After the time and brain bending confusion of the first two episodes, it was something of a relief to have a more normal story this week.
The fun starts on a pirate ship which appears to be cursed, which is always a good point to start having fun. The ship is becalmed, which is a bit of a problem, as they seem to be stuck in a bit of sea occupied by a Siren who has a tendency to destroy anyone who suffers the slightest injury.
It’s therefore not surprising that Captain Avery (a fine performance by Hugh Bonneville) isn’t altogether pleased to see the Doctor, Amy and Rory when they arrive. Much fun follows involving plank walking, swordplay, the captain’s young son who’s stowed away, and is ever so slightly surprised to learn that daddy is not the Royal Navy officer he used to be before he got greedy, and of course, the Siren, who may not be what she appears to be. Well, let’s be honest, the probability of the Siren being a real evil thingy luring men to their doom was pretty low.
So yes, it was a good, fun romp, with a remarkable lack of pirate clichés, other than the Doctor’s “yo ho ho”. Of course, it wouldn’t do to completely omit anything to do with the overall series story, so Amy does manage to see a brief flash of a strange woman with an eyepatch, who was also seen for a moment in the previous story. And Amy is still aware of the Doctor’s death, and both she and Rory know that they can’t let him know about his future. And there’s still the little “is she or isn’t she pregnant” matter.
Amy gets to buckle some swash, Rory gets a bit wet, and a good time is generally had by all.
This is, of course, just a bit of breathing space. Next week’s episode is likely to be very confusing indeed, for a couple of reasons:
- It’s called “The Doctor’s Wife”
- It’s been written by authentic mad bugger Neil Gaiman
 An actual historical figure. Assuming he’s intended to be the same one, that is.