Doctor borrows a horse--a boy horse named Susan--and heads--not to the TARDIS, as planned, but where else? To the crashed spaceship!

Back at the Marshall's office, Jex and Amy have a bonding moment...which pretty much gave away some of the plot.
Did everyone guess that Jex had made the Gunslinger when Amy asked if he was a father?
Yeah? Me too.

The Doctor causes the alarm to go off in the spaceship, and when Jex realizes that the plan has changed, he gets rather upset.
He pulls a gun on Amy--to use her as a hostage while he tries to escape.
Luckily, the Marshall and Rory return in the nick of time.

Meanwhile, the Doctor enters the ship and sees things that make him...well, very upset. We hear screams coming from the monitor as the computer says that the names of the deceased can be found in the drop down menu.
And yet again, we see Angry, Vengeful Doctor.
Apparently Jex isn't what he seems.
As he exits the ship, the Gunslinger is waiting for him.
The Doctor tells the 'Slinger that he knows what happened. He doesn't understand why he hasn't gone into the town and just killed Jex.
The Gunslinger has an issue with killing innocents, and that's what's kept him out.
But now, he's done. The next person to step over the line will be killed.

The Doctor returns to Mercy, and he's VERY cross with Jex.
Have I mentioned yet how amazing Matt Smith plays the Doctor? He absolutely terrifies me when he's angry!

He explains to the Marshall, Amy and Rory that Jex experimented on people during a war and made them into cyborgs. Into killing machines.
Jex explains that when the war ended, the cyborgs were shut down--but one must have been damaged.
It hunted down the team that created it and killed them all. All but one. Jex.

Jex then compares himself to the Doctor and the Doctor loses it.
He shoves him out of the town and then PULLS A GUN on Jex!
This is NOT the Doctor we've come to know and love during the last 4 seasons!
This Doctor is much more like his Ninth incarnation. The one who'd just been through the Time War. The one who'd been travelling alone, full of hate and malice and despair and sadness.
The one who (as much as I hate to admit it!) Rose 'fixed' with her kindness and faith in him.
And we see that faith again, in Amy during this exchange--
"This is not how we roll and you know it. What's happened to you, Doctor? When did killing someone become an option?"
"Jex has to answer for his crimes."
"And what then? Are you going to hunt down everyone who's made a gun or a bullet or a bomb?"
"But they keep coming back. Don't you see? Every time I negotiate I try to understand. Well not today, no. Today, I honour the victims first. His, the Master's, the Daleks, all the people who've died because of MY MERCY."
"See, this is what happens when you travel alone for too long. Well listen to me, Doctor, we can't be like him. We have to be better than him."
*long, long pause*
"Amelia Pond."
And, of course, she changes his mind, as she should. She's right.

The Gunslinger enters the town and just as he's about to shoot Jex, the Marshall pushes him out of the way and takes the bullet.
His dying wish is that the Doctor protect Jex and the town.
And so the Doctor becomes the Marshall.
The Gunslinger gives the town until noon the next day to turn over Jex, or he'll kill them all.

Later that night, the Doctor and the prisoner have a talk about the guilt Jex feels and why he fears death...and that's when the Doctor comes up with a plan.
At exactly noon, the Gunslinger enters Mercy.
With the help of decoys and his sonic screwdriver, the Doctor tricks the Gunslinger and Jex escapes to his spaceship--Where he decides to blow himself up rather than put another town and people through what Mercy had to go through.

And the Gunslinger? Well, the Doctor convinces him that he has a....higher calling.
"By the time the Gunslinger arrived, the people of Mercy were used to the strange and the impossible. Where he came from didn't matter.
"As a man once said, 'America is a land of second chances'.
"Do I believe the story? I don't know. My Great-Grandmother must've been a little girl when he arrived. But next time you're in Mercy, ask someone why they don't have a Marshall or a Sheriff or policemen there. 'We got out own arrangement', they'll say. Then they'll smile like they got a secret. like they got their own special angel watchin' out for 'em. Their very own angel who fell...from the stars."

Seriously, tears at that ending! SO GOOD!!!
I think that's why I can say I loved A Town Called Mercy. That ending just touched my heart in the exact right way.
Toby Whithouse and his endings! Gah! 'School Reunion' ring any bells? Sobbed my face off! And last seasons, 'The God Complex'? Teary then, too.
So I say, well done, Mr. Whithouse.
It wasn't a PERFECT episode, and it STILL doesn't feel like 'good old' Doctor Who to me...but I loved it all the same.

Now, I'd like to mention a few things that I've had my eye on, and that I promised myself I would mention if they happened again.

1) Christmas.
Christmas has been mentioned in all three episodes so far.
In Asylum of the Daleks, "At long last, it's Christmas! here I am!"
In Dinosaurs on a Spaceship, "Dad, I'm 31. I don't have a Christmas list anymore." (Rory)
In A Town Called Mercy, "Has somebody been peeking at my Christmas list?"
Why? Is Moffat just foreshadowing Clara's appearance? Or is it something more?

2) Flickering lights.
In Asylum of the Daleks, the lights flicker in Amy's dressing room just before she's taken.

In Dinosaurs on a Spaceship, the lights flicker while Brian and Rory are changing the bulb.

In A Town Called Mercy, the lights all flicker, often!

Why? Foreshadowing the Weeping Angels, who we know are making an appearance in the Pond's last episode?
Or, again, something else? Keep an eye out for flickering next week, you guys!

3) Death.
Oswin (we assume) in Asylum.
Solomon in Dinosaurs.
Jex in Mercy.
Why? Foreshadowing a POND death?!? Will there be another death next week?

4) I have NO idea what order the Doctor, Amy and Rory are travelling!
I assumed it was following the episode order, but now I'm not so sure...and honestly, I'm not ever certain it matters.
I just wanted to point it out.

And so!

What questions do we have after this episode?
-IS there a ton of foreshadowing going on?!
-What will happen to the Doctor once the Pond's leave for good if he's already reverting?!
-Will there be another death next week?
-More flickering lights?
-A Christmas mention?

Best Parts:
-That ending. That wonderful, heart-warming ending!
- "I see keep out signs as suggestion rather than orders. like 'dry clean only'."
- "He's called Susan. And he wants you to respect his life choices."
- "Oy. Don't swear."
- Matt once again scaring the crap out of me with his angry Doctor! LOVE HIM.
- "You're both good men. You just...forget sometimes."
- The score was amazing!! Did you notice?
- "Marshall. Ma'am. Fella." Ha!
- The toothpick! LOL!

And here's the trailer for episode 4, 'The Power of Three', where we'll once again spend time with Rory's dad, Brian!

What did you guys think of A Town Called Mercy? Love it? Hate it?
And I'd love to hear your thoughts on my crazy theories! ;)

See you next week, Whovians! Only 2 episodes left with the Ponds! :(

1 comment:

  1. Good Review. Some aspects I hadn't thought of. Not noticed the flickering lights theme, but made me think - in Pond Life Episode 5 - the Doctor is changing the light on the Tardis...