The Quick and The Dead and The Doctor

This week’s episode of Doctor Who followed the Doctor, Rory and Amy to the American West in the 1870s. Below is a description of the episode “A Town Called Mercy,” given by my favorite Doctor, Matt Smith:

I’m relatively new to Who, so you’ll have to bear with me for a while. But, I hope to give you a weekly rambling about my thoughts on the past week’s Doctor Who in an attempt to learn in grow in all things that is Who. This week, I’m taking on Season 7, Episode 2, “A Town Called Mercy.”

What I’ve Learned Today

#1: Why Walk When You Can Teleport?

The town of Mercy had been terrorized for days by a creature they called The Gunslinger before the Doctor and his crew showed up. But, it didn’t take the Doctor long to figure out that this creature was more than a man with a quick draw and a good aim. It was a freaking cyborg killing machine from another planet!

As I watched this episode, I couldn’t help but namedrop all of the character from science fiction past that he reminded me of. Above all of the characters, there was Robocop, my favorite cyborg with a mission. Like Robocop, The Gunslinger’s mission was to right a wrong from his past and destroy the people who made him the monster he had become. But, unlike Robocop, The Gunslinger had one huge hand cannon to do his dirty work.

But, one thing I did get was The Gunslinger’s dramatic teleport walk he did when in pursuit of a target. What is the point in having the ability to teleport if you can’t teleport right behind or in front of your target in a single bound? PerhapsKahler-Jex, The Gunslinger’s creator, deserved to die. It was a waste of a good device. It looked badass, but it was a complete waste.

#2: Riding Through The Desert On A Horse With Two Names

The Doctor, we see over various episodes, is more C3PO than man when it comes to communication. In an episode I watched a few weeks back, The Doctor can speak fluent baby. But, in this episode, we discover that The Doctor can speak horse, and we also discover that horses can have identity problems.

Just because he’s a male horse doesn’t mean he identifies as such. You see, the Doctor heals all, even our four legged friends with years of identity crisis weighing heavy on his her heart. Wait, you’re probably wondering what this has to do with this episode’s plot?

Not a damned thing.

#3: Leonardo DiCaprio Did Not Sleep Here

I went out on a limb and flexed my nerd muscle when I saw the set for this episode. I was very confident in my assumption that the 1997 film The Quick and The Dead was shot there, especially when I saw the clock tower during the high-noon showdown scene. There was no way that I could be wrong.

Well, as you could have guessed, I was seriously mistaken.

The town, or rather towns, are situated in the hills of Spain and function as tourist attractions. One set is called Fort Bravo and the other is Mini Hollywood. Not only do these sets serve as a historical reference points for the American West, they are also pieces of history themselves. The Mini Hollywood set was originally built for the film For A Few Dollars More and also served as the town in the most famous of all spaghetti westerns, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. 

#4: You Done Built Yer Last Cyborg, Partner!

This season shows The Doctor in a more unstable state. He’s been so unstable recently that he’s nearly compromised his morals and he’s nearly killed people. In the season premiere, “Dinosaurs On A Spaceship,” The Doctor diverts incoming missiles and sends them smoking towards the ship of an interstellar pirate named Solomon. That move was somewhat out of character with The Doctor, but this episode was possibly his greatest break yet. Well, the greatest break I have seen during my short time as a Whovian.

After breaking into the ostrich egg-shaped space ship of Kahler-Jex, the town’s alien doctor, The Doctor discovers Jex’s gruesome past as the creator of not only the Gunslinger but a whole army of cyborgs that were used to end a war on his home planet. The atrocities that Jex had committed were so gruesome that The Doctor decided to take matters into his own hands and threw Jex to the mercy of The Gunslinger. He even held Jex at gunpoint over the border, something that is very unusual for The Doctor to do. If Amy hadn’t have intervened, it’s hard to tell what would have happened.

Does this mean our Doctor is changing for the worst? Will he become a monster before he is remade into a hero again? Next week is the episode “The Power of Three.”


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