|No disrespect to Tom Riley's performance. But I think I|
actually preferred that terrible BBC version.
Following on from the tradition of the RTD years, this week is a celebrity historical, delivered by Mark Gatiss in the way that only he seems to do. (Seriously, it took me till this year to realise he's only ever written Historicals). Instead of following someone who actually existed, this episode calls back to stories like Battlefield, giving physical reality to an element of British folklore. Unlike that story, however, which added a well-developed new take on that folklore, Robot played into all of the Robin Hood cliches and gave it only one, underdeveloped and confusingly explained sci-fi element.
In terms of The Doctor's characterisation, this episode was bizarre, both on its own and in comparison to the previous two episodes. However badly developed Moffat's idea of the new, darker Doctor, this episode played his grumpiness for laughs in a way which did not sit well, coming off as overly forced and turning The Doctor into something of a farcical figure. Capaldi is a great actor, but in this episode he was given no chance to carry the authority and presence that the character needs to bring to the screen, instead bickering in a way more typical of his predecessor's more irritating moments. Adding to that was the episode's insistence that The Doctor was a noble hero - even when this season has been keen to establish (albeit somewhat shoddily) that The Doctor is a straight-up ass in this incarnation.
|Who are the Robots? What is their culture? Why are they|
on Earth? Who created them? WHAT IS GOING ON?
NEXT WEEK: The Doctor is afraid of the dark... or is he? Plus some creepy "lets see a companion as a child" shit from the Moffat himself. It's Listen.