‘Doctor Who’ Review: Episode 5.06, ‘The Vampires Of Venice’

Episode Title: “The Vampires Of Venice”

Written By: Toby Whithouse

Story: The Doctor and Amy Pond are joined by Amy’s fiance, Rory, on what’s intended to be a romantic trip to Venice in the year 1580. As with any adventure with The Doctor, all is not as it seems, and the trio soon find themselves investigating a series of murders in which the victims’ bodies are drained of fluids, and clues that lead to the mysterious House of Calvierri.

Why don’t the Calvierri girls have a reflection? And what lurks in the canals of Venice?

The Who, What and How: The former duo becomes a trio in this adventure, with Rory (Arthur Darvill) joining The Doctor (Matt Smith) and Amy Pond (Karen Gillan) on romp that manages to explain away many of the classic vampire myths with a dose of “Doctor Who”-style science.

Despite the risk of overcrowding the story, the addition of Rory to the cast manages to work really well in this episode. It frees up The Doctor to explore and eventually match wits with the chief threat (aliens in disguise, of course), while also allowing some genuine human-to-human character development for his fellow travelers.

However, Darvill has some catching up to do, as Gillan and Smith have clearly developed chemistry between their respective characters over the last five episodes. As a result, some of Rory’s scenes feel a bit forced, pushing you to take him seriously as a new companion for The Doctor. I’d be lying if I said he didn’t grow on me by the end of the episode, though, and I’m looking forward to seeing how the dynamic between Rory, Amy and The Doctor pans out.

As far as villains go, actress Helen McCrory manages to be as scary in her human guise, Rosanna, as she was in her fish-like Saturnynian form. Her character’s demise is unfortunate, as I’d like to see her square off against The Doctor again at some point. I’m not sure I buy the crazy weather machine she activated at the finale of the episode — and more specifically, The Doctor’s crazy climb to reach it — but only because she seems like the sort who’d go for something a little less “mad scientist” than a weather bomb.

As far as over-arching plot threads, we don’t see any more of the mysterious cracks in reality this time around, but there is a strange aside at the end of the episode in which the city falls strangely silent. McCrory’s character had alluded to a great disaster that befell her homeworld just after a mysterious silence, meaning big things could be in store for the new threesome.

Final Word: “Vampires of Venice” served the introduction of Rory well, and managed to provide a good indication of how the dynamic between Rory, The Doctor and Amy will work out. There was just the right amount of teases to upcoming events and past adventures, while also providing a nice, fun standalone story after the tense, two-part story last week.

“Doctor Who” airs every Saturday at 9 PM EST on BBC America. Let us know what you think of the latest episode in the comment section or on Twitter!

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