Before we get into this week’s Doctor Who review, a gripe.
When I watch Doctor Who, I sometimes monitor Twitter to gauge the reaction of fans. I also read blog and newspaper reviews later on to see what other people are saying. And I’m almost universally appalled at people’s inability to acknowledge the flaws the series has developed. The responses range from the orgasmic “wow! best thing on TV EVAR!” on Twitter to the fawning reviews that ignore paradoxes and inconsistencies simply because Doctor Who is a national/geel institution and we must never ever criticise it OR THE BBC WILL TAKE IT AWAY FROM US AGAIN!
Not so tonight. Even SFX and Den Of Geek are dinstinctly turned off by [[The Curse of the Black Spot (Doctor Who episode)|The Curse of the Black Spot]]. And rightly so. The seafaring storyline was a bit of a snoozer before the episode even started. Personally I’m not into pirate tales, not even Pirates Of The Carribean. However, I was kinda hoping that the episode would focus on some of the quirkiness between the main characters.
Sadly not. Lots of tired pirate jokes, unfortunately, and a tepid storyline by any standards. You know most of it from the trailers: a pirate ship is beseiged by an apparition who appears every time a crew member is injured. She lures them in with a song, and when they touch her, they disintegrate in a cloud of dust.
The Doctor’s deductive skills are at a low ebb this week as he repeatedly tells everyone to disregard all his previous theories every five minutes. Not a fan of this less assured Doctor. On the plus side, it makes the danger seem real, but I preferred the Doctor who’d stride into danger with a bit of swagger. Even when Amy was giving Rory the kiss of life, The Doctor gave up shockingly soon. Honestly. Is this the kind of guy you want backing you up in a fight with some aliens? The Tenth Doctor would have fought tooth and nail to save your life. Not so much Eleven.
Anyhoo, the pirate storyline. What can I say? It borrows heavily from other Doctor Who episodes in recent memory:
- Bad Wolf: Rose Tyler takes part in a version of The Wekaest Link where losers are disintegrated. It later turns out they’ve actually been teleported elsewhere. Similar to what happens with the ‘siren’ in this episode.
- The Girl In The Fireplace: A Moffat classic, this has a bunch of repair droids gone rogue and a spaceship that has access to historical locations. Bit like the pirate ship and spaceship occupying the same space in this episode.
- Robot Doctors: Really. They’re everywhere in Doctor Who. You think they’re malicious monsters and then they turn out to be robots following a flawed programme. Look at Doctor Moon in Silence In The Library or the aforementioned clockwork robots in Fireplace.
I don’t know if that list means that I watch too much Doctor Who or the show is leaning too heavily on the same themes…
Though even in its execution, the revival of the pirate crew and The Doctor allowing them to continue being pirates could have been done with more style. I mean, they were becoming Space Pirates, for crying out loud! Those scenes could have been a tad more ‘knowing’ with a few puns thrown in for good measure. I’m thinking Joss Whedon could’ve spun that ending better.
Later on, after Amy’s saved Rory’s life and The Doctor’s proven to be thoroughly useless, they head to bed. But The Doctor is still scanning Amy’s womb for signs of pregnancy, and the TARDIS still can’t work it out. Which leads me to another list:
Things that are wrong with The Doctor scanning Amy Pond
- It’s just a tiny bit creepy. Especially because she has no idea what’s going on. Now, I know he’s not the kind of Doctor that has to abide by NHS rules, but there’s probably all sorts of invasion of privacy stuff at play here.
- You can buy a pregnancy testing kit in a chemists for a couple of quid, but a machine as mysterious and clever as the TARDIS can’t work it out? What’s that all about? I posit that Amy’s womb is a perception filter.
We’d be remiss if we didn’t talk about the strange woman who appears in a hatch in the wall. She’s back again tonight, telling Amy that she’s doing fine before disappearing again. What do we know about her? Well, she’s appeared in 1969 and now in the 17th century. She’s appeared exclusively to Amy, so it seems she’s bound to Amy in some way. *scratches head*
I’m more looking forward to next week’s [[The Doctor’s Wife (Doctor Who episode)|The Doctor’s Wife]], which at least promises a slightly mad Suranne Jones and a sinister villain. Is this the guy who said he’s killed hundreds of Time Lords?