TV Recap: Doctor Who - A Town Called Mercy
By Edwin Davies
September 17, 2012
Whilst this does resolve the central issue, it does so in a way that sidesteps the need for The Doctor to make a choice that would cause Jex or The Gunslinger to die as a result of his actions. It allows Jex a noble death, whilst also allowing the morally purer character to live and seek redemption by becoming the guardian angel of Mercy. It's all very nice, but still feels a touch deflating after seeing the show juggle some genuinely sticky ideas throughout the rest of the episode, and kind of makes the discussion of The Doctor's morality being a prison moot. It's strange that the light-hearted episode ended with The Doctor making a difficult choice, and the one that examined a moral quandary wrapped everything up in a neat little bow. That's the downside of the show's unpredictability, though they are inextricably linked with the accompanying highs.
- Despite the fact that the episode was based around a fairly difficult situation, it was packed with some great lines. ("Tea. The strong stuff. Leave the bag in.") Toby Whithouse as a writer has sometimes struggled when it comes to plot, but he's second only to Steven Moffat when it comes to writing great, funny dialogue for the characters.
- As someone who loves loves LOVES Farscape, I was delighted to see Ben Browder in this episode, even if only for a fairly brief time. He should be a way bigger star than he is; he's got charisma to burn.
- The episode actually reminded me a lot of Farscape, albeit an episode set in a Western town rather than on Moya. That show often would create constantly shifting situations in which characters would initially seem to be good or evil, the slowly unpeel the layers to reveal their true nature, a trick this pulled off multiple times.
- This was the first episode of the current season that basically could have been made without Rory or Amy being involved at all. Their roles in the story could have been filled by Isaac and A.N. Other Townsperson - Rory in particular had nothing to do - and they only real reference to their status within the world of the show came when Amy said that The Doctor's harder edge must be the result of him travelling on his own. Still, next week looks like it'll mark the true beginning of the end for The Ponds, as they realise they can't keep living both their Doctor and non-Doctor lives anymore.