[Doctor Who] S07E03: A Town Called Mercy

Watch Date: 2019-07-06

IMDb link.

Watched On: Amazon India Prime Video

Notes:

There were two things this episode reminded me of in particular.

The first is a story I had in my Class 8 Hindi reader. It was about a minor nobleman fleeing the Mughal court because he had offended the emperor, so he took refuge with a Rajput king. The Rajput king valued the virtue of offering refuge and hospitality so highly that he sent his entire army to their deaths, and had all the women in the kingdom commit jauhar rather than hand the nobleman back to the Mughal emperor.

At the tender age of thirteen, the moral I drew from this story was that Rajputs are fucking idiots and jokes about stupidity should be made about Rajputs and not Sardars.

Today, I would draw a moral that one should give the law as much importance as a sense of providing refuge. And, the episode does an interesting job of examining the different kinds of virtues and how they play out. I am probably influenced here by DMC’s chapter on how the Dutch peacekeepers in Bosnia simply surrendered and let the Serbians commit whatever atrocities they wanted; and related to that and the Rajput story, how any one virtue in excess by itself becomes a vice.

That brings us to the second thing this episode reminds me of – almost all of Series 4 of Doctor Who (and possibly earlier series also, but I didn’t notice until Series 4). Time and again, the plot decides to save the Doctor from having to make choices in a dilemma by having supporting characters nobly commit suicide or sacrifice themselves. And after two series worth of episodes where he managed to trickster his way through to a third outcome; this episode went back to that cop-out.

And it’s an exasperating, man. This is a series that doesn’t hesitate to bring up the consequences of being the guy who saves everybody else time and again from genocidial armies; but having brought them up, it quickly runs away from them by sacrificing supporting characters. Pfft.

That aside, the episode wasn’t even that standout on any other aspect. Plus, Amy and Rory being picked up and then dropped off seems to be really disconnecting them from the narrative.

Which reminds me, this is now three episodes which have gone by without dropping any hints about the Silence. Is that whole major hint dropped in the Series 6 finale just going to be ignored in this series?

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