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Published on May 9th, 2011 | by Andrew Reynolds


In the past few days we’ve worried about just what its like to be scared, confused child watching Doctor Who, while simultaneously being reduced to scared, confused children by the events of Day of the Moon – it’s no wonder The Curse of the Black Spot felt like to most critics to be little more than an enjoyable stop-gap.

Bleeding Cool have again compiled their Ten Thoughts about Doctor Who, focusing on the lack of forward momentum from the tale of an adrift galleon:

“After the two parter set up all those intriguing plot possibilities, here the plates are spun without anything actually being progressed. Amy is still both pregnant and not pregnant. Amy and Rory know the Doctor will die in two hundred years but can’t tell him. And we get another look at Amy from some other-dimensional force played by Frances Barber. These kind of episodes are fine, lovely even, but not just after you’ve left several plots dangling.”

While praising the creep maritime atmosphere and the sterling work of the sound crew SFX were also critical of the familiarity of the episode- that could have come from any point in the series’ run since 2005:

“The revelation that she’s an automated program feels like an overfamiliar trope – there’s a nagging echo of The Girl In The Fireplace here – while the tarpaulin-tastic sickbay itself must be one of the most woefully impoverished sets in Who’s recent history.”

If anything can be taken from this episode its that everybody loves a classy beard. In the absence of an opinion of there own the Metro has again corralled desperate Doctor Who fans from Twitter – who were chosen for their love of Hugh Bonneville (MUST.NOT.MAKE. JOKE…)

“I’m rather enjoying Hugh Bonneville’s beardiness’

Which was concurred by 04nbod:

“Hugh Bonneville has a sexy as hell beard working for him in Doctor Who

The Curse of the Black Spot has received a plethora of positive reviews since its broadcast on Saturday night, writes Meredith Burdett; the episode itself was a nice lightweight affair with a good story and great atmosphere.

The reviews that have been appearing seem to back this statement up with their general positivity, the episode may not have been adored but t was certainly likes.

A review from IGN said of the episode:

“It’s not a bad tale by any stretch, and there’s a certain infectious geekiness to be had from seeing the Timelord embrace the well-worn piratey tropes (in particular Amy’s Geena Davis-lite rope-swinging sword fight), and then skewering them through Who’s [sic] quintessentially quirky perspective. The Doctor’s fevered flippancy delivered some great lines (“there are worse ways to go then having your face noshed off by a dodgy/stroppy homicidal mermaid”), and the Space Pirate twist behind the siren’s kidnapping was a refreshingly sci-fi spin on the well-worn genre plot.”

Digital Spy gave an overall positive review of the story but found that Lily Cole could have been a bit more involved:

“It’s a shame that this episode’s other big guest star, Lily Cole, isn’t really given much to do except float around and look ethereal, but the English model certainly looks the part, with well-judged special effects aiding her performance as the beautiful yet unsettling Siren.”

Independent review website The Faster Times found Matt Smith’s portrayal as the Eleventh Doctor had once again proved that he was the right choice for the role:

“Matt Smith is a good actor. He consistently delivers dialogue that would make a lesser man look and sound like a clown. An awkward one, at that.”

The Guardian seem to be somewhere in between liking and not liking The Curse of the Black Spot, observes Patrick Riley.  Overall, they seem to have enjoyed the episode, but:

“It’s just that, after the outright sluttiness of that opener, this just felt like a gentle flirt in the park, holding hands. And that can’t help but feel a little bit anticlimax.”

But that’s not stopping them from using the story to speculate on future happenings, like their interesting theory about who (or what) the mega-villain of season 32 might be…

“A lot’s being made this year of how much Amy and Rory really love each other. And it’s being genuinely insinuated (in the publicity if not the show) that Rory may be heading to the dark side. So could the real Big Bad this year be love itself? …. Love is a very dangerous emotion, it can make people do the most terrible things. Is this what will lead A Good Man To Go To War? Moffat has form with this; in his Jekyll update, the monster turned out to be Love itself.”

Love?  The Big Bad?  Too complicated.  It’s probably Daleks again, right?

Doctor Who: The Curse of the Black SpotDen of Geek, likewise, enjoyed watching but had a few beefs:

“It was a frustrating episode, and it’s easy to be harsh on it because of what it wasn’t, rather than what it was. However, even as a straight standalone, I can’t see many arguing that this was Who at its best. Perhaps the biggest disappointment is that it feels like a big missed opportunity. That if the show was taking us away from the massive storylines of last week, it could have served up a delicious romp on the high seas. But it didn’t, choosing to go the other way, and not altogether successfully.”

The Den is right.  Curse wasn’t Who at its best.  But it was Who at its good (if that makes any sense), which Den of Geek agrees with, but not a certain Gavin Fuller.

Ah, Gavin.  Still kicking around as The Telegraph‘s Mastermind-winning Doctor Who “expert” are you?  Oh dear.

“The Siren was the best-realised thing about the episode, and when it’s effectively a special effect that’s the best thing about it, only slightly ahead of Karen Gillan looking very fetching in a pirate outfit, then you know the episode’s in trouble.”

So the Mastermind didn’t like it then.  Big surprise there.  He especially seemed to not care for the conclusion, which we Kasterborites tend to agree was rather nice, but in fairness, he does raise a reasonable question:

“And then there was the saccharine ending, which strained credulity to the limit – just how were the pirate crew revived given the struggles with Rory (with a CPR sequence which would have those trained in it throwing their hands up in horror)?”

Anyone know the answer to that?  We might have missed it, but the return of the pirates to consciousness didn’t seem to be fully explained.

Have a read of the Kasterborous review to see what we thought!


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About the Author


Everyone has a favourite Doctor and mine - just for his honesty, his fairness and his ability to not notice the Master's awful, awful disguises/anagrams (Sir Gilles Estram!?!) - has to be the Fifth Doctor, Peter Davison. The stories didn’t serve him as well as his acting served those stories.

5 Responses to Yo-No-Oh…!

  1. avatar druidsgarden says:

    The problem with Rory was that he was drowning at the time of being saved by the Siren – For the majority of the pirate crew – they simply had scratches – none of which were life-threatening so could be detached from the sick-bay without any worry that they’d die – atleast that’s the way I followed it – Toby was still attached to his life support although how they moved that into the cockpit who knows

  2. avatar Iltu says:

    Well that is an easy one:
    Rory was drowning on the point of death – so, as he nearly was dead before he was put into the sickbay, Amy had to struggle to revive him – but most of the pirates were suffering from as ‘terrible’ wounds as …. a cut in the finger…. Shouldn’t be too hard to be revived from, right?

  3. avatar Rick says:

    Sorry but the Emperor has no clothes. This was a silly clunker. Not a fun silly or even an intelligent silly but a time waster and frankly, did Moffat take the week off from script editor duties? I love this show dearly but when there’s a bad ep like Victory of the Daleks, I call a spade a spade. Example: The Doctor faces imminent death on the plank, Amy’s below, finds a sword and instead of rushing up there, she decides to play dress up? Several of the pirates wander over to be touched by the siren and no one has the ability to grab them or even the kid…but Rory, they easily stop. And finally Amy is married to a nurse yet she doesn’t know CPR? Please. It actually could have been a very good episode if they tweaked several things but I was very disappointed. Hopefully this is the prerequisite one stinker episode in an otherwise great season.

  4. avatar MJStockers says:

    Well I lived with a nurse for 8 years and I didn’t know CPR. They are changing CPR rules so often that it’s hard to keep up to date with it!! I just think this episode suffers from being after the sublime opening 2 parter!

  5. avatar Charlie says:

    What about the massive clunker of the last pirate before the Captain not being touched by the siren but still disappearing. Massive continuity error there. However I thought the episode was OK, not too many problems with it. Like MJ the harshest criticism is that it had to follow the initial two parter…

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