Doctor Who 8×03: Robot of Sherwood Review

Uh, what did we just watch? Anyone know what Gatiss was smoking when he penned ‘Robot of Sherwood’ and can we have some? I’m playing, but really it was a rather silly episode, wasn’t it? And it served to remind us that Doctor Who, at its core, is a children’s show. Where episodes like ‘Robot of Sherwood’ shouldn’t be so surprising. And yet, it was.

The Doctor lets Clara decide their next destination and with much fangirling she reveals that she really wants to meet the legendary hero himself- Robin Hood (played with much ha ha ha-ing by Tom Riley). They do and much slapstick humour is to be had, with a grating amount of fake laughter and much too merry men. I don’t know, I felt a bit like the Doctor myself the entire episode. Perhaps if I had a little more Clara in me I might have enjoyed the episode a bit more, but there seemed to be a forced atmosphere to it that I couldn’t shake. Was it the generous amount of sun in Nottingham? As the Doctor pointed out. Or the smile that didn’t reach Robin’s eyes? Or was it the irritating way he laughed, as Jess described, with a pause between each ha.

Perhaps it was the conflict between the two heroes. The man, the myth the legend… the Doctor or Robin Hood? Both rooted in their respective histories, from the page to the screen we’re all fine to accept them both in the show as ‘real’. Well at least Clara is, the Doctor -and by extension us- isn’t so sure. He spends the majority of the episode trying to expose Robin Hood as a fraudbot. Because he can’t possibly be real, that jawline and perfect teeth can’t exist. While it made for good (eh) banter, it grew ever so slightly tiresome by like the fourth round of pot-shots. All the while the Doctor was forbidding banter altogether. No banter from the Doctor? Sounds like a Tui Ad.

I agree, with Jess, that the storyline left a lot to be desired. A bit weak, saved only by the actors’ convictions to be their characters. Because what was even happening this episode? Seriously, The Sheriff of Nottingham is stealing gold to power a spaceship because he wants to fly to London and take over England with his robot army? Oh…kay. But this (is Doctor Who so what are you even complaining about?!) episode isn’t trying to bring the gravitas, not even a little bit. It’s slapstick and tongue-in-cheek humour with robots in a forest circa 1190AD-ish. They’ll take us back to the series-long arc soon enough, but for now enjoy a bit of the funny.

Next week they’re bringing the scary/creepy, you know how I love the scary/creepy!

Honourable Mentions:

– Them hair extensions tho’.

– History is a burden, stories can make us fly.


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