A Town Called Mercy

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I'm with most of the others here in that I actually liked the episode. I'm really liking this character arc they're doing with the Doctor, making him darker and more jaded before (likely, I'm guessing) pulling him back out of it. We saw a little of it at the end of Dinosaurs on a Spaceship, but it really came to a head here. And yeah, I know some of you out there like your Doctor all happy and perfect, but I personally like a little flaw in him.

Honestly my issue with it was that the Doctor quickly brought up the point about people who died due to 'his mercy' and then that point never came back despite it being perfectly valid. If the Doctor had managed to completely eliminate the Daleks after Season 1's finale (Or, even better, way back in the old series when they first showed up) thousands (or perhaps millions, hard to say) of people would have been saved.

Jex himself may not have been a future threat, but the idea that the Doctor showing mercy to his enemies only leads to greater tragedy seems worth exploring further in a future episode.

Wow, Susan. You are so impressively wrong.
This episode wasn't as good as last week, but it was still better than essentially all of Smith's first first season.

I'm mixed, as I am with a lot of the new episodes. The dilemma did seem forced to me, and I for one still hold out hope that one day I'll see a villain or an enemy that goes through rationalization, and doesn't seek vengeance, but rather comes to terms with their new life, and lives it as they would.

Like in Asylum or Age of Steel. Maybe it's expecting too much from people, but I'd love to see people deal with their changing into a Dalek or a Cyberman, and go with it. Why not? Only got one life, so might as well live it, even if it's not what you wanted.

I guess my biggest gripe is with this little semi-continuity error I found. Remember this guy?

image

The billionaire from Dalek? Back when Eccleston was in charge of things? Bullshit he did not find the Gunslinger, more or less right outside his museum, in all the years he was collecting. If that guy stayed sheriff until 2012, there's just no way I can see him slipping the net.

Maybe I'm looking too deep into it.

I demand more John Crichton!

Scorched_Cascade:
-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.

I think that entire scene was created simply for the final two lines (I'm paraphrasing here, can't remember the exact dialogue):

Amy: "What about you? Are you a father?"
Jex: "Yes, I suppose I am."

Which pretty much gave the whole plot away.

Susan Arendt:
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 was actually quite excited when the Doctor seemed to be offering Jex up to the Gunslinger. Clearly something's brewing inside him, what with the whole "Who killed all the Daleks?" "Who do you think?" line in Asylum and the blowing up of Soloman in Dinosaurs. I kind of like the whole, no more nonsense, pushed to the edge Doctor... but we're not really seeing any reason for it. No impending doom, no personal threat to his companions. It all just feels like misplaced anger that's never followed up on.

As for Amy... well why did she and Rory need to be in this episode? They added nothing and like you say, her intervention was nothing if not predictable and hackneyed. Blergh.

Also, is it just me or did someone not already use the: "This is why you should never travel alone." line in a previous episode? I'm thinking it was Donna but I could be wrong.

silver wolf009:
Maybe I'm looking too deep into it.

You are. But I would be lying if I said I wasn't completely in awe of your dedication to the continuity!

Proverbial Jon:

silver wolf009:
Maybe I'm looking too deep into it.

You are. But I would be lying if I said I wasn't completely in awe of your dedication to the continuity!

Huzzah continuity!

I'm such a nerd.

Captcha: nice job

So what you're saying Captcha, is that I should revel in my nerdiness? This gives me new meaning! A life with the approval of Captcha!

Also, that line sounds like something Rose would say, but I can't place it either.

You lost me here: "regardless of how much sense it actually made for the mythology and characters."

Is this REALLY news?
Mottif (whatever) doesn't seem to give a damn about silly things like 'continuity' and 'sense'.

OT:
My dad didn't like it either, but maybe it's a 'generational thing'?

As someone who watched older who on PBS, and then managed to watch/listen to ALL of Doctor Who Classic in the Spring of 2012, I don't think I'm 'missing something'.

I love seeing J.C. in this episode, and thought it fit PERFECT as a 'Doctor Who Western'.
It was cheesy, clean, and made it so The Doctor wasn't some murdering douche bag...like in the previous episode.

I liked it in general, but that part where Jex pointed out Amy's motherhood and called her kind, I couldn't help but roll my eyes. This is the woman who said "One little girl crying. So?" when the Doctor pointed out an upset child on the Starship UK, and sneeringly implied the Flesh Doctor should just go die because he was "a copy" and therefore not as good as the original. She also completely failed to communicate in her marriage, choosing instead to dump her husband and act like she was doing him a favor, and claimed that the 2,000 years he spent protecting her was "nothing" compared to that. Amy can be a decent person, yes, but "kind" is not the first thing I think of when I look at her. (For the record, "strong-willed" is.)

I did like the Doctor's dark side emerging, and I really wish the writers had done more with that. Perhaps we'll get to delve more into it in the future.

Vault Citizen:

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.

He was in the cast of the History Boys with James Corden and later Matt Smith. He was also in Psychoville written by part of the League of Gentleman which of course contained Mark Gatiss. I think you can play 7 degrees of Doctor Who.

Susan Arendt:

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.

Well there was a big brouhaha about Colin Baker actually shooting a cyberman during his run. His version of the Doctor was quite angry so its not entirely outside the of the character. However its not something that most of the doctors would have done, I myself prefer Tom Bakers offering of Jelly Babies as sign of contempt for weapons.

I fucking loved this episode.

I wish Nathan Fillion was in it though. I mean, SPACE. COWBOY.

SERIOUSLY.

Best moment, by far, was the horse called Susan. I mean, trans-gendered (Or transexual) horse in a Dr Who? Light hearted joke that might make people even an iota more accepting towards trans folk?

A thousand levels of win.

Humour is the best way of breaking down barriers between communities.

All of that aside, it was not better then dinosaurs on a spaceship (Avec Lestrade) yet very few things CAN beat dinosaurs on a spaceship.

I felt the pacing was rather off, most of the mysteries were solved within minutes, but in general I liked it. Some of the points depend on how they handle the future episodes. Like how the Doctor actually threatened Jex with a gun. This could be signifying a humongous change in the Doctor, but if they just leave it at that then it was just so much instant drama.

I respectfully disagree. I thought the episode was rollicking good fun and that the presentation of grey morality in Kahler-Jax and the Gunslinger was pretty well done, neither being moustache-twirlingly evil or sickeningly pure. I also thought Jax was a good comparison to the Doctor himself, which is why I thought forcing Jax outside the boundary actually worked; its not just the Doctor bringing down a bit of karma (like in last week), its him rejecting all the actions he took in the Time War, all the things he had to do to save millions.

PhunkyPhazon:
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?

Well, a little. But in this case the line was less about "Hurr hurr we 'mericans we love guns" and more "yeah, we actually know how to use these guns, so could you guys please just put them down" since Amy was just firing randomly in all directions and all

albino boo:

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

Good look doing that. He's practically retired, and only goes to conventions or does the occasional audio drama.

saintdane05:

albino boo:

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

Good look doing that. He's practically retired, and only goes to conventions or does the occasional audio drama.

I know all that but he was the last genuine eccentric to play the role. I doubt any the others doctors could pull this off.

albino boo:

saintdane05:

albino boo:

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

Good look doing that. He's practically retired, and only goes to conventions or does the occasional audio drama.

I know all that but he was the last genuine eccentric to play the role. I doubt any the others doctors could pull this off.

If you know Matt Smith, you will realize that he tones himself down to be less eccentric.

And besides, Tom Baker doesn't look as hot without a shirt.

People keep saying that The Doctor killing Solomon in Dinosaurs was out of character, like he has never killed before. It reminded me of Tennant's "No second chances" line from The Christmas Invasion, spoken right after he killed someone.

I didn't really fall for this episode to be honest but I see why you guys did. I care more about the mystery behind the alien and its undefeatable power's (that ultimately get defeated) rather than a moral conundrum. I like very gradual development with the Doctor character but I feel like there is no area of his morality that hasn't been addressed at this stage, and someone please send Rory and Amy packing, we know their quirks and there flaws, and I'm just sick to death of hearing about them.

I can't wait for the new companion.

albino boo:
ps
BRING BACK TOM BAKER

As of the 25th Anniversary, Tom Baker pretty much said "screw this show, it ruined my career, I'll have nothing more to do with it" - which is why he isn't in the Five Doctors in any way but old stock footage from an unaired, incomplete episode. I doubt he--

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

....

Ahem, I stand corrected. I guess his career is looking a lot less rosy these days, and a paycheck is a paycheck.

Personally, I'm hoping for another appearance by Peter Davidson, my personal favorite Doctor. His brief crossover with Tennant was one of the most wonderful moments in all of Doctor Who for me - not the least of which is because Tennant totally broke the 4th wall to gush about how much he loved Peter Davidson.

Anyway, OT: ... John Motherfucking Crichton. Seeing Ben Browder and Matt Smith playing across from one another was so damn surreal - I loved it. The episode was far less interesting once his character died.

8-Bit_Jack:
Wow, Susan. You are so impressively wrong.
This episode wasn't as good as last week, but it was still better than essentially all of Smith's first first season.

**blinks**

Better than the Eleventh Hour? The Beast Below? The Vampires of Venice? The Hungry Earth/Cold Blood? Vincent and the Doctor? The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang?

I would rate Matt Smith's first season (ie season 5) as one of the best overall seasons of the new series. Some of the previous seasons have had one super good episode or two (ie Family of Blood), but they are rarely as consistently good.

And I don't think Town Called Mercy holds up against any of the episodes listed above.

Whilst this may have been a pretty terrible episode, the fact that they are trying to steer The Doctor into a more morally ambiguous direction with Smith's version of him makes me wonder if there are any plans for bringing The Valeyard back. After getting blood on his hands on the Asylum and no longer being able to scare off the Daleks by just saying "Do you know who I am?", I think that The Doctor will get a little darker during this incarnation. Then on the 12th we'll see all of that take it's form by he becoming The Valeyard. Not making a series about him, mind you, but making him a new foe by making him the evil side of The Doctor manifested or something of that sort.

Bara_no_Hime:

8-Bit_Jack:
Wow, Susan. You are so impressively wrong.
This episode wasn't as good as last week, but it was still better than essentially all of Smith's first first season.

**blinks**

Better than the Eleventh Hour? The Beast Below? The Vampires of Venice? The Hungry Earth/Cold Blood? Vincent and the Doctor? The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang?

I would rate Matt Smith's first season (ie season 5) as one of the best overall seasons of the new series. Some of the previous seasons have had one super good episode or two (ie Family of Blood), but they are rarely as consistently good.

And I don't think Town Called Mercy holds up against any of the episodes listed above.

I'm glad you quoted me, I didn't realize I had made a mistake. It should read "first two seasons" The time-crack and the Silence were weak. And yes, (most) of those were good episodes, but the SEASONS were just... eh

Granted, Matt Smith's run on the show has been better than tennant's, both by ratio of quality and simply because Smith is the better Doctor, but I just don't understand why so many of you are hating these episodes. These are some of the BEST episodes Moffat-Who has had.

I just hope the series continues this way, without the pulled punches of the last series.

This episode had a lot of really good components, but because there were a lot they all had to try and push each other out of the way to get some time on screen. Plus the writers try to force in so many western tropes as well.

But all of these components didn't create something greater than the sum of its parts. It created a bit of a mess that would have benefited from either adding or subtracting 15 minutes off the time. A 30 minute piece would have resolved the episode without all of the extra distractions but a 60 minute episode would have allowed time to fully incorporate most other elements.

The moral dilemma was excellent in my book, it made the Doctor think about his own problems and really was more grey that we are used to. The bad guy was good, Adrian Scarborough plays Jex brilliantly and he really enhances the moral conundrum. Of course he has done terrible things, but he saved his people and has saved the town from disease. The Doctor may think no man is allowed to choose his own repentance but Jex really has done good.

But then we get to Amy and her part in the story, this episode is not companion friendly. Since it very much revolves around the Doctor and Jex and their morality Amy and Rory can only really float on the periphery and get the odd line in. Rory really didn't have much of a part in this, he followed a few people around but was little more than a spare pair of hands. Amy was, in my opinion, even less useful in this one because they TRIED to make her more useful as the Doctors conscience.

Her interactions with Jex don't seem to go anywhere really, her speech to change the Doctors mind reinforced my opinion that the Doctor was right originally to hand over the war criminal to the monster he created. So no points there, then the bit when she has a gun and looks ready to turn the show into "The Adventures of Action Amy" like in that pirate episode where she grabs a sword and proceeds to take on about seven pirates. Though it is nicely averted when she doesn't know really how to use it and starts firing wildly.

This episode was a collection of very good main ingredients and some poor trimmings that was badly made and resulted in the good stuff being rushed through.

I wasn't a fan of the moral dilema personally, or rather the way it ended. I'm getting kind of sick of episodes where The Doctor has to make a moral choice (Free or kill the Dalek in 'Dalek', Wipe out the humans and Daleks or do neither and let the Daleks kill the humans in 'Parting of the Ways', etc.) and it ends up sorting itself out before he decides (Dalek kills itself, Rose kills the Daleks.), it always strikes as being written into a corner so as not to make The Doctor feel guilty for another murder.

I don't mind The Doctor pointing a gun at another living thing so much though, I actually thought it was quite in character for him assuming they're going down the route of the Valeyard. Or if you take note of the murders he's committed in the other episodes of this series alone.

I do think Amy was being a bit self righteous though, she herself killed the alternate Madam Koverian last series, there was even an entire sequence of dialogue in which she claimed Amy would save her because The Doctor would, and she basically says "The Doctor isn't here so I can murder you all I like.", sure she immediately regrets it but she doesn't even bring her hypocrisy up during her exchange with The Doctor about finding an alternate method. And as other posters have mentioned, she would've killed all of the Flesh Gangers from the start if she had her way.

Not my favorite episode of this series (Though I happen to think the previous episodes are absolutely top notch.).

saintdane05:

If you know Matt Smith, you will realize that he tones himself down to be less eccentric.

And besides, Tom Baker doesn't look as hot without a shirt.

I'm not trying to be disparaging to Matt Smith, largely because he is my favourite Doctor of the new ones, but in terms of eccentricity he pales in comparison to some of the old Doctors.

Tom Baker grew up in time when you could be killed by the Luftwaffe overnight and then left school at 15 to become one of the very few Jewish Roman Catholic monks. He then left the monastery after losing his faith to do his national service, during which he was in constant trouble for fighting.

Patrick Troughton was returning to the UK in 1940 when his ship hit mine and he escaped in a lifeboat. The next 4 years he spent in the royal navy during which he engaged the might of the 3rd Reich while wearing a tea cosy on his head.

John Pertwee also served in the navy during the war. He was on HMS Hood but transferred of it just before its destruction, losing all but 3 of its 1400 crew. He spent the rest of the war in naval intelligence, a position which he used to blackmail his way into his 1st acting role. Part of his job was to check that entertainments was not giving away secrets, he would only give clearance if they gave a role in the entertainment.

I'm sure if Smith had similar life experiences as the others he would have developed the same level of not giving a dam what anyone thought, but the very fact he can tone it down means its not quite as central to his personality. Smith is a great echo of the past doctors but as with all echoes its not quite the real thing.

Daveman:
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.

It's just because the studio is based in Wales so it's easy to wheel the tardis into the centre of Cardiff and say 'we're in Cardiff' rather than spend hours swapping street signs and what not to make it look like another city.

And London because that's where all the government agencies are located so makes sense when you're dealing with these people.

I find it fascinating how divisive this episode has turned out to be.

On a completely different note, I'm curious - do you guys feel like they're setting Amy up to be in some sort of spinoff? The recent episodes seem intent on proving how capable she is without the Doctor.

PhunkyPhazon:
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?

Now think of every British person that has been in an American show.

Yeah.

Susan Arendt:
I find it fascinating how divisive this episode has turned out to be.

On a completely different note, I'm curious - do you guys feel like they're setting Amy up to be in some sort of spinoff? The recent episodes seem intent on proving how capable she is without the Doctor.

I wouldn't be surprised if they did a spinoff. Since the early death of Elisabeth Sladen they have gap for a show aimed at younger children. Amy, Rory and Rory's Dad have a family unit setup which could be adapted into framework for a new show.

PS tonights episode is much better.

So, I just found this episode online, and I must say that it's interesting seeing the Eleventh Doctor as the Doctor who gets tired of being the good guy. I mean, sure, Eccleson and Tenant weren't good guys either, but the idea that Smith is just one step away from pulling the trigger on a complete stranger, when before you had to go and kill his daughter for the same reaction, is interesting to me. It's been building up for the past few seasons, with all the "Doctor means scary murderer guy in our language" stuff, but so far, Smith has appeared to me to be just a senile old man, full of quirks and absent-mindedness.

In short, I want this Doctor to turn evil, just for a little bit. I've heard that Amy and Rory won't survive 'till the end of the season, and if the replacement is a Dalek, then I think it's possible that Smith could do some dark things for a while before realizing just how much the universe needs him to be good.

8-Bit_Jack:
I'm glad you quoted me, I didn't realize I had made a mistake. It should read "first two seasons" The time-crack and the Silence were weak. And yes, (most) of those were good episodes, but the SEASONS were just... eh

Granted, Matt Smith's run on the show has been better than tennant's, both by ratio of quality and simply because Smith is the better Doctor, but I just don't understand why so many of you are hating these episodes. These are some of the BEST episodes Moffat-Who has had.

I just hope the series continues this way, without the pulled punches of the last series.

Ah, I see. Yes, I agree with you on the Silence being a lame group (less so the crack in time - I thought that was actually rather clever).

And I haven't seen that much hate. The first two this season were both quite good (Dinosaurs on a Spaceship was particularly good). The cowboy episode was just a bit... meh. Other than Ben Browder, whom I adore.

8-Bit_Jack:
Wow, Susan. You are so impressively wrong.

I'm sorry, but I must respectfully disagree. Generally, opinions are neither inherently "right" nor "wrong". A review, however professional, is still the writer's opinion. While I personally enjoyed the episode, I still had some mixed feelings about it (particularly the pacing).

It wasn't bad as such but apart from maybe the 1st episode this whole season has kinda felt like filler episodes while were just waiting for the companion change to happen.

Daaaah Whoosh:

In short, I want this Doctor to turn evil, just for a little bit..

I would good for them to Superman 3 the doctor somehow.

And if you thought it was the best of the season, so far? What then? It's been said already, but as a new fan, I lack perspective, however, I've enjoyed the season, so far.

TheBestPieEver:
Whilst this may have been a pretty terrible episode, the fact that they are trying to steer The Doctor into a more morally ambiguous direction with Smith's version of him makes me wonder if there are any plans for bringing The Valeyard back. After getting blood on his hands on the Asylum and no longer being able to scare off the Daleks by just saying "Do you know who I am?", I think that The Doctor will get a little darker during this incarnation. Then on the 12th we'll see all of that take it's form by he becoming The Valeyard. Not making a series about him, mind you, but making him a new foe by making him the evil side of The Doctor manifested or something of that sort.

I like the sounds of that actually, be interesting to see them explore the origins of the Valeyard from those episodes. I suspect we may even see Matt Smith leave on the 12th episode of this season or after next season, I like him, but even Tennent only had 3 series. I'd actually really like to see James Mcavoy as the next one. He's certainly got the acting chops for it, and I've heard he was considered for the 11th, but I don't know if he's too well known, as far as I'm aware most of them have been lesser known actors.

Heck maybe even Benedict Cumberbatch could do it, I loved him in Sherlock and I reckon he could do the quirky side too. Also you could then pretend that Dr Who and Sherlock Holmes are the same person and that's something he does as a sort of "Adventure Holiday" without any of his tech.

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