Doctor Who

Season 6 Episode 3

The Curse of the Black Spot

Aired Saturday 8:00 PM May 07, 2011 on BBC America
out of 10
User Rating
323 votes

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Episode Summary

Location: Atlantic Ocean, Earth Date: 17th Century Enemies: The Siren The Doctor answers a distress signal and materializes aboard a becalmed 17th-century pirate ship. A mysterious sea creature, the Siren, stalks any injured crew, picking them off one by one. When Rory is scratched, he becomes the creature's next victim. Meanwhile, the TARDIS departs on its own, leaving the Doctor and Amy stranded with the implacable Captain Avery, whose desire for treasure may prove his undoing.moreless

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  • The Curse of the Black Spot

    The Curse of the Black Spot was a spectacular episode of Doctor Who and an awesome take on the Siren Myth. I liked the story and the characters were fascinating and full of surprise. The Siren was very well done and looked amazing. I liked her song and the special effects. It was interesting to learn what she really was. I liked how every thing played out and the ending was awesome as The Captain took his new ship to his most trustworthy star. I look forward to watching the next episode!!!!!!!!!moreless
  • The Doctor, Amy and Rory land aboard a 17th Century pirate ship, whose crew are suffering the strange curse of "The Black Spot", and being attacked by the mysterious, beautiful Siren. Sadly, for the most part, dull and dragged out...moreless

    This review contains spoilers.

    After the wonderful (arguably even classic) 'The Impossible Astronaut' / 'Day of the Moon', anything that came after was inevitably going to be a let down, an anti-climax. I even nearly made this comment at the end of my review for 'Day of the Moon' last week, but decided not to, to try not to jinx things. But... well, yep, this was a much weaker episode in my opinion.

    Despite my concerns, I was looking forward to this episode. Of course it wouldn't be a mass-scale 'Pirates of the Caribbean'-type affair, but even so, I thought that the premise had so much potential. So what a shame that the final result is, for the most part, rather dragged out and dull, with a basic plot stretched to fill the runtime.

    The press reports suggested some location filming in Cornwall. Unless I missed something, I saw none of this; instead, we were stuck in a basic, unimaginative studio set.

    This was originally pencilled in to be the ninth episode of the series; quite why they felt need to bring it forward, when the series desperately needed a much stronger episode to follow on from 'Astronaut' / 'Moon' is anyone's guess.

    The climax of the story almost sees what may seem to some, inevitable, the death of Rory. I've said it so many times before, but... Arthur Darvill great in the role, but Rory adds nothing to the series, he needs a twist, a dynamic, he's a spare wheel (and cramps Amy's role). I was actually quite surprised he "came back to life" at the end, to be quite honest.

    This was a very dialogue-heavy episode, at the sacrifice of much real excitement. Also a lot of "quirky" lines, which sometimes I can bare if there is a decent plot going on, but here I found to be a little grating at some points.

    I know some will love this episode. Then again, some will claim "we had much better than this sort of thing in the Russell T. Davies era". Which is quite untrue – the rose tinted spectacles tend to gloss over some of the truly poor (and rather dumbed down) offerings from that era, but that's getting into another debate.

    Either way, I just expected so much more from this episode. I'm a fan of many varied TV series, and the U.S. / New Zealand's 'Hercules' and 'Xena' shows were doing far much more adventurous sea-bound episodes over 15 years previously, on much more limited technology and probably on the equivalent budget.

    All-in-all, not an episode I'll rush back to see, I'm afraid. It does have some moments, and a few fair effects (not nearly enough), but I felt it took far too long to get to the climax and revelations. I can only muster myself to give 'The Curse of the Black Spot' a much lower than usual 6.5. Sorry folks (click up those "thumbs down" review ratings lol)moreless
  • The Black Spot is a classic pirate theme, played perfectly in this Doctor Who episode

    I know I'm in the extreme minority when I say I didn't like the last 2-part episode, mostly because the pacing was horrendous, but boy has it picked up for this one. I loved the mysterious elements, I liked the character work, I liked the drama, the action was good, it was very well placed, there was a real sense of jeopardy in the episode. The only problem, and it's so minor I'm not even counting it is the point where they show us exactly what we already know about Amelia, without even trying to advance the plot, but it's 5 seconds, with 44 minutes and 55 seconds of brilliance.moreless
  • Really great episode, full of intrigue till the last scene.

    **spoilers** Really great episode, full of intrigue till the last scene. Once again, we see the Doctor saving people - the pirates - and trying to solve the mystery - the Siren - while saving himself, Amy, and Rory. The Doctor, Amy and Rory land on a pirate ship, where they are greeted by some not so friendly pirates, who want to make the Doctor walk the plank and make Amy a 'dogsie'. When Amy makes a small cut on one of the pirates with a sword - along with Rory - the captain and the other crew members get really worried, even though she just made a tiny cut. We find out later that whenever someone on board the ship gets a cut, the Siren leaves a black mark on them, and sings to bring them to her, where they disappear upon touch. The Doctor has a theory that the Siren only appears when blood is drawn, and can only come through water. We later find out that she comes not only for people who bleed, but also for the sick and wounded, and through reflections, not just still water.

    When she gets Rory, the Doctor, Amy, and the captain cut themselves so that they can go wherever the Siren took the other crew members and Rory. When they wake up on a spaceship on the pirate ship, they find out that multiple universes have 'collided', and that reflections are like a gateway between the universes. They come upon a room in which many people are being stored, asleep. The Doctor figures out that the Siren is not a demon, but a doctor, saving peoples lives by keeping them alive.

    Amy manages to save Rory, and the Doctor tells Amy to go to bed. Then we see the same thing that happened in the previous episode - the Doctor does a pregnancy scan on Amy, and the screen constantly flickers between positive and negative.

    All in all, a great episodemoreless
  • Peter Pan mixed with Pinter. Sometimes works but timing a little off.

    It's behind you! Oh no it isn't oh yes it is! Trip guffaw. This episode of Doctor Who is like a children's production of Peter Pan with a slight bit of Harold Pinter thrown in to appeal to the adults. The Doctor and his merry crew end up on a stranded ship where the crew of Pirates find themselves being picked off one by one by a beautiful singing siren. The black spot refers to the mark that appears on your hand once you get injured. A cut, a spot then Miss Mermaid takes you to Never Never Land. Or does she…

    Well there's enough pantomime type shenanigans, and hyper-active Doctor babble to just about keep you interested during the painfully slow first-half. Amongst the dreary moments there is some nice comedy and self-referential humour. Stephen Thomson arms the Doctor with some great lines regarding the absurdity of the pirates and Karen Gillan as usual, just looks like she is having such a great time as Amy that you just can't help but enjoy the silliness. The second-half lurches through the rest of the ideas as if realising that they won't get a viewing in the final 15 minutes. Luckily for us we are rewarded with a few tantalizing breadcrumbs of ongoing story arcs. The episode is a bit…clumsy, a bit…choppy and works best when it's more Pinter and less pantomime. The menace of a creature that speaks no words, the inertness of the ship contrasting with the ambivalence manifest aboard the still enclosed space where characters with demons get to reflect on what they are and their own mortality and finally of course the slapstick. These elements are what elevate Doctor Who from the absurd to the interesting and strangely this episode may have been better as a two-parter.

    Again the ending is confusing, for some reason the Doctor does not know CPR or have access to defibrillator technology but I'm actually almost ready to accept that Doctor Who logic is a lot bigger on the inside that it is on the outside.moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (4)

    • When the Doctor, Amy, and Captain Avery are on the alien ship, looking at the remains of the alien crew, the Doctor refers to Earth as "our" planet." Being an alien himself, he should have said "your planet" or "Earth" not "our planet."

    • When the Siren takes the Doctor, Amy, and Captain Avery, it doesn't place them into stasis like all the other characters, even though, like many of those characters, they only had a small cut.

    • After Toby cuts him, the Boatswain disappears until he is seen at the end, on the Siren's ship. It is implied he was taken by the Siren, but this is not shown or even mentioned by the characters.

    • Although another pirate captain, Avery, is mentioned in the original series in The Smugglers, there is no indication that it is the same character who is seen here. Some of Avery's shipmates are mentioned in that episode, and none of the crew here have any of the same names.

  • QUOTES (14)

    • The Doctor: Yo-ho-ho! Or does nobody actually say that?

    • The Doctor: Is laughing like that in the job description? 'Can you do the laugh?' Check. Grab yourself a parrot, welcome aboard.

    • Avery: Take the doxie below, put her to work.
      Rory: Hey!
      Avery: Set her to work, she won't need much feeding.
      Amy: Rory! A little help.
      Rory: Yeah, hey, listen, mate, she's not a doxie.
      Amy: I didn't mean just tell him off. Thanks anyway.

    • Avery: She can smell the blood on your skin. She's marked you for death.
      Rory: She?
      Avery: A demon, out there in the ocean.
      The Doctor: Okay, groovy. So you're just not pirates today, we've managed to bag us a ship with a demon popping in. Very efficient. I mean, if something's going to kill you, it's nice that it drops you a note to remind you.

    • Avery: She's been hunting us ever since we were be calmed, picking off the injured.
      Crewman: Like a shark. A shark can smell blood.
      The Doctor: Okay, just like a shark. In a dress, and singing, and green. A green, singing shark in an evening gown.

    • Amy: Sure you want to go?
      The Doctor: We have to get Rory and Toby away. She's out there now, licking her lips, boiling the saucepan, grating the cheese.
      Amy: Okay, we'll remember. If you get an itch, don't scratch too hard.
      The Doctor: We've all got to go sometime. There are worse ways than having your face knocked off by a dodgy mermaid.

    • Avery: By all the...!
      The Doctor: Let me stop you there. Bigger on the inside. Bit faster if you skip to the end of that moment. And sorry I lied, by the way, when I said yours was bigger. Kitchen that way, choice of bathrooms there, there, there.

    • Avery: (examining the TARDIS controls) What's this do?
      The Doctor: That is very, very complicated. That does sophisticated. That does... whoa, amazing. And that does whiz, bang, far too technical to explain.
      Avery: Wheel?
      The Doctor: Atom accelerator.
      Avery: It steers the thing.
      The Doctor: No. Sort of. Yes.
      Avery: Wheel. Telescope. Astrolabe. Compass. A ship's a ship.
      The Doctor: Uh-huh.

    • The Doctor: Umm, it's stuck. Not responding.
      Avery: Becalmed?
      The Doctor: Hmm-mm. Apparently. That's new. You have to gloat, didn't you?
      Avery: I'm not gloating.
      The Doctor: I saw that look just now. 'Ha ha, his ship is rubbish.'
      Avery: True.

    • The Doctor: It can't get a lock on the plane.
      Avery: The what?
      The Doctor: The space we travel in. The... ocean. Sort of ocean, but not water. The TARDIS can't see it. It's sulking because it thinks the space doesn't exist. Without that, we're not going anywhere.
      Avery: I'm confused.
      The Doctor: Yeah, well, it's a big club. We should get t-shirts.

    • Amy: How can two ships be in the same place?
      The Doctor: Not the same. Two planes, two worlds, two cars parked in the same space. There are lots of different universes, nested inside of each other. Now and again they collide, and you can step from one to another.
      Amy: Okay. I think I understand.
      The Doctor: Good, because it's not like that at all, but if that helps.
      Amy: Thanks.

    • The Doctor: That's what killed it,didn't get its jabs... oh, look.
      Amy: What is it?
      The Doctor: Sneeze. Alien bogeys.

    • Amy: I thought I was an excellent pirate.
      Rory: I thought you were an excellent nurse.
      Amy: Easy, Tiger.

    • Amy: Good night, Doctor.
      The Doctor: Good night, Amelia.
      Amy: You only call me "Amelia" when you're worrying about me.
      The Doctor: I always worry about you.

  • NOTES (1)


    • The Black Spot:
      The black spot was a plot device invented by Robert Louis Stevenson for his classic pirate novel Treasure Island (1883). In the book the black spot is marked on a piece of paper and passed on to the intended victim. Just as in this episode, the recipient of the black spot is marked for imminent death.

    • Title:
      Referencing the film Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl.