Haven’t quite caught up yet? Check out last week’s recap!
In this episode, we’re in the Wild West! Hooray for Stetsons! The Doctor, Rory, and Amy arrive in Mercy, population 81. Everything’s a little fishy. There are Keep Out signs all over the place, and the town has somehow managed to come by electricity a few years early. Naturally, the Doctor is pretty psyched.
Unfortunately, there’s a killer cyborg called Gunslinger roaming around the outskirts, trying to kill “the Alien Doctor” and terrorizing the town in the process. Since the Doctor is, well, a doctor and an alien, things aren’t looking so good for him. But for once, someone is hunting an alien doctor who is not THE Doctor! We meet Gunslinger’s target: Kahler-Jex, an alien who crash-landed near Mercy and has stayed on as a doctor ever since. Jex and the TARDIS crew make a plan to get rid of Gunslinger. The town is saved! End of episode!
Just kidding. As I was glancing at my watch, thinking, “Wait, how are we at the ‘carrying out the plan’ stage already? We’re only, like, ten minutes into the episode,” the Doctor, of course, deviates from said plan. He stumbles on Jex’s ship and breaks into it.
In his investigation of the ship, the Doctor figures out that Jex carried out brutal experiments on his own people, and Gunslinger is one of the results. He built the cyborgs to fight a war, but Gunslinger went rogue and is now hunting down everyone who created him. So the evil cyborg’s the victim, and the kindly doctor is actually the villain. Such an excellent plot twist!
The Doctor’s ready to hand Jex over to Gunslinger, but Amy stops him. She reminds him that running around shooting people isn’t exactly the way they roll. So they come up with another plan: They’re going to distract Gunslinger while Jex escapes.
Everything’s going fine until Jex gets to his ship. Jex has had a lot of moral struggles, and in the end, he self-destructs rather than letting Gunslinger chase him around forever. And for the second week in a row, the villain dies in a fiery explosion.
There were a lot of heavy issues here, especially compared to last week’s episode. The Doctor is struggling with his own morality: As Jex points out, the Doctor doesn’t know what to do with a guy who killed a ton of people but also saved a whole town from cholera. Also, Amy thinks that the Doctor’s willingness to kill comes from traveling alone for so long. Which makes me SO SAD. I know we’re being prepared for Amy and Rory’s departure, but I don’t want to think about that! I’m going to be a MESS when they leave, you guys.
Still, the episode wasn’t all serious and sad. The Doctor has a nice chat with a horse and utters one of my favorite lines from this season: “I speak horse. He’s called Susan, and he wants you to respect his life choices!” So excellent. Just when you think your head will explode from all the moral dilemmas, Matt Smith starts talking to a horse.
Photo credits (from top to bottom): © BBC (Photographer: Todd Antony/Designer: Lee Binding); © BBC; © BBC; Adrian Rogers, © BBCW.