Sunday, September 16, 2012

Doctor Who Season Seven, Episode 3: A Town Called Mercy

Another great episode! So far they're three for three. I have to say I'm enjoying this season a lot more than the previous one. Let's hope they keep up the good work!

Spoilers!
The plot: Team TARDIS is on their way to Mexico, but instead land in an Old West town called Mercy. Mercy seems like a typical Old West town; there's a marshal, an undertaker and a saloon full of thirsty cowpokes. But there's also something a bit off. There's a makeshift border surrounding the town, they have electric lights about ten years earlier than they should... oh, and there's a Terminator-like cybernetic gunslinger stalking the town.

• I meant to mention this last week but forgot-- what the heck did they do to the opening credits this season? It looks like a kid opened them in Photoshop and started messing with the color balance. Everything has an unpleasant yellowish tint to it. 

• I assume everyone's noticed that the Doctor Who title screen looks slightly different in each episode this season? 


In Asylum Of The Daleks the letters all had a Dalek-y globe texture, much like the spheres on a Dalek's "skirt."


Then in Dinosaurs On A Spaceship the letters sported a reptilian skin texture.


And this week the font had a rough wooden texture. It's kind of a cool little throwaway gag.

• Hmm, an Old West town invaded by aliens? Now where have I seen that before? This episode outdid the 2011 movie Cowboys & Aliens and was everything that movie wasn't.

• This isn't the first time the Doctor's traveled to the Old West. Way back in 1966 the First Doctor starred in the episode The Gunfighters, a wildly inaccurate tale set during the gunfight at the OK Corral.
  
• What exactly is the Doctor looking at when he uses his sonic? In this episode he waves the sonic at the rock and wood border for a second, then holds it up and peers intently at it as if he's reading some kind of display. But there's no screens or readouts visible anywhere on it. Apparently there must be though; some kind of display only Time Lords can see.

• "Anachronistic electricity, 'Keep Out' signs, aggressive stares... has someone been peeking at my Christmas list?" Matt Smith was extra hilarious in this episode.

• I'm surprised none of the townspeople commented on Amy's dress (the way Queen Victoria objected to Rose's clothing in Tooth And Claw). I'm sure it would have been considered downright indecent for the period.

• That saloon woman looked a lot like River Song. In fact for a second I thought it was her.

• Nice to see Ben Browder again. Man, I miss Farscape. Damn you, SyFy!

• Biggest laugh of the episode:
Doctor: Can I borrow your horse please? It's official marshal business.
Preacher: He's called Joshua. It's from the Bible. It means "The Deliverer."
Doctor: No he isn't. 
Preacher: What?
Doctor: I speak horse. He's called Susan. And he wants you to respect his life
choices.
So for the record that's two additional Earth languages the Doctor knows: Horse and Baby.

• Luckily for everyone involved the Cyborg Gunslinger has a set of strict personal rules and followed them rigidly, otherwise half the town would be dead by now.

•  When the Doctor rode Susan the horse out to Jex's spaceship, it seemed like it was miles away from the town. Yet at the end of the episode when the spaceship self destructs, the Doctor and the Gunslinger see the explosion and resulting column of smoke and it looks like they're barely 100 feet away.


•  At the end of the episode Amy asks if they can take a break from adventuring. She's worried that by spending months traveling with the Doctor while only days pass on Earth, she and Rory will appear to be aging faster than their friends. Interesting; that's something I hadn't thought of before.


• Next week: The return of Rory's Dad! 

3 comments:

  1. Have you noticed that every episode has referenced Christmas? I wonder if that's going to tie up somehow (like Bad Wolf in Season 1). I'm still predicting that the lady in the last Christmas special (Madge) turns out to be one of Amy's ancestors. (Same house that little Amelia Pond was living in; one of the kids was ginger; why else would the script go to such lengths to never have the family refer to him as the Doctor?) So perhaps the Ponds' departure will be somehow Christmas-related.

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  2. Hmm. Interesting. I did notice it in the last 2 episodes, but I guess I missed it in the first. You may be onto something there.

    Supposedly Clara, the new companion, is going to be introduced (for real) in the Xmas episode, so maybe it's got something to do with that as well.

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  3. In "Asylum", when he enters the Parliament of the Daleks, the Doctor says something like, "Well, what are you waiting for? It's Christmas! You've got what you always wanted! Here I am!"

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