Yes! At long last my prayers have been answered and from a source so unexpected even consulting detectives are getting whiplash from all the double-takes! A Mark Gatiss story too - the sort of thing that, on a very, very good day, scrapes past the "tolerable" level and has achieved the epic awesome shinanigan quality achieved only by Dinosaurs on a Spaceship in recent memory.
For the first time, Capaldi's actually doing something beyond standing on the sidelines whinging hypocritically at absolutely everyone else as innocent perish needlessly. He's now an active participant in the story, with a personality clearly based on Sterling Archer (the "six months" gag and his absent-minded fourth wall criticism of plot) as well as actually being mistaken about a villain's modus operandi for good reason instead of an abstract discussion and this doesn't actually completely screw himself over with needless stupidity.
The actual plot - the actual Robin Hood - is surprisingly well done, and the wholesale ransacking of Jonas Armstrong's version and even Robin of Sherwood (even down to Clannad's music over TARDIS scenes) works fantastically. Indeed, it feels almost like a sequel to the former, with the implication that the Robin we meet here is just another outlaw assuming the great hero's identity, which is exactly the sort of the PR stunt old Rairf Kcut would have come up with to deal with the new sherrif and the rebuilt Nottingham which happens to look exactly down to the old one. DW now reuses CGI rather than models, it seems.
A great swashbuckling Blackaddery episode and Ben Miller's Ainely-esque Sheriff combined with the fact that alien robots are programmed with images of Patrick Troughton, make this the first episode so far to make me glad the show didn't end last Christmas.
A clue: awesome.
And to pad out the rest of the post, an excerpt from the unprecedented YOA/2BG crossover...
Andrew, Nigel and Dave watched as the blonde waitress, shaking her head and clearly trying not to laugh at whatever the brunette had been saying, approached.
"Is that Paris Hilton or Drew Barrymore?" wondered Nigel idly.
"Not sure, but her friend is definitely Eliza Dushku," Andrew decided.
"Nigel, don't make a scene," Dave blurted out.
Nigel's eyes widened behind his shades. "Me? A scene? Did your last brain cell just implode?" he fumed, but the others shushed him.
The waitress arrived and gave a dazzling smile that seemed genuine. "Good evening," she said in a bright, high-pitched but not unpleasant voice. "I'll be your waitress, my name is Caroline. Sorry about the delay, all sorts of things going wrong I just know you don't care about."
"We might," Dave interjected dazedly.
"Sorry?" Caroline said, taken aback.
Andrew nodded. "Well, it's possible we might care," he agreed. "Depending on what it was. Must have been very serious. Do you need to talk about it?"
Caroline very visibly thought about it for a moment. "Well, it would probably take a lot of contextualizing," she admitted. "It's a long story."
"Probably a tall one too," Nigel said sweetly. "But if you don't want to tell us chapter and verse, I totally respect that decision. Do you, I dunno, maybe want to take our orders instead?"
Caroline's eyes narrowed for the briefest of brief instants. "Yeah, why not?" she said, clearly having detected Nigel's admittedly well-hidden rudeness. "What can I get you guys?"
Nigel grinned as dazzling a grin as Caroline had provided. "Spicy beef burger and chips, please," he said, offering her his menu to collect.
Still smiling, Caroline jotted that down.
"I'd like the waffles and chicken please," asked Andrew. "And, perhaps, for you to overlook the social retardation of the thing in the seat opposite us. Dave?"
"What did I do?" Dave blurted out in panic.
Caroline was surprised at his reaction, and so where Nigel and Andrew.
"Do you want to eat anything?" she asked gently.
"Oh. Yes." Dave nodded confidently. "Uh... what do you recommend, miss?"
Caroline smiled, genuinely this time. "Well, between you and me, I'd probably recommend eating somewhere else, but if you want the best thing available..."
Dave, not trusting himself to speak, nodded furiously.
"Well, we do have a selection of amazing cupcakes."
"Fine!" Dave said, trying to sound normal. "A plate of those, then."
"A plate of cupcakes?" Caroline repeated, delighted.
"Yeah, whichever you think are best," Dave agreed.
"Are these cupcakes homemade?" asked Andrew thoughtfully.
Nigel was shaking his head in disbelief. "Who the hell cares?" he demanded.
Caroline wisely ignored him. "They are indeed, and have had great reviews - Martha Stewart loved them and said so in writing."
"Did she?" asked Dave interestedly.
"Who's Martha Stewart?" Andrew asked him, confused.
"Patrick Stewart after a dodgy sex-change!" Nigel retorted. "Look," he paused to very visibly lower his shades and peer at her name tag "Caroline, I'm sure this is a fascinating conversation, probably the most interesting you've ever had, but I am really hungry right now and just assume that if you go away that food will come back quicker. I apologize for any rudness but for god's sake, move that skinny ass and feed me."
"My pleasure," she said, still smiling.
"I'm so sorry about him," Dave protested as she started to move off.
Andrew sighed. "I'd like to say he isn't always like this..."
"Like what? Stunningly attractive, witty, insightful and with the sexual prowess of a mountain lion on viagra?"
"...but as you can see, he's actually much worse."
Caroline tore off the order slip and put it on the serving window. "Oleg, order for table ten," she called through. "And if you have some unwanted bodily fluids, the spicy beef burger is the place to put them."
The hairy Ukranian cook glanced up. "You know my urethra better than I do," he said. "And this is a compliment rarely given."
Max came over to fiddle with the coffee machine. "Wow, getting some of Oleg's secret herbs and spices," she marvelled. "What did they do? Make fun of you for being the daughter of the most notorious criminal since the guy who invented flash mobs?"
"No," Caroline sighed. "Just one of the guys was a total dick."
"And the other two were balls?"
"No, they seemed OK. Oh, and one of them wants a plate of cupcakes! Our cupcakes!" enthused Caroline, surging with enthusiasm on the turn of a dime. "Imagine it, Max, we could have international branding! People leave America thinking only of your cupcakes!"
"Hope that doesn't include the pilots, or else shares in airplanes will plummet." Max laughed. "See what I did there? Plummet!" She sighed. "So, where are those freaks from? England? Papua New Ginuea? The one in the singlet is clearly from Middle Earth..."
"I'm pretty sure they're Australian."
"Australia! Home of the Wiggles, Dame Edna and crocodile hunters who are fatally vulnerable to non-crocodiles!" Max enthused. "Wow! Hey, you ever been down under?"
Caroline stared at her. "Do you mean Australia or are you asking about my sex life?"
"Hey, you know I mean Australia. Why would ask about something non-existent? What do you think I am - a climate change skeptic?"
Caroline shrugged. "Well, yeah. Daddy took us there for the Olympics back in 2000."
"That was the one with the awesome closing ceremony, right?"
"There was this guy in a broken down motorcart that accidentally smashed all the stages over and ruined everything..."
"I know! It only needed Mel Gibson and Tina Turna."
"Max, trust me, everything was ruined already. That would have been overkill."
"So, which one of those ocker blockers was the trouble maker?"
"Um, the aborigine."
"...you mean the hipster? They have hipsters in Australia? Didn't the redback spiders kill them all?" Max shook her head. "OK, time to improve international relations."
Caroline grabbed her arm. "Max," she warned. "What are going to do?"
"Just verbally destroy him and everything he stands for. Maybe mention my vagina in an aggressive context. You know, the usual."