With a new Pirates of the Caribbean movie on the horizon it was just a matter of time before we got a new take on the old pirate motif in Doctor Who. The episode begins with the Doctor and his crew landing on board a pirate ship full of terrified seamen. It seems that whenever one of these gentlemen gets even the slightest bruise, cut, or sickness a green skinned mermaid / siren type creature pops up and presumably kills them. This death is of course predicted by a ominous black spot appearing on the victim’s hand just before the attack.
The Curse of the Black Spot reminds me of some of the season openers we used to have during the Russell T. Davies era and more specifically those in which David Tennant was the Doctor. Not to say that’s a bad thing, but this episode seemed more “fluff” than the previous two which is both good and bad. On one hand I was relieved to see a bit of a reprieve of all of the Lost-esque stuff from the first two episodes and the disjointedness was gone. On the other we basically got the same kind of feel good romp that we always get with the whole “base under siege” episode archetype. This time the base being a pirate ship and the monster that of a siren / mermaid.
I think the main reason that this episode was only “average” to me was that one scene was inexplicably cut from the show, and messed up my train of thought while watching it. When all the pirates started to resort to infighting, the first mate was cut by the captain’s son as he tried to screw them all over. We see a scene of him barricading the door, only to have the character not appear in the rest of the episode until the very end. All of the sudden the Doctor runs into the room and he’s just gone with no explanation. I hope that there was a deleted scene that saw his removal from the ship because if not…..yeesh.
The episode did redeem itself a bit when we get the ending and the creation of a troupe of space pirates. I’ve always been a fan of space pirates due to my love of Leiji Matsumoto space operas, and am glad to see some pop up in modern Doctor Who. All in all, good episode could have been better.