Sunday, July 27, 2014

The Vampires of Venice - "I like the bit when someone says it's bigger on the inside. I always look forward to that. "

The Vampires of Venice - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Series 5, Story 6 (Overall Series Story #211)

Image via More Than Just Magic
The Space Buffoon aspect of the Doctor's character tends to get over-inflated during Smith era, his incompetence at understanding societal norms frequently make him look like ... well, a Space Buffoon. Not to say there's not humor to be mined from having a super-intelligent, 900+ year-old alien time-traveler interact with 21st century humans; but, the idea he would pop up into a cake to gain entry to Rory's stag, after having guessed wrong at least once and popped into the wrong stag, to then announce -- in a way that has to be calculated to humiliate Rory in front of his friends -- that Amy has snogged him and that she's a great snogger is not something I felt entirely comfortable with. (I'll complain about this same brand of stupidity in "Time of the Doctor," it's an unfortunate failing that someone should have known well enough not to repeat.)

It's the fact that he's smart enough to know better, and is not fresh out of his regeneration at this point that irks. It can't just be that he's an absent-minded genius, it really does look like he's out to tear Rory down. There's a moment where he glares at Rory for not saying "It's bigger on the inside," the way the Doctor likes folks to do when the first pop in the TARDIS, that enforces this. He quickly puts on a smile, but that's an acting decision on either Smith or the director's part that communicates to the viewer he's putting on a mask. The dynamic of the Doctor-Amy-Rory triangle is ugly here; I don't like it. Later, this all gets smoothed out, but in this episode, it's kind of revolting. This picks up right were "Flesh and Stone" left off and I can't wait for it to end.

Image via My Perfiction
The vampires, though, and what's going on in this one, it's OK enough. There are moments I quite like, in particular a scene that makes use of a mirror that is quite fun to watch, a bit virtuoso actually the way what we see changes with the camera's perspective, flip-flip, they're there, they're not. But doesn't the rest of it feel too been-there-done-that? Let's have him climb a tower in a storm, exactly like Ten did back in ... what was it? 'The Idiot's Lantern"?  No, I mean, "Evolution of the Daleks," or both. It's another species trying to use Earth to rebuild their species with no regard for the native population. We get a lot of those.

Some fun, a bit by-the-numbers, and saddled with Doctor-Amy-Rory relationship tension that just feels off. OK-ish for a mid-season episode but let's have Amy make it clear Rory's her man already and move on to figuring out this crack business.

Stray Thought
The Doctor shows the psychic paper to a group of young lady "vampires" and it shows One on a library card. "Library card. Of course, it's with. He's. I need a spare," Eleven says. What reference am I missing there? Who's the card with? He's what? Is there a Hartnell story with a library card that plays a part that I haven't gotten to yet? I don't think this goes back to the Ten's time in the Library?

If I'm missing some clever reference that's going to make me smack my forehead, please point it out in the comments!

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