Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Doctor Who: The Curse of the Black Spot

The Black Spot claims another victim.

Despite my griping when I review, I like Doctor Who. There is a certain mythology and wonder that lingers with me from my childhood enjoyment of the series and despite every change in theme and companion and Doctor, that wonderment of the youthful journeys that the show has taken my mind on linger on and I still love every moment of it and am so willing to overlook the small flaws of an episode to enjoy the newest peak placed upon this high mountain of television history presented before me.

Then an episode like "The Curse of the Black Spot" comes around and I wonder why the fuck I'm watching this shit.

Since Moffat taking over the helm of the series, this is definitely the series low-point episode. There was a neat idea in it: the idea of any wound, no matter how small, could kill. It could make for some tense moments and adds a bit of mystery to what is happening. However, that concept was poorly executed in an hour long episode.

In fact, the way they tried to add tension was by having the captain stumble and have his hand "dangerously" hover over an exposed nail. Shit. The threat of the smallest wound is better than the supposedly "hold your breath moment" as he stops just before cutting himself. That works well with falling and stopping just before impaling on a pitchfork, but that is not the way to handle the drama of a small wound threat. It's a subtle threat, so play it subtly. Don't fucking play dramatic dum-dum-dum music when someone drearfully announces that they have a hangnail.

Anyhow, the Doctor, Amy and Rory find themselves on a pirate ship where the crew has been languishing at sea for eight days with a mysterious siren arriving and attacking anyone who has even the slightest wound. Rory gets cut in a silly manner and now they have to protect him from the siren. The siren at first appears to need water to appear to take a man away, but then they discover that it is still water... or the reflection that it offers that is her source of travel. So anything that casts a reflection is a portal for her arrival. So, the Doctor stupidly smashes a mirror to get rid of a reflective surface without realizing that he's just made scores of tiny reflective surfaces with sharp pointy edges that could easily cause an injury to doom a man. It would have been much better to just toss the mirror overboard. Anyhow, the pirate captain's son has been stowing away on board all this time and has Scarlet Fever, and also suffers from the black spot, showing that the siren is also targeting the sick, not just the injured and my god, this even sucks in summary. Shit happens. Eventually they find out the siren's transporting them to a spaceship in an alternate universe and everyone's okay. The pirate captain figures out how to pilot the space ship and he and his son (whose fever is "cured" by the siren) and the rest of the pirates now fly through space in their new ship. Presumably until they either run out of fuel or try to enter a planet's atmosphere or anything else that should be really fucking complicated to pilot a goddamned alien spaceship, especially with a 17th century mindset.

This episode sucked. And it sucked hard. Even seeing Karen Gillan in pirate garb wasn't enough to save this episode. It stunk. It stunk bad.

Episode Highs:
*The woman who played the Siren was cute. I was at least able to distract myself from the terribly plodding and silly dialogue by idly wondering what sex with her might be like.
*Amelia Pond looked cute dressed up like a pirate. Pointless, plot-wise, as it was just a convenient way to get her dressed up like a pirate.
*Rory mentioned that Amy should dress up like a pirate more often. Maybe this means that instead of focusing on jealousy, they are going to make their marriage "television interesting" by making them kinky role-players in bed.

Episode Lows:
*Everything from after the title sequence to the end credits. Admittedly, the two minutes before the opening title sequence wasn't too bad.
*Amy is jealous of Rory being enraptured by the Siren, making me think that they will instead make their marriage "television interesting" by adding jealousy at every turn.
*As the plot unfolded it made less and less sense.
*Leaving the pirates on an alien spaceship is just a cruel extended death sentence offered by the Doctor. Really, they have no idea how to refuel or land. So their fate will just be a lot of lonely gay-pirate sex until they eventually burn up in some alien atmosphere as they try to land as the captain cockily says, "Ah, a port is a port, even if it is spaceport."

Molly: (As always, Molly is sitting next to me at my computer as we do this review. I'll transcribe everything that she says. Due to her age, her portion of the review will be in Q&A format.)

Chuckie: What did you think about the episode of Doctor Who, "The Curse of the Black Spot"?
Molly: Um, I wonder how she made the black spots. Daddy, do you know.

Chuckie: Well, the Doctor said that they were tissue samples.
Molly: No, how did she make them.

Chuckie: I don't know. They really didn't do a good job of explaining anything.
Molly: I guess we'll have to find out by watching another episode.

Chuckie: We'll, see. I don't think we'll ever get these answers though.
Molly: What?! But how did she make them? And Daddy, how was they... they, um... how was she getting mad at them before, but she wasn't when they were at the hosbital? (Yes, she said "hosbital" instead of "hospital".)

Chuckie: I don't know, Pixie. They really didn't explain.
Molly: Why can't they explain that to us? Maybe they just weren't letting her do her doctor skills.

Chuckie: Maybe, or maybe it was just really, really crappy writing.
Molly: No, Daddy!

Chuckie: Okay. Well, so what did you think about the episode though?
Molly: I liked it.

Chuckie: What did you like about it?
Molly: Um, the girl was being nice. She letted her take care of Rory for a while.

Chuckie: What happened in this episode?
Molly: Well, I wanted to tell you something about the ring.

Chuckie: Okay. What?
Molly: Like the circle. Not the black circle.

Chuckie: Okay. What about the ring?
Molly: Um, why was it on her head?

Chuckie: Huh?
Molly: Why was it on her head?

Chuckie: What ring are you talking about?
Molly: The big yellow one that was like this big.

Chuckie: I still have no idea what ring you were talking about. On whose head?
Molly: No, it was a ring around and she let Amelia Pond touch it and make her hand go through it.

Chuckie: Oh! That was how the siren let Amy take--
Molly: Amelia.

Chuckie: That's how the siren let Amelia take care of Rory.
Molly: By why was it on her head?

Chuckie: I don't know, Sweetie. A lot of things really didn't make sense in this episode if you thought about them.
Molly: Why?

Chuckie: Crappy writing.
Molly: Why did they make crappy writing?

Chuckie: Well, because sometimes someone has an idea that sounds really good on paper or in their head, but when they work it out, they realize that only a small bit of it was really cool and they just need to spend a lot of time filling up space in the episode to try to make the small bit that was good play out.
Molly: So... So much crap.

Chuckie: Yup. Exactly.

Chuckie: Anyway, tell me about the story in this episode.
Molly: Um, the Doctor said, "Yo ho ho!" and he said, "I shouldn't have said that." And Rory and Amelia Pond was behind him and they opened the cabinet and they met the pirates and then when the boys got cut they just went to another place. (She begins to sing like the siren.) OooooOooooOooooo!

Chuckie: That's it?
Molly: That's all I remember.

Chuckie: So what did the black spot mean?
Molly: There were boogers on it.

Chuckie: No, the black spot people got on their hands.
Molly: The ghost came for them and they went to another place.

Chuckie: What did you think of the characters in this episode?
Molly: I liked them.

Chuckie: Which ones?
Molly: Um, Amelia Pond.

Chuckie: What did you like about her in this episode?
Molly: That she was saving Rory's life.

Chuckie: How did the siren get around in the episode?
Molly: (points to my glasses) Reflections. Duh. How could she ever get there again if she didn't use reflections? She's a ghost. Duh. (She starts to sing out the note like the Siren did in the episode.) OoooOoooOooo.  
(She sings a song she makes up on the spot.)

There was a siren on board.
We couldn't get out.
We found some humans that can help us.
They put the black spots on them because
they had to save the other people.
And then she goed away on sail.

Chuckie: Beauty song, Sweetie.
Molly: Thank you. Can we do stars now?

Chuckie: Sure. How many stars would you give this episode?
Molly: Eight million.

Chuckie: Why so many?
Molly: Because I like it so much.

Chuckie: Okay. Out of how many stars?
Molly: Out of one hundred.

Chuckie: Let's try this: would you rate the episode Excellent, Good, Okay, or Bad?
Molly: Excellent.

Chuckie: Really?
Molly: Yup. I like it.

Chuckie: Okay. Anything else you wanted to say about this episode?
Molly: I want to do moons and suns, please.

Chuckie: Okay. How many moons would you give it?
Molly: Eight hundred and one thousand.
Chuckie: Out of how many?
Molly: Out of Africa.

Chuckie: Okay. And how many Suns?
Molly: Um, one hundred and two.
Chuckie: Out of how many?
Molly: Out of America.

Chuckie: Okay, so anything else you wanted to say about this episode?
Molly: Um, I think it would have been better if there was a little more not crap.

Chuckie: That's what I was saying, Sweetie. Then why are you rating it so well?
Molly: Um, because I thought a lot of parts were good. Just not the parts with the crap in them.

Chuckie: Fair enough, Pixie. Don't say crap anymore. Daddy shouldn't have mentioned it.
Molly: Okay.

So, that's our review. I thought it was complete and absolute crap. There was a decent tense premise, but it was poorly expanded upon and poorly executed in the episode. This was definitely the low of the Moffat episodes so far, and possibly of the who new series if I really put the time to think back on some of the shittier Davies episodes.

I give it one-half star out of five. I would give it less, but I do still think that it would be physically possible to make something less entertaining than this hour I saw, so I need to reserve the zero score based upon merely a principle that things could have been worse. Not sure how, but it is theoretically possible.

Molly thought it was excellent and gave it eight million stars. I need to interject, however, and point out that she is only four. However, she did seem to agree with my points about crap writing, even if it will get me in trouble with my wife for getting her to say it as well.

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