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Doctor Who: A Town Called Mercy

September 16th, 2012 (08:49 pm)

I think I need to watch this again before I can develop real thoughts on it. My firmest opinion is that Ben Browder's hair was less ridiculous than the beard in Jeremiah Crichton. Which is saying something.



On the whole, I liked it a lot, with some reservations. The main one being that I thought having Jex commit noble suicide at the end was a bit too pat given everything that came before that point, but maybe I'll change my mind about that on a rewatch.

My other frustration was that it felt like there wasn't nearly enough Rory and Amy. I thought they really needed to do more unpacking of Rory agreeing to throw Jex out to be shot vs. Amy convincing the Doctor not to do it. (Amy was totally awesome in that scene, though. But nobody should ever let her handle a gun again.) I suppose since next week's episode seems to be Ponds-heavy they wanted to focus more on the Doctor and the guest characters, but it didn't quite work for me.

On the other hand, there was a lot that did work. I thought the Doctor's reaction to Jex was very believable. Never mind the Master and the Daleks, clearly the guy reminds him way too much of himself. I especially liked his scathing condemnation of Jex's chosen punishment, because going to primitive planets to cure cholera is a small scale version of EXACTLY what the Doctor does to atone for the Time War. (Yes, it's what he did before the Time War too, but I do think that in the new series his world-saving means something different to him.) It's not as though he's ever stood trial for wiping out two entire species, is it? (Well, trying to wipe out two entire species. It's not his fault it didn't stick.)

The other thing I liked a lot was that the episode wisely doesn't get into the details of the Kahler war. We have no idea if Jex was on the 'right' side of the war, or if there was a side that could remotely be called right in the first place. The cyborg gunslinger may be doing the equivalent of hunting down Nazi war criminals, or the equivalent of slaughtering the scientists who designed the atomic bomb. (Not that any of the people who designed the atomic bomb did it by torturing and murdering volunteers from their own side, but their weapon did end up killing upwards of 150,000 people.) For the story this episode is telling, it doesn't matter what the moral nuances of the original war were. All that matters is what Jex and his team did to end it, and how far the cyborg is willing to go to get justice.

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