Doctor Who Recap
Robot of Sherwood
By Edwin Davies
September 10, 2014
The episode then found a way to return to the standards of the genre, going so far as stage a big climactic sword fight between Robin and the Sheriff, complete with the two trading barbs, and a moment when Robin combines a danger and a tapestry to create a makeshift fireman's pole. That aspect of the story fell a little flat (something which may have resulted from pre-airing alterations to remove a beheading which, given recent horrifying news stories, could have been insensitive if left in) but I still appreciated how Gatiss' script found ways to weave elements of a traditional Robin Hood story into a Doctor Who one in a way that allowed them to inform each other.
It also tied in to the ending of the story beautifully, as it's revealed that Robin Hood is, in fact, Robin Hood, and that all the legends are true, it's just that people have forgotten that they are. When The Doctor tells Robin that people in the future no longer remember him as an actual person, he seems relieved, and says "History is a burden. Stories can make us fly." The idea that stories give meaning to our lives is a pretty big theme to throw in at the end of an episode about an alien fighting robots alongside a man in green tights, but it's handled with such wit and grace, and it ties so nicely into The Doctor's suspicions about Robin, that it just about carries it off. Doctor Who sometimes struggles to balance its themes with its prerogative as fluffy entertainment, but here I thought the balance was so deftly handled it make up for the moments when the campiness became a little overwhelming.
- I hate and love the pun in the episode title in equal measure. That might sound like I'm neutral, but it's a raging inferno of conflicting emotions in my head right now.
- I loved this exchange:
"Robin Hood laughs in the face of all!"
"And do people ever punch you in the face when you do that?"
"Not as yet."
"Lucky I'm here, then, isn't it?"
- "Are there any more in there?" - Robin's response after seeing Clara exit the TARDIS was a nice way of establishing his roguish credentials.
- No sign of Missy this week, but we did get talk of The Promised Land/heaven that featured in the last two episodes. It seems that we know where the show will take us before the season is over.
- The Doctor is not a fan of bantering. He's not a banter fan, Jerry!