Well shiver me timbers, just when you thought Doctor Who had touched on every nerdy scenario, we’ve got ourselves some cursed pirates! And yes, that is indeed Hugh Bonneville from Downton Abbey. Who better to play the captain of a haunted ship than the Earl of Grantham?
Upon responding to what appears to be a ship in distress, the Doctor and the Ponds find themselves in company of a few scallywags bent on making them walk the plank. Amy finds a cutlass, brass-buttoned coat, and three-cornered hat. Not entirely sure how the outfit improves survival, but if you were about to engage in some serious swashbuckling, wouldn’t you want to look the part too?
Just when the Doctor is about to take a plunge into the briny deep, a far more mysterious enemy arrives. Glowing green and singing her spellbinding song, a siren leaps from the water to lure one of the men into a misty demise. She appears to be attracted to blood, and claims another one of the men when a leech leaves a wound on his leg. Fleeing indoors, they soon discover they are still not safe, as the siren is able to use any form of water—puddles and bilge water included—as a portal. The group takes cover in the bone-dry gunroom and find an adorable little stowaway who, as it turns out, is the captain’s son.
Captain and son take a moment to catch up. The boy announces his mother’s death, and the captain reveals that the monster on board marks her prey with a spot on the palm of the hand. Such a joyous reunion! What could possible get worse? Well, looks like the poor sickly boy bears the infamous black spot.
The captain and the Doctor, still unwounded and therefore safe from the siren, head to the Tardis to see about escaping. They return to the gunroom unsuccessful, seeing as the Tardis decided to take off without them. Soon, they realize that it is not merely water that functions as a portal, but reflective surfaces, forcing the captain to get rid of all his super shiny treasure. With nothing left to do until the wind picks up again, the gang hunkers down in the gunroom to wait.
Now for the crazy eye patch lady! First seen in the episode “Day of the Moon” when Amy explored the orphanage, a woman slid open a door in what seems like the fabric of reality. Again she appears, gazes in at Amy through a slot in the wall, and offers cryptic encouragement. Is Amy losing her mind? What does this woman have to do with the child in the astronaut suit? Could she be tied to the Doctor’s impending death?
Out of nowhere, a storm begins, rendering the water choppy, non-reflective, and safe. Unfortunately, the greedy captain failed to rid the ship of all sparkly treasure. Shocked and betrayed, the little boy is zapped away as the siren enters through the gleam of a golden crown. Rory falls into the stormy sea, and those left on board decide to prick their own fingers in hopes that the siren will take them to wherever their lost ones are located.
Sure enough, it works! We now have an entirely different ghost ship that, by temporal rift, is occupying the same space as the pirate ship. This ship is the source of the original distress signal the Tardis picked up in the first place, and the crew is long dead. The siren is really part of an automated sickbay that was unable to save its patients. Now, she compulsively captures and attempts to treat anyone at the first sign of injury. They find the entire missing crew peacefully sleeping in the sickbay, including Rory and the captain’s son. Due to the little boy’s illness, he will never be able to leave the ship and survive. But in a way, that’s almost okay, because now we have old-fashioned pirates in a new-fashioned starship. Oh, yes.
This was a bit of a filler “freak of the week” episode, but every show is entitled to a few of those. It was not completely without plot points, however, considering the eye patch lady made another appearance. And there is still no verdict on whether or not Amy is with child! How long will they keep us hanging?
Did you think this was an eventful ep, or a Monster of the Week ep?