Episode 3: “Robot of Sherwood”
In a sun-dappled Sherwood forest, the Doctor discovers an evil plan from beyond the stars and strikes up an unlikely alliance with Robin Hood. With all of Nottingham at stake, the Doctor must decide who is real and who is fake. Can impossible heroes really exist?
Pair It With: “Battlefield”
The Doctor has been crossing paths with well-known historical figures for five decades now, but it’s a bit more rare for him to encounter figures like Robin Hood — legendary characters who may or may not be based on a real person. Nobody’s sure if Robin Hood actually existed beyond the realm of myth, so you can understand why the Doctor might be irritated to run across a person he was previously convinced wasn’t real. But as the title suggests, “Robot of Sherwood” not only has the Doctor meeting up with a dude claiming to be Robin Hood, it throws robots into the mix of all the usual Sherwood supporting characters such as the Merry Men and the evil Sheriff of Nottingham.
It’s not the first time this sort of thing has happened to the Doctor, however. In the 1989 serial Battlefield, the Seventh Doctor (Sylvester McCoy) and his companion Ace (Sophie Aldred), and the Brigadier (Nicholas Courtney) discover a crashed spaceship on the bottom of a British lake…one containing the slumbering body of none other than King Arthur himself. Soon the Doctor and Ace are teaming up with an extra-dimensional knight named Ancelyn to fight the evil Mordred and his mother, the sorceress Morgaine. Oh, and did I forget to mention that they all think the Doctor is Merlin? (A claim the Doctor doesn’t dispute, speculating that “Merlin” might just be him from further down his own timeline.) There are wizards, there are monsters, and there are nuclear bombs. So, is the Robin Hood the Twelfth Doctor runs into in “Robot of Sherwood” the genuine article? Let’s just hope he doesn’t plan to kill all humans.