Although the Sixth Series has had a few memorable moments (such as the appearance of Richard Nixon and The Doctor’s new nickname for River Song), I’ve got to say it’s been largely a disappointment. The foreshadowing of the Doctor’s (Matt Smith) death and the malevolence of the Silence is the weakest intro to a season since the first two episodes that relaunched the series with Chrisopther Eccleston. I’ve been hoping things might pick up, but I’m afraid they’re getting worse.
The latest episode is arguably the weakest in Smith’s run as The Doctor, Amy (Karen Gillan), Rory (Arthur Darvill), and The Doctor find themselves on a pirate ship haunted by a curse and a Siren (Lily Cole) who marks and kills her victims. The idea is interesting, but only in a fan fiction kind of way. “Hey, let’s have The Doctor play with pirates!” How about we don’t and pretend we did instead?
There are only a couple of moments which tie into the overall theme of the season including the return of the mysterious woman behind the door and a discussion about dimensions bleeding into each other, but for the large part this episode is a throwaway. Had it been more fun, I’d forgive it, but even with pirates this one’s about as bleak as it can get.
And both the reveal and conclusion are far from satisfying. Even the attempt to prolong the suspense about Rory feels forced (as is the eternally long scene before he is eventually saved). I’m not sure where show runner Steven Moffat is taking us this year, but almost a quarter of the way in he’s already got me pining for the days of David Tennant and Russell T. Davies. Not the most auspicious way to start the new year, and quite a big drop from the incredibly strong two-part ending of Series Five. Hopefully things will pick up with the next episode which teases more about River Song (Alex Kingston) with the title of “The Doctor’s Wife.”