Stephen Thompson’s first shot at the Doctor is much lighter in tone than Moffat’s opening two-parter – a great big pirate romp on a pirate ship, without very much mention of the Silence, rewriting time, mystery pregnancies, unexpected future deaths or River Song. For me personally it made it a lesser outing – showrunner Steven Moffat has raised the stakes so high now that any delay in dealing with his increasingly intricate plot strands is just annoying and it’s a little bit of a shame. Having said that the episode had its merits – the Tardis trio opt for an adventure on a pirate ship being terrorised by a Siren, who apparently kills crew members at the slightest drop of blood. But is she all she seems? And why is Amy still seeing visions (memories?) of the Eye Patch Lady from episode 2?
The humour is clumsy, Smith seems completely out of his element, but the script does have some warm moments, particularly when the Doctor bonds with pirate captain Hugh Bonneville, playing off one another as fellow ship’s captains. And director Jeremy Webb does a fair enough job, particularly in the more intense moments late on in the episode between Amy and Rory, but will the kids care? It’s a difficult one – I have a suspicion that the core audience for series 6 is a fair bit older than under Russell T Davies, and although the mystery around Amy’s pregnancy is touched upon, I don’t think enough was presented for the more sophisticated audience Moffat seems to be aiming his run at.
The story had a happy enough ending and it’s cute (if unremarkable) how they get there, but this felt distinctly like filler material. Writer Thompson has very little to say even about the Doctor himself, unlike Simon Nye in ‘Amy’s Choice’, and it leaves the episode feeling bland, despite some highly emotive exchanges.
The questions about the ongoing subplots remain though: who is Eye Patch Lady? Casting Frances Barber is serious stuff so she’s clearly someone significant. Why is Amy pregnant one second and not the next? Is it because rebooting the universe created a parallel timeline? How would this benefit the Silence? And what the hell was that regeneration at the end of the last episode? And who the hell is River Song really? Memories are being played with still, very little is as it seems (and since Amy’s introduction never has been) and I’m getting impatient for the payoffs to start. Episodes under Moffat’s management come off best with high stakes and a certain amount of darkness. I hope we get some of it next week with Neil Gaiman.
No related posts.
Related posts brought to you by Yet Another Related Posts Plugin.