Review of Doctor Who ‘The Curse of the Black Spot’
SPOILERS: Do not read this if you have not seen episode 3, series 6/32 of Doctor Who
Doctor Who turned pirate this week with ‘The Curse of the Black Spot’ which took viewers on a swashbuckling adventure, involving stowaways, mutiny and a siren. Similar to last year’s Christmas special where Charles Dickens’ novella ‘A Christmas Carol’ was given the Doctor Who treatment, elements of Robert Louis Stevenson’s ‘Treasure Island’ were used in this episode, specifically the Black Spot.
In Stevenson’s tale the spot is drawn on a piece of paper and handed to a pirate as a declaration of guilt. If a pirate receives one, he is soon to be deposed of his role by the other members of the crew possibly through force or being killed. Both in ‘Treasure Island’ and Doctor Who, it is seen as a mark of death, however, in the latter it appears on the palm of the hand and turns out to be a DNA sample, thus giving it the science fiction spin.
Compared to the narrative high jinks of ‘Day of the Moon’, this week’s plot was fairly standard and returned to familiar territory whereby the Doctor stumbled into a situation and saved the day. Despite the easier-to-follow storyline, the ending came across as rushed with the details of what the Siren really was and the fate of crew quickly skated over. It seems 45 minutes is just not enough time to tell a story, even one as simple as this.
Aside from the writing, the guest stars Hugh Bonneville (Captain Henry Avery) and Lily Cole (the Siren) gave excellent performances. Bonneville proved to be a worthy addition to the Who crew, complimenting the Doctor nicely, particularly during the sequence inside the TARDIS and concluding that “a ship’s a ship”.
While Cole cut an eerie and at times menacing figure as the Siren. Although she did not utter a word of dialogue, the model-turned-actress (and Oxbridge graduate) managed to convey a magnificent otherworldly feel through her big blue eyes and porcelain doll-like face.
The theme of Amy’s ambiguous pregnancy and the Doctor’s impending future continued to bubble away. One question worth pondering is how much does Amy remember from what she saw in the abandoned orphanage? Towards the end of ‘The Curse of the Black Spot’ she had a flashback to the Doctor being fatally shot and remembered it, whereas last week she had a flashback of seeing the photo of herself with a baby but did not seem to remember it. Since it was immediately before she was abducted by The Silence it could have become hazy memory.
Other things are also at play. The woman with the metal eye patch made a second appearance and looked at Amy through a hatch in an invisible door. Who is this woman and is Amy really where she thinks she is? Where are these people watching her from? Why are they watching her and why has Amy not mentioned anything to the Doctor? The clues and the questions keep coming but as yet there is too little to be able to form any concrete theories. To add further confusion, next week’s episode is entitled ‘The Doctor’s Wife’.
For spoilers visit: www.bbc.co.uk/doctorwho/dw
Picture: BBCTagged in: doctor who, matt smith
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