Amy may well have been talking to us, the viewers, when she said that line at the start of the episode! I’ve watched ‘The Big Bang’ more than a few times, but I don’t think I’m anywhere near fully comprehending it. My fault or Moffat’s? Was there any logic to really comprehend, or was it another logic-free, emotion and jargon filled Doctor Who finale? Continue reading →
“I need to find The Doctor…and I need to show him this”
Unfortunately, I know how ‘The Big Bang’ resolves ‘The Pandorica Opens.’ I watched them both several times. ‘The Pandorica Opens’ is one of Moffat’s best episodes, showing lots of promise, confidence and quality story-telling. There are a few questions answered, a lot more left unanswered, and even more posed by the cliffhanger. To say ‘The Big Bang’ is an underwhelming conclusion is something of an understatement. But, watching ‘The Pandorica Opens’ for the first time, I couldn’t wait for the finale! What I’d just watched was simply a great piece of television. Continue reading →
So, the antepenultimate episode of Series 5 includes James Corden and The Doctor as his lodger…not exactly a winning recipe on paper. Since Series 3, the antepenultimate episode has been part of the two-part finale. ‘Utopia’ revealed that The Master was still alive, and ‘Turn Left’ revealed that ‘the end of the universe’ was near. So, how did the Lodger measure up? Did it surpass my low expectations? Continue reading →
After watching ‘Vincent And The Doctor’ more than a few times, I’m still not sure of how I feel about it! Not a good sign for a review, is it? I don’t love it, and I don’t hate it…somewhere in between, maybe? It was an intense character piece, no doubt, but I found the beauty in the scenery, rather than in the writing or characters. Seriously, this is the most stunning Doctor Who episode to date. Forget worlds conjured by CGI; this episode almost matched the beauty of Van Gogh’s paintings. Maybe I was too entranced by the beauty to distil the true nature of the episode? Or maybe I thought that Richard Curtis and Doctor Who should never meet… Continue reading →
So we were left at the end of ‘The Hungry Earth’ with Amy about to be dissected, and the realisation that there was a massive Silurian civilisation underground. A quite impressive cliffhanger and very different to the usual cliffhanger as well. Okay, there sometimes it did seem like an episode of Torchwood (as this episode did at time!), but it was still an overall decent episode. Of course, the proof of a two-parter is in the second part; they have to be equally good. ‘Cold Blood’ delivered the goods, in a pretty good episode! And what we got was an old-style Doctor Who, full of chasing, running, and ‘diplomacy.’ And the end, oh the end…but we will get to that. Continue reading →
So, the head writer of Torchwood writing for Doctor Who? He did write the pretty good ‘42’, and to be fair, Torchwood was enjoyable trash. I expected a Torchwood-esque Doctor Who, especially as The Hungry Earth was set in Wales. Cue Welsh accents, dodgy acting/scripting, incomprehensible plots, yet still lots of fun and enjoyment. This episode followed a similar path, with all of the positives and negatives that such a path demands… Continue reading →
“You die in the dream, you wake up in reality. Ask me what happens if you die in reality”
‘Amy’s Choice’ was an odd episode. I liked it, but I’m not sure why! Now, that’s fairly important for a review. But maybe, like The Doctor, Amy and Rory, who couldn’t decide whether they were living in a dream or reality, I cannot decide whether I really liked Amy’s Choice or not. It left me not knowing whether I’d just experienced a sweet dream, or a beautiful nightmare…And I suppose that was the point, just over halfway through the series. Of course, the ‘is this a dream?’ scenario is conjured up a lot in science fiction, and even in horror (see A Nightmare on Elm Street, THE ORIGINAL!). So did ‘Amy’s Choice’ provide a decent spin on the old trope? Continue reading →
“She was frightened, I was frightened… But we survived, and the relief of it and… so, she kissed me”
I expected ‘Vampires of Venice’ to be a filler episode. And it was a filler episode. I’m sick of Vampires. The ‘vampire’ phenomenon is resurrected every so often, and the latest resurrection probably began with the dreaded ‘Twilight’ novels. Since those terrible novels, we’ve had the film adaptions of said novels, True Blood, Vampire Diaries, Being Human, and more. The appeal of vampires lies in their subtext; the repression and expression of sexual urges. Sexual desire is symbolised by the taking of blood, and the victim is physically invaded and taken over by the vampire. And obviously, this appeals mostly to teenagers, especially American teenagers. Due to the hefty influence of Christianity in America, many teenagers are sexually repressed (no sex before marriage), and grasp at any opportunity to express this repression. Vampire stories are a great way to express this repression of sexual urges. Surely that’s the only reason why the terrible Twilight novels have been so successful?
And thus ‘The Vampires of Venice’ fluidly continues from ‘Flesh and Stone,’ where Amy’s sexual advances were rejected by The Doctor. What better way to express that than have a vampire story? The most pressing issue was whether Doctor Who could anything different with the vampire phenomenon. Of course, they turned out to be aliens, ‘Sisters of the Sea’ from the planet Saturnine. Once again, the aliens were fairly poor CGI creations, but used sparsely to disguise the garishness. The aliens used ‘perception filters’ to cover their true form. This is not the first use of perception filters in Series 5: Prisoner Zero used on, and the Weeping Angels used them. Is there supposed to be a theme here, or just lazy storytelling? Perception filters are another hangover from the Russell T. Davies era, as an easy explanation for something peculiar.
After the super-seriousness of ‘Flesh and Stone,’ the audience needed some relief. However, this relief came from a RTD-esque love triangle, best shown in Series 1 with Mickey, Rose, and The Ninth Doctor. In ‘The Vampires of Venice,’ the tension between Amy, her fiancé Rory and The Doctor was fairly funny, but grated at times. It served a purpose in the story; The Doctor had no idea what to do about Amy’s advances so brought her fiancé into the mix and took them to Venice!
“You have no idea how dangerous you make people to themselves when you’re around”
So how were the ‘vampires’ utilised here? They were obviously an important part in repairing the fractured relationship between Amy and Rory. Even in ‘The Eleventh Hour,’ Amy seemed ambiguous to her “sort of boyfriend.” In the last episode, Amy metaphorically rejected Rory by telling The Doctor she was thinking about who she wants. Then she jumped on The Doctor. So, the storyline of this episode should be viewed as a parallel to this setting. Amy chooses to go undercover and join the House of Calvierri, for the thrill of adventure, much like she chose to join The Doctor for the same sense of adventure. And of course, there is always the element of danger in adventure. She’s ‘seduced’ by the Queen of the aliens, Rosanna Calvierri. And this seduction is completed by the usual vampire act of drinking blood from the neck; shorthand for sexual intercourse. And, if you think about it, ‘Flesh and Stone,’ this episode, and the next episode, ‘Amy’s Choice,’ make a story arc of their own. We have the real seduction in ‘Flesh and Stone,’ the metaphorical act of sex in this episode, and Amy’s pregnancy in ‘Amy’s Choice.’
As a filler episode, it stormed over tripe like ‘Boom Town,’ ‘Fear Her,’ and ‘The Unicorn and the Wasp.’ All of those must be included in a ‘Worst of Doctor Who’ list. VV, however, was entertaining. A logical plot, not an awful enemy, and quite a few laughs. Again, the direction and camerawork is brilliant. Venice looked stunning. Matt Smith improves in each episode, which seems like a hard feat itself, as he is simply superb alreadyAnd again, The Doctor had a choice; either let the aliens take over Venice, or extinguish their entire race. The former meant saving the species; the other meant consigning 200,000 humans to their death.
For a filler episode, it was more than adequate. Compared to the previous two episodes, it was a little light and fluffy, but it entertained. Not to a great extent, but it rarely gave me time for my mind to wander or my eyes to find the time. It continued the themes and subtext of ‘Flesh and Stone,’ whilst doing something a little bit different with the vampire sub-genre we are all too familiar with.
VERDICT: 7/10. An episode to pass the time, but one that I wouldn’t skip when rewatching Series 5!
Leave your thoughts/comments below!
(Click here for my review of Doctor Who, Series 5, Episode 5: Flesh And Stone)
After the awful ‘Victory of the Daleks,’ I was apprehensive about ‘The Time of Angels.’ Sure, the Weeping Angels were Moffat’s own creation, so he couldn’t mercilessly murder them. Or could he? My fears were soon abated, even in the first five minutes of the episode. Moffat has given us another great episode with the first half of the two parter involving the Weeping Angels and the return of River Song…
“Please desist from striking me. I am your soldier”
My initial reaction was ‘OH DEAR.’ The fifth series of Doctor Who reached rock bottom with ‘Victory of the Daleks’, falling from the heights of ‘The Beast Below.’ I did not have high hopes for this episode, due to the Dalek over-saturation by Russel T. Davis, and Mark Gatiss, the script writer. He wrote such ‘classics’ as ‘The Unquiet Dead’ and ‘The Idiot’s Lantern.’ The Dickens one was the first poor episode of the first series, and the ‘MAGPIE’ one plunged the poor half of the second series further into oblivion. Even my low hopes for this episode were not met. Continue reading →