Doctor Who, Season 8, Episode 3
Robot of Sherwood
Written by Mark Gatiss
Directed by Paul Murphy
Peter Capaldi – The Doctor
Jenna Coleman – Clara Oswald
Tom Riley – Robin Hood
Ben Miller – Sheriff of Nottingham
Ian Hallard – Alan-a-Dale
Trevor Cooper – Friar Tuck
Rusty Goffe – Little John
Joseph Kennedy – Will Scarlet
Sabrina Bartlett – Quayle’s Ward/Marian
What is this?
I make it a hard rule that when I do a review, I always watch something twice before I write the review.
As a result, it sometimes takes a few days for me to get a Doctor Who review up, which makes it untimely by the time it gets to the reader’s hands. So one of our editors suggested that I pop up a quick “first impressions” review for Doctor Who each week, and still can do a longer, more considered, review later in the week. So I figured I would give it a shot this week and see how it goes!
Quick Summary: The Doctor gives Clara the opportunity to pick their next destination. She wants to meet Robin Hood. The Doctor says Robin Hood isn’t real, just a legend. She insists. Reluctantly, he takes them back to Sherwood Forest in the 12th Century. And they immediately find Robin Hood and his Merry Men. The Doctor and Robin don’t get along all that well.
The Sheriff of Nottingham seems to be working with a group of robot knights on a plan to take over England, and the world. The robots have crash landed on Earth, and the Sheriff is helping them rebuild their ship to put him in position to be the greatest power in the world. Robin Hood and the Doctor are forced to work together to stop this from happening, especially when the Doctor realizes the ship doesn’t have enough material and will likely explode taking half of England with it.
- This is definitely one of the funniest episodes of Doctor Who. The Doctor’s annoyance about the constant laughter of the Merry Men, and his own issues with Robin Hood were just brilliant
- I don’t know if this was intentional, but I saw a lot of parallels here with the 50th Anniversary episode. This time Peter Capaldi played the cranky old man role that John Hurt did as the War Doctor. I was especially reminded of this during the prison scene.
- To anyone who was concerned about how an older Doctor could handle the action sequences, I thought Capaldi’s “sword” fight with Robin Hood was pretty convincing, and one of my favorite sequences from this season.
- Tom Riley made a great Robin Hood. I am a fan of a lot of different Robin Hood movies and I loved the BBC series, so I had a lot of expectations going in to this episode. Tom Riley definitely held his own in making the character his own.
- I thought the comparisons between the Doctor and the legend of Robin Hood were pretty cool, though maybe a little forced. I love how this season has focused a lot on the Doctor’s role in the universe, especially as an unintentional legend of his own.
- I really liked the design of the robots. They had a very old school feel to them, and probably wouldn’t have been out of place during some of the older Doctor Who episodes. I was wondering a lot about the “cross” imagery throughout the episode. When the robots attacked, purple crosses appeared on their foreheads. And when the Doctor and Robin Hood were in prison, there was a real clear image of a cross on the background there too. Since so much of the Robin Hood lore revolves around the Crusades, that would be pretty cool if it was intentional…
- I also loved the unexpected connection between these robots and the robots in the first episode of the season. I really expected this to just be a one off episode with no real connection to the “bigger story,” but it’s clear there is a real master plan behind how these episodes were laid out. Definitely can’t wait to see how it plays out.
- Not really important to anyone else, but as soon as Ben Miller (on left) showed up on the screen as the Sheriff, I thought his beard made him look a lot like one of the old school version’s of the Master (see the image on the right). I really think I am just seeing the Master everywhere this season. I hope he shows up, or Skitch is just going to seem like a crazy kook.
- The one thing I hated about this episode was HOW the Doctor, Robin Hood, and Clara manages to save the day in the end. Firing one golden arrow into the robot’s ship to give it just enough gold to achieve escape velocity…but not enough to keep it from exploding in orbit felt really anti-climatic.
- I also thought that this episode tried to do a little too much in just 45 minutes, BUT Mark Gatiss manages to make it work, so huge props to him on that!
- Next week’s episode looks real creepy! No idea what it’s about, Moffat was real cryptic in his description, “My impulse starting in that was just the idea, ‘What does he do when he’s got nothing [to] do?’ Because he’d throw himself off a building if he thought it’d be interesting on the way down … he’s fascinated by anything. And here he’s with nothing to do, so he just goes out poking things with a stick until something bites it. And I think that’s quite interesting, isn’t it? Sort of, there’s a thrill seeker aspect.”
Okay, that is all for now. I will be back on Wednesday with a full summary, and some updated thoughts after a second viewing. Hope you guys enjoyed this new format. Let me know what you think!
Final Score: 8.0/10: Last week’s episode was probably a little better over all, but I thought the humor here was very well done. Anyone who didn’t like this episode, just has no sense of fun whatsoever.
Tags: Doctor Who, Jenna Coleman, Mark Gatiss, Peter Capaldi, Robin Hood, Steven Moffat, Tom RIley