JReviews: Doctor Who Series 8 Episode 3- Robot Of Sherwood

Oh dear. I don't actually want to write this.

Hopefully that'll set the tone for what's to come after the jump. Sorry guys *gives pained and defeated smile*

I honesty don't know where to start here. I don't even think I can seriously and analytically judge or review this episode. And this episode was written by Mark Gatiss, the man who has done some of the best Doctor Who episodes of the revived series (The Unquiet Dead, Night Horrors, The Crimson Horror and Cold War). Mark, you are so much better than this. This episode was a joke, honestly. Lets kick off with the fact it's Robin Hood. Dude, I know he's met King Arthur before, but that at least was in a parallel reality. And he immediately fightings him in a sword fight. With a spoon. Over a convenient 12th century concrete block over a stream. Then we have that archery contest. The pointless bickering. The fact that the Doctor and Clara don't think to try to shut the soon-to-explode engines down whilst there's a sword fight going on. Oh, and then we have the golden arrow bit. *facepalm* Sorry if it sounds like I'm being a killjoy here, but I will happily accept the title if this is the standard of episode we are to expect from  this season. Oh, and this episode had Ben Miller in it. WHY DID YOU TAKE THE JOB MAN? Surely you have more pride than that. Actually, why did no-one kill this episode at the scripting stage. Moffet? Surely this show isn't a kids show anymore, but this episode might as well have been  an episode of Maid Marian and her Merry Men. Also, is it just me or are they starting to move away from the whole space idea and starting to focus more on episodes set on Earth, travelling in time. Last season only had one "space" episode and out of the three so far, two have been set on Earth and it looks like the next one will be too. Just a thought.

Positives? Um, some good England jokes (It's never sunny in Nottingham and "Worksop"). Um, Clara being the voice of reason against the bickering brothers (though still not doing enough to convince me of her worth, sorry). Oh and more "The Promised Land" stuff. I'm starting to wonder if The Promised Land might be Gallifrey, but then I really want the hunt for the home of the Time Lords to be this seasons arc and I'm so far not seeing it.

So yeah. Sorry for being a killjoy here, but this episode was bad. Hopefully next week can get us back on an upward curve.

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7 Responses to JReviews: Doctor Who Series 8 Episode 3- Robot Of Sherwood

  1. Malfar says:

    Oh my. Did I finally get on your nerves with my “killjoy” comments that you actually started to use this word in your reviews? I’m sorry!

    I liked the episode. Sure, it had some awkward moments, but personally for me it was way better than “Into the Dalek”. I think that not all the episodes must be dead serious and full of plot stuff. There must be some fun moments too – and this episode sure was full of fun.

    My favorite moments were with the Sheriff. He looked very similar to Anthony Ainley’s depiction of the Master, Doctor’s arch-nemesis. I actually hoped that he would say with his arrogant smile something like “Oh, my dear Doctor, you have been naive…”. Or at least that the alarm on his desk would ring four times instead of five. Well, it didn’t happen.

    Oh, and the monitor with the database showed Patrick Troughton (who also played the second Doctor). That was awesome.

    Of course, there were some ridiculous moments, like the part where the Doctor was bickering with Robin and they lost the keys, or fencing with a spoon…about the latter I should say that Doctor is a very skilled swordsman and hand-to-hand fighter. In the early episodes the third Doctor was able to defeat the Master and the gladiator champion with his swordsmanship. And I presume he still knows his famous Venusian Aikido. So all in all I think he can fence with a spoon and don’t give a damn.

    Oh, and after the success of the “Arrow” somehow I didn’ doubt that we’ll see a green bowman again outside of DC comics-themed show. Robin didn’t wear brown leathers and red hats, he was all green.

  2. JR19759 says:

    @Malfar- Nah, you didn’t get on my nerves, I just felt like I was being a killjoy about this episode, even though I didn’t enjoy it that much. Yeah, it’s good to have a bit of irreverent fun sometimes, but I don’t think it a) was really the right time for such an episode, considering they are only three episodes in and haven’t really set that dark of a tone to warrant such levity and b) it didn’t really feel like Capaldi worked well in this setting. Smith or Tennant could have pulled it off, because they could do silly (Smith particularly), but Capaldi is more serious and he just fitted so poorly into the story. Of course, I know the Doctor was an excellent swordsman in his earlier incarnations (the 3rd and 10th I remember being particularly skilful), but that doesn’t mean all of them are (again, Smith’s Doctor would have probably broken the sword), and you have to admit that even someone as brilliant as the Doctor would struggle to not loose a finger, let alone a hand, when sword-fighting with a spoon against a skillful swordsman armed with a sword three times as long as the aforementioned spoon and infinitely sharper.
    Also, little known historical fact, the name Robin Hood comes from the fact he would wear a hat or hood of Robin Breast red (the same colour as the chest of a Robin Red Breast) as it was the colour of the merchant guilds the story was originally written for. Robin Hood was never originally a hero of the oppressed, he stole from the rich to give to the slightly less rich (a euphemism for the developing middle class of merchants and tradesmen who were starting to gain foothold in England at the time). He only became the man who stole from the rich gave to the poor in the 50’s, when a number of the film directors and actors blacklisted under the McCarthy Trials in America (basically those creatives and intellectuals shunned by American society for being suspected socialists) came over to the UK and took Robin Hood on as a sort of socialist icon. I don’t quite know why his colours changed from red to green, but originally Robin Hood did indeed wear red.
    And you’re right, the Patrick Troughton bit was an excellent nod to the shows history.

  3. Malfar says:

    I presume we’re still talking about the show in which an alien with two hearts and the ability to completely change his appearance and personality travels in a blue box which is bigger on the inside than out. The alien who uses some chirping and whistling device to short-circuit the mechanisms and hack into the computers with the power of the sound. The alien who kidnaps humans from Great Britain and they don’t ask his name and only get a bit surprised and a little scared the first five minutes instead of constantly losing their sh…mind and reacting like “OMGWTF” at everything. The alien who can meet two or three of…erm…himselves from the past and not lose his own mind. And you are still surprised that he could skillfully fence with a spoon? I just have to quote one scar-faced green-haired fun-loving maniac. Why so serious?

  4. JR19759 says:

    @Malfar- *round of applause*
    Though you’d be surprised, us Brits wouldn’t bat an eyelid if an alien in a blue box turned up to defeat an army of aliens. We’d just tut and mutter under our breath about how some-one should do something about it then turn back to whatever it is we were doing.

  5. Kjakings says:


    I feel the need to jump in here: this series of Doctor Who is, I believe, the worst the show has EVER been. The plots are being outright ripped out of earlier episodes (see: the friggin’ pilot) and idiotic repetitions of scenes from other scifi movies/shows (the chase through the asteroid field, the dalek imperials attacking the poor rebels by blasting through a door down a white corridor… even the godsdamned musical score imitated star wars music there) and this episode was a further show of the consistent downslide of quality. It’s boring, unimaginative and doesn’t follow its own established internal logic. Moffat contradicts the work of other writers and even his own works, and waves it all away with “oh, don’t apply logic to dr who.” Fantastical and fictional elements do not allow for lazy writing, and an internal consistency was one of the best features of the show, even from the start: Hartnell refused to use the same button/device/whatever on the TARDIS console for more than one purpose, no matter what he was told.

    Even this hunt for Gallifrey smacks of it. I love the idea of it coming back, but it was just done so so lazily. Gallifrey already /tried/ to come back once, and the Doctor refused them. He gave this big speech (a couple, if I recall) about how awful the Time Lords were during the Time War, how Gallifrey became the origin of all the legends of Hell. And now, what, he’s just fine with it?

    Back on the topic of this episode, the Doctor going on and on about there not being enough gold when A) there was a big vat of the stuff still there for Miller to fall into (Terminator, anyone?), and the arrow was enough? I was kind of expecting a ridiculous implausible shot where it hit right onto that big circuit board we saw earlier, but no it just hit into the side of the ship. Which worked. I would’ve actually preferred the more ridiculous version, because this episode felt like it was trying to be serious in places which was just painful. And the Sheriff saying he was half machine at the end there? Where in god’s name did that come from all of a sudden?

    I find myself actively /dreading/ next week’s episode (monsters under the bed, a concept already done in the episode that Moffat ripped off for the pilot. Too lazy to even rip-off a different episode?) and that just kills me because I deeply love the show itself, and Capaldi could be a great Doctor but I think in a few years, rather than McGann or Hurt or Meta-Tennant, Capaldi will be the regeneration people are arguing didn’t actually happen. It’s a feat going from that feeling of ecstasy I felt in Donna’s season when we saw Rose on the screen on the diamond planet (a moment that will stay with me forever) to finding myself wishing that it was cancelled before it got worse.

  6. Malfar says:

    @Kjakings – well, you are one tough killjoy. You don’t like it? I hope noone has strapped you to the bed near your TV set or computer or whatever you watch Doctor Who on. And therefore you are free not to watch it. If you do watch it and still produce so much whining – I think, that must mean you just like to whine. JR19759 at least even at his most “killjoy” moments makes some valid points. I even regret calling him a killjoy several reviews ago. I don’t care if it sounds rude. You felt the need to jump in – I felt the need to answer, that’s all.

  7. Kaldath says:

    @Malfar – I am going to stop this argument right here! If I see you call ANYONE a killjoy again I will ban you. Name calling is not allowed on this site, even a tame one such as this. You are free to dislike someones opinions and debate the issues/points brought up in those opinions but I will not tolerate flame wars or name calling PERIOD. If you can’t keep the debate civil don’t participate.