Doctor Who is bordering on an obsession for me. Oh hell, I can’t lie, there are only about three times where I’ve been this into a show or a movie. The first was Twin Peaks when I was in junior high. The second was the movie Titanic. Usually, this immersion consists of buying everything I can possibly get my hands on that reminds me of said obsession. I bought Laura Palmer’s diary, the Twin Peaks cookbook and the Dale Cooper tapes.
Titanic was a different monster. I wanted to know everything there was about the ill-fated ship. I researched both the history and what Cameron used in the film.
With Doctor Who this fun has spread throughout the family. The youngest in the family insists because she has red hair like Amelia, that we call her “Pond”. We were also walking through Target and came across a shirt that looked similar to what Amy wears in the season 6 opener. She insisted we buy it. We all own sonic screwdrivers, and the girls even bought me a USB Tardis for Christmas this year. I still want the Tom Bakker scarf and a remote control Dalek. My ten year old on the other hand could probably tell you how the Tardis works and sits rapt and loves every episode no matter what happens.
I wish I could be as forgiving. I both cursed and sang Moffat’s praises with the first two episodes of the season. I was terrified and wanted to crawl beneath the covers during parts. The Silence is probably the most disturbing enemy the Doctor has faced since the Weeping Angels and the episodes were cleverly written pulling in elements of season five.
My Top Five, err… Eight Matt Smith Episodes:
“Vincent and the Doctor”
“The 11th Doctor”
The Time of Angels / Flesh and Stone
The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang
The Impossible Astronaut/Day of the Moon
So I’m cheating there. But those two parters were pretty amazing.
I find when the cast includes River Song, I tend to enjoy the episodes even more.
And this brings me to the third episode of series six, “The Curse of the Black Spot”. Again, the youngest daughter loved it, hiding her eyes behind her hands and peeking when the evil mermaid/AI/futuristic sickbay doctor came on screen. The 10 year old just sat and stared and loved every minute. “It.was.awesome!”
Unfortunately, I did not. Sometimes I hate myself for growing up. I can’t help but pick apart the issues with this filler episode. Everything from why the “siren” would physically attack people who got in her way or endangered her patients. Didn’t make much sense. I could have seen her placing them in an unbreakable cage instead. I also wondered why despite having the ability to move time/space and teleport the sick and injured to her sickbay, why she did not have the ability to fix them. Lots of unnecessary irony in this episode to build tension I guess.
Granted, I’m not saying Doctor Who is sound scientifically, but usually when the story sucks me in, I can forgive the little or rather large things that don’t seem quite right. There is something about Moffat’s writing that allows me to relax into the tale he’s weaving and emotionally invest myself. I hate to say it, but despite having pirates and some fun moments, there wasn’t any real emotional connection for me. Although to give some credit, I will say the last five minutes were extremely moving and despite knowing that Rory survives, I was worried for him. That right there is the strength of Matt Smith, Karen Gillian and Arthur Dorval.
Good news though – this episode isn’t my least favorite. I still think that goes to the Spitfires in space/Dalek third episode from last season. Too many WTF’s there.
Next week, one of my favorite authors, Neil Gaiman writes the episode. I hear from numerous sources that this is the gateway drug to get non-Whovians to believe. I hope so and I can’t wait.