A Town Called Mercy
By Toby Whitehouse
“When he starts killing your people then you can use your justice.”
Westerns are one of the genres I enjoy. I enjoy watching cowboy movies with the likes of John Wayne and Clint Eastwood. Classic movies like Tombstone, Stage Coach, Rio Bravo, A Fistful of Dollars and High Noon to name a few are some of the ones you can watch over and over again. So when I heard that Doctor Who was going to do a western I was pretty excited and intrigued. Well to be honest, I was definitely hoping it wouldn’t be as bad the William Hartnell story The Gunfighters.
What we have here is a story that takes place in the western town of Mercy. The trouble is the occupants are not allowed to leave the town or risk getting shot down by the Gunslinger. The Gunslinger is looking for the alien doctor. A man that the Doctor learns is from Kahler and has cured the town cholera and given them electricity 10 years before it should exist. What the Doctor discovers is that Kahler – Jex has a secret and it is a nasty one.
I enjoyed A Town Called Mercy. After last week’s Dinosaurs on a Spaceship this is just what the Doctor ordered. Sorry bad pun. But I usually enjoy stories that test a person’s character. It doesn’t matter if it’s in space or on an alien planet a story that tests a character’s make up and pushing him to do things he wouldn’t normally do are interesting and make for a good story. Watching how human nature takes over is a well and true sci – fi formula.
A Town Called Mercy was a very simple story that had an ending that wasn’t really surprising. Sometimes simple stories work well as you can just sit down and enjoy it without over working your brain. I enjoy simple stories from time to time as you can get really bogged down if you get to many complicated ones. Having a cyborg with a gun shooting at you and trying to trick it to save everyone is just a nice simple time watching it.
Watching The Doctor continue on the road of being darker was quite interesting also. Having Amy tell him what happens when he travels alone was a tad reminiscent to when Donna yelled at him back in The Runaway Bride. The Darker Doctor has been a subject of this series so far and it was really front and center here as The Doctor was willing to kill Kahler – Jex just to save the town of Mercy. Even to the point of pulling a gun on him. Not very Doctor like at all and a very disturbing road he is on and I’m sure it will be developing further with the next two stories yet to come. Plus it cost Issac his life as he did what he thought was right by saving Kahler - Jex even if it cost him his life.
A Town Called Mercy was a pretty good story but I had one nagging thing about it. The town seemed to accepting of Cyborg Gunslingers and alien Doctor’s running around. You would have thought they would be more scared or something but this is just a minor thing and doesn’t detract from the viewing pleasure of this episode. Murray Gold gets the music perfect for this story. He hits on the mood of the story and gets the western theme just perfectly. Just like an old western movie from yesteryear.
A Town Called Mercy probably won’t be the best story of series 7 and it will definitely not be the worst. A Town Called Mercy is a very enjoyable story that fits in the mold of classic Doctor Who stories. A simple story that can be enjoyed over and over again that also questions what a person will do if they were in the Doctor’s shoes.