Saturday, September 15, 2012

A Town Called Mercy

Last week the Doctor Who fandom found itself in a bit of a disagreement. Some people found Solomon's end in "Dinosaurs on a Spaceship" to be perfectly justified, others questioned whether it was really in character/okay for the Doctor.

I'm not sure whether people were doubting the show, or what, but the ones who were upset about it were the ones reacting the way the writers wanted us to.

Cue SPOILERS for "A Town Called Mercy."

First off, lets enjoy this look at the good old American We--

Nope. First off find out there's an alien bounty hunter hunting down people and killing them.

THEN we get to enjoy our good look at the American We-

Nope. Weird stone and wood border around town. Everyone acting weird. Electricity ten years early.

Fine. Adjust Stensen. Swager. Walk into bar, ask for the hardest stuff they've got (and by 'stuff' I mean tea of course), and enjoy a good look at the American...

Poor Doctor. All he really wants to do is play cowboy. What he finds himself doing is taking on a realer old west than he expected. A place that was dangerous, and where morality and justice were real issues that people had to settle, often without 'official' help from the law (which wasn't always there).

It's a good episode, with some real weight behind it, and complex characters that you really care about despite their sometimes short screentime. And they are not clear-cut good/evil types, which makes this western more realistically focused than the 'old classics' were. The Doctor finds himself wishing for the Daleks, enemies that are far less emotionally complicated than the town of Mercy.

And so do the viewers. We like Jex, and we are appalled by him. We are terrified by the Gunslinger, and yet we grieve for what he has lost. We are sad for Jex's passing and yet uplifted by his nobility. We see the shell that the Gunslinger's life is about to become, and rejoice in the new purpose the Doctor gives him.

In fact the only downside is that we really don't get to see Amy and Rory doing much - although what Amy does do is of vital importance.

"This is why you need someone traveling with you," she tells the Doctor, when he is about to (effectively) kill Jex. "This is not what we do, and you know that." (quote may not be exact, sorry!)

High five, Amy. Donna would be proud of you.

And high fives all around to the DW production crew for bringing off a really stellar episode. I'm very excited to see what the rest of the season holds!

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