Doctor Who Reviews: Robot of Sherwood/Listen

Since I was out of town last week checking out the California coast, we’re doing things a little different and reviewing both episodes at once.

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Robot of Sherwood

Rating: ★★★½☆ 

The one in which the Doctor finds himself competing with the real life Robin Hood.

Best Moment: In an episode filled with chuckles, my favourite was the scuffle for the keys which get away from both the Doctor and Robin, but thankfully Clara is not about to see it.

Verdict: I know there’s a great deal of critical hate for this episode, but I thought it was hysterical. It’s quite different to Listen, true, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Seeing the Doctor dance between childishly competing with Robin and open disbelief that Robin of Loxley could possibly be a real person was so much fun. The Doctor with his spoon. The fun Errol Flynn-style callbacks. This episode was pure Doctor Who fun.

This isn’t to say the episode is without its flaws. The main story is a bit naff and recycled, with the whole robot bit. The golden arrow was goofy as was all the archery scenes (it’s Robin Hood, you gotta get that part right!), and having Maid Marian show up at the end was kinda meh. Having said all that, it was still very fun. Plus there was some nice moments at the end there between Robin and the Doctor who have more things in common than either would like to admit.

Doctor-Who-Listen
Listen

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

The newest in Moffat’s bid to keep your kids up at night, albeit it one with an unexpected twist.

Best Moment: I’m not sure if I could think of one “best moment”. There were some very night scary pacing throughout. How tense was the sheet-monster scene! I’m still not entirely convinced it wasn’t “real”, to be honest.

Verdict: Quite a different episode to the previous one, and yet still enjoyable. There will be plenty who will prefer this episode, because it belongs to the new, darker Doctor, which is true perhaps, but that seems too simple to me. Yes it is a dark episode, but it is also a very human episode, full of personal moments.

I have to say Clara has really impressed me this season. I can’t believe how much I’ve been enjoying Jenna-Louise Coleman’s performance, whether she’s uncomfortably trying to come up with a halfway believable reason why she has knowledge she shouldn’t, or when she’s comforting a frightened Timelord.

I suppose we should get that part out-of-the-way. Yes. As it turns out, this week the monster-under-the-bed isn’t anything at all, and it ends up being up to Clara to explain this to a young terrified Timelord. The thing that has been driving the Doctor throughout the episode, as well as throughout his life, was never real to begin with. Sit and think about that one for a while! It’s a nice, rare, humanizing moment for the larger-than-life Doctor. Yet it’s Clara, the simple, human with the “too wide face” who has to explain it to him.

As I said, I really enjoyed the personal moments, especially between Pink and Oswald, whether it was Danny Pink, or Clara’s great-great-grandson, Orson Pink. They play well off each other, and it was interesting to see Clara trying to have a personal life. I’ve been wondering when Pink would wind up on the TARDIS, but I have to say, I never thought it would happen the way it did this episode.

So overall this was an enjoyable episode. Scary, perhaps not Blink levels, but creepy enough to make you want to sleep with the lights on. You know, if you haven’t properly heeded Clara’s words. Please also not this is the first episode to not mention either the Promised Land or Missy!