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Doctor Who
The Vampires of Venice

After an exhilarating two-part adventure with the Weeping Angels, Steven Moffat takes a break until the end of this series, allowing other talented writers to have their little bit of fun with Doctor Who. And with a title like “Vampires of Venice”, you just know you’re in for some silly and scary stuff.

Toby Whithouse (creator of another popular BBC sci-fi show, Being Human) takes viewers on a fun romp through history as the Doctor discovers that a romantic vacation to 16th century Venice might not be the best wedding present for Amy and her fiancé Rory after all.

After Amy’s amusing attempt to seduce the Doctor, the Doctor decides that the most important thing in the world is to bring Amy back to solid ground by sorting out her relationship with her fiancé Rory. “The life out there, it dazzles. It blinds you to the things that are important. I’ve seen it devour relationships and plans.”

In what must be one of his most hilarious entrances ever, the Doctor literally bursts (out of a cake) into Rory’s bachelor party with some news about Amy—only the whole “your girlfriend’s a great kisser” thing doesn’t go over so well with Rory, and the Doctor demonstrates that he clearly hasn’t learned the meaning of don’t kiss and tell: “Funny how you can say something in your head, and it sounds fine.”

Luckily the Doctor has no intention of stealing Rory’s bride away, and instead plays Cupid as he takes Rory and Amy on an excursion to historical Venice so the couple can rekindle their romance.

However since this Doctor Who, there is something not quite right about Venice in the 1500s, and Amy and Rory’s date night turns into a confrontation with mysterious vampiric schoolgirls and their fanged patron Señora Rosanna Calvierri. But as the Doctor soon finds out, even these vampires have something fishy about them: “Makes you wonder what could be so bad that it doesn’t mind you thinking it’s a vampire.”

Having been absent from the series since “The Eleventh Hour”, Rory has a lot to catch up on in the lives of the Doctor and Amy. Or does he know more than we think he does? It turns out Rory has been doing quite a bit of research on the Doctor, and isn’t too astounded when he first steps into the TARDIS, much to the Timelord’s chagrin.

In an obvious parallel to the Doctor-Rose-Mickey love triangle, Rory spends much of the episode being jealous of the Doctor; fortunately this issue is resolved by the end of the hour, and Rory proves to be surprisingly perceptive about the lives the Doctor and Amy have. He acts as a sort of voice of reason for the Doctor, at one point even disapproving of the Doctor’s hazardous effect on Amy. “You have no idea how dangerous you make people to themselves,” he says, claiming the Doctor makes people take harmful risks just to impress him.

The Doctor’s conscience suffers some grief in this adventure, and Matt Smith carries those many burdens, acting every one of the Doctor’s 900-plus years as he takes in Rory’s accusation and assumes responsibility for yet another death of an entire species. Helen McCrory as Rosanna Calvierri adds some depth to the matriarch pseudo-vampire, appealing to the Doctor’s sympathy as she recounts the loss of her home planet Saturnyne and pleads with him to let her save her race from extinction.

“Vampires in Venice” functions as more than an entertaining standalone episode, for Whithouse includes a lot of ties into the overall story arc. Through Rosanna Calvierri, he provides viewers with an eyewitness to the effects of those ominous, glowing cracks we’ve been seeing in every episode so far.

“There were cracks. Some were tiny. Some were as big as the sky,” says Rosanna when the Doctor inquires about the destruction of her home planet. Looks like these cracks are not just chasing after Amy and the Doctor, but destroying worlds throughout time and throughout the universe as well.

Overall, despite a bizarre resolution that seems to recycle the Doctor’s tower-climbing scenes from “Idiot’s Lantern” and “Evolution of the Daleks”, Whithouse’s clever writing makes for a traditional and enjoyable Doctor Who story. Just have fun with it because the next episode “Amy’s Choice” looks like a painful, mind-bending, and insane escapade for the Doctor, Amy, and Rory as they teeter on the line between dreams and reality.

Steph Rodriguez


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