by Sherry Lipp

Doctor Who “A Town Called Mercy” kind of felt like Doctor Who meets Star Trekmeets Cowboys and Aliens. The Doctor (Matt Smith), Amy (Karen Gillan), and Rory (Arthur Darvill), are headed to Mexico watch a so-called Day of the Dead holiday festival but end up 200 miles north in the remote Western town of Mercy. Like last week’s episode, “Dinosaurs on a Spaceship,” this episode had a sense of fun, however I found it to be a much more satisfying episode than the previous one.  Overall it was a much better story, told in a light-hearted way while weaving in serious elements like The Doctor’s conflicted past and atonement.

The Doctor, it turns out, is not the first alien to have visited the town of Mercy. There is already a cyborg, who the townsfolk refer to as “The Gunslinger,” menacing the citizens as he looks for an alien war criminal who also calls himself The Doctor. The gunslinger looks strikingly similar to The Borg from Star Trek: The Next Generation. I’m not sure if it was on purpose or not, but the similarities end with the appearance.

I always like it on the show when The Doctor gets kind of fed up with things and takes charge. It’s like The Doctor gives everyone else a chance to figure things out and if they don’t, he lets his true wisdom and power show. However, The Doctor is not always entirely clear on his vision of right and wrong. Sometimes his vision is clouded by his memories of his past.

Amy pointed this out to him in “A Town Called Mercy,” though I found myself agreeing more with The Doctor. Honestly I wasn’t sure if Amy stepping in to save the scientist was supposed to be seen as the right thing, because I didn’t necessarily see it that way. Maybe it was supposed to be ambiguous, which is how I felt about it. That little bit of uncertainty keeps the show interesting. Conflict is what makes The Doctor a dynamic character. That never-ending question as to whether The Doctor saves others from harm, or simply brings it with him wherever he goes drives the show.

This episode took place in the American Wild West, but incidentally was shot in the Spanish town of Almeria. The town was the setting for over 100 films including Lawrence of Arabia, Indiana Jone and the The Last Crusade, and Cleopatra. The Wild West town was the setting for several spaghetti westerns including A Fistful of Dollars and The Good The Bad and the Ugly. I thought it was cool to see such an authentic-looking film setting. It’s a nice piece of history for the show to use actual sets built for westerns so long ago. Overall, I liked this episode, though I am still waiting for a plot thread that will continue throughout the season.

I was intrigued by the preview for next week’s episode “The Power of Three

,” which showed Amy and Rory’s dual lives between reality and their adventures with The Doctor.

(Photos: BBC)

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Sherry Lipp
Sherry is a writer/blogger specializing in entertainment and food writing. You can find her gluten and grain-free food articles at scdforlife.com.

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