I’m not sure what to make of a story that I only really enjoyed after the final twist was revealed.
When the only character you really like is the Doctor, the first 40 minutes feel like a bit of a slog. Now that I know the answer to the question of whether Robin Hood is real, a rewatch made Robin and his merry men more bearable.
But I’m getting ahead of myself in my attempt to decide whether I like this or not. So – plot. The Doctor makes his traditional ‘anywhere in space and time’ offer to Clara, who reveals she’s always wanted to meet Robin Hood (but hasn’t said so, because she knows the Doctor will say he’s not real). The Doctor, of course, says he’s not real, but points the Tardis in the direction of Sherwood Forest (1190AD) anyway.
Capricious creature that she is, the Tardis lands within shooting distance of Robin, no doubt feeling a little smug at her Time Lord’s discomfiture. The trouble is, he’s not the only one rubbed up the wrong way by Robin and his extremely merry men. As we discovered with the whole Impossible Girl arc, when you make someone (almost) purely a plot device, it becomes much harder to care about them.
They do such a good job of selling the idea that Robin can’t really be the prince of thieves, Earl of Locksley etc, that (like the Doctor) I was impatient to have him unmasked. By the end, when he steals the trick the Doctor used to defeat him on the bridge (well, wide beam) at the start of the story, I finally warmed to him.
And don’t get me wrong, I think they made the right choice in going for the Errol Flynn approach to Robin, rather than a grimy, realistic one, but I was totally behind the Doctor’s “And do people ever punch you in the face when you do that?” to Robin’s “Robin Hood laughs in the face of all – ha-ha-ha!”