(We have two more to go, so I'm unsure if it's "the best").
Not coincidentally, I had a Who-related conversation with someone at Third Coast last night. We were discussing Dinosaurs on a Spaceship, and this person's belief that that the Doctor "would not do" what he ended up doing in that episode. (Trying hard not to spoil). Of course, this person kept arguing that somehow Sarah Jane Adventures was more "Who" than new Doctor Who. (And in all fairness, I am making some huge leaps and assumptions). My belief is that new Who is attempting to reach a different demographic at a different time....and that it is building on several past creative choices of classic Who, whether we like or approve of those past choices or not.
But enough of a digression - I actually have to admit that A Town Called Mercy takes quite a few creative chances, mixing storytelling elements from Westerns (especially spaghetti Westerns), a little bit of Firefly's humor, and elements of a good, old-fashioned morality play. It's not quite perfect (some of the accents are a bit dodgy), but it does have a pretty good flow, and really takes advantage of the Spanish landscape. This is one of the few "mini-movies" this season that lives up to its name.
|"Hey, Fillion - just became slightly|
cooler than you."
Granted, this episode sees Amy and Rory take a back seat to Ben Browder....but in a way (without spoiling), the episode reinforces the Doctor's need for human companions. It's a point that is brought up within the episode, and the counterpoint between the Doctor's typical morality and the idea of "frontier justice"....well, for those who would argue that the Doctor "wouldn't do that", maybe that's part of the theme for this season.
With two episodes to go, I'm a little less than enthusiastic about this season - it's not the quality of the episodes as much as I hate split seasons, and love the flow of a full 13 episode run. But even outside of the possible arc, A Town Called Mercy is easily one of my favorite episodes.
Perhaps it's one of my favorites of the entire new Who run.