“Robot of Sherwood” was my favorite episode of this young series of Doctor Who. I enjoyed the lightness of the episode, highlighted by the Doctor’s vocal refusal of everything having to do with Robin Hood. I found myself laughing numerous times, especially when the Doctor and Robin were attempting to one-up each other in the dungeon.
Here are some thoughts I had while watching “Robot of Sherwood.”
While this episode was relatively light, it used a lot of heavy imagery based on the cross. The robots had purple crosses on their foreheads, which they used as weapons to intimidate and kill others. And there was a very bright cross shining into the dungeon in which the Doctor, Clara and Robin were chained. The imagery seemed to suggest that the cross is dangerous and used to hurt and imprison people. The Doctor even used the phrase “opiate for the masses,” Karl Marx’s famous condemnation of religion. The imagery was too intentional to be coincidental, which means Mark Gatiss, the episode’s writer, and Paul Murphy, the episode’s director, wanted to take some subtle shot’s at Christianity’s most enduring symbol.
I loved the character of Robin Hood. I thought he was hilarious and definitely had some of the same happy-go-lucky attitude as Errol Flynn. I appreciated the discussion between the Doctor and Robin at the end of the episode. Robin was happy to be lost to myth as it made him a greater hero than he could ever be in real life. It’s true we elevate and celebrate fictitious heroes like Superman and Spider-Man. So much so that we often miss out on all the small acts of heroism people around us commit each day. Small acts of heroism aren’t as impressive as Superman saving Metropolis or Robin Hood defeating the evil Sherriff of Nottingham. They should, however, still be celebrated and encouraged. Jesus is the ultimate hero who came to rescue the whole of creation. Every time we commit a small act of heroism by placing the needs of others above our own, we are following Jesus’s example.
I love Clara’s insight. She saw the sadness beneath Robin’s laughter. Robin was dealing with the loss of his home, family, identity and true love. Instead of experiencing those emotions and addressing them, he chose to wear a mask of glee and revelry. Robin didn’t have any reason to be a merry man, yet he still played that role. In the moment it’s easier to cover up our pain with a smile, but eventually the mask will wear thin. In the long run, it’s better for us to address our pain and grief, which will keep it from coming back and haunting us.
In spite of some bashing of the cross, I really enjoyed “Robot of Sherwood.” It was a fun episode that showed a different side to the Twelfth Doctor’s personality.
What did you think of “Robot of Sherwood?”