Neither Vampires nor Venice feature in this episode.
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Having recently extricated himself from Rory’s bride’s voracious mouth attack, The Doctor takes the Ponds to 1580’s Venice for some good old-fashioned romantic marriage counselling.
Meanwhile, poor Guido is finding that there’s not much of a future in the boat-building business in the floating city of Venice, and decides to deposit his darling daughter at the Calvierri School for Mysterious Girls.
Unsurprisingly, the Calvierris are alien fish creatures (aka Saturnyns), hell-bent on sinking Venice and prostituting the local ladies to legions of sexually frustrated fingerlings with tingling ding-a-lings.
Perhaps the stars were aligned in a particularly aggressive fashion the night we recorded this review, or perhaps we all just needed to vent. In either case, have a listen as we delight in tearing this episode apart.
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Venice! Vampires! Amy is a jerkwad?
Oh Amy. If you’re interested in polyamory you have to talk to your current partner first. That’s like 101! This episode sees Amy constantly acting like a jerk and Rory annoyed the entire time. I can hardly blame him. Amy nearly threw away their entire relationship for a taste of time lord. And ok yes, while that does sound exciting, Rory is clearly devoted to her. Why is she so keen on jeopardizing that?
Things only get worse when they discover Madame Calvierri’s Special School for Fanged Teenagers. Rory was expecting a romantic getaway and instead they are thrown into danger. No wonder Rory jokes about losing their wedding hall deposit- this is a lot for him to take in. But when it becomes clear the danger Amy has walked into, Rory has some hard words for The Doctor about the risk he puts on others.
The setting and supernatural-is-real theme remind me of The Shakespeare Code, while the ending (during which Doc climbs to the roof in a thunderstorm to disable a thing) reminds me of- what did Ponken call it, Daleks Take Manhattan?
Why does Madame Calvierri die of jumping in the water disguised as a human while her son does not?
Are we meant to understand that the 10,000 husbands just live in Venetian canals (eating people!) until they die of old age?
Why at the end does Amy act like their successful bonding was somehow her idea?
Rating: bubble gum
This episode (and season) is *alot* better than I remember it being. Maybe the bad 11th Doctor episodes (Rings of Akhaten) stink the good stuff out. Lots of snappy one liners and funny and poignant moments. Fake Venice looks great. Rory’s relationship with Amy and the Doctor tingles with tension. With hindsight two seasons later, Amy and Rory are the most well developed companions in Who history (besides Ace).
Nitpicks. Why the whole ‘Amy undercover’ charade to get access to the school? The doctor sneaks in easily twice – he totally could have saved Isobella! Why kill Isobella instead of turning her into a fish vampire?The Doctors policy on which aliens he lets claim asylum on earth is totally contradictory and would not stand up to legal challenge: the silerians and zygons are allowed to stay, why not fish vampires? Why does the sonic screwdriver not work on an actual lock? Why do the perception filters work on other fish vampires? Why does Signora Calvierri take her cloak off at the end if her clothes are a perception? Why do the fish vampires need to sink Venice? (Why not just swim off into the Atlantic?) Who is cheering the doctor as he turns off the weather machine? Physic paper is increasingly a liability – why not fake some actual papers?
Overall, enjoyable stuff and stands proudly alongside Classic Who vampire serials, including the 7th Doctor’s mega awesome ‘Curse of Fenric’ (Zombie-vampire-Vikings), 4th Doctor creepfest ‘State of Decay’, and bonkers 1st Doctor story ‘The Chase’ where the Daleks battle Count Dracula (and Frankenstein’s monster) in a serial that should be declared a cure for depression.
3.4/5 gallons of fish vampire love juice
Vampires. We haven’t seen that before (we have. I’ll explain later). But this is so unique. They aren’t your average vampires. They’re fish vampires! Wow! They’re a great monster of the week.
Matt Smith was the gateway Doctor for me (I started watching the show in 2013, right at the tail end of his run). I loved the relationship he had with Amy and Rory. a wonderful thing.
Doctor Who is no stranger to Venice, either. “The Stones of Venice” from Big Finish is great (listen to it. Seriously!) and I love how well Venice was handled. Especially since they didn’t film in Venice. They filmed in Croatia! It’s amazing how they pulled it off.
The vampire girls are a scream with their bonces backcombed like Fenella Fielding in Carry On Screaming. I must admit I yawn at aliens disguised as humans. We’ve seen it so many times now. And Whithouse has used this device in Torchwood (Toshiko’s lesbian affair with a shapeshifter) and in his nostalgic Who, School Reunion (bat-like Krillitanes disguised as teachers).
But his script delivers lots of heroics and funny moments for the Doctor, Amy and Rory. A goofy Mr. Ordinary, Rory grounds the drama in a way that ethereal Amy can’t and is a welcome addition to the TARDIS crew. Matt Smith, Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill have forged a dynamic, quirky threesome.
Overall, this story is pretty good. Not my favorite, but it’s great. 3.2/5
The Doctor takes Amy & Rory away on a romantic destination getaway in beautiful Venice, 1580. Unfortunately, The Queen of the Space Piranhas has taken refuge from The Silence in the murky Venetian waters, and along with Prince Creepy Britches, is converting young women into potential breeding stock. The Doctor doesn’t go in for that sort of thing, especially when a girls name is forgotten, so as Fathers die for their daughters, and Sons see the light, it all kind of gets resolved with the flick of a switch.
I wasn’t crazy about this episode when it first aired, but on re-watch, I realized just how good it actually is. It ties in nicely with the overall series arc, and the chemistry between Helen McCrory (Rosanna) and Matt Smith could have been the entire episode, it was so good. For the most part, I enjoyed the Amy/Rory side story, even if I still feel like she treats him like an accessory at times. The First Doctor makes a neat appearance, and as always, Matt Smith is on point with his delivery, whether serious or comedic. Nice ominous ending to cap it all off.
My Classic reviews tend to be more tongue-in-cheek, but I’m still finding my voice in Nu-Who.
3.9/5 – Points off for the Steam Punk De-Climatizer ending that reminded me too much of “The Evolution of the Daleks”, but Whithouse is my favourite Nu-Who writer, so I digress. Also I feel badly for Lucy, and I hope she sorted her Diabetes.