|Matt Smith as The Doctor in the episode, "A Town Called Mercy."|
(c) 2012 BBC America
I was struck by the third episode of the new season, entitled "A Town Called Mercy." The Doctor and the Ponds wind up in the old American West. And, this being Dr. Who, of course there's more than one big, juicy twist to the story.
Everyone in the town kind of goes batty when The Doctor admits that he's an "alien doctor." They go batty because the town is being terrorized/held hostage by an android gunslinger who's looking for the alien doctor. But it turns out the town actually has an alien doctor who crash landed on Earth, and unbeknownst to the townspeople, becomes their doctor as an effort to make up for transgressions he committed on his war-ridden home planet.
In a very smart twist, the android gunslinger turns out to be a little bit more of a sympathetic character than the alien doctor (the gunslinger is a science experiment of sorts carried out by the doctor on his war-ridden planet). And the end of the episode really makes the viewer think. What would you do if you were a person living in this town and the easiest thing to do is give up the person who helped you out, even if it meant a certain death for them? Could you do it? Would you?
I vacillated between wanting to save the town and trying to broker an understanding between the alien doctor and the gunslinger. Ultimately the ending the writers wrote is the best way to end it: the gunslinger became the protector of the town, proving that something warlike could indeed be used for peace, especially as a way of atoning for his sins.
Check out this episode, and I bet you'll be hooked by the Doctor as well!