Sunday, May 08, 2011

Doctor Who: The Curse of the Black Spot


I thought the sonic screwdriver didn't work against bolts? Hmmm....

So, the first of the "filler" episodes in the sixth series of Doctor Who aired yesterday and although it wasn't terrible (I don't think any episode of New Who has been rubbish) it wasn't very good either. It didn't help that - as Heropress pointed out - it was just a rehash of The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances story (though not as good by a long way).

The problem with the Moff's plan to have a fascinating and complicated series long mystery, one that even stretches back to the beginning of Series 5, is that he hasn't written every episode. Some of them will be written by others and, although they may be competent, they feel a little jarring because they don't advance the series plot. Russell T Davies' didn't really do this sort of things - his "Bad Wolf" and Harold Saxon running themes were merely hints pointing towards the final episode(s) - and so different individual stories written by others (though often rewritten by Davies which helped give them some consistency) weren't a problem.

Of course, individual episodes not written by the head writer can sometimes produce some wonderful results. Take Blink for example. But the Curse of the Black spot wasn't one of those.

Whereas last week there seemed to be too much crammed into 45 minutes for my liking, here there seemed to be too little. A Siren who "attacks" a pirate ship and apparently "kills" anyone who has injured themselves turns out to be a holographic doctor from an alien, alternate-dimension spaceship which has somehow 'fused' with the pirate ship. There wasn't enough to fill a whole episode so let's throw in the captain's son and a long drawn-out sequence where one of the companions appears to die, shall we? And, y'know, I thought travelling from one parallel dimension to another wasn't generally possible...?

The idea that the 'siren' appeared from reflections seemed somewhat inconsistant as well. Was it only when a reflection of an injured person occurred that the siren appeared? If so, how did the Doctor and Amy (neither of whom had any injuries at that point) summon the siren to go and save a drowning Rory? It all seemed a bit vague.

Oh and why were all the others strapped onto beds in the 'sickbay' when the siren brought them to the alien ship whereas the Doctor, Amy and the Captain were just left unattended in a corridor somewhere? And why did the Doctor run out of the TARDIS when it started dematerialising? Why not stay in it to see where it went?

I could go on. There were a number of niggling things that didn't really work.

And throwing in a few bits linking to the main mysteries of this series - the Doctor looking at a TARDIS monitor of Amy's quantum pregnancy *again* and the strange woman with an eyepatch at a little window - didn't really raise this above just okay. In fact, all it probably did was remind people how much better the last two episodes were.

Next week though, it's Neil Gaiman's episode which hopefully means we'll get something a little better. The trailer certainly looked interesting!

2 comments:

kelvingreen said...

I thought travelling from one parallel dimension to another wasn't generally possible
It's not. The Doctor does say that something has gone wrong for the ships to coexist.

Furthermore, the entire arc of the last series was how cracks in time and space -- and yes, in dimensions -- had been created by the TARDIS exploding. Some of them were sealed, but perhaps not all.

how did the Doctor and Amy (neither of whom had any injuries at that point) summon the siren to go and save a drowning Rory
You've answered your own question there. Rory was drowning, thus he was injured -- not to mention that he was already injured earlier -- and that's what "summoned" her. She could not appear through the surface of the sea, as the storm had made it rough, so the Doctor took the lid off one of the barrels, so she could manifest through the relatively still water inside.

And why did the Doctor run out of the TARDIS when it started dematerialising? Why not stay in it to see where it went?
Because his friends were in danger, and he had no control over the TARDIS, so he may not have been able to get back to them.

You've got a point about the sickbeds though. ;)

Nimbus said...

Rory was drowning, thus he was injured -- not to mention that he was already injured earlier -- and that's what "summoned" her.

Yes, but that meant it wasn't Rory's (the injured person) reflection that summoned the siren. So, earlier, when the sea was calm but no one was looking at it, what stopped the siren from appearing then (instead, they decided to stay below deck)? Or what about when the shiny treasure was lying around whilst people were injured elsewhere?

Because his friends were in danger, and he had no control over the TARDIS, so he may not have been able to get back to them.

Though it would also mean he'd lose his means of getting off the ship (not to mention his oldest 'companion'). Lucky he was able to find it again.