Archive for May, 2011

604 – The Doctor’s Wife

Neil Gaiman is a hell of a name to get in to write an episode of Doctor Who, so this week’s tale of space-time shenanigans is more eagerly awaited than usual. As it turns out, it’s worth the wait.

A Time Lord distress beacon arrives at the TARDIS, prompting a frenzied and ecstatic Doctor to take himself, Amy and Rory on a rescue mission outside the known universe. Once there, however, things go quickly wrong as it transpires that the planet is a malevolent, sentient being, and the soul of the TARDIS is removed and placed inside the body of a human woman…

A great episode all round, this one. Funny, touching and really damn dark – especially Amy’s terrifying run through the TARDIS. The Doctor’s wonderful range of emotions, running the entire gauntlet from sorrow and shame to vengeance and cunning, are a joy to watch unfold and the interactions between him and Idris might be one of the highlights of the entire run so far.

The only real complaint is that it feels too quick to end. It’s almost like Gaiman had another five minutes of script saved up for the finale, but had to cut it out. The Doctor wins with little to no real effort on his part, leaving the final ten minutes weirdly anticlimactic.

However, this is still a fantastic episode by a fantastic writer. Original, witty, charming and strangely affecting, ‘The Doctor’s Wife’ is another great episode in a highly enjoyable series.

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603 – The Curse of the Black Spot

Last year’s third episode was the abomination known as ‘Victory of the Daleks’, so it is with some trepidation that we approach this series’ instalment. Fortunately, it’s a damn sight better than it has any right to be, given the subject material.

The Doctor, Amy and Rory respond to a distress signal broadcast from a ship. However, they soon discover that the vessel in peril is an old pirate ship that’s been stranded in calm waters, the crew stalked one by one by the Siren. A single cut, a solitary drop of blood is all that takes to curse the sailor and draw the Siren out of the water, where she kills them.

As a concept, it’s a bit ropey, but in execution it work very well. This is largely down to how the story gets to the point very quickly, eschewing the usual fifteen minutes of wandering around and talking in favour of having the Siren show up and start killing very, very quickly. It’s a refreshing change of pace, one that gets things straight to the point. Smart ideas and creepy set pieces are allowed to take over with very little interruption – how many ways are there to get a cut on an old, wooden pirate ship?

All in all, it’s a decent enough episode with plenty of humour and some great moments. The final fifteen minutes might push the initial concept to breaking point and the final twists are real clunkers, but for the most part, the episode is far better than it really should have been.

602 – Day of the Moon

This review is going to be a short one. Like all good second part episodes, ‘Day of the Moon’ is rammed with classic moments and some incredible twists and revealing even a single one of them would be a crime.

That aside, it wouldn’t be spoiling it to say that the episode is fast, furious, funny, with a couple of shocks lined up for its climax that will see many a jaw unhinge itself and plummet to the floor. There are some moments here that may well become total classics among Doctor Who fans, from the mind-bending opening to the unsettling terror of the orphanage, right up to the moment when River Song’s heart visibly breaks. The expert hand of Steven Moffat leads the audience on a gripping tale, filled to the brim with the sort of great moments that define Doctor Who when the show is at its prime.

Without wanting to spoil any of the episode, this is definitely one of the greats. Fantastic aliens, a cracking sense of humour, stunning revelations and a puzzling climax work together to create the biggest, darkest and most twisted ongoing Doctor Who storyline to date. A must-see.