The Doctor and companions find themselves on a pirate ship (owned by Henry Avery in the 1690s, just after he’d successfully stolen an Indian treasure – true story, apparently). Every time someone gets cut or bruised, a siren turns up to consume their souls. The Doctor comes up with a theory about what’s driving the siren… only for the rules of his theory to be broken… at which point he says, ‘Forget everything I just said’ and comes up with another theory… the rules of which are broken… so ‘Forget that’… and here’s another theory. And so it goes. None of it is very sensible or plausible. But it’s scifi, they cry, it’s not meant to make sense! Actually, good scifi always has rules within which problems display a logic. The scifi in this episode is just a muddle. In fact, the Curse of the Black Spot just feels like two episodes bolted together – a pirate drama followed by a scifi drama, neither of which quite work on their own merits. Far worse than any of that, though, is the jokes in this episode are very few and lame.
Episode 3 was better than the first two in the series, to be sure, but 45mins isn’t enough to build the characters of the pirates (including Henry Avery’s son, fresh out of RADA), set and solve a mystery, and include more cryptic events connected to the story arc of the series (an arc which really isn’t very cryptic at all, to be honest, if we see the Doctor die in some flashback, and just know he can’t die, and then we’re told a lot of this is going on in Amy’s head, and she may or may not be pregnant, and seems to be haunted by a doctor… surely not a miscarriage… of justice?).
Any saving graces? Well, Lily Cole as the siren worked well, so the episode isn’t a complete waste of time. 7/10. The trailer for episode 4 looked really good, however, so hoping this series will just keep improving.