Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Doctor Who - "The Curse of the Black Spot"

Rory (Arthur Darville), Amy (Karen Gillan), and the Doctor (Matt Smith) just realized that it's going to be one of those episodes of 'Doctor Who'.
Photo Credit: BBC
Review by Antony Ellis

‘Doctor Who’
Season 6 – Episode 3
“The Curse of the Black Spot”

Doctor Who, in my opinion, has two types of episode. Ones which mainly build the seasons overarching plot, and those quieter ones which are set pieces, if you will; done-in-one adventures in time and space. I’m a continuity whore – I love the stuff – so it was weird for me to be looking forward for the done-in-one adventure that “The Curse of the Black Spot” provides, however, I put that down to the terribly confusing and illogical opening to Season Six with “The Impossible Astronaut” and “Day of the Moon”.

“The Curse of the Black Spot” sees The Doctor, Amy and Rory suddenly aboard a 17th Century pirate ship after the TARDIS picked up a distress beacon. There are a few early laughs as our heroes adjust to life aboard a pirate ship in the 1600s, but in the early stages of the story the episode plays with another genre Doctor Who gets regularly right – the disaster movie.

See – the crew of the ship are getting picked off one-by-one by a mythical Siren come real (played in all her ugly pretty glory by supermodel Lily Cole who doesn’t have a lot to do, but does it well). Whenever one of the pirates gets a cut, is burnt slightly or at all feels a little queasy, their palm is coloured with a black dot, and then the consumes them with a sultry song and a single touch.

The fun of the episodes comes from trying to work out the mystery along with The Doctor, Amy and Rory and unlike the previous two stories before it, it is much easier to do and is less pretentious in narrative. It’s just a simple story with a pirate ship, a stowaway, a mutinous crew and a siren who travels through reflections.

The episode also plays another familiar Who riff by tackling family drama in the relationship between Captain Avery (played in an increasingly impressive manner as each minute of screen time by Downton Abbey star Hugh Bonneville) and estranged son Toby (Oscar Lloyd) as Captain Avery struggles between a life on the high seas without responsibility and that of a single father to a young boy. Of our principal cast, Matt Smith plunders most of the best lines, and to the season’s credit, I’m loving Rory’s promotion to co-companion as he brings an identifiable character to the TARDIS crew.

To discuss this episode further, would give away some of the great twists and turns the story takes, however, whilst it did take a while to grab my attention, like the Siren at the heart of the story, I was caught in her charm by the end and am cautiously staying aboard the good ship Who for (at least) the rest of the spring half of Season Six.

No comments:

Post a Comment