War vs. Peacetime

Published November 11, 2013 by joscasta

Days left till the 50th: 12

Episodes watched:  91

Today’s Episode: A Town Called Mercy

Writer: Toby Whithouse

Town called mercy Poster

Another Prequel.. sorry gang.. Moffat’s loving these this season!

We are treated to a beautiful monologue given by this girl, with a western accent:

WOMAN: When I was a child, my favourite story was about a man who lived forever, but whose eyes were heavy with the weight of all he’d seen, a man who fell from the stars.

Then we see a poor man getting gunned down by this guy with a gun for an arm… and CREDITS!


Ohhhhh a western landscape!

So the Doctor, Amy and Rory end up way far from their destination, as the Doctor was taking them to Mexico for the Day of the Dead festival. Instead, we are about 200 miles off in a town called Mercy. That town has a border made of sticks and stones, and electricity, before its time.

Now this episode was supposed to be after Power of Three, which is why the Doctor mentions that Rory left his cell phone charger in Henry the VIII’s suite, and that doesn’t happen until the next episode. Hmm…

The Gang enters the bar and the Doctor orders tea with the bag in, after having problems with his toothpick, that Moffat agreed he could have, making the scene a wee more funny. Then its discovered that he’s a doctor, and more importantly an ALIEN DOCTOR, so he’s promptly kicked out of town past the border. Luckily the Marshal named Issac steps in, (played by the awesome Ben Browder, you might know him from Stargate and Farscape!) and tells everyone to back off and to let the Doctor back in, as the guy with the gun arm is slowly flashing closer to town.

Back in the Marshal’s office we learn that the guy wants the “alien doctor”, and the Doctor realizes that the real doctor that everyone wants to kick out of town is in jail there. Thus we meet Kahler-Jex or Jex for short, another alien doctor. Everyone loves him in town as he set up the electricity, running water and heat, as well as cured the town of cholera. No one can leave town though..


Without the Gunslinger shooting at them, thus leaving the town starving. So the Doctor decides to go grab the Tardis, load up everyone and then they can re-locate the town somewhere else. Sounds like a good plan. So he gets a horse..

Town Called Mercy

And then heads off to get the Tardis, while the Marshal and Rory distract the gunslinger by wearing Jex’s clothes, and the gunslinger takes the bait. However we learn from seeing everything from the gunslinger’s view, that he will not shoot if there is a high chance of killing someone who is an innocent.

The Doctor veres from his plans once he sees a long cord, that leads from town to Jex’s ship, that is the generator to the town for the electricity. The ship is in good condition, even though Jex said it was badly damaged. Using the sonic, the Doctor gets inside and turns off the self destruct, and learns exactly who Jex is and what he did, as well as whom exactly the gunslinger is and why he is after Jex. The Doctor heads back into town very pissed off….

No mercy


doctor kicking out the doctor

And we have a standoff at the edge of town, between Jex, the gunslinger Amy and the Doctor. Amy is pissed that the Doctor is just willy nilly killing people suddenly, and shoots a gun a few times to make her point. This pisses of the Marshal, whom then yells at everyone that ISN’T AMERICAN to put down their guns. The Doctor is still angry since he has used up all of his mercy apparently, and Amy isn’t having it, by saying he’s been traveling alone again for too long.  He is 1200 at this point, if you recall back in Impossible Astronaut, he was at 1103. Thus he realizes he has no choice but to follow what Amy said, and realizes there has to be another way.

Sadly, the Gunslinger decides to try to shoot Jex, and the Marshal jumps and takes the hit, thus killing him. Before he dies, he does give the Doctor the Marshal badge, thus leaving him in charge of the town and Jex.

The gunslinger and the Doctor agree on a truce, and to meet up at HIGH NOON the next day, where the gunslinger wants Jex or he will start shooting others.

Thus, everyone heads back to town, and we see the gang hanging out in the Marshal’s office, where the preacher comes in and demands for the Doctor to head outside. Lots of people, and one young man steps up and says that he just needs to leave the office, and that the people will just kick Jex out of town. Luckily the Doctor manages to calm the crowd..


After the crowd disperses, the Doctor remarks how hard that was, and that he would prefer to deal with Daleks. The Doctor then heads back inside and has a very touching moment with Jex,

JEX: Let me guess. The good folk of Mercy wanted me to take a little stroll into the desert. You could turn a blind eye. No-one would blame you. You’d be a hero.

DOCTOR: But I can’t, can I?! (walks towards cell) Because then Isaac’s death would mean nothing! Just another casualty in your endless, bloody war! (JEX lies down on the bunk) Do you want me to hand you over?! Is that what you want?! Do you even know?!(turns away in frustration)

JEX: You think I’m unaffected by what I did? That I don’t hear them screaming every time I close my eyes? (props himself up on one arm) It would be so much simpler if I was just one thing, wouldn’t it? The mad scientist who made that killing machine, or the physician who has dedicated his life to serving this town. The fact that I’m both bewilders you.

DOCTOR: (walks back) Oh, I know exactly what you are. And I see this reformation for what it really is. You committed an atrocity and chose this as your punishment. (paces)Don’t get me wrong, good choice. Civilised hours, lots of adulation, nice weather. But, BUT, justice doesn’t work like that. You don’t get to decide when and how your debt is paid! (sighs and leans against the wall, back to the cell)

JEX: (sits up) In my culture, we believe that when you die your spirit has to climb a mountain, carrying the souls of everyone you wronged in your lifetime. Imagine the weight I will have to lift. (the DOCTOR turns around) The monsters I created, the people they killed. (the DOCTOR walks towards the cell) Isaac. He was my friend.(walks to the bars) Now his soul will be in my arms, too. Can you see now why I fear death? You want to hand me over. There’s no shame in that. But you won’t. We all carry our prisons with us. Mine is my past, yours is your morality. (lies down on the bunk)

DOCTOR: “We all carry our prisons with us.” Ha…

This is a great moment, as the Doctor himself has seen war, as he is the survivor of the time war. How does he deal with that? He obiously can relate to Jex, as you cannot judge the actions that one takes to survive at war time, and compare them to the actions of someone when the war is over and there is peace. It’s like saying, killing someone when you need to kill someone to survive is totally different than just killing someone just for fun. You can’t judge that person for their actions when their survival is at stake.

The Doctor knows this, and sometimes his inner Nine comes out, when he feels threatened it seems, however he feels stuck here, trying to figure out what to do.

Luckily though he and everyone come up with a plan, they basically decide to fool the gunslinger, thus giving Jex enough time for him to head out of town back to his spaceship and fly away.

Jex has other ideas, and decides to face his inner demons and uses the self destruct mode of the ship and dies.

The Gunslinger is sad then, but he is happy that Jex went out on his own, and viewed that as an honorable death, as he explains that to the Doctor. He plans to go out into the desert to die, as he has no role to play when its peacetime. The Doctor, has other plans for him, and makes him the Marshal, telling him to protect the town and to keep the peace within the town.

Thus the Gang leaves to head back home, as Amy mentions that their friends are starting to notice that they are getting older than them. So, off they go.. and we are treated to another lovely monologue..

WOMAN: (v.o.) ‘By the time the Gunslinger arrived, the people of Mercy were used to the strange and the impossible. Where he came from didn’t matter. As a man once said, “America is a land of second chances”. (the LITTLE GIRL crosses the boundary) Do I believe the story? I don’t know. My great-grandmother must have been a little girl when he arrived. (the GUNSLINGER stands watch on the ridge) But next time you’re in Mercy, ask someone why they don’t have a Marshall or a
Sheriff or policeman there. “We got our own arrangement”, they’ll say. Then they’ll smile, like they got a secret. Like they got their own special angel watchin’ out for them. Their very own angel who fell from the stars.’

God what a beautiful closing ending, thus filling out the framework of the story..

Till tomorrow… CUBES!!!


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