Sunday, September 7, 2014

Doctor Who-Robot Of Sherwood

                       The doctor asks Clara to pick anywhere in space and time she wishes to go. And she picks Sherwood Forest as she yearns for the possibility of meeting Robin Hood himself. Convinced a front that the character only exists in literature,the doctor takes her there anyway-one to open the TARDIS doors to find it pierced by the arrow of a man who appears to be and announces himself to be none other than Robin of Locksley himself. To prove the skeptical doctor wrong,Robin takes him and Clara to meet his "Merry Men":Will Scarlet,Alan A-Dale,Friar Tuck and John Little are all accounted for-even as the doctor investigates their apparent unreality. Yet it seems Robin and his Merry Men are planning to invade Nottingham Castle that day,with the doctor and Clara joining them.

                   During a bow and arrow match in which Robin pits his archery talents for the display of Prince John himself,the doctor fires a precision arrow into a target which reveals the knighted guards to be robots. The doctor than allows him,Robin and Clara to be taken prisoner by the Sheriff  in order to gain for information. As the doctor and Robin argue endlessly over their escape plan,Clara is courted and dined by the Sherrif. He reveals to her these robots came to him from a spaceship that fell from the sky. And he sees them as his key to his greed and lust for world domination. The doctor and Robin,upon failing at an attempt to bribe a hapless guard to escape manage to find their own way out.

                    The doctor and Robin discover the inner heart of the castle is actually a spaceship,with computers containing all information on Robin Hood and Sherwood Forest. Convinced at last this is all a deception,the doctor turns on Robin-who promptly escapes to question Clara,now his captor,of the doctor's true identity. After confronting the Sheriff,he reveals to the doctor his robbing the taxes out of the local peasants was his way of retrieving the gold needed to repair the alien robots spaceship to satisfy their bargain. In the end Robin comes to the doctors aid and it ends with the Sheriff being alchamized in his own device. The doctor departs Sherwood, following Robin identifying with him as the last of the time lords,and with the doctor leaving him with his beloved Maid Marion.

                   The idea of blending Robin Hood's Sherwood Forest into Doctor Who is an idea ripe for the show. The doctor has shown no surprise in the past at what was thought as fiction being reality. And Tom Riley gives us an excellent Robin Hood. Aside from the comedy and knockabout swordplay of Robin and his Merry Men? This story actually has what I view as a somewhat depressing flaw. At first the doctors' doubts as to Robin Hood's reality is cute comedy-leading to one of the episodes funniest scenes where the doctor successfully fights swashbuckling Robin Hood with a  spoon. But following their escape from Prince John's dungeon? The doctor becomes something I've really never seen him as: completely and utterly cynical.

                    The doctor's treatment of Robin Hood in the story gradually degrades. He starts out almost comically skeptical,then seemingly envious. And upon discovery of the date bank of the robots space ship? He begins to continually yammer on about how Robin Hood was only a heroic work for fiction to keep the spirits of Nottingham up while the Ben Miller's Sheriff of Nottingham did his damage. He even grew paranoid that Robin was in cahoots  with John and the robots plans. Though the thrust of the story was the doctor gaining back that trust? He really never re-emerged as a particularly likable character in this story. His apology to Robin in the end is begrudging and half hearted. Doctor Who,and science fiction in general,works best when offering a hero's journey to hope. And while this story is to the point and even fun? The doctor being played up as an emotionally flattened killjoy distracts from the story and the character itself a bit.
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