(For the record, I think a lot of people are overreaching for hints as to ~what it's all about~. The arc seems really very obvious - the Ponds gradually moving away from the Doctor now.)
So, onto this weeks episode, in the aptly named town of Mercy.
[Spoilers staying behind the line]Gosh, the writer loves him some Western archetypes, doesn't he?
Even the alien parts of the story pretty much took an old Western sort of plot - man with a dark past, who has become a respected member of society is chased down by someone he once wronged - and added a bit of Doctor Who-ish alienness.
I could have done without the a voice-over bookends, though. Didn't find them necessary.
Now, I know a big chunk of the debate on this episode is about the Doctor's seeming tilt to the dark side - and I think that may have been the point of having the Solomon stuff in the Dinosaur episode, to establish this as a character development, rather than a one-episode OOCness.
Now, putting aside the fact that people seem weirdly obsessive about the "Man Who Never Would" thing while ignoring that using a gun isn't exactly a new thing for the Doctor, or for that matter that you don't need a gun or even to kill people to be dark and brutal (The Family of Blood say hi!) - I do think there is a bit of a trend there, and that Amy was right when she said this was about the Doctor traveling on his own.
I've seen some spec that this might be because a timey-wimey Doctor who has doubled back and is from after the Ponds have left - which is possible but I feel unlikely - but I think it is mostly linear, it's just that the Doctor was basically lying last week when he said he wasn't trying to wean the Ponds off him.
Though to be more precise, I think he's trying to wean himself off the Ponds. He can see that as much as they enjoy the travel they are settling into homelife - next episode seems to be all about this sort of thing - and as such is trying to put a bit more distance there so that the last goodbye doesn't hurt so much (especially since he feels so much guilt over the other new Who companion departures, so the Ponds living happily on their own terms is very important to him).
It's just that, in distancing himself from his human friends, he's also distancing himself from humanity as a whole. And hence, the darkness.
And a slight response to a reaction I found of this episode (not anyone I know, fortunately, just found through trawling tags on Tumblr) talking about how Amy is OMG THE WORST EVER for daring to criticise the Doctor's moral choices when he travels alone and then asking to go back home rather than stay with the Doctor forever: It is not Amy's (or any companions for that matter) duty to be the Doctor's moral babysitter. And if you are giving up things you love or that are important to you in order to prevent a friend from crossing lines it is no longer a healthy relationship.
The fact that someone genuinely thought that it was okay to suggest that... bothers me.
In other news, I need decent Eleven icons. Who can recommend me some good icon makers or sets for him?