Sunday, September 16, 2012

Reviewing A Town Called Mercy (may contain spoilers) by @MantoniaP

Reviewing A Town Called Mercy (may contain spoilers)
by @mantoniap aka Marie Parsons

This is an episode to watch more than once. It is poignant. And alarming. And redemptive.

The Doctor has been running ever since The End of Time, running, faster than ever away from his inner demons. He buried all the Fire, Ice, Rage and self-hatred buried deep within, because, even if his eyes, chin, ears, and hair become new--he still carries all those memories. Little Amelia became Amy, his best friend, and along with Rory, they travel part of their lives with the Doctor (now more than 1200 years old, he says) and part of their lives they stay at home. Waiting months for his visits. The first of the companions to do so.

Their absences from the TARDIS leave the Doctor on his own. And thus, they come to the old West--another wrong turn (they intended to go to Mexico for the Dia de los Muertos---unless the TARDIS knew they had to be in Mercy.)

In Mercy, the Doctor readily tells the townsfolk that he is an alien Doctor. Odd that--to divulge so quickly his origins. But, moving along...The townsfolk immediately carry him outside town to await---something....The Doctor's life is saved by the appearance of the town marshal, who alludes to another alien Doctor present in the town.

The Doctor meets this other doctor, who is called Kahlar Jex. Jex explains that his ship was badly damaged, but he managed to bring electric lights to the town. It is too bad he could not arrange to get them more food somehow. The townsfolks are in siege, because a Cyborg waits outside a boundary line, not letting anyone in, or out. It wants Jex. Dead.

Riding a horse named Susan (her owner named her Joshua, but apparently horses make their own choices, as the Doctor explained the change in name and corresponding gender), the Doctor heads out of town, and finds Jex's spaceship, looking remarkably undamaged. He gains entrance, and, calling up personal files, learns who, and what Jex is, was, and what he had done. Jex is a scientist, who created the cyborgs. And people died while he did so.

Returning to town, the Doctor furiously drags Jex to the boundary and casts him out of town at gunpoint, as the cyborg approaches. Yes, please keep breathing--I had to remember to do so. The sight of this terrifying Time Lord ready to send this person to judgment--reminiscent of the 9th Doctor preparing to take Margaret Slitheen back to her planet to await judgment. Only, 9 for all his dark brooding, closer to the events of the Time War, was not as frightening as 11.

Amy, bless her, has learned spunk along the years, and tells the Doctor this is not what we do. The Doctor yells at her that for once he is honoring all the victims of the Master, the Daleks, everyone who died, because of his, the Doctor's Mercy. This came after Jex told the Doctor that they were alike, rage and death. Probably not the smartest thing to tell a madman who has been alone in his box for too long lately.

Well, the Doctor has an epiphany and as usual comes up with a rather clever plan to save Jex and the town. Or at least, to get Jex safely out of town so the Cyborg will also leave. Jex however has an epiphany of his own. And perhaps, in his own choice of endings, Jex provides the Dark Time Lord with a bit of redemption for himself. The Cyborg too has a redemption awaiting him. Happy ending as they return to the TARDIS.

The one question uppermost in my own mind is--will the Doctor eventually resume having a companion in the TARDIS 24/7, at least until he doesn't? All this "take us home until next time" coupled with "I can't settle because I wait for the TARDIS sound, worrying if something has happened to you meanwhile" is starting to wear a bit thin. I love the companions but I have long been more than ready to see a good solid straightforward "I am already clever and competent and I can travel with you forever and show how clever I can be, Doctor" kind of companion.

Meanwhile--I really look forward to watching "A Town Called Mercy" again. And again. Because the Doctor is just that much fun to watch.

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