The other ‘Cowboys & Aliens’
Mercy, indeed! The Doctor Who gods have smiled on us – that was a definite improvement over last week’s episode. The dialogue zipped along again and I enjoyed the storyline, although the space cowboy did leave me thinking of Joey, from Friends.
The plot was relatively ingenious, providing a good twist with the introduction of a second alien doctor into the mix, leading to the fabulous line: ‘2 alien doctors, we’re like buses!’ The Gunslinger wants to kill Kahler-Jex, the doctor who turned him into a cyborg, and has trapped everyone in the town until they hand him over. The Doctor, having set out on Susan the horse (who wants you to respect his life choices) to fetch the TARDIS, comes across Kahler-Jex’s ship and has a nosey inside, where he finds records of the horrors of trying to create the cyborgs. This leads to a bit of an angst-fest as the Doctor confronts the doctor and, in a tantrum, chucks him over the boundary line surrounding the town. This reaction seems unusual for the Doctor, especially given his own history. Amy’s diagnosis of this being the result of him travelling alone for too long sounds plausible in a way, although if that’s the case why do they keep ditching him at the end of every episode (which you know is killing him inside) instead of hanging around to keep him sane for a while?
In fact the whole emotional climate between Kahler-Jex and the Doctor seemed strange. At first Kahler-Jex justifies his actions and refuses to repent, and yet a little later he claims that he still hears them screaming and is afraid to die because of the number of souls he has wronged that await him. Then there is the fact that the Doctor rails at Kahler-Jex, telling him that he had no right to choose when his debt is paid, and yet he zooms around the universe in his blue box having adventures after supposedly having destroyed the entirety of his own race and the Daleks in the Time War. Hypocritical, much?
My usual list of quibbles is actually relatively small this week, but nonetheless I shall inflict them on you, so that you too can spend the day wondering why a cyborg with a laser gun needs a bandolier. Indeed, why has he bothered to dress the part at all? After all, you’re never really going to blend in when you’ve got a glowing blue eye and a gun for an arm. Why would he refrain from shooting the sheriff (ho ho!), masquerading as Kahler-Jex, when Rory was near enough to get hurt while they were running, but be ready to terminate them as they sat huddled together behind a rock? And why would a cyborg who can shoot someone’s hat with such precision be unable to hit a whole person? Other than for reasons of Plot, obviously? Moreover, why does he keep disappearing? And how is he supposed to stick around for generations when he’s part organic? Why is Amy so pathetic with a gun all of a sudden, when she managed the big alien tranquiliser gun against the dinosaurs perfectly fine? Why would you have a security system on your spaceship that triggers an alarm, but opens the hatch to let the intruder in anyway? Also, when the Doctor heard all the screaming from the church his face hadn’t been fully painted, yet when he was running around outside it had been; so he hung around to get that finished amid all the screaming… yeah, right.
Aside from these niggles, however, I found it a very entertaining episode. There was a good mix of light and dark, with some fantastic one-liners. Furthermore, I appreciated the insight into the Doctor’s Christmas list, which I’d been wondering about since last week. So now I know: this Christmas, instead of a ‘Santa, stop here’ sign all I did is a massive anachronism, a ‘keep out’ sign and some aggressive stares to get a house call from the Doctor. Hurray! On that note I shall leave you, and like a good English girl go and make some tea… but the strong stuff… I might even leave the bag in!