In this season’s second episode the Doctor and Martha find themselves in 1599 England and meet the famous William Shakespeare. As our heroes alive in London they are excited to take in one of Shakespeare’s plays at the Globe Theatre, which is set to play a lost Shakespearian play even one as traveled as the Doctor had never read or seen and bizarre events surround it’s release.
Witches are interfering with the life of William Shakespeare and this play. When a man tries to stop it from being shown he is killed through witchcraft as an effigy of him is dunked in water, causing his lungs to fill causing him to drown. Attempting to investiage these mysterious events the Doctor shows William his psychic paper which he sees right through. The Doctor becomes suspicious of the Globe Theatre’s design and goes so far as to track down the architect who built it, who is now mad in an asylum. While interogating him a witch appears to try to thwart them. The Doctor reckognises the witch as a Carronite and says the name of their race which banishes her back to her 2 other cohorts.
The Carronites have power in words. Though the Doctor insists it’s more a form of science than magic that is what it seems to be to the humans who witness it’s effect. They are a race from a distant time long forgotten who had 3 members brought to Earth through the power of William Shakespeare’s words that he ushered while greiving for the lost life of his son. These 3 witches wish to bring the rest of their kind to Earth by controlling Shakespeare’s words written in his play and using these as a sort of incantation to allow them to come through.
The Doctor, being the hero that he is, attempts to thwart these plans but is the target of the Carronite’s voodoo style magic. An effigy of him is stabbed in the heart which would be enough to kill any ordinary man. Any ordinary man that is who only has one heart. The Doctor is made of stearner stuff than that!
With the help of Martha the Doctor is back on his feet and able to get to the Globe a little too late. Tracking down the Carronite’s power to an orb the Doctor compels Shakespeare to use his words to trap them inside of it. Successfull in stopping the witches the play is shelved, explaining why it was forgotten.
As William Shakespeare attempts quite unsuccessfully to court the young Martha, Queen Elizabeth I appears and is shocked to see the Doctor, a man she describes to be her sworn enemy and asks to have him beheaded. The Doctor, having no recollection of seeing her, makes a run for the TARDIS, wondering when they will ineviteably meet in his future, her past.
This episode was all over the place. A few too many insinuations that the Doctor inspired important events we know about William Shakespear for my taste. I know this is the shtick of the show at times but it was a little heavy handed this time around. Still I found some things such as the collar to be funny.
More tension on the Martha/Doctor front. The Doctor seems to either not know or not care that Martha has feelings for him as he makes light about sharing a bed as Martha is clearly frustrated with the situation. Last week it seemed like he was more interested in her than it did this week, where he’s clearly much too hung up on Rose to be moving on, going so far as to mentioning it in front of Martha.
The bit at the end with Queen Elizabeth the first was great. Will we be seeing later this year what makes the Doctor her “sworn enemy” or is this just some random joke they’re throwing in there? I certainly hope they come back to it. It could be a major theme for the season or just a reference to a single episode’s plot. With this episode taking place in 1599 and the transgretion causing this tension between Queen Elizabeth and the Doctor logically taking place before this time indicates that the Doctor’s issues with the British Monarchy did not in fact start in 1879, when the Doctor and Rose ran into Queen Victoria, prompting her to found the Torchwood Institute.
Oh and the hot witch was hot… you know when she wasn’t all witch looking.