Perhaps I'm a little late to the party, but I only realized while watching the opening of Doctor Who Season 8 Episode 3 how brilliant the timing was of the opening sequence.
The way it simulates numbers on a clock; that can only really serve a purpose for this Doctor -- number twelve. How clever! And how silly of me not to notice sooner.
As to the rest of the installment, it was good old fashioned Doctor Who fun at the request of Clara, who had always wanted to meet Robin Hood. The Doctor (who is impossible to imagine himself) thought for certain there would be nothing in Sherwood Forest. Wrong!
Has The Doctor ever flipped the bird before? He flipped it to Robin Hood just before he started jousting with a spoon, a battle he won, believe it or not.
Robin Hood: Whatever it is, you bony rascal, I'm afraid I'm must relieve you of it.
The Doctor: It's my property. That's what it is.
Robin Hood: Don't you know all property is theft to Robin Hood?
The Doctor: You can't be serious.
Robin Hood: I am many things, sir, but I am never that. Robin Hood laughs in the face of all! Ah ha ha ha haaaa!
The Doctor: Do people ever punch you in the face when you do that?
Robin Hood: Not as yet!
The Doctor: Lucky I'm here then, isn't it?
The Doctor tried his best to prove Robin Hood to be other than the legendary hero to the masses that he was, but in the end it couldn't be disproven. Ironically, Robin Hood was even concerned just a bit, but not for long, that he was forgotten in the future as a real man, something we learned as the two discussed their legendary status.
The connection between The Doctor and Robin Hood came thanks to Clara, who continues to impress as a fully fleshed out character and -- if not an equal by what she can do -- an equal by what she provides to the stories. It wasn't easy to see just how marred Clara was by the implication she may have been romantically linked to The Doctor until she wasn't any longer.
As are all of the Doctor Who episodes, this was another chock full of wonderful Doctor Who quotes. It's sometimes difficult not to transcribe the hour in its entirety. Not that it would make a difference if he knew the Merry Men (a term Clara coined thanks to the meta trip) were real, but The Doctor was exceptionally rude and lacking in compassion as he tested them to see if they were human.
The Doctor: Ahh. All these diseases. If you were real, you'd be dead in six months.
Allen of Dale: I am real.
The Doctor: Bye.
Am I the only one who wished The Doctor had waved the sonic screwdriver at Allen of Dale before flying off again in the TARDIS to give him more than the six months prognosis diagnosed by The Doctor? C'mon man! You have it, use it for kindness now and again. Some doctor he is!
The dastardly Sheriff of Nottingham was unreal. The Doctor knew something was amiss as it was nearing autumn (this is England we're speaking of -- no fall there!) and Sherwood Forest as lush and green. Although, honestly, I've been to Nottingham in autumn and the forest was green and full; The Doctor may have asked that question of me and received a different answer!
Robot aliens in Sherwood Forest. Can you imagine? Maybe that is how heroes are born and forgotten! The dust they ruffle before they're swept away by The Doctor is the highlight, somehow negating everything else in the heroes life after that time. (Yes, I'm inserting The Doctor into our lives, kind of like Santa Claus.)
It was an extremely entertaining hour, not dark and yet still delivering some insight into the Doctor as he matched wits (and was even jealous of) Robin Hood. Peter Capaldi is delivering a wonderful performance in his capacity as a Doctor and will definitely leave big shoes for the next incarnation (bite my tongue!) to fill.
Did anything tickle your funny bone or push your buttons? Hit the comments to talk about it. You can also watch Doctor Who online if you missed the excitement.
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.