Mark Gatiss always writes a good story. Add elements of Robin Hood, archery and The Doctor, and you know its going to be a good episode.
We saw a little more of the TARDIS interior in this one. Nice to see some more details, with his book case and his numerous blackboards littered with equations and Gallifreyan symbols. Also good to see the TARDIS self heal, after Robin's arrow pierces her.
Having the episode set in Sherwood forrest makes a refreshing change from the last couple of episodes which have featured more generic locations for the show. Furthermore, the addition of a fabled hero and his band of merry men, gives the episode a nice bouncy feel, and also mirrors The Doctor being something of a legend himself.
This episode was the battle of the egos. With a personality clash between Robin Hood and The Doctor from the start, you knew you would be seeing quite a few funny exchanges between the pair. Constantly trying to outdo each other at the archery contest, was really amusing. The Doctors dry humour is particularly good in this episode.
The presence of robots in this setting made the episode reminiscent of The Time Warrior.
It's always nice to see writers bringing in some of the 'classic' era into the show making it appeal to all ages. There were a lot of nods to past Doctors again. firstly, his fighting spoon which was the Seventh Doctor's favourite to play like an instrument. Sandwiches, which the Third Doctor ate during a sword fight with the Master (The Sea Devils
) and the Second Doctor and Jamie ate some in The Invasion
. Another nod to the Second Doctor in the scene where Robin is introducing his 'Merry men' and The Doctor is busy removing sandals for examination, reminiscent of The Doctors behaviour in The Moonbase
I particularly liked the 'blink and you miss it moment' when The Doctor shows Robin the portrayal of his character over time and there is a brief picture of Robin Hood, played by Patrick Troughton.
The robots were good, I particularly liked their lasers, and the way The Doctor finds a way to beat them with the gold plates. I felt the robots didn't get enough screen time, I thought it would have been better if more people turned out to be robots too.
There was a lot of good old fashioned sword fighting in this one, some of the scenes reminding me of Pirates of the Caribbean
. The Doctor is particularly good with a spoon, such a pity we don't see him duelling like the Third Doctor with a sword as well.
Jenna did a great job again, having to play mum to the squabbling Robin and Doctor, and holding her own when at dinner with the Sheriff. Its nice to see a non stereotypical situation where the female is not a damsel in distress.
Peter was particularly enjoyable to watch. His distain of Robin could have been amplified by the fact he didn't believe he existed, and yet there he was taunting him. The scene in the dungeon was particularly funny, as he starts arguing with Robin, then poor Clara has to break up the childish pair.
Ben Miller plays a fantastic Sheriff of Nottingham. I was struck by how much he looks like the late great Anthony Ainley. Perhaps he could have made a good Master?
The Promised Land popped up again. I half expected the Sheriff or the robots to end up with Missy (perhaps they did when their ship exploded?), but surprisingly she wasn't in the episode. In a way I was quite relieved, as I'm not so keen on her character currently but that could possibly change when we get to see more of her character.
Another good and solid episode.
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