Doctor Who – Curse Of The Black Spot #Spoilers!

08 May


Eyepatch woman is nice and mysterious.

Oho, Captain Every, eh? I wonder if he might mysteriously disappear sometime during this episode? Never to be seen again, perchance? To become one of the few pirates who ‘got away’? Perhaps? Maybe? Just guessing here but pretty certain?

Hugh Bonneville is a good actor. Wasted here, but a good actor.

Nice ship.

Yes, I’m reaching here. Let’s take a deep breath and move on to:

Not So Yay

A flintlock making the ‘gun-cocking’ noise, what?

‘Walking the plank’ didn’t actually happen. I know DW isn’t exactly noted for its historical accuracy but still.

Pirate Amy: not as fun as I expected.

Leeches on a ship? Where from?

Argh the direction in this episode. Argh the writing.


Good gracious this episode’s writing is terrible.


Wait, where did that other pirate go? What happened there? Did I miss something or did the writer just forget about him?

Look. If a becalmed ocean at night is reflective enough to act as a ‘mirror’ then so is ANYTHING even VAGUELY specular under ANY kind of light. Examples: glass shards, metal bands, buttons, HUMAN EYES.

“Let’s all wait until something terrible happens to do anything!”
“I mean let’s not even TRY to move!”
“Sounds great!”
“What I’m saying is that we should all just stand around like muffins while people get turned into green smoke!”
“This is the BEST PLAN EVER!”

This episode was written by a ten year-old who sent in enough crisp packets, I’m sure of it.

Oh sound reasoning there Doctor. SOUND reasoning.

30 minutes into the episode, everyone is dead of stupidity. Oh wait no they’re not, they’re all magically alive. Of stupidity.

All right, here’s the rule of Doctor Who: it doesn’t matter how ridiculous or unbelievable the explanations are, just as long as they’re entertaining. THIS IS NOT ENTERTAINING.

Although snarking about this terrible, terrible episode kind of is. Incidentally I’m not sure when this became a livebjournal but let’s just run with it.

Prediction for episode’s ending: the ‘siren’ is the alien ship, automatically taking on the form of whatever species happen to be nearby. It’s recruiting new crew after the old crew all died for some reason. Not sure how the ‘injured’ thing ties into it, but possibly some kind of AI loophole where it’s allowed to bring ‘outsiders’ aboard if they’re injured. Captain Every becomes a SPACE pirate, thus explaining his historical avoidance of capture.

Okay, Every running to his son, Amy running to Rory, and the Doctor running to the Tardis was proper funny. Great gag.

“He’ll die if you take him out.” Pretty knowledgeable about alien medical technology for a SEVENTEENTH CENTURY PIRATE.

Why … did they take Rory inside the Tardis? Couldn’t they have just resuscitated him where he was?

This. Scene. Is. So. Rubbish.

Ah yes, the ‘half-hearted compression for a few seconds then wait a minute and the person just springs back to life’ method of CPR. Amy was wrong when she said “This isn’t a movie” and Rory was wrong when he said “Because you’d never give up” SO RUBBISH ARGH.

Oh, THERE’S that pirate from before. So I guess he got green-smoked offscreen or something. Mm-hm.

Wait wait wait wait WAIT wait WAIT wait wait just ONE little minute here. That’s it? Captain Every and his crew get a spaceship and just fly around until they all die of dehydration? Even assuming they have water and food, what are they going to do? And THAT’S assuming they can even work the controls, with the Tardis gone everything’s going to go back into alien language SO MANY THINGS WRONG HERE.

And So

That was properly rubbish. But I kind of enjoyed it anyway. Although I probably wouldn’t have had much fun if I hadn’t been snarkily snarking at it all the way through, to be honest. Incidentally, if you’re at all interested in pirates I highly recommend reading about the exploits of Captain Every (AKA Long Ben), he really was one of the best pirates ever. Made a single voyage of around two years, got loads of treasure, was the target of the first ever worldwide manhunt, called his ship the Fancy (honestly, you’ve got to have balls of steel to get away with that), managed to basically brute force his way into a haul of like half a million pounds (in today’s money: seventeen billion-bazillion-jillion dollars), had a thousand pound bounty posted on his head (I’m not sure but I think this was the highest bounty ever posted for a pirate–certainly up there, in any case), then just disappeared with all the treasure he pirated and was never heard from again. Brilliant stuff.

Anyway, about this episode, it could have been SO GOOD. The Doctor and companions trapped on a ship with a bunch of pirates, unknown threat raising tension, claustrophobia, nowhere to run, threats both from within and without–something like Midnight (still one of my absolute favourite Doctor Who eps) but with pirates. Instead … bleh.

Also, look. If you want to raise tension, the stakes have to be believable. You’re not going to kill Rory (again), so don’t muck around pretending you might.

Anyway. Next episode looks gOod.


Posted by on May 8, 2011 in Talking About Television


Tags: , , , ,

6 responses to “Doctor Who – Curse Of The Black Spot #Spoilers!

  1. Mo

    May 9, 2011 at 03:06

    Bah, I thought it was a fun episode (just watched it)! Sure, there were some issues with the writing, but it was good fun (just don’t think too much about certain things). I think you’re being too nit-picky! I mean come on, pirates, sirens, and Amy Pond in a freaking pirate suit with a sword no less! What’s not to like? I loved the end with the pirates flying off in the spaceship, I’ll bet the Doctor & Co. will run into them again.

    I think one thing people should keep in mind, is that writing an on-going TV series is not like regular novel writing. They’re under a lot of pressure to get their stuff written up on time: they’re not like us who can sit here and hum and haw over things and make them just right. They have to hammer out episodes pronto, so the writing naturally suffers sometimes.

    • Mo

      May 9, 2011 at 03:07

      Oh ya, my favourite line from the episode: “I’m confused!” “Yeah, well it’s a big club, we should get t-shirts.”

    • Ben White

      May 9, 2011 at 11:52

      I’m pretty sure I could write a better episode than that in less than a day 🙂

      • Mo

        May 9, 2011 at 12:00

        One thing that I do get annoyed about is all the fake panicking and “OMG he’s gonna die!” stuff, that is getting kind of old in this series. It’s kind of like the boy who cried wolf, we know a main character is probably not going to die this early in the season, so don’t even bother…

  2. Mo

    May 9, 2011 at 12:23

    It seems as though Doctor Who is one of those shows that one shouldn’t over think too much…

    • Ben White

      May 9, 2011 at 13:45

      But overthinking is so much fun! I don’t think of Doctor Who as science fiction at all, I mean not even a little bit–it’s not about science, it’s about magic. But when characters don’t act like people and the dialogue’s flat and everyone’s running around like an idiot and nothing much is actually happening and there’s no magic to be found, that’s when my interest wanes. Don’t get me wrong, I love Doctor Who, but there have been some shockingly bad episodes. At its best it ranks up with the best on TV, but at its worst it’s pretty terrible. I guess that also comes with having so many different writers. Actually, I wish Paul Cornell would come back and do another episode, Human Nature/Family of Blood were brilliant. Moffat’s always reliable for fun dialogue at the least, even if a lot of his plots simply make no sense–Blink in particular, such a great episode but it’s utterly nonsensical if you think about it at all. Gareth Roberts is another personal favourite, I’ve noticed a lot of dislike aimed at his episodes but I thought The Lodger was the best episode of the last series, and The Unicorn And The Wasp was brilliant fun. The one with Shakespeare wasn’t great, though.

      Actually, one thing about this episode that I liked, that I didn’t think of until later, was the answer to the question, “Why did the alien ship take the Tardis?” At first I just put it down to more lazy writing, but then I realised, no, of course, the Tardis NEVER works properly, it’s always in need of fixing–or, to put it another way, ‘injured’–and it’s most definitely ‘alive’, and so of course the medibay would take it. So that was actually pretty clever.


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