Wednesday, 20 April 2011

The Impossible Countdown - The Vampires of Venice

And now for the return of Rory.  I'm not normally a fan of cringe worthy humour but the bachelor party opening is great.  Admittedly I thought that those sorts of events rarely took place the night before the actual wedding but I'm guessing as this is supposed to be small town community then they still do it the old fashioned way.  Anyway, Rory's in the TARDIS and the Doctor promises a wedding present trip in the TARDIS (either that or tokens, nice line).

There are two stars of this episode and Rory is definitely one.  He's grown up since the Prisoner Zero event and although it takes him a while he copes with TARDIS stuff much better than other people have in the past. Throughout the episode his dumbstruck charm really kept me amused (much needed as the plot's wafer thin) and it's possibly the only time I've ever found a "your mum" joke funny.  Mind you, I probably found it funny because I found all the others rather dumb and the dumbness of the... okay, analysing the joke too much.  Anyway, Rory's definitely the star character in this one.  Amy's being bossy (which does nothing for me) and I'd have probably kicked her out of the TARDIS rather than become one of her "boys".  The Doctor's also a bit too goofy in places in this one, the mirror scene in particular is probably supposed to be charming or something but I think Smith over plays it a lot and there's a surprising lack of venom in him given he thinks he's facing vampires, the ancient enemy of his people...

The other star of the show is the whole look of it, it looks fantastic.  Often I've really wondered if it's actually been necessary to travel abroad to film things when really the story would have worked anywhere but this tale just looks sooooo brilliant and so sumptuous that you can't help but be impressed by the way it looks.  A good thing really as the plot, as I mentioned, isn't up to much.  Fish people lost their world, want ours.  They make it rain, the Doctor stops the rain, fish people die (one dies at the hands of possibly the world's most powerful makeup mirror).  Once more it's a perception story (how many now??) with the fish people wearing perception filters.  However, it doesn't quite work consistently.  Up until the end bits, whenever the perception filters have flickered off, the human form has been fully clothed but the fish version has been "naked".  At the end though, queen fish ceremonially removes her garments before throwing herself in the canal which would suggest the clothes are real?  If they are, how on earth do they contain the fish body?

The most important thing about this episode really is that it's setting up aspects of "The Silence" for season 6 (including the world falling silent at the end of the episode).  It also deals with cracks so let's see what we're told.

The cracks were everywhere in the universe (so presumably not just where Amy and the Doctor have been recently).
You can travel through the cracks from one part of the universe to another
The cracks close up behind you once you've travelled through them (of their own accord?)
Through some of the cracks they could "see (the?) silence"

Now these, to me, seem to be very different cracks to the ones presented in the previous two parter which seemed to be ones that ate you out of existence if you even went close to them as opposed to ones you could travel through!

Oh and the fish people, like everyone else in the universe, seem to know about Gallifrey and its fate.

It's a weird story, light on plot and hammers home the crack bits rather heavily.  It looks great (and I do love the clockwork bits at the end) but it's just not really got enough meat of its own to make it a good story. And one last thing... the Doctor makes it very clear at the end that time can't be changed.  So just something of a major change in opinion since last week then.  Ho hum.

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