A Town Called Mercy

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A Town Called Mercy

Worst episode of the season? So far, yep.

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I thought that this was a great performance by adrian scarborough as the alien doctor. He is most known as a comedy actor (most famously for Gavin and Stacey) and I think he took on the me dramatic role really well.

I dunno, I dug this episode. I thought it was really interesting seeing the Doctor so morally disgusted with Jex that he doesn't even put up the pretense of "giving him a chance" and just, almost literally, throws him to the lions. I loved the line where he talks about his guilt regarding all the people who got hurt because of the Doctor's mercy. I'd been really hoping, for a while now, that they'd address this Doctor being a bit more gung-ho with killing than his previous iteration. I even wish they'd even gone further with it (Although that may just be the Tennant fan in me talking).

And Amy's come a long way since the Beast Below. Maybe she's changed? She knows that, if the Doctor weren't so angry outraged he wouldn't have even considered letting Jex be butchered.

I will say I had the same thoughts about his plan though. It's not really solving the problem, as much as pushing it somewhere else.

I actually really did like this episode. The Doctor's dilemma with sacrificing Jex or not (especially his not being sure whether he'd actually shoot him or not) was really interesting to show how his character has developed. Amy's righteous speech I'd rather not talk about, but I don't like her either way so that's probably just my bias. I won't say worst episode this season (Doctor Who? Doctor Who? DOCTOR WHO? ...oh daleks...), but it'll be interesting to see if it impacts later episodes.

Vault Citizen:
I thought that this was a great performance by adrian scarborough as the alien doctor. He is most known as a comedy actor (most famously for Gavin and Stacey) and I think he took on the me dramatic role really well.

Adrian Scarborough has far longer history of dramatic roles than comedy, the first thing I remember him in was in Gosford park in about 2000 but he was in Madness of King George in the early 90s in a small role. I have seen him on stage a few times in dramatic roles most recently in Hedda Gabler (bad production, Sheridan Smith sucks in the title role). Scarborough is good old fashioned British character actor, of the type that used appear in Dr Who.

Susan Arendt:
. It's times like this I regret committing to doing this on a weekly basis.

Don't worry not that many to go before the end the season.

Personally I thought the episode wasn't that bad, but not that great either. It felt like a number episodes of American Sci-Fi shows had been cut up and thrown against a wall and what ever stuck was the story. What lifted it was the interplay between Scarborough and Smith but not enough to make it a good story. C- a gallant attempt, is my verdict

ps
BRING BACK TOM BAKER

albino boo:

Vault Citizen:
I thought that this was a great performance by adrian scarborough as the alien doctor. He is most known as a comedy actor (most famously for Gavin and Stacey) and I think he took on the me dramatic role really well.

Adrian Scarborough has far longer history of dramatic roles than comedy.

I did not know that.

Nowhere near as good as Dinosaurs on a Spaceship. However, nowhere near as bad as Asylum of the Daleks (God that episode sucked balls).

Vault Citizen:
I thought that this was a great performance by adrian scarborough as the alien doctor. He is most known as a comedy actor (most famously for Gavin and Stacey) and I think he took on the me dramatic role really well.

I absolutely agree with that. He managed to portray a tortured soul without overdoing it. He was quite believable both as a monster and a savior. Which is to say he was a man, with all his faults and virtues.

I have to say I quite liked this episode but different strokes for different folks I guess, the moral corundum was interesting even if it was fixed rather conveniently at the end.

What's worse is that the episode dodged what could've been a very intriguing and deep question - when it came right down to it, would the Doctor sacrifice Jex if it meant saving a town full of innocents? He's more than happy to serve Jex up on a platter before Amy steps in and chastises him in a tone so condescendingly preachy that I found myself hoping she might "accidentally" find herself outside the boundary. Yes, Amy is meant to serve as the Doctor's conscience - that was established way back in The Beast Below (2010) - but as that episode also proves, she's certainly not above a dark act if it saves the greater good. She pushed that "Forget" button, right? That entire "We have to be better than him" speech came off forced and fake, something that was said not because it's how Amy would actually react but because someone had to say it or else the episode would end up about 22 minutes too short.

I think the Doctor only made the decision to throw Jex to the wolves because of his comment about the Doctor not having the courage to do what must be done. Obviously a bad move considering his actions in the Time War. While Amy's little chastisement was poor, it highlights the problem that Tennant came across before the end of his life in that he realised that if he wants to then he can do anything without punishment. He has no companions/humans to balance him out. I thought the balance shift was disgraceful though. From an interesting 2 minutes where the Doctor is threatening Jex with a gun, he spends the rest of the episode as the "good guy" with not a single comment about what transpired earlier.
I'm more interested in Rory's actions in this episode, he got a woefully small script but he is more than happy to sacrifice Jex when the Doctor wants to, but then follow Amy and the Doctor in saving him. It's very much the Doctor and Amy show and Rory (like Mickey) is pushed to the sidelines.

Yeah the episode wrote itself into a corner halfway through.

Sure, it fit the genre, but it didn't fit the man

Did it? The Doctor has dealt judgement to his fair share of enemies and people over the years

I guess it is true that one man's treasure is another's trash. I have been reading so many reviews for the episodes this season and yet this is the only one that dumps on it over and over again. I guess as a "Newvian" I can't appreciate the series at the same level you do, so my enjoying it is obviously an atrocity. What is it with fans of any series always feeling that they are superior to others. Watching and enjoying a tv series is not a competition.

This episode did a great job at exploring the constant struggle the Doctor has had to not become the killer which he often becomes without his companions. If you look past the western scenes (which were great if you were fans of that genre too), you will see that Issac and Jex were actually the moral compass the doctor must balance between. Travel too far to either side and he ends up getting killed and force to regenerate.

albino boo:
ps
BRING BACK TOM BAKER

Tom Baker is about 150 now however he has been confirmed to be back for the 50th anniversary thing next year!

Hmmm, I didn't dislike the episode. I did find it rather hypocritical of the Doctor to be so upset about the experiments considering he was willing to sacrifice his entire race to end the Time War. Needs of the many anyone?

The problem with this episode, for me, was that it didn't really address (explicitly or subtly) the fact that what Jex did is not overly dissimilar from how the Doctor ended the Time War (sure, the Doctor didn't experiment on people against their will, but he did trap two races--the Time Lords and the Daleks--within a bubble of perpetual war against their will. If that's not a war crime, I don't know what is.)

There was a real opportunity here for the Doctor to examine his place between "savior" and "judge" (which has already been done with David Tennant a few times) that did not involve Amy preaching against her own character. She's always been the one (between her and Rory) to make harsh decisions, and that she was like, "Whatevs, war crimes are cool," while Rory was fighting to hand the guy over just seemed dissonant to both their characters (Rory much less so, admittedly, but if one of them "had to" fight to save him, it should have been Rory).

I feel like this episode was a first draft that just got pushed out. They said, "Let's make a western!" pulled together a "standard" western outline, wrote the pieces as "required" by the outline, then left it as is instead of examining would would make it better and truer to Who.

I thought this episode was terrible too, boring characters, stupid plot, Doctor being serious. Matt Smith needs to be crazy and excited, his serious Doctor is so bad compared to David Tennant's. Though every season seems to have one episode you just throw away and move on from.

Things I found interesting about the episode: The Doctor claims to be 1,200 years old, that is 97 years have passed (for him) since the Wedding of River Song (Last season's finale)

TimeLord:

Sure, it fit the genre, but it didn't fit the man

Did it? The Doctor has dealt judgement to his fair share of enemies and people over the years

Off the top of my head, no doubt some wiki of the actual fact or your knowledge will prove me wrong, I can't think of a single time the doctor has taken up an actual firearm/gun since the new series started? I can think of at least 5 occasions where he has poured scorn on people suggesting the use of guns/threatning him with guns and two occasions where a companion's gun has "mysteriously disappeared". I'd gathered that since the Time War the Doctor had become batman and developed a fear/hatred of guns. Proven wrong as predicted.

It's rather telling that of all the fanciful places he choses to wear a gun he does it in America....

In response to the original thread question:
Parts I didn't like:

-The doctor with a gun, he's killed/threatened/kept people in place with far more creative means than waving a firearm around before

-The whole mother back and forth with Amy and Jex; we know she was a mother, we had a whole season about it and this dialogue doesn't actually teach us anything more about either character i.e. it's extraneous dialogue. Originally I thought (when he started talking) that it would be an attempt to win Amy to his side but it didn't really come off like that.

-Amy's out of place speech. Timing? Fine. Sentiment? Passable seeing as she's his Jimney Cricket. Wording and tone? Preeeaaachy and flow breaking.

ctear:
This episode did a great job at exploring the constant struggle the Doctor has had to not become the killer which he often becomes without his companions. If you look past the western scenes (which were great if you were fans of that genre too), you will see that Issac and Jex were actually the moral compass the doctor must balance between. Travel too far to either side and he ends up getting killed and force to regenerate.

This is why I liked the episode. Like the God Complex, it gives us a view of the Doctor by showing as how close he is to the things he fights. On the one hand we have the man who will sacrifice others (or get people to sacrifice themselves) for the perceived "Greater Good". On the other is the law man punishing those he thinks deserve it.

Jex resolves the mess by blowing himself up and the Gunslinger slinks into the desert to become Mercy's unseen protector. It's all too simple and clean. The Doctor is off the moral hook, the people are saved, the bad guy is punished, huzzah.

First of all, as I've said previously, as much as some of the fan base may not want it this is a Family show leaning more towards the kids and so it generally has to be "Simple and Clean" Yes there is gray if you look at it more closely, but overall things have to remain pretty black and white with the good guys winning and a new lesson learned.

Secondly, committing suicide is perfectly in character for Jax. This is a scientist who always did what he thought was the best thing to help people, but scared of his own death as it would mean facing the consequences of his actions. His suicide is him conquering his fear of facing what he's done. He could see that killing himself was the best way to help people so went and did it knowing that he would be forced to finally answer for what he did.

Finally, going back to what was said before about each villain being the Doctor, I think Jax's suicide is the final point in this. There's part of me that thinks the Doctor wants to die and not regenerate, but he's too scared to. Partly because his ego means he's worried what will happen if he's not around, and partly because he's too scared to accept death as that would mean reflecting and accepting everything that he has done instead of just running away.

TimeLord:

albino boo:
ps
BRING BACK TOM BAKER

Tom Baker is about 150 now however he has been confirmed to be back for the 50th anniversary thing next year!

So if they get all the Doctors back to him, there are going to be some fat Doctors there. Lol

Anyway, I thought it was an okay episode. Nothing spectacular, kind of forgettable even. They missed the mark a few times that's for sure. Though the unrepentantly shoving Jex out to the Gunslinger was a great moment that could have lead to some better story. Though I thought Amy's speech a bit much and could have been better if it was just the one line of "We are supposed to be better than that." Or however that went.

A Town Called Mercy could have been much worse, they could have inexplicably brought Adric back.

Scorched_Cascade:

TimeLord:

Sure, it fit the genre, but it didn't fit the man

Did it? The Doctor has dealt judgement to his fair share of enemies and people over the years

Off the top of my head, no doubt some wiki of the actual fact or your knowledge will prove me wrong, I can't think of a single time the doctor has taken up an actual firearm/gun since the new series started?

Off the top of my head; Dalek, Bad Wolf, Doctor's Daughter, End of Time (!!!), Time Of Angels, A Town Called Mercy

TimeLord:

Scorched_Cascade:

TimeLord:

Did it? The Doctor has dealt judgement to his fair share of enemies and people over the years

Off the top of my head, no doubt some wiki of the actual fact or your knowledge will prove me wrong, I can't think of a single time the doctor has taken up an actual firearm/gun since the new series started?

Off the top of my head; Dalek, Bad Wolf, Doctor's Daughter, End of Time (!!!), Time Of Angels, Town Called Mercy

Then I retract what I said ^^ I still don't remember the specific scenes but I trust that you do.

I still think that a) He doesn't need a gun (he's quite capable of murder without one) and b)He looks weird with one though.

Scorched_Cascade:

TimeLord:

Scorched_Cascade:
Off the top of my head, no doubt some wiki of the actual fact or your knowledge will prove me wrong, I can't think of a single time the doctor has taken up an actual firearm/gun since the new series started?

Off the top of my head; Dalek, Bad Wolf, Doctor's Daughter, End of Time (!!!), Time Of Angels, Town Called Mercy

Then I retract what I said ^^ I still don't remember the specific scenes but I trust that you do.

I still think that a) He doesn't need a gun (he's quite capable of murder without one) and b)He looks weird with one though.

Dalek; Threatens the Dalek as a last resort to stop it escaping/to save Rose

Bad Wolf; he does technically threaten the staff of Satellite 5 but then says "Oh like I was ever going to shoot"

Doctor's Daughter; the "I never would" scene

End of Time; takes up arms against the Master/Time Lords

Time Of Angels; uses the gun to destroy the gravity globe to escape the Angels. Didn't threaten anyone but that wasn't your question ;)

The Doctor's very presence is intimidating enough usually to get him by. But there are always going to be situations where he has to not rely on his reputation to get him by and take action. Especially since the universe reboot and him being significantly less known.

I've been saying this for quite a few episodes in recent series, and I'm going to say it again. This episode would have really benefited from having a 60 minute runtime as opposed to a 45-50 minute runtime. It needed the extra minutes to properly flesh out some scenes and plot points.
This issue is becoming alarmingly common since the start of the 11th Doctor's run and given that this series will have no two-parters, this issue will only become more frequent.

TimeLord:

What's worse is that the episode dodged what could've been a very intriguing and deep question - when it came right down to it, would the Doctor sacrifice Jex if it meant saving a town full of innocents? He's more than happy to serve Jex up on a platter before Amy steps in and chastises him in a tone so condescendingly preachy that I found myself hoping she might "accidentally" find herself outside the boundary. Yes, Amy is meant to serve as the Doctor's conscience - that was established way back in The Beast Below (2010) - but as that episode also proves, she's certainly not above a dark act if it saves the greater good. She pushed that "Forget" button, right? That entire "We have to be better than him" speech came off forced and fake, something that was said not because it's how Amy would actually react but because someone had to say it or else the episode would end up about 22 minutes too short.

I think the Doctor only made the decision to throw Jex to the wolves because of his comment about the Doctor not having the courage to do what must be done. Obviously a bad move considering his actions in the Time War. While Amy's little chastisement was poor, it highlights the problem that Tennant came across before the end of his life in that he realised that if he wants to then he can do anything without punishment. He has no companions/humans to balance him out. I thought the balance shift was disgraceful though. From an interesting 2 minutes where the Doctor is threatening Jex with a gun, he spends the rest of the episode as the "good guy" with not a single comment about what transpired earlier.
I'm more interested in Rory's actions in this episode, he got a woefully small script but he is more than happy to sacrifice Jex when the Doctor wants to, but then follow Amy and the Doctor in saving him. It's very much the Doctor and Amy show and Rory (like Mickey) is pushed to the sidelines.

Yeah the episode wrote itself into a corner halfway through.

Sure, it fit the genre, but it didn't fit the man

Did it? The Doctor has dealt judgement to his fair share of enemies and people over the years

The Doctor uses force when necessary, certainly, but the whole visual image of him in an Old West-style shootout really just plain isn't him at all. He doesn't delight in going on the offense, he doesn't make it theater.

ctear:
I guess it is true that one man's treasure is another's trash. I have been reading so many reviews for the episodes this season and yet this is the only one that dumps on it over and over again. I guess as a "Newvian" I can't appreciate the series at the same level you do, so my enjoying it is obviously an atrocity. What is it with fans of any series always feeling that they are superior to others. Watching and enjoying a tv series is not a competition.

This episode did a great job at exploring the constant struggle the Doctor has had to not become the killer which he often becomes without his companions. If you look past the western scenes (which were great if you were fans of that genre too), you will see that Issac and Jex were actually the moral compass the doctor must balance between. Travel too far to either side and he ends up getting killed and force to regenerate.

You can come right on down off that high horse, thank you. I never once claimed that Newvians were wrong for liking anything, and certainly never acted like it was an "atrocity" that "true" fans would naturally shun. In no way do I at any time make this a "competition" as you accuse me of doing. I stated my opinions and gave reasons for them. If you like this episode, great, explain why! This is a discussion open to both old fans and new.

Susan Arendt:
The Doctor uses force when necessary, certainly, but the whole visual image of him in an Old West-style shootout really just plain isn't him at all. He doesn't delight in going on the offense, he doesn't make it theater.

If you are talking about what I think you are i.e the confrontation with the crowd outside the jail where he shows off his gun to ward them off, I would argue that he had to do that to 'act the part' as it were. The people of the town would react to what they were familiar with and the Doctor played to that.

If you mean the 1 on 1 with the Gunslinger in the middle of the town. Well that's just good television. Especially since he took out his sonic instead of drawing his gun.

TimeLord:

Susan Arendt:
The Doctor uses force when necessary, certainly, but the whole visual image of him in an Old West-style shootout really just plain isn't him at all. He doesn't delight in going on the offense, he doesn't make it theater.

If you are talking about what I think you are i.e the confrontation with the crowd outside the jail where he shows off his gun to ward them off, I would argue that he had to do that to 'act the part' as it were. The people of the town would react to what they were familiar with and the Doctor played to that.

If you mean the 1 on 1 with the Gunslinger in the middle of the town. Well that's just good television. Especially since he took out his sonic instead of drawing his gun.

I meant the former and...ok, I'll perhaps concede that idea, though I'm still not entirely convinced.

I thought it was a bit silly having a morality/tough choices episode after everyone laughed off the Doc last week when he turned Space Filch into giblets.

For me though Doctor Who is like sex and pizza. When it's good it's GOOD. When it's bad, it's still kinda good.

Too harsh I think. Yes she does press "Forget", but then she learns that's a mistake and so is fine to do the speech. Though that said, the speech was shit and the Doctor was always going to save him and the whole idea of there being some sort of conflict in his mind played out as forced. He considered handing Jex over way too early before he even had a chance to think of any other plan because if there was going to be any sort of conflict in the Doctors mind it would have to be a desperate situation... which it wasn't really portrayed as. In the previous episode he swapped lives of many for the life of one douchebag but only when missiles were bearing down on him.

Also they killed off Ben Browder almost immediately... so I am very disappoint.

That said I thought the concept of interstellar bounty hunter thingy was pretty cool, much cooler than the last bloody episode where everything seemed cheesed up beyond belief. And I don't mind America getting some of the episodes because 90% of the time by "in the UK" they mean either London or, in the earlier couple of series, inexplicably Cardiff. I also love the scenery change. What's more most of the mature fanbase I'd say is now in America so pandering to them is just fine. I mean we had the Silence in America and they were the best baddies by far ever since the second episode featuring the weeping angels made them totally bloody boring.

At the very least it was better than Cowboys vs Aliens.

I am not wholly familiar with amy as a character and her husband, missed much of their seasons.

But after the last few episodes her speech seemed out of places after we just saw her future rambo self that was seeming ready to sacrifice her "good" self to save her current self. Then we saw her blasting away dinosaurs like a action hero.

Rory seems the far more emo of the two and the one that would go wait a sec doc since he likes to collect medical supplies and seems to morally debate everything.

I liked the dynamic of the mirror our two doctors were to each other, and i liked the idea of the doctor realizing that more often than not his showing mercy to people just gets many more people killed in general, the doctor not buying the reformed soul thing entirely, he was perfectly maybe right to think this guy is just using these people for a shield and if the gunslinger was never there he would have done what?

Seems he decided to take the easy way out and let him run away, then the gunslinger could chase him elesewhere and he effectively washes his hands of it. then the good doctor does what the doctor should have done in the first place and offs himself.

So our new doctor when challenged will run away, seems to be the pattern now.

As a relatively new fan who has been enjoying every minute of this ride, I have a hard time really examining Doctor Who from a critical standpoint, mainly I'm just having too much fun to give a damn. But I will say this: the line "Everyone who isn't an American, drop your gun!" really made me cringe. Is that really what we sound like to the British?

I enjoyed it. Basically, I love Westerns, and I had a great time. Meanwhile, I didn't really like episode 2.

It was better than the monsterous pile of shite that was Dinosaurs on a Spaceship.
And I didn't like the gun bit, but it kinda worked. At least he didn't outright killsomeone, like in the aformentioned Dinoaurs on an ect.

Loved the episode. Loved all the episodes so far.

People on the internet can be so unappreciative.

Right between Dinosaurs on a Spaceship and AotD on a scale of best to worst. I didn't find it nearly as terrible as Susan found it, however it wasn't my favorite episode. I myself was confused by the Doctors plan. It did seem like he was content on just letting the problem be some others problem.

Also, I don't think the Doctor at any point was actually considering shooting anyone. He was just using the revolver for presence. The people of mercy probably aren't like all the other alien races the doctors encountered, in which his reputation proceeds him. He had to use something else to control the situation.

Berithil:
Right between Dinosaurs on a Spaceship and AotD on a scale of best to worst. I didn't find it nearly as terrible as Susan found it, however it wasn't my favorite episode. I myself was confused by the Doctors plan. It did seem like he was content on just letting the problem be some others problem.

Also, I don't think the Doctor at any point was actually considering shooting anyone. He was just using the revolver for presence. The people of mercy probably aren't like all the other alien races the doctors encountered, in which his reputation proceeds him. He had to use something else to control the situation.

Exactly my feelings. The whole plan struck me as just silly.

Slightly off topic, and, correct me if I'm wrong, but Amy seemed all right with the doctor killing that guy last week with missiles, didnt she? The proximity to that event made me find the speech even worse.

I thought it was decent.

Not great, not terrible.

For me, the whole "Cowboy Doctor" was perfect. He's the kind of guy who goes all out. I can absolutely see him wanting to try out being a gunslinger.

I also quite liked how it confronted his recent murderous streak. After the villain in the last episode, I felt it needed addressing.

I see where you're coming from though. The face paint plan was stupid, dumping the battle on someone else was stupid and they could have done WAY more with the moral quandary.

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