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Best of Matt Smith: A Town Called Mercy

best-of-matt-smith-mercy

Across the next couple of months Doctor Who TV is running a series of polls to celebrate Matt Smith’s era. We want you to cast your votes on every story and at the end we’ll be comprising a list to find the top scoring.

We continue Series 7 with A Town Called Mercy. All you have to do is rate the story with your score out of 10, so get voting and join us again tomorrow for the next episode.

Step back in time...

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139 comments
Scootersfood, Secret Agent of C.L.A.R.A.
Scootersfood, Secret Agent of C.L.A.R.A.

I know i'm pretty late, but I rate this 8.5/10. I find Series 7 all together extremely underrated, and obviously this episode included. I loved seeing a more dark Doctor, and even a mention of Amy being a mother,  I feel like we haven't had much of that.





MeglosProductions
MeglosProductions

Absolute unmitigated bull crap. Boring, dull, dull, boring, badly written- 3/10

JJ2000
JJ2000

6 - Above Average. Really good episode and enjoyed it very much. Finally, Toby Whithouse writes a pretty decent episode.

TheCyberDoctor is in the Forest of the Night
TheCyberDoctor is in the Forest of the Night

7/10 - This episode was pretty good. Yes there were problems, with the script becoming messy at times, but overall the story didn't suffer massively. It's rather dark in some scenes, specifically when the Doctor threatens Jex and when we learn of Jex's barbaric experiments, and is also highly thought provoking. Matt Smith's performance was brilliant, displaying all aspects of the Doctor superlatively (his anger especially; showing why he shouldn't travel alone for too long). Also, the direction was stunning, and really enjoyable.


Series 7 so far: TDTWATW - 7/10; AOTD - 10/10; DOAS - 8/10 

EdWhovian
EdWhovian

Sorry. 3 for me. But what does my opinion matter? I'm just Ed

Mikeyboss182
Mikeyboss182

7/10 - Good 

I actually really like this one. It's quite dark and thought-provoking, but the best part for me is the cinematography it's just gorgeous

It has a few problems though and the script feels a bit messy at times but overall it's a very enjoyable 45 mins of TV.




WhoPotterVian
WhoPotterVian

10/10- Dark, hugely enjoyable episode with interesting themes explored.

trenzalew
trenzalew

The resolution is a bit drab, but it's a nice change of pace. 6/10.

AaronMcGahon
AaronMcGahon

This story was odd for me because, upon first seeing it, I really wasn't pushed on A Town Called Mercy. I thought it was very slow with not enough going on and the payoff was disappointing. But looking back at it, I must say I do actually quite like how the story is paced and the the core theme is actually a very interesting one (granted, one that Doctor Who has explored hundreds of times before, but this approach was still good). I really liked how the Doctor was portrayed in this story, it was interesting that we saw aspects of whats happened to him from traveling in Dinosaurs On A Spaceship and that comes back very nicely in this episode. But I have to say that the one major thing I enjoy about this episode has got to be the cinematography. All those wonderful golden sunset shots, the fantastic landscapes that were captured beautifully, everything looked quite stylish and slick for a western story. There are lots of enjoyable things (and not so much enjoyable) things to acknowledge about this episode, but I do think the top job for this episode was cinematography.

DawnTime
DawnTime

Only a 6 from me.  I think I love the Man with no Name films so much (can't beat a bit of Clint E).  I do appreciate some of this ep however.  The filming was lovely and great to actually get to film on a proper western set it certainly was great to view. I also liked the funny horse bit.

Polyphase
Polyphase

Off topic but I just came across this and had to share, I hope it's nothing serious

I am deeply saddened to have to advise that I will not be able to come to Australia for the Hub Productions’ Whoniverse event. Although I wish it were otherwise, due to a personal family emergency it’s not possible for me to leave England at this time. I truly regret the situation, and the disappointment it must be causing, but I’m hoping to be able to reschedule as soon as possible for the future; I look forward to see you all then.Matt Smith


VictorWong1
VictorWong1

Personally I liked this one. You get to see the Doctor snap into a rage, and you see Amy justifying her presence by reminding the Doctor why he needs companions. I wouldn't have minded if they indulged in a bit more Sergio-Leone-style storytelling (not to mention trying to get some genuine American actors into the mix), but it's certainly re-watchable. 7/10.

Galactic Yo Yo
Galactic Yo Yo

This episode flummoxes me, because I SHOULD love it. I've liked Toby Whithouse's other scripts for the show. I flat out love "The God Complex". And I love episodes that examine the Doctor as a character. On paper, this episode is great and, for the life of me, I can't find anything wrong with it. Yet I don't really care for it. There's something about it that keeps me at arms' length. Maybe it's because the parallel's between Jex and the Doctor are a bit too on-the-nose? Or the way the script can't decide if it wants to do a fun western homage or a serious character study so it splits the difference? I'm honestly not sure. But it's a shame, because I really want to like this one.

grumpyoldcow
grumpyoldcow

Great episode for all the reasons already stated below, so I won't repeat.

In addition to all the preceding comments, how great was the editing that totally had me believing it was Matt galloping Susan out of Mercy. Nicely done.

"Incinerating intruders for three centuries." LOL.

Oh, and the badass stroll by Matt into the salon, sorry guy, stick to flying the TARDIS, I think you give drugstore cowboy a new definition. But I do love the toothpick tangle bit.

KingOrokos
KingOrokos

An extremely intelligent script from an extremely intelligent writer. Much like The God Complex, this episode tackles a couple of Doctor-centric themes most stories wouldn't dare to approach, this time dealing with his jaded moral compass, and the effects that his companions have on that compass. Matt Smith gives a top-notch performance, showing us the Doctor's anger and frustration without delving too deeply into the darkness. In terms of production design, we've got a lovely location, a very intimidating (and morally ambiguous) villain, and a whole lot of kooky space tattoos. The episode does have a few flaws in terms of pacing and delivering exposition, though I suspect those issues arose from editing rather than from poor scriptwriting. Though the plot of the episode is not overly-complex - some might even call it a science fiction cliche - it provides Whithouse with an excuse to really delve into a fascinating aspect of the man we all know and love. 8/10.

Master Michael Moon
Master Michael Moon

8/10. Nice to see some love for such a great episode. Great story and a fantastic setting. The music was also very moving and brilliant. I regard Series 7 Part 1 as the best of Matt Smith's tenure.

Amy is uniting the Earth Kingdom!
Amy is uniting the Earth Kingdom!

9/10 - This episode is easily one of my favorites. Beautiful cinematography (right up there with "The God Complex" and "The Angels Take Manhattan" as some of the modern series' best-looking episodes, in my opinion), one of Matt's best performances, demonstrating his mastery over both comedy and serious drama ("Tea. But the strong stuff. Leave the bag in." vs. "I genuinely don't know."), a nice, historic setting, an enthralling moral dilemma with a strong parallel to the Doctor in Kahler Jex, and Ben Browder, who does a great job as the reasonable marshall Isaac. The only thing I knock it down for is... the imposter coat! That's right, the green coat that Matt briefly dons in this episode is NOT the same coat that he wore in Series 6B, but rather, a soulless impersonation! :P I'm kidding, of course (although it really is a different coat); the real reason for which the episode loses a point is because it doesn't really give Amy and Rory much to do. Amy is spared from this a bit more than Rory, as she discusses her motherhood with Jex and also serves as the Doctor's moral compass (illustrating to us once again the dangers of the Doctor in solitude and driving the character arcs for Series 7 along further). 

Not much to hate here. :)

Wardrobe: 4/10 | Asylum: 7/10 | Dinosaurs: 7/10 | Mercy: 9/10

Pockydon
Pockydon

I watched this again not too long ago, and it was much better than I remember. It had some genuinely brilliant moments, was really quite funny in a lot of places, and was just a fun adventure in general. The Gunslinger was a bit meh as a villain, but his giant arm canon was definitely fun to look at. 

7/10

Deus_Ex_Machina
Deus_Ex_Machina

Wow, this one has caused some divided opinions. Personally I really liked it. I enjoy things that explore morality and the line between good and evil. A highlight in the mess that was series 7 part 1. 9/10.

KristiStoneman
KristiStoneman

Terrible episode, which is disappointing as it was set in the US.  But then again, I hate Westerns passionately (with a few exceptions).

Polyphase
Polyphase

3/10 Nothing to see here, Next please

TARDlSkey
TARDlSkey

Without a doubt my most favourite of Series 7!


I love a Western, I love Doctor Who and I love a great story. Each element came into play here. The whole episode perfectly grasped what makes a great western with the atmosphere, set and vibe, and they balanced that out really well with the Sci-Fi genre. Matt was exceptional as ever, and it was great to see the Doctor become a leader of the town where people either looked up to him or were wary of him. Kahler-Jex was an interesting character, had brilliant dynamic with the Doctor and an intriguing backstory overall. The Gunslinger is a great 'villain' in my opinion because of the fact he isn't. He's simply a husband/father who was robbed of his life and hunted down those who robbed it from him. But he wasn't hunting out of his own accord, but because the new life (being a Cyborg) that was forced upon him made it a natural instinct. So even though he may have been against such actions before hand, it felt more natural and necessary to him now. He's also part of what is I consider a nice story; a town called Mercy that has a secret guardian.


As S07 goes, this is #1 on my list! 10/10

 Notsosmartguy Agent of C.L.A.R.A.
Notsosmartguy Agent of C.L.A.R.A.

10/10 easily the highlight of series 7a. It's a proven fact that when you blend science fiction and Westerns your bound to have a great experience in any kind of story.

also bonus points for the gunslinger easily the standout one shot charecter/ monster this series.

TheDreamer
TheDreamer

8/10 - Dark, complex theme, a very complex villain, and we get to see more of what the Doctor is capable of when his emotions get the better of him. Brilliant character study and development. When they say "the man who forgets" in the Day of the Doctor, I see the man who repressed. Eleven's been repressing a lot, hence the childish behaviour and such... a way for him to live with the burden. But there is so much hidden just below the surface. Finding out what Kalher Jex did brings everything back to the surface for the Doctor - it's like he's seeing himself in a mirror and his self loathing and anger get transferred onto Jex. He struggles at first and only really explodes when Jex taunts him "looking at you, Doctor, is like looking into a mirror. Almost. There's rage there, like me. Guilt, like me. Solitude. Everything but the nerve to do what needs to be done. Thank the Gods my people weren't relying on you to save them." Perfect interaction between the 2 there. And that was some really brilliant acting on Matt's part in that scene there, I think - I know, I say that a lot, don't I? But that's his fault for being a brilliant actor, lol. :P








The western town setting was interesting... certainly made for a nice landscape, even though I don't particularly enjoy westerns. Great acting, some great dialogues and character interaction, some humour though it didn't undermine the tension and dark tones which, in this instance, was a good thing. Nice pace too, though it felt a bit slow at times. And I felt Rory was a bit sidelined.

OzzyDenman
OzzyDenman

my favourite of series 7A (mainly because i dont like the others) 10/10!

Tennant_Capaldi
Tennant_Capaldi

3/10 hated it

Hate themed episodes

Easily Whithouse worst episode ( in my opinion)

iggycooper64
iggycooper64

My favourite from series 7. Also, the soundtrack is to die for.





brewbrew42
brewbrew42

2/10  A real mess.... not unlikable, but fairly terrible. The problem is not in the acting, directing, music etc.... but in a script that, while cohesive (plot wise... ish) , and acceptable, falls flat under its own cleverness and 'mission'. So much so that it doesn't say anything at all, rather like my attempts to defend the sour taste it leaves in my proverbial mouth. It should be brilliant. It should at least come across as average. And maybe it deserves a fairer mark.... but It's the sort of dud episode that has really dragged down poor Matt Smith's era.    Final sentence- not as big a turd as 'Night Terrors', A better stab at a Western than poor old 'The Gunslingers'  but I'd rather watch 'Fear her' 

Edoe
Edoe

8/10. Smith was absolutely brilliant in this, his acting was phenomenal. The Gunslinger was pretty awesome, and the soundtrack.... I don't praise this episode as much as many other people do, but it's still good.





Sir James Bond
Sir James Bond

Ah, 'Doctor Who' does 'Fifty Shades Of Grey'.

No, not like that.....what I meant to say was this is an episode that dares to take the Doctor out of the clearly defined, black and white, 'they bad - me good' world he usually inhabits, and instead presents him with a conundrum that can't be solved by exploiting a weakness or rewiring some hardware.  

In fact the Doctor is as much an impotent spectator to Jex's ultimate fate as the rest of us. Oh he tries, he reasons, he pleads, but at the end of the day circumstance determines that his actions are defined by the badge on his chest and not the sonic in his hand. So, alas he can't wield his magic wand to find a solution, he just has to try his best and muddle through. How very human.

This is mature storytelling at its best. A tale that reminds us that few, if any, people are absolutes. We are all complex, nuanced, often contradictory creatures, and I admire it's desire to delve into such muddy, moral ambiguous, waters.

I'm Sir James Bond, and I respect this Episode's life choices.

SonicTheHedgehogRules
SonicTheHedgehogRules

This is probably my favourite episode from Series 7. I absolutely love it. It's full of character and charm, it's got dark tones, characters almost going on the brink, and probably the most satisfying ending in a long time. The Doctor gets anger, and I find it's rare for Eleven to get his dark side out, so this is a fantastic oppertunity. The villian is also fantastic, because it isn't this machine that wants to destroy everything, it's on a quest for revenge. I just really love this episode to bits.

10/10. By far the highlight from Series 7.

DawnTime
DawnTime

@Polyphase Yes I saw this yesterday hope Matt and family ok, Must be a bit serious as have never known Matt to cancel anything before.

Maryanne123
Maryanne123

He's so great at physical comedy. Although the s ript is great, it's those little bits of business which Matt does that lifts this episode from good to great. Plus i love the stetson - hot or what? Matt looks so great in any headgear though.

Amy is uniting the Earth Kingdom!
Amy is uniting the Earth Kingdom!

 Also, a small thing of note, but something that I enjoy, is the anachronisitc placement of this episode. Technically, it takes place during the Ponds' anniversary trip during the next episode, in which we see the Doctor take Amy and Rory to Henry VIII's wedding, and then in this episode, Rory mentions having left his charger cord on Henry VIII's nightstand. I always appreciate little details like that, and the next episode has a good one as well.

tealeaves
tealeaves

@brewbrew42 I'm not sure I really understand your argument here. When you say it falls flat under its own cleverness the plot is really quite simple. A town in America houses a war criminal and spends the rest of the episode deciding what to do with him.

What it was doing was raising moral questions about the Doctor but I'm not sure that is trying to be 'clever' its just raising a question running through Doctor Who what does it mean for people to die because of the Doctor's mercy? It's the same question Tom Baker was asking back in Genesis of the Daleks is it acceptable for him to kill the Daleks in the knowledge he will save their victims? Similarly what is acceptable in war (A question which seems twice as interesting now we have seen Day of the Doctor). It's a personal thing but I think great television raises moral questions rather than raises moral answers and this episode did that. It made me think. If you were looking for what it 'says' isn't as the Doctor says "Violence doesn't end violence, it extends it." as valid a thing to say as any?

Also 'the dud that has really dragged down poor Matt Smith's era' surely even if you dislike the episode if there's one thing this episode showcased it's Matt Smith's acting ability. His rage at Jex when he picks up that gun, the hilarity when he orders "Tea, the strong stuff, leave the bag in" at a saloon bar, the electricity when he is in that jail with Jex two war criminals trying to justify the things they have done. I would argue Toby Whithouse is one of the writers who really nails the dialogue of the Eleventh Doctor.

As for it being a dud. When Steven Moffat started Series 7 he promised 'movie style' episodes and whether you like that format or not I really think this is one of the few episodes from Series 7 which achieved that. It looks epic and beautiful and it has a story which has a fitting ending which doesn't feel like the writer has run out of time and is rushing it to a deux ex machina.

Finally, "He's called Susan, and he wants you to respect his life choices."

KristiStoneman
KristiStoneman

@Liana21  I said "set in the US", not "filmed in the US".  The setting of the story is Mercy, Nevada, USA in 1870.  Yes, it is true that it was filmed in Spain.

brewbrew42
brewbrew42

@tealeaves @brewbrew42 My dear, I'm so sorry I did not read this reply sooner, you are quite right.

 Matt Smith is fantastic in Mercy, the setting is simple and the direction is beautiful. Susan the horse is also one of the simplest funniest gags of series 7. However I did say that the problem wasn't in the acting, direction or music. I also don't presume I could do better and realise that I was clearly on my high horse when I wrote my verdict. 

What I still stand by is that the episode leaves me cold- and I'm trying to find the reason why. While I commend some of the dialogue, the ambition of the themes, and I think the plot and pacing hangs together well.... well I've watched it thrice and it just won't be what others profess it to be.    

I want to love it, have it make me think on morality and justice... but there is for me a hidden place where somehow it doesn't deliver. 

Whether or not this is my own deficiencies is for others to decide, but I must defend my stance on Matt Smith's era.


Matt was and is superb. Consistently and always, his delivery of lines, bravery of performance, eccentricity and fun lifts every viewing of his stories. As the Doctor he may just pip Jon and Tom in my eyes. Yet many episodes of his 'era' have constantly been one vital flaw away from perfection (a strong word but I believe many fandom percieved 5/10 who stories to be perfect in their own way) and while I can often ignore and enjoy 'flaws' he deserved better. My arguments may not be substantial, but please do respect my measured and honest opinion. I'm not being difficult for the sake of it!












Amy is uniting the Earth Kingdom!
Amy is uniting the Earth Kingdom!

@Liana21  Hm? Oh, I'm not saying that "A Town Called Mercy" should lead in to "The Angels Take Manhattan". I'm just saying that technically, "A Town Called Mercy" takes place circa the middle of "The Power of Three". But mind, the Doctro does bring the Ponds back from their anniversary trip and then deals with the cubes, so no matter which way you look at it, "The Power of Three" will be the lead-in to "The Angels Take Manhattan".