“Robot of Sherwood” isn’t some of Mark Gatiss’s best writing. It has good moments, great moments in fact…but the bad moments really bring it down. I’ll get into the details in the assessment.
“Robot of Sherwood” as stated above was written by Mark Gatiss and Directed by Paul Murphy. It aired today, September 6th, 2014 and is the 3rd episode of the 8th Series.
The story begins with Clara wanting to see Robin Hood to see if the legend exists as the Doctor does not believe in him. When they arrive in Sherwood Forest they find him and are taken in by him and his Merry Men. We are soon introduced to the threat of the Sheriff of Nottingham who is using Robots to steal all gold from the populace and kill the King. From here the story unfolds.
Here is the assessment of the episode:
The Pros: Clara – This is a great Clara episode, again I ask why we couldn’t have got this in Series 7. We learn that Clara loves Robin Hood and has since she was little, which makes sense we see her reading before the Doctor asks her where she wants to go, and being a teacher she’d be sharing this story with her students. Her relationship to Robin in this is fantastic and we see her put her trust in him when she tells him the Doctor’s backstory. She is also the one who believes in the Legend as folks like Amy believed in the legend of the Doctor. The parallels are great when they are revealed through Clara.
Okay/Good: Robin Hood – Tom Riley does okay as Robin Hood, much better than say Russell Crowe, but not as great as some of the others. He has some good moments with the Doctor and Clara though which make up for it. Part of it is I’m unsure if some of the awkward scenes are from bad writing on Gatiss’s part or Riley not being completely cut out for the part. It’s for this reason I have the okay part.
The 12th Doctor / The Twelfth Doctor – We get the backstory of the Doctor and see him use his mind to defeat the Robots, but he isn’t given much to do and his rivalry with Robin Hood over Clara is childish. I hated it actually, he isn’t supposed to be the 11th Doctor who would pull crap like that, he’s supposed to be more mature. Worth it for the end though which was good and when we learn the Doctor’s motivations were much like Robin’s as he ran away from the wealthy corrupt Time Lord society to help the people of the Universe.
Con: The Robots and the Sheriff – The Sheriff’s motivations are only killing the King and becoming ruler, and the Robots have no motivation at all but to serve the Sheriff. The Doctor references the Robots being similar to the Half-Face Man and Clockwork droids who got sent back in time, but those guys got motivation even it was from doing their purpose of collecting parts and from it finding the idea of “Paradise.” The Sheriff is evil for the sake of evil and the actor who plays him isn’t good. These are the first dud baddies of the season.
Would I recommend this episode? It doesn’t do anything for the overall arc, but the reveal of the Doctor’s past which we’ve got from past Doctors was good, since I think a lot of people don’t realize why the Doctor first started running from Gallifrey in the first place. Jenna Coleman is amazing and this is her episode. The guest actor Tom Riley is okay, as is Capaldi but for Capaldi…this is his worst episode so far. He’s far too childish and Riley’s Robin Hood is far too idealistic. He doesn’t feel human at times even if he does have some good in how he’s played. I’d leave it up to you to watch it. If you don’t mind dud villains and want to know more about Clara, watch the episode. If not, you aren’t missing much here.
Final score for this episode is 6 / 10. Would be an average episode if not for the ending and Jenna Coleman carrying it.