Episode 3 – THE CURSE OF THE BLACK SPOT

Series six paid so much attention to the story arcs of Amy’s pregnancy, River Song and the Silence, you almost forget there were other episodes. I think Steven Moffat might’ve forgotten too, there are one or two brilliant little episodes dotted through the series, but there are some bad ones too. This one isn’t one of the brilliant ones, but it’s probably the best of a bad bunch. A black spot appearing on the hands of those who bled was a mysterious idea and led to a spookily designed villain, the Siren. She appeared to be killing off the sick when in fact she transported them to status pods and tried to keep them alive. This was a good and unexpected twist. The Pirates in the story were a bit cliched and could’ve been better. We were meant to be disapproving of Captain Avery for piracy, but he wasn’t a particularly nasty character and I had pretty neutral feelings towards him. If he appeared more menacing and cold then the Pirates may have worked better in this story. Amy as a Pirate at the beginning of the episode was quite an annoying scene. This was meant to be a fun episode but some of the dialogue seemed forced and a bit awkward to listen to. The Doctor randomly abandoned his TARDIS in a move that was completely out of character just to serve the plot. It was a weak way of saying “We can’t just get everyone on the TARDIS and leave”. Rory’s resurrection at the end of the episode was predictable, that scene was far too drawn out…he was never going to die there and then. Overall though, the setting and the Siren pulled this episode through. It is quite an enjoyable watch despite some iffy writing. 6/10

Episode 4 – THE DOCTOR’S WIFE

I mentioned that throughout series six there were a couple of gems and this is certainly one of them. I’m baffled Neil Gaiman doesn’t write more often for the show because this was a masterpiece. Seeing the TARDIS walk and talk was a brilliant idea, how had it not been attempted before then? Suranne Jones played the TARDIS supremely well and it was a joy to see her chemistry with the Doctor. The (at the time) random lines from the TARDIS at the start of the episode: “The smell of dust after rain” and “The little boxes will make you angry” were very cleverly fed to us and linked to later moments in the episode. Michael Sheen voiced House so eerily and the scenes where Amy and Rory were being teased and tormented inside the TARDIS were very creepy. In particular when Amy couldn’t see and was told to walk with her arm outstretched and eventually was met with an Ood, it was thrilling. Having said that, the Ood/Nephew was underused and was basically only in there for fan service. There were some absolutely terrific lines from the Doctor in this episode. I loved when he discovered that there weren’t any Time Lords left to save and we got another brief glimpse of his dark side as he said; “You gave me hope and then you took it away, that’s enough to make anyone dangerous – God knows what it will do to me.” And the exchanges between the Doctor and the TARDIS were great too. I particularly liked the scene where the Doctor told her; “You didn’t always take me where I wanted to go” and the TARDIS replied; “No, but I always took you where you needed to go”. It was most Whovian’s dream come true, seeing the Doctor have a two way conversation with his TARDIS and discovering she actually loved her time with the Doctor was very satisfying. Using all of the broken bits of TARDIS from past victims was clever to fly back to the Doctor’s ship. The TARDIS moving itself after the Doctor told it where he was going was a fitting and beautiful end to such a lovely piece of writing. Neil Gaiman really gave all sorts of fans something to please them. An Ood, an old control room, the TARDIS in human form and some good old fashioned chase scenes. This episode had everything. 9/10

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