The Vampires of Venice

Meanwhile in the TARDIS: More sexy shenanigans from Amy, but the scene develops into an examination of what the purpose of the Doctor’s companion actually is, if it’s not to be a live-in lover. This scene definitely feels like it’s aimed at older fans – not just for Amy’s risqué dialogue, but mainly the fan-servicing sequence where the TARDIS runs through all her previous young female inhabitants. You’d expect Rose to be the one our attention is drawn towards, but instead it’s Leela. It’s either an early example of Moffat being keener to revisit the classic series than RTD was, or just an excuse to reminisce about the leather bikini.

* I like a busy TARDIS, and I like Rory, so this is where the Eleventh Doctor’s era really kicks off for me, establishing a status quo that would last for all but half a series of his time on the show. Amy and Rory both seem slightly grumpy about the other one being there at first, which makes you think it’s going to go the same way as Rose and Mickey, and would have raised some worrying questions about The Doctor making the unilateral decision that this independent young woman needs her fiance around to keep her in check.

* However, thankfully, these initial worries are steered well clear of, and by the end of the episode everyone’s happy with the new set-up, and it feels like the final piece of the jigsaw is now in place. Rory knows what The Doctor is about, and is not afraid to call him out on his bullshit where necessary, but at the same time they’re not going to be competing in masculinity-offs for Amy’s attention, as neither of them are that type of guy. Crucially, it’s Amy who’s the alpha of the group – The Doctor is obviously still going to be in charge of fighting the aliens and whatnot, but on a day-to-day basis, she’s damned if either of those men will tell her what she can and can’t do.

* Helen McRory! Thankfully not doing the dreadful Brummie accent that makes me twitch every time I watch Peaky Blinders. She’s great as a very traditional vampire matriarch, which reminded me a little of State of Decay, for obvious reasons. This being Doctor Who, the vampires are in fact space piranhas with perception filters, and there’s a scientific explanation for all their characteristics. These ones aren’t susceptible to crucifixes, but they can be halted by “your mum” jokes.

* Hartnell on a library card. (I have nothing to add to this note I wrote during the episode, other than perhaps “I know, I know it’s serious”.)

* The Silence are mentioned for the first time, in conjunction with the cracks. As I’ve only watched most of these episodes once before, I can’t quite remember whether they’re referring to The Silence or just some actual silence. Rosanna says something about having seen the (S/s)ilence through the crack, so you’d think that if she’d seen The Silence, she wouldn’t have remembered it.

* Soon after this, The Doctor decides to fight the vampires because Rosanna couldn’t remember the name of one of her victims. This is another trait of the Eleventh Doctor’s that’s emerged: he’s as compassionate and open-minded as any other Doctor, but once you’ve offended his sense of right and wrong, he will have no compunction whatsoever about fucking you up.

* Any plot that climaxes with The Doctor having to climb a tall structure is to be distrusted. It’s a quick and unimaginative way of creating tension, which this episode certainly seems to lack – the character stuff is great, but the story itself is a little by-the-numbers, and completely unremarkable.

RATING: 7

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