Doctor Who: The Curse of the Black Spot

Posted: May 13, 2011 in Review
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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.

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Comments
  1. Alex says:

    Good episode actually. Higher production values, acting and direction than last year’s third episode as you so rightly say Adam, or most of that season actually. The entrance of the Doctor with “yo ho ho” was a bit of a worry, as I thought the episode would shoot downhill like stuka over Leningrad. But it recovered, there is something to be said that the format had to be readjusted to de-tw*tify the Doctor who was getting on for Kenneth Williams style ridiculousness last season. The infamous Jammie Dodger gambit written into the Victory of the Daleks by Mark Gatiss who somehow penned the Idiot’s Lantern (which was in fact excellent) in season 2 was probably the worst thing on television last year and in fact the last decade of British television.

    This year the Doctor’s idiocy has been toned down substantially and he actually manages to seem intelligent rather than oafish and loatheable (if that is a word). The pacing and production of this episode is good, surprisingly good, although for a full analysis the writer is actually regurgitating Moffatt’s own script of the “ARE YOU MY MUMMY” episodes from season 1. Alien medical device goes a bit wrong in historical Earth setting. Naughty. The ending was good though solving the mystery of how there are humans in space to fly a

  2. Alex says:

    …Titanic into Earth etc. Indeed this season the Doctor is approaching charm and well as some form of characterisation. Could there be some gravitas on the horizon?

    7/10?

    Seems fair.

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