Review: Doctor Who: A Town Called Mercy

A Town Called Mercy written by Toby Whithouse (Being Human, The God Complex), is about a town in the Wild West that has come under siege from an alien cyborg intruder.  The Gunslinger as the town folk call him doesn’t allow any one out of the town or any supplies into the town.  But all is not as it seems

This week we got to see some more of what I call the Dark Doctor.  There were two very intense scenes wonderfully acted by Matt Smith.  We are also reminded the reason the Doctor needs companions is to help keep him in check.  The entire episode was beautifully directed by Saul Metzstein.  This week they seem to have figured out the sound mix as the music was not over whelming.  Murray Gold’s music was very westerny.

***** SPOILERS *****

The Doctor (Matt Smith), Amy (Karen Gillan), and Rory (Arthur Darvill) walk into the town of Mercy.  The Gunslinger is in search of an alien doctor.  Once the townsfolk find out the Doctor is an alien, they forcibly eject him out of town, so the Gunslinger can kill him.  Then before the Gunslinger can reach the Doctor, Marshal Isaac (Ben Browder) orders the Doctor back into the city limits.  Browder did a great job as the Marshal, I really liked his character.  The alien doctor that the Gunslinger is looking for is another alien named Kahler-Jex played by Adrian Scarborough.

I don’t want to get into too many details for those who have yet to see the episode, but the Marshal is accidentally killed due to the Doctor’s interference.  In his dying breath Isaac makes the Doctor the Marshal and charges him with protecting Jex and the town of Mercy.

The only bad thing I have to say about A Town Called Mercy is that the two incredibly intense scenes basically happen back to back essentially in the middle of the movie, err I mean episode.

As dark and violent as the episode is at times it still has some great comedic moments in it, like the tried and true staple of the town’s Undertaker trying to measure the Doctor up for his coffin every time he’s not looking.

I’ve always said, “If there is one thing the BBC is good at, it’s making period pieces.”  Apparently it doesn’t matter if it was one of their periods or not.  A Town Called Mercy was filmed in Almeria, Spain where many of the Spaghetti Westerns of the 1960s were filmed.  The episode looked fantastic, the music was very atmospheric, and the special effects were top notch.  The entire cast was excellent, lead by Matt Smith whose portrayal of the Doctor was as good as ever.  This is another great addition to this season/series of Doctor Who.

I was very glad to see that this appeared to be another stand alone story as the classic series usually was.  It never made much sense to me to constantly have these series long story arcs when the Doctor can travel any where/when he wants to.  It’s ok to do that occasionally but not all the time.  The only hint I’ve scene of a continuing arc is they keep mentioning that long periods of time have passed between the Doctor’s adventures with the Pond’s this season, as if he is trying to wean himself off of them.

Check out our “A Town Called Mercy” photo album.

Next week we have The Power of Three, which I am blissfully unaware of any details.  I like to be surprised by new episodes, but I am looking forward to it.