“Earth, England, Sherwood Forest, 1190AD-ish!” That’s where we are taken this week after a destination suggested by Impossible Girl Clara Oswald. Mark Gatiss, you are indeed a pain in the arse, but for a good reason. I thought I could suss out what was gonna be the reason he had Robin Hood in an episode about time travel. A well-written script from one of britains sharpest minds, Mark Gatiss has made probably this series best episode so far. In case you haven’t seen it yet, the reason behind the infamous Robin Hood being a part of this historic-based episode is rather genius and is given after a great amount of laughs and some brilliant scenes with such exquisite detail. Also, that golden arrow would look perfect on my wall.
The episode takes only two minutes for The Doctor to come face to face with the legendary outlaw. Robin Hood, who indeed is a delight, a warrior, a decent fellow and a bit pompous in places, Tom Riley does a good job of portraying the hero of Sherwood. The TARDIS crew are introduced to the merry men, it seems like Christmas for Clara but The Doctor remains adamant that they can’t be real and that there must be something going on. Robin Hood joins The Doctor and Clara in the hunt for the truth behind what is happening in Nottingham. An archery competition sees Robin Hood and the villainous Sheriff Of Nottingham (Ben Miller, though a bit cheesy in the part) brings a fun scene where The Doctor shows his skills with a bow and arrow. The Doctor, eventually agitated from the archery, blows up the target and demands answers, though The Doctor soon realises that robots are in play and they end up in jail (The Doctor sees this as his plan to get to the inside). A hilarious argument between The Doctor and Robin ensues, but eventually they join forces to get free and get to the bottom of the mystery. The Sci-Fi bit really kicks in during the third act and Robin Hood has to decide whether he is a real hero or a myth (trust me; it is a good twist when you know the truth).
Peter Capaldi, now on his third episode as the 2000 year old Time Lord, still amazes and shows his temper can be short when irritated and by now fairly obvious he is more blunt and mature than Doctor’s Ten and Eleven. Peter Capaldi’s Doctor does get pissed off more than his predecessors and has no time for those he feels are wrong or out of place on purpose, though he does show he can be a “good man” as he will do the right thing if he thinks he can. Jenna Coleman’s Clara becomes very tough and bossy while separating the two “kids” in her care (The Doctor and Robin Hood) and its intriguing to see Robin Hood having his identity crisis when The Doctor pushes too far with the tales of the legendary outlaw. The Promised Land is mentioned again, this is definitely building towards the theme for the finale. The merry men barely get five minutes of screen time; I feel it could have been nice to have seen more from them. While I think Ben Miller is a bit off, but ultimately does a good job as the Sheriff and the final fight is fun and well-choreographed. Also, you may notice a certain Maid Marian during the episode, and there is a happy ending at the end of this tale. So, we have seen! It is now time to ‘Listen’!
Final Rating: 9/10.
Written by Jonjo Cosgrove