It’s all a bit daft but still jolly good fun – we get a far more settled Doctor from Capaldi – he is arrogant and ratty and vain, and some of the best moments deal with his rivalry with Hood, both men of giant egos unable to let the other take the lead. There’s snappy dialogue between the pair and Clara gets a few good lines too.
When it comes to the sci-fi, it’s pretty weak. We’re stuck with a bunch of generic robot types who are in cahoots with the Sheriff of Nottingham so that they can gather up enough gold to launch their crashed spaceship again. The Doctor, who has continually insisted that Hood, the Merry men and the Sheriff are all robots created by the spaceship to fool and enslave the local population, turns out to have been wrong. Which scuppers a neat idea that could have provided a bit of emotional resonance – what if Robin Hood the robot believed he was real? But no, Mark Gatiss decides that the legend of Robin Hood is faithfully true and that there really was a man capable of splitting an arrow.
The ship finally takes off but hasn’t got enough gold to make it to orbit so will explode and take most of England with it…EXCEPT, our heroes are able to ping a gold arrow at it, which tips it over the critical level and off the robots go – and then blow up in orbit. This is just kind of stupid, but I suppose, if you’ve been enjoying the ho ho ho’s of Robin Hood and chums for the last 40 minute then you can let this go.
This is not actually bad, just somewhat ridiculous. Capaldi and Hood trade funnies, the Sheriff chews up the scenery, Clara is wonderful and there’s a sort of bit of subtext about how we all want a hero to be real. It strays into the same territory as the Time Warrior and The Curse of the Black Spot – it’s panto Who as opposed to true pseudo-historical. Matt Smith may have twirled his merry way through this but I’m not sure if this is a 12th Doctor Adventure at all.
And now, Flash-fic-Fan-fic:
HungerTime – Part Three
Alarms screamed throughout the Dalek saucer. The rebel ship had been destroyed but the time anomaly remained.
“What is happening?” demanded the Supreme Dalek.
The Orange Scientist acted fast. The saucer could not be saved. The time rupture was reverberating back through Dalek history.
“Answer, answer,” shrieked the Supreme.
The Scientist blasted the Supreme. Now it was the commanding Dalek and could command the saucer’s full systems.
It reversed the polarity of the quantum drives, sending the saucer into a fatal plunge.
The saucer dissolved into space-time. The Scientist channelled quantum energy to itself, dematerialised and went after the anomaly.