The Curse of the Black Spot
|Season 6, Episode 3|
|Airdate: 7 May 2011|
|Writer: Stephen Thompson|
|Director: Jeremy Webb|
|Notable for: A pirate-themed standalone adventure that provides levity after the darker two-part season opener.|
The Curse of the Black Spot
Arriving just in time for the latest Pirates of the Caribbean movie (On Stranger Tides), Doctor Who has decided to go all pirate on us – even adopting the episode title The Curse of the Black Spot, to mirror The Curse of the Black Pearl. What we get feels genuinely like “Old School” Doctor Who, with the action confined to a very tight remote location, some corny (but effective) special effects and advanced technology masquerading as superstition. I suppose it was inevitable that a “monster of the week” episode would feel like a bit of a letdown after the superb Day of the Moon, but – while fun – The Curse of the Black Spot never really feels essential.
Perhaps it’s the fact that the story is one that we’ve seen on the show countless times before, in many different forms, filtered through the familiar lens of a pirate tale, but the episode didn’t really grab me. Perhaps it was the use of technobabble to mask a fair straightforward reveal… Perhaps it’s the fact that the episode feels strangely incomplete, with a blacked out set and a very small bunch of pirates helping make a pirate adventure on a television budget (all explained in the episode, but feeling no less convenient for that). – The M0vie Blog
The ambitious two-parter that opened Doctor Who‘s sixth season was met with an outpouring of acclaim from some, and a troublesome medley of confusion, disappointment and other assorted backlash from others. In the last two weeks, more than a few have asked if executive producer/head writer/overlord Steven Moffat is venturing too far from the beaten path of previous stories, if he’s making the show too scary or too complex or even just too weird. “Curse of the Black Spot” may not silence all of those outcries, but it definitely delivers something many of the show’s faithful fans have been waiting for since before the fifth season ended: an old fashioned standalone Doctor adventure with period costumes, monsters and lots of laughs. – Nerd Bastards
Pirates, in theory, can overcome any obstacle.
They spit in the face of scurvy, make parrots look brilliantly bad-ass, and can turn a clumsily severed disability into a stylishly enviable weapon-cum-can opener. Hell, they’ve even managed to emerge unscathed from three movies tethered to the lip-wobbling tween melodramas between Keira Knightley and Orlando Bloom.
Yet somehow their Doctor Who debut (obscure audio book aside) wasn’t quite the storytelling Hook we’d been hoping for. – IGN
Doctor Who and the Pirates! There’s no doubt that that’s a concept that children are going to lap up. And no doubt there’s plenty of grownups among us who will have been glad of a spot of light relief after that opening 1-2 punch. It’s just that, after the outright sluttiness of that opener, this just felt like a gentle flirt in the park, holding hands. And that can’t help but feel a little bit anticlimax.
Which isn’t to say that The Curse of the Black Spot was a bad episode by any stretch. Here was a nice old-fashioned runaround bolstered by some high concepts and cute moments. In many ways it was the most classic Who we’ve seen in a while: arrive in a classic scenario, have some fun with the iconography (loved Pond and the cutlass), end up in mortal danger, discover classic scenario is actually a bizarre spaceship, discover the alien isn’t what it seemed to be, learn a valuable life lesson, romp off again. – The Guardian
Hello, everyone. Keith Phipps is otherwise occupied tonight, so I’ll be your Who reviewer for the week. And I kind of wish I’d gotten to do part of the two-part season premiere, because while “Curse Of The Black Spot” was harmless fun, there wasn’t really a lot TO it. I always think the third episode of the season—when the Doctor inevitably visits some long past time period and does battle with monsters and aliens—is going to be more exciting than it is, and I’m inevitably let down. This was probably one of the better examples of the form, honestly, but these episodes always feel like they’re awkwardly tossed in as a sort of hat tip toward the show’s educational roots. Still, there was fun to be had here, and pirates are always a good time, right?
“The Curse Of The Black Spot” is, ultimately, a bit of a mixed bag, but there’s enough good in it that I didn’t roll my eyes at watching it. The show’s essentially anthological nature means that it’s, by design, more hit and miss than almost any other genre show on the air, but in the Moffat era, even the biggest misses have one or two intriguing scenes in them. – A.V. Club
What we got instead, then, was a standalone episode. There’s a good argument, to be fair, for putting a standalone episode here, given that we’ve had two rampaging episodes of Doctor Who world-changing stature. But The Curse Of The Black Spot was a bit of a tepid adventure, all said and done. It occasionally offered moments of real interest and intrigue, but ultimately, I can’t help feeling it squandered the opportunity for a fun, 45-minute, knockabout pirate romp…
It was a frustrating episode, and it’s easy to be harsh on it because of what it wasn’t, rather than what it was. However, even as a straight standalone, I can’t see many arguing that this was Who at its best. Perhaps the biggest disappointment is that it feels like a big missed opportunity. That if the show was taking us away from the massive storylines of last week, it could have served up a delicious romp on the high seas. But it didn’t, choosing to go the other way, and not altogether successfully. – Den of Geek