Make no mistake, this is going to be a relatively short one.
Ok. This is awkward. There was nothing much happening, really, until—BAM, Rory almost died. Don’t get me wrong, it was a good romp, seeing Amy with a cutlass. But then the problems started, and although it was fun, it was… mediocre. Yes, sorry, I think it was. Take the Different Dimension Parked in the Same Space thing (reminding me a bit of The Girl in the Fireplace), for instance. It was interesting, but underappreciated. It was just… there. And then it was gone. Everything felt slightly stilted and understated, as if the story was too shy to come out and shine. There were loads of good ideas, but they didn’t spark off, to be honest. The dialogue was good, the acting was proper, but something was missing.
The excitement, probably. The only time when I was properly freaked out was when that weird Eye Patch Lady appeared again, looking through a wall panel that wasn’t really there. There is more than one dimension parked in the wrong space, me thinks. Anyway—the plot was more of a calm, flowing thing, rather than a torrent. Yes, there was a stroppy, homicidal mermaid who wasn’t actually a homicidal mermaid—still a little stroppy, though—taking one after another away; and though the twist was very good, the action leading up to it was so awkward, it just didn’t come out with the bang it was, I guess, supposed to. It was a bit like… well, alien bogies. Curl them ’round your fingers, they’re elastic like that.
Or, as I put it to my friend Laura:
See, there just isn’t any drama or big plot theme to blog about. Let me compare this to last series’ The Hungry Earth/Cold Blood: there was, at least, the thing about the boy’s mother going crazy and murdering the Silurian girl, there was something to complain about, if you will. Here, there’s not even that. It’s boring to point out how boring some characters are. For example: the Captain who couldn’t leave the gold alone and therefore lets his son fall into the hands of the siren, blah blah, basic cock-and-bull story. Thing is: the siren will actually be his salvation. Yoho! Does that in anyway exonerate the Captain from the mistakes he’s made? Not really, but he gets to steer the ship away, somewhere safe where the siren can’t do any well-meaning harm, destined to roam for all eternity, along with the rest of his crew of miscreants. Lovely way of eternal punishment, very Davy Jones. Now, there was a decent tentacle face.
I suppose most know that it was Thompson who also wrote the Sherlock episode The Blind Banker. That was considered to be the weakest of all three, but it was more suspenseful than this.
I’m being rude, aren’t I? Look, I’m not saying it was bad, it wasn’t a rubbish stand-alone at all, but it’s a bit like Fear Her. Funny to watch once, but if you’re buying the boxset, it might be the one you always skip because you just remember it anyway.
What’s, indeed, interesting about the relationship dynamics, though: the Doctor gets that final bit of inspiration when Rory’s been taken. He’s got to save his outer-space sometimes-brother/sometimes-son in law, for Amy, so his brain finally switches over. He’s constantly wrong, though, which was well done, but, again, sort of underappreciated, there was always too much going on at once, somehow, which is weird when it all feels like there isn’t much going on at all.
Speaking of Rory: was that really necessary? Was it really necessary to put that drama into it again? There could have been an emergency on the ship, or they could’ve talked to the siren!Doctor a little, there could have been something behind the crash that might have contributed to the series arc. But no, Rory had to die, again, and then come back to life, and, frankly, that was rubbish. If the only bit of suspense and tragedy in an episode is the almost-death of a character who you know is going to be in the next episode, then there’s something wrong. Um. Besides, it makes Rory look like plot fodder, which he really, absolutely isn’t and shouldn’t be. So there, Steve Thompson, I expect your letter of apology on my desk forthwith.
Next episode: The Doctor’s Wife.