Monday, 1 August 2011

The Curse Of The Black Spot

Originally Broadcast 7th May 2011
Written by: Steve Thompson

It’s a much known fact that to fill a forty-five minute adventure of Doctor Who you need twist after turn as the Doctor eats up plot. Moffat once said “you know you’ve got a good Doctor Who if you think ‘well I’ve just blown that feature film idea’” and none prove this more than The Curse Of The Black Spot.
In fact, I’d go so far as to say Curse gets tedious for me as it is just twist after twist, we get told “this is the answer” before five minutes down the line being told “actually, no it’s this”. The episode only clocks in at forty-four minutes but it ends up feeling a lot longer and we all know that isn’t a good feeling whatever you’re watching. Even the Doctor has to say, “Ignore all my previous theories” (twice).
The episode previews for this sound excellent, a curse on a pirate ship, but the overall plot of the Siren being a nurse is a bit bland after all the trouble we went through to get there, there was no ‘big bang’ at the end to make it all worthwhile.
At one point one of the crewmembers randomly disappears (maybe this was due to editing), never to be heard of again until we reach the Siren’s ship. That’s a bit weird!

"Come on guys, a bit more laughter"
What Thompson is great at, however, is his characters, even if the plot isn’t so good. The Doctor is very well written here, but most of it goes unnoticed, as he isn’t really at the centre of anything. In a way that makes it better, as the Doctor isn’t the most important character of an adventure (he’d be the first to admit that), but in the long run it makes you forget what the Doctor does and says in comparison to the surrounding episodes in the series.
Rory gets a chance to finally shine in the start of this episode and he’s fantastic. There’s a lot of little touches Arthur Darvill gives in his performance, such as giving a little wave in the pre-titles sequence, that are really funny and stand out for the character. This is the perfect episode to show that Darvill can make a script his own; he should be given the lead in a comedy after his involvement with the show to prove that to everyone.
Unfortunately Rory takes a bit of a back seat the further the episode runs for and his ‘death’ for this episode is really drawn out, maybe the script was under running so they needed a padded death scene (doesn’t everything?).

Moffat has to squeeze in his ongoing plot points in a painfully obvious way, especially when the link-in scenes are EXACTLY THE SAME as the other episodes in the series. Oh look, a woman in a wall. Oh look, flashback to the Doctor dying. Oh look, the Doctor’s checking the scanner of Amy’s pregnancy test. Wow, those are tedious and a long step from being able to go back and rewatch episodes to find the lines about bees disappearing and the big, bad wolf.

The praise I can award this episode is the characterisation and the acting, although the script is still easy to fault with it’s characters. I’m not sure how many times this series we rely on a child to provide an emotional bond with one of the guest characters. These writers are meant to be the best in the UK, surely they know how to make an audience sympathise in a way that doesn’t result in the character having a child in trouble?

At least the next time trail for The Doctor’s Wife looks awesome-a review for that episode coming very soon!

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