Episode: Doctor Who 6.03 – “The Curse of the Black Spot”
Original Air Date: May 7, 2011
Screencaps by enchantedfleur.
Did somebody say pirates?
When the member of a pirate ship gets a minor injury, the crew treats it as a death sentence. The pirate captain, Henry Avery, and the others begin to talk of a siren, and no sooner is the horror mentioned than a sweet singing can be heard that lures the injured crew member to his doom. The crew notes that “as always” there’s no blood, bones, or body left. The crew then investigates a banging from below decks believing that the monster has returned, only to discover the Doctor, Amy, and Rory (“Yo ho ho! Or does no one actually say that anymore?”)
The pirates choose to display their usual hospitality towards the newcomers (see: “walking the plank”) until Amy grabs a sword and begins to threaten the crew. Given the pirates’ predicament, they’re initially afraid to attack her, but after they do, Amy cuts one of them and accidentally injures Rory. Black spots appear on both their hands right before the Siren returns with her hypnotic melody. Rory and the injured pirate immediately begin to act as if they’re drunk right as the Siren (Lily Cole, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus) appears and, reaching out to the pirate, disintegrates him on the spot.
As Amy attempts to prevent Rory from dying, the Siren turns an angry red and screeches at her, but the crew is able to keep Rory from the Siren’s clutches. As another crew member is injured, hiding below decks does no good as the Siren emerges from the water to claim his life. The Doctor figures out that she can appear through even a single drop of water and everyone then retreats to the powder room (where the cannon powder is kept, not where the pirates go to put on their makeup). There, Captain Avery finds his own son stowed away, who ran off to find his father after his mother passed away and he’s run off to join his father whom he believed was a naval officer.
The son’s cough (typhoid fever) and his own black spot lead the Doctor to speculate that the Siren comes after anyone who is remotely sick or injured. After another brief appearance by the Siren, the Doctor brings the captain back to the TARDIS, where the Doctor believes he’s found another dimension laying on top of this one. Meanwhile, without Captain Avery, the crew believes that the appearance of the boy has caused their captain to go soft and decide to abandon ship. As Toby (the son) attempts to stop them, they tell him the truth about his father’s career. As they attempt to leave, Toby cuts one of them with a cutlass.
Trying to reach the other dimension the TARDIS located, the controls start to go crazy and the two men quickly abandon the time ship. They then run into the remaining pirate attempting to flee the ship; firing at both of them as he enters the treasure room, he burns himself on a match, calling forth the Siren who finishes him too. The Doctor realizes that water actually isn’t the transport medium — it’s any reflecting surface. This realization brings them rushing back to the powder room, where Toby is shining the medal his father gave him. The Doctor snatches up the medal and then they all begin to damage every reflective surface on the ship. The Doctor tries to throw off the treasure, but the captain initially refuses.
Attempting to wait out the Siren, the Captain and Toby have a heart-to-heart about piracy; meanwhile, Amy sees the Metal Eye-patch Woman appear through another window slat, this time appearing on the wall of the ship. A sudden storm brings everyone out of their rest, and as Toby fetches his father’s coat, out of it spills a crown from which the Siren emerges to claim the son. The Doctor throws the crown overboard and berates Captain Avery for his greed.
A sudden lurch in the ship causes Rory to fall into the ocean, and the Doctor releases the Siren to save him with the belief that she is intelligent, capable of reasoning, and may have the injured crew members alive somewhere. Intentionally pricking their fingers, the Doctor, Amy, and Captain Avery are taken by the Siren and awaken on an alien ship that exists on a different plane in the same location. It would thus appear the Siren came from this ship, and as the three explore, they find its prior crew dead at their posts, long-since decomposed.
The Doctor, Amy, and Captain Avery then find the crew members in an alien sickbay under heavy sedation. Turns out the Siren is actually a holographic doctor who uses her song as an anesthetic. Once the Siren figures out that Amy and Rory are married, she presents what appears to be “consent form” and releases Rory into Amy’s care. The problem is, disconnecting Rory will return him to a state where he’s drowning. Rory talks Amy through CPR, giving her the confidence to go through the procedure. She disconnects Rory and starts CPR, but after several tries begins to lose hope, until Rory begins to cough and gasp for air.
With no life to return to, and his son dead without the care of the Siren, Captain Avery and his crew choose to remain on the alien ship. As Amy and Rory go off to bed, Amy once again remembers the Doctor’s death at the astronaut’s hands, and Rory reminds her that they can’t tell the Doctor about it. The Doctor promptly goes back to his screen as they leave, once again looking at a screen displaying Amy’s womb, flashing back and forth between “positive” and “negative.”
The hits keep on coming with this season. With another Disney Pirates movie due out on the 20th, it would seem that the show is just cashing in on the wave, but Doctor Who manages to make its own memorable splash (that’s right, two puns for the price of one!) and crafts a memorable episode. I’ve got to say, I don’t mind watching anything with Lily Cole in it, and she works very well here with her eerily attractive looks presenting a scary, but tempting monster (there’s also the matter of how much fiercer those arched eyebrows look when she gets angry).
The episode also does a good job highlighting the romance that exists between Amy and Rory, which can sometimes be muddled by the crush she has on the Doctor. Her protection of Rory and distraught behavior at the thought of losing reminds the audience that she didn’t marry Mr. Williams just because the Doctor wasn’t available. Of course, the lingering questions about the nature of her pregnancy and the Doctor’s apparent death in the future still hang over our heads with no clear answers as of yet.
Rating: 4 / 5 Stars