Back in the jailhouse Jex has remorse for his past actions and goes on to explain that among the Kahler people is a belief that the spirit has to climb a mountain burdened by the weight of all the people they’ve wronged. The Doctor says this isn’t repentance for what he’s done, he’s chosen this as his punishment to suit his atrocity and that you don’t get to decide when and how your debt is paid, that you carry your prison with them. Jex replies by saying that his prison is his past but that The Doctor’s is his morality.
And there we have our deep emotional and philosophical moment for the evening folks.
So now it’s five minutes ‘til high noon and The Doctor is standing outside while everyone else is hiding and pensively looking at clocks. The Gunslinger teleports into town just as all the clocks start chiming twelve. Sadly, there were no cuckoo clocks.
The Doctor and Gunslinger face off and just as the gun-arm is about to spat out blaster fire The Doctor raises his sonic screwdriver causing the electricity to amp and surge, windows to blow out and cyborgs to get all headachey. To add to the confusion some of the towns men start darting from building to building flashing off their mock face tattoos to confuse the Gunslinger’s scanner. And I have to stop there and say, really? A simple face tattoo is all is needed to confuse a gun-armed PTSD cyborg? Really?
Everyone who is not running around getting face tattoos is hiding up in the church where everyone is praying save for one little girl who decides now is a great time to knock over a pile of hymnals and Bibles alerting the Gunslinger to their location. But that’s okay because the blasting power of a gun-arm is no match for innocent little girl stare.
So between face tattoos and little girls Jex has made his way to his spaceship where he is supposed to take off but decides to somehow publicly address the Gunslinger asking where he’s from, and if he thinks he’ll ever go back. He swears to follow Jex until he gets revenge. Jex thanks the town and The Doctor and then activates the self-destruct on the ship to end the cycle of death he’s caused.
The Gunslinger says Jex died with honor and now with his quest for revenge complete will go into the desert to self-destruct. The Doctor has another suggestion. Before going off to see what happened to the dogs sent into space during the Space Race Amy asks for another rain check because her friends are starting to notice that they’re aging faster than they are. And then the voice over returns talking about who we thought was the Doctor originally but turns out to be about the Gunslinger and how he’s the guardian angel of Mercy who fell from the heavens.
All in all I really liked this episode. Especially coming off of the heels of “Dinosaurs” this episode had a lot of substance to it and really renews my hope in these “movie marquee” feels Moffat wants.
My problems I have is the reduction of the roles of the companions to just extra sets of hands. Sure Amy had her talk down with The Doctor but other than becoming a potential human shield she really didn’t do much. Especially not as deputy. And Rory, I wanted Rory to have a reason to be there and be bad ass but really there was no reason for him to be there at all.
Also there were some logic problems to the Gunslinger and the way he handled the town. He could have just walked through the town using his “super-advanced” eye piece to locate Jex and kill him. No need to keep a town hostage.
Anybody else notice a theme of people seemingly knowing who The Doctor is, but then we find out that they have no idea just who he is? Last episode we think the space pirate knows The Doctor but in reality he just needs a doctor and here we think the Gunslinger wants to kill The Doctor but it’s a different doctor he’s looking for. Man, Oswin really did a turn for him.I almost could have done with this being a two parter, but I could see where it would start to break down in the long run, it just felt cramped in the 45 minute time slot.
This episode is a 4.5 out of 5 with the moral being don’t have a face tattoo. I can’t wait to see what happens next!