Sunday 16 September 2012

A Town Called Mercy

As I said in my review of Curse of the Black Spot, the problem with pseudo-historicals is that there are essentially only two plots- a good alien is interfering with history or a bad alien is interfering with history. In A Town Called Mercy, we get two aliens who are both good, bad and ugly.

When we meet Kahler-Jex and find out he is a nice alien, it is a certain fact that he will turn out to be not as nice as he seems. We are also well aware that the cyborg alien will turn out to be more than just a brutal killer. I actually found myself reminded of the DWM story The Star Beast, in which the cute and cuddly alien, Beep the Meep turns out to be a wanted war criminal. That was actually a much more interesting story than this.

This story was just boring. It was flat and predictable, especially the very Star Trekl Next Generation debate about whether to hand over an unrepentant mass murderer to save a town full of innocent people. The whole thing was horribly sentimentalised with Issac's death and the horrible Murray-Gold music.

The resolution was terrible too. Kahler-Jex kills himself, thus removing any need for the Doctor to actually come up with a solution to the dilemma. Wouldn't life be so much easier if all the bad people just killed themselves? That is the worst kind of lazy writing.

Once again, we get racial issues swept under the carpet with the presence of a black preacher ministering to an otherwise white town. I am also irritated by Amy wearing a miniskirt. Does she not realize the hostility she is likely to attract when dressed like that in the 19th century? But then as JNT would do, Moffat has Amy wear a uniform in every episode no matter what the circumstances.

Give me The Gunfighters over this any day. The Gunfighters was actually about the historical events and circumstances, while still having fun with western cliches. This story just uses the western setting as a themepark backdrop to a banal science fiction story.


  1. It was weak, and defiantly something out of the Ric Berman school of sci-fi writing, but it can't be Doctor Who without a bad episode.

    It's not the worst episode of New Who. In the Fear Her crapness index, I would put below Sound of the Drums/Last of the Time Lords & Stolen Earth/Journeys End but above the aforementioned Curse of the Black Spot

  2. Beep the Meep rules! I wish Beep the Meep was going to be the new companion!

  3. I couldn't agree more with every paragraph except the last one, and that's only because I've never gotten around to watching The Gunfighters. I thought this was a shocking misfire on just about every level and parts of it really made me angry, or as angry as I allow myself to get about this show.