Netflix’s Bridgerton Might Be a Romance, But It Charmed Me with Its Focus on Family

Bridgerton The Duke and I Discussion Post

Note: I’ve tried to keep this post spoiler-free; however, I do talk about events broadly, so if you prefer no spoilers at all, you probably don’t want to read this.

I’m not a huge romance novel reader. I’ve tried a few romances, and while they were entertaining, I don’t think the genre is really for me. (I’ll spare you a whole description of why; romance fans seem to suffer enough from non-romance readers explaining to them why their preferred genre has no value.) However, I was intrigued by the idea of a romance novel adapted for television, and the previews of Bridgerton‘s lush costuming and dance scenes caught my eye further; I do like a good Regency film. So, as I watched episode after episode, I was delighted to find myself drawn not just into the main story of Daphne’s fake dating turned real dating romance with a handsome duke, but also into the story of the Bridgerton family and all their friends.

To be honest, I think the focal story of Daphne and the duke might be the least interesting part of the series, in spite of the nuance given to the characters: Daphne’s struggle with appearing to be the “perfect” young lady while actually chafing against some of the constraints put on her by society, Simon’s struggle to commit to someone and find love and a family after being rejected by his father for his own imperfections. The actors certainly do well bringing these character traits to the screen, but overall Daphne and Simon still do come across to me a bit too much like the perfect couple (it’s what everyone in society thinks of course, how lovely they are and how enviable their beautiful love story). And while they have their struggles (and a very major fight and breach of trust with each other), it’s still a romance; we all know the happily ever after is coming.

So while the Daphne/Simon romance is fun, I found the show really shone in areas I hadn’t initially expected: in showing the Bridgerton family’s bonds with each other and their friendships with others (especially Eloise Bridgerton and Penelople Featherington). The show opens with chaos, Bridgerton children running about, poking fun at eldest sister Daphne for taking too long to get ready, exasperated that eldest son Anthony is nowhere to be found and is blowing off his responsibilities yet again. But over the course of the show, viewers see how close the Bridgerton children really are, even when they don’t seem to be. Daphne and Anthony fight but also bond over the high expectations placed on them. Benedict and Eloise share secrets. And their mother watches over them all; she has her own flaws, but her love for her family and her fierce protectiveness is charming.

Penelope Featherington is also a delight. While Eloise comes across a bit as the stock “I am opposed to marriage because it will limit me” character, Pen wants to have it all: love and the opportunity to accomplish other things. And she seems to operate on her own moral compass rather than thinking of what society expects of her or even what would benefit the Featherington family as a whole. I think I look forward to seeing in her future seasons most of all.

So, yes, Bridgerton is a romance, and the show sticks in plenty of steamy scenes (which I mostly skipped, so it’s a good thing the Internet informed me of the controversy surrounding one of those scenes with Daphne and Simon because it actually included a major plot point and jumping off place for character development). But the show really develops the characters and puts a larger emphasis on family and friendship than I had initially anticipated, which I really enjoyed.


The Legend of Korra (TV Show Review)

The Legend of Korra Review


The Legend of Korra is set roughly 70 years after the events of Avatar: The Last Airbender.  Avatar Aang has passed, and now Avatar Korra of the Southern Water Tribe is responsible for restoring balance to the world.  Her first challenge will be facing the Equalists, a rebel group based in Republic City who believe that benders are abusing their powers to oppress non-benders and want to level the playing field.

Book 1: Air

Many Avatar fans will start The Legend of Korra on a tentative note. The reality is that the success of The Last Airbender is hard to follow, and the writers know this. They use the classic writing move of creating a main character who is the polar opposite of Aang, so no one will mistake Korra for a cheap Aang knock-off.  Unfortunately, this means Korra is an aggressive, angsty teen, and I am not a fan. She yells at people constantly as though that will solve her problems and screams at villains “You can’t do this!” as if she’s so entitled she actually expects them to listen.  Other characters think she’s strong and “tough as nails.” I personally think she has a lot to learn.

However, there are enough good points to the season to make it worth watching.  There are a number of great new characters, including Tenzen as Korra’s mentor and other new friends.  Naga isn’t as great of a companion as Appa, but I do love the secondary animal, Pabu.  The allusions to The Last Airbender are on point, and I also love the pro-bending element.

Book 2: Spirits

Book 2 is a frustrating let-down, and when I tried to watch the show when it originally aired, I stopped after this season. Why watch more than two seasons of a show you don’t like, right?  Here, Korra continues to act with an aggressive attitude I simply cannot find appealing.  Worse, she’s a fool. While I can’t say much about the plot without spoiling it, I can confidently say that half the problems that occur in this season are of Korra’s own making.  However, the show never acknowledges this and continues to frame the action as if Korra is making wise, necessary decisions, and everything is the villain’s fault.  The combination of Korra’s anger and ignorance is too much for me, and the only real highlight is what viewers learn about the first Avatar. However, the show gets better afterwards.

Book 3: Change

Book 3 is good.  Korra has a theme of introducing a new villain each season, once again differentiating itself from The Last Airbender, which had an overarching plot for all three seasons.  I might argue that the villains here are so powerful they’re almost boring (can anyone defeat these people?), but they definitely have a unique philosophy and method of operating.  It’s refreshing.  This season also has a lot to offer in terms of personal development  for many of the characters that viewers have come to know and love.  Finally, there are air bison, and no one can say no to that.

Book 4: Balance

The opening of Book 4 will have viewers scratching their heads and asking themselves whether angry Korra or emo Korra is a better look. (Seriously, can I just have Aang back?) It also has the problem that the characters, once again, look foolish for overlooking an extremely obvious plot by the new villain. However, this season does manage to continue on some of the high notes from Book 3, and it also continues to introduce old favorite characters from The Last Airbender.

Korra Collage

Supergirl Review, Ep. 2 “Stronger Together”


On Monday, October 26, 2015, CBS released the pilot episode of its new series Supergirl, which follows the adventures of Kara Zor-El, cousin of Superman, as she learns what it means to be a hero.

Having newly embraced her powers as Supergirl, Kara Danvers anticipates serving National City as a hero–but it seems that every time she attempts to help, she only creates a mess.  With popular opinion turning against her, Kara begins to lose faith in herself.  But aliens from a crashed space prison are loose are on Earth and they seek domination.  Can Kara convince herself that she is worthy of her cape before it’s too late?


Supergirl continues to impress with its fast-paced plot, its focus on characterization, and its commitment to exploring the gender issues that arise when a woman dons a costume typically associated with a man. The show expertly balances the serious issues with lighter moments to keep viewers thinking and engaged. Not for a long time have I enjoyed a show this much (and dare I suggest that this is, in part, due to its treatment of its women?).

It might have been easy for Supergirl to rely on the fame of Superman to sell itself, but though the show throws out constant references to Kara’s cousin, this episode dedicates itself to differentiating Kara definitively from Clark Kent.  From the beginning (indeed, from the title), the episode announces Kara’s commitment to teamwork–and it is that network that will ultimately define her.  Superman works alone, Kara notes, but she finds power in the people around her.  The ability to accept help, she says, is not a sign of weakness but one of strength.

Kara’s network and her gradual acceptance of her need to rely on them warmed my heart, particularly in light of her relationship with her sister Alex.  Understandably, the two have found their bond tested by recent events, and I feared constantly that the show would ultimately pit the two women against each other.  But, in a surprising move, the show recognizes the strength of sisterly love, allowing time for the plot to focus on matters more important than a forced cat fight between females.  This moment may be one of the more subtle feminist moves made by the show, but it is by no means the most insignificant.  Supergirl demonstrates that action and drama can still unfold in a show when women work together.

Notably, even the testy Cat Grant proves inspirational to the show’s hero in a moment that suggests the root of her bitterness.  Women, she announces while discussing Supergirl, have to work twice as hard as men to receive the same recognition–one understands she is also referring to the trajectory of her own career.  But she continues on from her bitter statement, offering pertinent advice to other women who want to follow her and chart their way through the world.  Start small.  Work hard.  One might have expected the show to depict the formidable Cat Grant as utterly heartless at this stage of her career, but instead it shows her as standing in solidarity with other women.  I wanted to stand up and cheer.

So far Supergirl has done right by its female superhero and by the rest of its cast.  My one complaint is that the show still relies too heavily on allusions to Superman, but I have hope that as the season progresses, Supergirl truly will be allowed to stand on her own.

Krysta 64

Supergirl Review, Ep. 1 “Pilot”


On Monday, October 26, CBS released the pilot episode of its new superhero series Supergirl, which follows the adventures of Kara Zor-El, cousin of Kal-El (that is, Superman), as she struggles to embrace her powers.

Kara Zor-El’s  original mission called for her to follow her baby cousin to Earth and protect him, but her space pod went off course, leading her to arrive on Earth twenty-four years late and still only thirteen years of age.  With no need to protect a now-grown Superman, Kara, adopted by the Danvers family, has attempted to embrace a normal life.  At the age of twenty-four she  now works for media company CatCo, but feels disappointed that she only fetches lattes.  When her adopted sister’s plane runs into trouble, however, it’s up to Kara to save the day.  But is she ready for the world to know who she is?


I’ve been waiting with great excitement for this new series, both because it features a female superhero and because the show seems keenly aware of its need to address feminist issues, such as the consequences of naming a woman Supergirl.  It could have been easy to hand viewers a female superhero and act as if that were enough to appease the fans still clamoring for a Black Widow or a Captain Marvel film, but, of course, the problems with the representation of women in media today goes far beyond the small percentage of female-led films and television shows.  That Supergirl is choosing to face these problems head-on gives me a lot of hope for the future of the show.

The first episode balances these serious feminist issues expertly with its lighter tone, giving a tongue-in-cheek nod to the objectifying outfits given to many female superheroes before clothing Kara in the outfit she–and not her male coworker–prefers to wear, and allowing media conglomerate founder Cat Grant to give a defense for the title of Supergirl in a tense scene that is immediately followed with an amusing interruption.  The character of Kara herself helps to maintain this lighter tone, not only because she possesses an awkward charm in her daily life, but also because she possesses such a sunny and upbeat personality.  Her love of life and her desire to live it to the fullest is inspiring.

I have seen criticisms both of Cat Grant’s defense of “Supergirl” and of Kara’s character, but I don’t think anyone needs to agree with  Cat’s attempt to reclaim the word “girl” in order to acknowledge the effort made by the makers of the show, and I don’t think it’s valid to claim that a girl who is bubbly and likes fashion somehow isn’t a serious superhero or a strong woman or a good representation of women.  Women, surprisingly enough are people–and that means they come with all kinds of interests and personalities and definitions of what being a girl means to them.  That viewers think Kara needs to represent her entire gender is exactly why we need more women onscreen.

The episode succeeds as entertainment as well as feminist commentary, expertly introducing Kara and her world, setting up the plot for the series, and providing a mini arc that showcases Kara’s desire to help others and to accept her powers.  Kara’s willingness to embrace her abilities so quickly is refreshing and one of the reasons I found myself drawn to her–the idea of a character knowing what is right and choosing to do it despite difficulties seems so unusual in a media landscape attracted to moral grey areas.  This willingness also allows the show to move forward with the action, rather than get bogged down in a somewhat ridiculous “dilemma” (There’s not really a choice here, right?  Kara has superpowers and can save lives.  Why would she think it was better to let innocent people die?).

With its fast-paced action, its nods to feminism, its bright lead superhero, and its amazing supporting cast full of women, Supergirl seems poised to become one of my new favorite shows, right up there with Agent Carter (though I’ll admit Agent Carter gets bonus points for big band music and fashion).  I’m excited to see where this show goes.

Krysta 64

Call the Midwife: Season 4, Episode 2 (Mini Review)

Call the Midwife Season 4
Spoiler Warning

Episode 2 of this season of Call the Midwife moves quickly: several characters experience a character arc that one might normally expect to play out over the course of an entire season, or at least two episodes.  Trixie begins to morph into a bridezilla, wanting her and Tom to have the perfect engagement and wedding, and one begins to wonder whether she has completely forgotten Tom is a vicar on a budget.  No worries, though; she has her priorities straight by the end of the hour.  Similarly, new midwife Phyllis Crane opens the episode as superior and unlikable, but ends by symbolically donning the Nonnatus House uniform she had previously refused and professing her intention to belong.  While it may be relieving for the audience to know they will have to deal with less of Phyllis’s attitude during the remainder of the season, her transformation does raise the question of why she gets tons of character development in one episode while Barbara gets close to none in two full episodes.  Hopefully Barbara’s time to shine is yet to come.

The birth story of this episode is a mix of triumph and tragedy, a usual for the show.  It is truly impressive how the show manages to cover and present thoughtfully the stories of so many different types of parents and so many types of births.  Here, the Bisettes must learn how to be joyful about the birth of their son, when his twin sister has died.  Their situation raises profound and moving questions, but Tom is ready to help answer them.  The final scenes of the episode are not easy, but they say a lot about life, death, and dealing with grief.  Once again, Call the Midwife incites tears.

What did you think of this episode?  Did it move too fast?  Did Phyllis grow on you, or do you need to see more of her?  Which character stole the show?

Doctor Who Review: “The Caretaker”

The Caretaker

Spoilers, sweetie.

“The Caretaker” places the Doctor in the midst of Clara’s school, interacting with contemporary humans, and it sets the Doctor up for some truly brilliant moments.  Of course, it’s always fun to watch the Doctor attempt to blend it.  For some reason, he seems to botch pretending to be an ordinary person worse than anything else, and Twelve seems to be worse at it than any Doctor has before him (though I secretly hope he does it so badly partially to drive Clara insane).  The episode also has some funny moments as the Doctor interacts with one persistently nosy student; one can see that this Doctor has no patience for children but is just a little intrigued by her attitude.  Finally, the enemy for this episode is fantastic, stunning in appearance and definitely frightening.  It quickly becomes evident however, that the “The Caretaker” is primarily about character development, not the fight—and as with much of Doctor Who since Moffat took over, character development just isn’t its strong point.

Personally, I have the most issues with the Doctor’s character.  I just can’t reconcile the fact that a man who essentially had dedicated his life to helping protect the human race because he believed they were amazing, and worth protecting, suddenly has such an apparent disregard for their individual lives and continuously makes disparaging remarks about them, their intelligence, etc.  In “The Caretaker” he compares them to otters—explaining they’re even less complex and easier to mimic.

This Doctor also has an extreme dislike of soldiers, and I do not quite understand what the origination of this abhorrence is.  The Doctor, of course, has definitely exhibited distrust for the military in the past, and he is not necessarily wrong to do so.  It seems right for him to worry in “The Caretaker,” for instance, that the military’s first reaction to the threat would be to attack it—which would be the worst possible action.  However, the Doctor’s hatred of Danny, who is not but simply was a solider, and who at no point does anything in the Doctor’s presence that looks remotely martial (early on), morphs into an unreasonable prejudice/obsession.

“The Caretaker,” in terms of characterization, is very much a rehash of “Robot of Sherwood.”  The Doctor doesn’t like another man, so he throws some temper tantrums, and the other man gets ticked off and throws temper tantrums right back.  Charming.  So, yes, I found Danny in this episode to be just about as childish and petulant as the Doctor.  The Doctor certainly fights first, but I didn’t find Danny’s pretending to be a perfectly behaved solider speaking to his commander to be funny or clever or anything admirable.  Danny comes across as a jerk just as much as the Doctor does.  And I lost a bit of respect for him.

Danny also makes a lot of “insightful” comments about the Doctor really being a solider himself—and someone Clara should watch out for—that just didn’t ring true to me.  This is not a moving scene, such as when Adelaide Brooke (“The Waters of Mars”) tells Ten that he doesn’t get to play God—and we know that she’s right.  This is a man trying to make the Doctor look bad because he’s angry the Doctor doesn’t like him.  He has a right to be angry, but I sincerely hope the writers didn’t expect viewers to take Danny’s words seriously, to wonder if there’s a grain of truth in them, because if there’s one thing we do know about the Doctor, which never changes, it’s that his companions can trust him.  Having Danny suggest otherwise is so ludicrous it fails to be in any way thought-provoking.  This season needs to move on from clashing male egos to real character growth and exploration.

“The Caretaker” does have one shining moment of characterization, however: when the Doctor believes that Clara has chosen her bow-tied fellow English teacher for her beau.  For once, Twelve isn’t crotchety or insulting someone or proclaiming his own importance; he’s soft.  For a moment, I could believe this Doctor was once the Eleventh Doctor, and the Tenth.  He seems to truly like Clara here, and shows it, instead of saucily bantering with her, and he seems to recognize the friendship that she and Eleven had was special, to both of them.  I hope there are more moments like this written for Capaldi because it is a lot more real than most of the grumpy old man dialogue he has been given thus far.

“The Caretaker” is not the worst of season 8’s episodes by far (I’m still reserving that title for “Deep Breath”).  As I mentioned in the first paragraph, it has some very good discrete moments.  However, it loses a lot of points because it really fails at its primary goal: introducing the Doctor and Danny and showing viewers more of their personalities.  If I learned anything from “The Caretaker,” it’s basically that I wouldn’t want to be friends with either of them if they keep up this behavior, and I’m feeling very bad for Clara for having to put up with two childish men who each think they need to protect her from the other one.  I hope their reconciliation at the end of the episode is completely sincere, because if their fighting with each other and over Clara becomes a pattern for their behavior in the series, I don’t think I’ll be interested in watching.

Doctor Who Review: “Time Heist”

time heist 2

Spoilers, sweetie.

I normally like to post my Doctor Who reviews earlier in the week, closer to the episode’s initial air date, but this past week I have been feeling somewhat uninspired.  Not because I didn’t enjoy “Time Heist,” but because I did.  I didn’t want to just rehash how Clara actually has an interesting personality this season, how the Doctor has found a footing for his new personality, how this episode’s structure incorporates all this great about Doctor, etc.  I basically said all of that last week.  On the bright side, however, I am glad that I can still say it, that it looks as if Series 8 is going to do great things, and that “Listen” was not a fluke in the series.

Nonetheless, I will try to touch on a few things that are “Time Heist” specific. To start, this episode is very Doctor Who-cool.  I love watching the Doctor achieve the impossible, and robbing an unbreakable bank is very high on the list of awesome impossible things.  However, one does wonder why the bank with the best security in the galaxy never invested in a few simple video cameras; they could have located the Doctor and his team immediately.  (Amateurs.)  And although the Teller is creative and deliciously creepy, I think the security system in general should have been played up a bit more.  The episode was certainly tense, but it really could have been played up more.

Beyond that, the episode also touches on pieces of what it means to be human.  Psi and Saibra, the two short-term companions, manage to win their way into viewer’s hearts in the space of a single episode.  The first impression they give is very much along the lines of “kickass humans with crazy superpowers,” but they quickly become more complex.  Both have backstories, both have something they want more than anything else in the universe, and both reveal something about what makes humans tick: the need to love, and the desire to fit in.

I also love the twist this episode gave to the classic “character giving his life for others and for the good of the mission.”  The fact that Psi and Saibra don’t actually die is very fitting, since the Doctor is the one who organized the mission (I’m surprised it took him that long to figure that out, though) and is a nice offset to the fact that this Doctor is seemingly so unaffected by human deaths.  “Professional detachment” as Psi says.  Psi and Saibra’s surprise return also just wanted to make me shout, “Everybody lives!” because the viewers know how rare that is for the Doctor.

Of course, everyone doesn’t live, which may be the one odd point of “Time Heist.”  At the end of the episode, the bank is clearly destroyed by the solar storm and everyone inside clearly roasted.  Obviously, that was not at all the doing of Madame Karabraxos, so I understand how she probably felt more personal guilt for the imprisonment and extinction of the Teller’s species.  However…it is really strange that no one mentions the fact that everyone else in the bank dies, and no one seems even passingly sad or regretful.  If the Doctor had said something about the bank’s destruction being a fixed point in time or explained he just can’t save that many people, I would have been satisfied.  As it stands, the Doctor and his team seem to be present at one of the universe’s major tragedies, and they just overlook it.  That’s pretty harsh.

So, “Time Heist” is lacking some contemplation of one of the major moral question of the plot line (the other, as others pointed out, being whether one should rob a bank—the Doctor just assumes they all had a good reason to agree to it).  Beyond that, however, the episode is exciting and highly satisfying, featuring a great story and great acting.  Very enjoyable.

Doctor Who Review: “Listen”


Spoilers, sweetie.

“Listen” is one of the best episodes Doctor Who has given viewers in a while.  Deliciously creepy, it manages to once again introduce us to a lurking type of monster we cannot quite identify but somehow feel is there.  Anyone who thinks the Silence are scary will be equally as chilled by “Listen;” this is definitely not an episode to watch with the lights off.

I was not entirely convinced of this merit at the start of the episode, however.  Having the Doctor sit on top of the TARDIS and suddenly whisper, “LISTEN!” is certainly dramatic, but the moment has literally no context.  The following scenes fare only slightly better.  It is unquestionably delightful to see the Doctor walking about, muttering to himself, and positing wild theories.  However, his theory about creatures who live only to hide also has no context, no catalyst that the viewers see.  Later in the episode he mentions having noticed in a number of historical sources that a lot of people seem to have the same dream: one where they wake up, get out of bed, and have a hand grab their foot from beneath the bed.  It would have been nice to hear about this research much earlier, or to have the episode open with the Doctor having that dream himself, then doing the research—then coming up with his theory.

After this exposition, however, “Listen” progresses beautifully.  The Doctor’s hunt for the elusive beings he thinks are always with us, unseen, is wild and frightening—not least because the Doctor is right in that many of us do have that dream, or that sense of being watched, or that feeling of hair standing on the back of our necks when no one is there.  Even more terrifying: the viewers get no closure: no sense of, “Oh, now we know what those creatures are, so now we can deal with them.”  The thing on Rupert’s bed may have been a friend playing a trick, but we can never tell ourselves that for sure.

Yet “Listen” is not all chills.  There is also some fantastic time jumping, which always helps to bring some fun and whimsy to the series.  I love it when characters get to go back in their own timelines to fix a few small mistakes.  I also love when the Doctor inadvertently looks about in their future.  “Listen” gives some delicious hints about where Clara’s life may lead her, although, again, viewers cannot be entirely certain.  Does Orson Pink have that toy soldier because Clara gave it to the young Rupert Pink…or because Clara will marry Danny Pink? [Although the fact that Clara goes back and gives the young Doctor the toy, before Rupert can own it, may complicate things.  Or we may be meant to ignore such timeline inconsistencies.] Further episodes may be more revealing, especially as Danny’s been given enough airtime it seems reasonable to assume he will end up in the TARDIS himself.

Finally, Peter Capaldi has really found his stride as the Doctor now.  It is possible I am more sympathetic because the Doctor is never outright mean in “Listen,” unlike the previous episodes where he seemed uncharacteristically callous and unconcerned whether humans lived or died.  The Doctor certainly has some insults left to throw here, but that all comes back to a bit of obliviousness and lack of tact that is entirely in keeping with the Doctor’s persona (insulting Clara’s makeup, for instance).

“Listen,” in my opinion, is the best episode so far this series.  It brings back just about everything Doctor Who does best—monsters, time travel, questions about what it means to be human—and does not muck them up by relying too heavily on referencing past episodes or by trying too hard to be philosophical.  “Listen” is a truly forward-moving episode for series 8, and I am optimistic about where the rest will bring us.

Doctor Who Review: “Robot of Sherwood”

robot of sherwood

Spoilers, sweetie.

I always love when Doctor Who goes literary or historical.  It breaks up the alien trend of the show (even though aliens are still involved, the focus is not necessarily on them), and it takes advantage of the fact that the TARDIS can travel through both time and space.  Plus, seeing the Doctor interact with famous historical figures is just fun, as it tends to be two geniuses at play.

“Robot of Sherwood,” does not deliver the same quality I have come to expect from historical episodes.  Viewers are given a quick intro to Robin Hood’s band and do get to watch the famous archery competition.  The show also amusingly recreates Robin’s fight with Little John on a bridge as a fight between Robin and the Doctor.  However, the show lacked some of Robin’s spirit.  Basically, Robin spends much of the episode laughing maniacally just to tick the Doctor off, and squabbling with him as though both of them are six.  I could have believed (and enjoyed) some animosity between the two characters since they both possess some level of arrogance, but the immature fighting seems out of character and out of place.

This episode does further damage to the Doctor’s character by premising everything on the fact that the Doctor does not believe in heroes, and since heroes do not exist, Robin cannot be real.  This leads to some truly interesting discussions about the nature of heroism and some very touching moments when Clara attempts to explain the reason she believes in heroes: because she met the Doctor.  However, the Doctor’s skepticism does not make sense.  He has met heroes, too. (Adelaide Brooke from “The Waters of Mars” perhaps?)  Also, if anyone is going to believe in heroes and “impossible things” it has to be the Doctor.  He has seen too much of the universe to rule anything out.

And, cute as it is, it also makes no sense that now Clara is blithely proclaiming the Doctor her hero.  Two episodes ago, she had no idea who the Doctor was.  One episode ago, she could not say whether he was a good man.  Now, suddenly, he is her unequivocal hero.   It seems clear that the writers have gone back to eschewing any type of logical character development in order to get good sound bites.  Whatever the plot, and the theme, of the episode calls for is how the characters will behave.

“Robot of Sherwood” is enjoyable as a standalone episode.  It has a few great Robin Hood allusions, some pretty scary aliens, and a whole scene where Clara gets to be clever and badass.  As part of the series arc, however, the episode fails heavily on character development.