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File:Vampires in Venace 4567.jpg


"Anywhere you want, any time you want. One condition: it has to be amazing. The Moulin Rouge in 1890! The first Olympic Games! Think of it as a wedding present. Because frankly it's either this or tokens."
The Doctor

Vampires. In Venice. Well, not really.

The Cold Open starts in 1580, with a man named Guido presenting his daughter to be trained at a certain school run by the House of Calvierri, since there's no future for the daughter of a boat builder and the Calvierri house is considered a safehold from plague. She is accepted by Rosanna Calvierri and her son, Francesco, who wear dark clothes and smile a lot and are therefore already suspicious in the eyes of the audience. Guido leaves, assured of his daughter's future, but we're not quite so assured, since as soon as the door closes on her father Francesco displays an impressive pair of teeth in front of Isabella. And as she begins to scream...

Extreme fast forward to Rory's stag night. A giant cake is wheeled in, and out bursts not the woman they were expecting, but the Doctor! He then proceeds to tell the assembled guests that Amy tried to kiss him, and tries to reassure Rory by explaining that Rory's very lucky to be engaged to such a great kisser. After one hugely awkward silence ensues, the titles start.

The Doctor offers Rory and Amy a wedding gift of a trip in the TARDIS to a romantic getaway, and they end up in Venice... in the year 1580. This should be fun.

However, just as they're about to set out and explore, they get stopped. Apparently you need papers to travel around Venice at the moment, because of the fears of plague and such. The Doctor solves the problem with the psychic paper and they enter the city, just in time to see Guido get blocked from talking to Isabella by members of the House Of Calvierri. And the Doctor is on the case! Meanwhile, Amy and Rory have a bit of a bicker, but then decided to bask in the fact that they're in Venice! In 1580! While they're basking, Francesco gets approached by a flower seller. He isn't interested in her wares, but he does want something else...

Cue the teeth, and cue the screams. Amy and Rory rush to find Francesco making a meal out of the poor girl, though thankfully he doesn't get the chance to finish as he flees... apparently into the canal. What was that about vampires not being able to cross running water again?

Guido causes a ruckus outside the Calvierri house, giving the Doctor a chance to sneak in through a back entrance. He ends up in a cellar, where he gets distracted by a mirror, before realising that there are in fact five girls standing behind him, and none of them have a reflection. Ominous. They, quite understandably, demand to know who he is, only they do it in synchronization. More ominous. The Doctor tries to bluff his way out by using the psychic paper, but accidentally gets his extremely old library card instead. (As in, it's got his first face and his 1960's London address on it.) The girls display some rather impressive teeth - oh, now that's not right - and don't even have the decency to tell him the whole plan, so he decides to get out of there sharpish.[2]

Meeting up with Amy, Rory and Guido again, the four try to think of a way to get inside information on the Calvierri. Guido already knows of a tunnel leading under the house; now they just need someone on the inside, and Amy suggests being that someone. The Doctor and Rory are not too happy about this, and then they manage to get into an argument about who'd make a more convincing dad, brother or fiancee for her. Oh, and it turns out that the vampires? They're not actually vampires. They're something worse.

In the end, Rory ends up posing as Amy's brother. In Guido's borrowed clothes, meaning Guido is poling a gondola around Venice wearing a shirt with the immortal phrase 'Rory's Stag' on the back (And a picture of the two lovebirds in a heart on the front). The cover story leaves something to be desired, but the Calvierri seem to buy it. A little too well; Francesco is showing decidedly more interest in Amy than she, Rory or the audience would like. In the girls' sleeping rooms Amy comes across a near catatonic Isabella, and learns that the Calvierri are bringing about some sort of change in her that makes the sunlight burn her. And there are some nasty bite marks on her neck...

As the Doctor and Rory make their way through the secret tunnel (and have a little bicker about Amy's kissing) Amy goes to the entrance of the tunnel to let them in. This show being what it is, she ends up getting captured instead, and strapped into a chair so that she can be bitten by Rosanna. The process works thus; they drain her of all her blood and then fill her with theirs instead, making her into one of them. What with that and all that lusting over Amy's blood and being so thirsty, they must be vampires, right?

The answer turns out to be a surprising no, for Amy kicks some technological item at Rosanna's waist; the image she's sustaining fails and she turns into... a giant fish-shrimp alien.

Just then, the Doctor and Rory's arrival creates a distraction, and with Isabella helping to free Amy they all make a break for it, warding off the Calvierri with a portable sunlight as they go. Our trio manage to escape, but poor Isabella gets dragged back inside the house and the Doctor, in trying to save her, gets an electric shock from the door and gets knocked out. Isabella is later forced to jump into an evil bubbling canal, with something living below the water that drags her beneath.

Satisfied at a job well done, Rosanna returns to her audience chamber - only to find the Doctor, quite recovered from his shock and sitting on her throne. He identifies her as a Sister of the Water and from Saturnyne. There follows a question and answer session where they both learn things about each other and also answers some of the questions we've had about these not-vampires, such as why they don't show up in mirrors (the perception filter around them means that the brain that's being manipulated doesn't know what to fill the gap with, so leaves it blank). It also emerges that Rosanna and her people have had some encounters with the cracks, through which they saw silence and the end of all things. Can you tell what the running theme is yet?

Those of Saturnyne fled to our world through such a crack, which closed behind them and supposedly destroyed their world. Rosanna intends to rebuild her race by any means necessary, and asks the Doctor to join her in her efforts. Unsurprisingly the Doctor says no, and is disgusted not just by the fact that Rosanna had Isabella executed, but that she didn't even know her name. That clinches the deal.

But Rosanna isn't content to sit and wait. The final preparations have been made, after all, and so she summons the girls. She has a job for them.

Our intrepid four have a brainstorming -- or rather a storming of the Doctor's brain, since he doesn't allow anyone else to chip in. They, so to speak, figure out from Rosanna's cryptic words that Rosanna plans to sink Venice and repopulate it with the girls she's transformed, as wives for her 10,000 male children that even now populate the canals and snack on anyone who displease her. Um, ick. Even the Doctor's grossed out. You know it's bad when the Doctor's grossed out. And the people upstairs are rather noisy, aren't they?

What people upst--

Even the Doctor was expecting that. So now our heroes are under attack by buxom fish girls from space. Levitating buxom fish girls from space, since they're on the second floor and all. In order to save the others and avenge Isabella, Guido chooses to blow himself and the fish girls up with barrels of gunpowder he'd kept stored in his chambers. Unaware of the demise of her protegées, Rosanna begins the process that will drown Venice. The Doctor rushes to stop her, after telling Amy and Rory to go back to the TARDIS, because he doesn't want any more deaths today. Guido's sacrifice seems to have touched a nervy nerve that Rory's already rubbed before: "You have no idea how dangerous you make people to themselves when you're around!"

As the people panic around them on their way back to the TARDIS, Rory and Amy encounter Francesco, who decides to take the opportunity to fulfill his ambition make a meal out of Amy. Still labouring under the impression that he's a vampire, Rory tries to ward him off with a makeshift cross, which Francesco responds to with no little contempt. Rory's attempts to distract him are unsuccessful until an ill-chosen crack about Francesco's mother, which Francesco does not appreciate; Rory's feeble attempts at defending himself with Broom Fu pale in comparison to Francesco's expert swordsmanship, and Rory looks like he's about to become a Saturnynian feast until Amy distracts Francesco with a hint of sunlight catching her pocket mirror. This has the added bonus of blowing Francesco up. Amy takes the opportunity to critique Rory's technique and to kiss him passionately, and both make tracks to help the Doctor.

The Doctor storms into Rosanna's palace, cutting off her gloating by bluntly pointing out that the women she hoped to have mate with her children are dead; her plan has failed. Shocked, Rosanna flees, leaving the Doctor to dismantle the device which is reshaping Venice's environment, creating a storm and earthquakes which will in turn create a tidal wave which will swamp the city. Rory and Amy return; Rory's pledge not to leave the Doctor causes a certain amount of ire in light of his earlier declaration, but there's little time for an argument; the Doctor sets Rory and Amy the task of dismantling Rosanna's throne, which contains the controls for the device, while he climbs the tower and sets to work on the generator as the rain and thunder lash around him. It's a tricky, confusing clockwork device, and it's hard to figure out how to dismantle it --

-- Oh. Hang on a second. Turns out there's a simple switch which, once flicked, switches off the device. The rains stop, the sun comes out, and the Doctor takes in the cheers of Venetians.

Distraught and broken, Rosanna walks to the pool containing her children. While in human form, they will not distinguish her from any other human and will devour her, which is clearly what she intends. The Doctor, arriving just as she strips down and walks the plank, tries to persuade her not to jump, arguing that it is possible to live as the last of your species (offering himself as Exhibit A); Rosanna merely reminds him coldly that he now has two extinct species to his name [3], and jumps in. Her children go "Om nom nom nom".

As they head back to the TARDIS, the Doctor (in full Stepford Smiler mode) muses that maybe it's time to head off to Leadworth Registry Office for a certain happy event. Rory, a bit glumly, just suggests dropping him off back where they picked him up, but Amy, clearly wanting to make him feel better, gives him a kiss and suggests that he stays on for just a bit longer. The Doctor has no objection, and Rory -- clearly thrilled -- agrees. Happily, Amy disappears into the TARDIS to put the kettle on -- and in doing so, misses the entire city suddenly fall deathly, unnaturally silent. Rory doesn't appear to notice anything amiss, but the Doctor, recalling Rosanna's words about the silence at the other side of the cracks, is freaked out, and the episode ends with a sinister zoom-in to the TARDIS keyhole as he shuts the door behind him.


Tropes:

  • Actor Allusion: This isn't the first time Helen McCrory has played a Venetian woman concerned for her offspring.
  • Actually Not a Vampire
  • Added Alliterative Appeal: Because Big Vicious Fish People From Space Of Venice isn't quite as catchy.
  • Adorkable: Rory, especially during his fight with Francesco.
  • Arc Words: The cracks. The silence.
    • The crack turns up again, but it's subtle. Look at the clouds, after the Doctor stops the storm engine.
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: But then again, they're vampires or alien fish. The two words practically go hand in hand.
  • Badass Boast: Isabella, when she thinks she's going to be executed by drowning, taunts the Calvierri by reminding them that she's a Venetian. "We can all swim!" Subverted, though, in that once she's in the water she actually gets eaten alive by space piranhas.
    • Played straight, however, by the Doctor saying that he will end the House of Calvierri.
  • Berserk Button: "Did you just say something about mummy?"
  • Big Damn Kiss: After they kill a vampire together, Rory and Amy get their first on-screen kiss.
  • Bilingual Bonus: "Calvierri" is very similar to the Latin word for "skull."
  • Black Girl Dies First. And her father dies next. Second episode this season with this trope.
  • Blatant Lies: The TARDIS sparks and smokes and explodes...

 The Doctor: It's meant to do that.

    • Worth noting here that the title "Your Holiness" implies that he's the Pope.
  • California Doubling: Or Croatia Doubling, since the city of Trogir has authentically Venetian architecture (but no canals).
  • Call Back: The Doctor identifies himself to the vampire girls by showing his library card. With a picture of the First Doctor on. If you look at it in close up, you can see the card is in the name of Dr. J. Smith of 76 Totter's Lane, Shoreditch, London.
    • This isn't the first time that an alien race fled from the vanishing of their home planet by the season's story arc and attempted to rebuild their society in an Italian city. Coincidentally, the Pyroviles are fire-based lifeforms whereas the vampires are aquatic beings, and a character played by Karen Gillan was threatened, directly or indirectly, to be turned into one of their kind in both stories.
      • Both stories are also loose adaptations of Big Finish audio plays - The Fires of Vulcan, starring Seven and Mel, and Stones of Venice, starring Eight and Charley.
    • It also isn't the first time that a massive dark cloud filled with lightning has formed over a historical city and threatened the end of the world.
    • Nor is it the first time that the Doctor has had to lure an alien up to the top of a very tall bell tower. Reverses the original scene, though - in "The Lazarus Experiment", the bells caused pain to Lazarus, in "Vampires of Venice", they cause pain to the Doctor.
    • Nor is it the first time a death has been caused by an electric door.
    • "I'll explain later" was used by the First Doctor and spoofed in "The Curse Of Fatal Death".
    • The Doctor says he'd rather not run into Casanova, presumably because he bears an uncanny resemblance to his last incarnation.
    • This is the second time in the new series that the Doctor has driven someone to suicide.
  • Character Development: After the Doctor's recent experiences with Rose Tyler, Martha Jones and Sarah Jane Smith, it's sunk in that having female companions in unrequited love with you is actually quite cruel, so he goes to some trouble to sort out Amy re her fiance. Of course they nearly get killed in the process -- the Doctor hasn't changed that much.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • Or rather gunpowder. Guido has barrels of it in his house, and later uses it to blow up the attacking Calvierri girls in his Heroic Sacrifice.
    • Francesco warning Rosanna about using her perception filter near her children.
  • City of Canals: Obviously.
  • Cool Chair: The Calvierri throne.
  • Continuity Nod: The Doctor accidentally pulls out the First Doctor's library card instead of his psychic paper.
    • The Doctor mentions how aliens with vampiric traits are "classic".
  • Cringe Comedy: A lot of it with Rory, especially with his endearingly over-devoted, must-be-kinda-drunk call to Amy's answering machine.
  • Dark Is Evil: Francesco and Rosanna are both awesomely dressed in dark purple.
  • Dead Man's Chest: Dessicated bodies of several victims are kept in trunks in the basement.
  • Dissimile: "You're like Houdini, only five slightly scary girls. And he was shorter. Will be shorter."
  • Drop What You Are Doing: When the Doctor mentions kissing Rory's fiancee, someone drops a beer glass offscreen.
  • Establishing Character Moment: There is a scream; Rory and Amy run to help. Amy chases after the vampire, Rory stays to help the girl. Because he's a nurse.
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: Francesco is slowly threatening Amy and Rory's desperately trying to get his attention. After several failed insults, Rory successfully enrages him by insulting his mother.
  • Fan Disservice (In-Universe): The Doctor bursting out of the cake instead of a bikini girl. Not what they were anticipating.
  • Fee Fi Faux Pas: The cake scene.

 Doctor:: "Funny how you can say something in your head, and it sounds fine.

 Rory: Yours is bigger than mine.

The Doctor: Let's not go there.

 The Doctor: I like the bit when someone says 'it's bigger on the inside'. I always look forward to it.

 The Doctor: Let's not go there.

 Doctor: I'm 907. After a while you just can't see it.

Amy: See what?!

Doctor: Everything -- I look at a star there's just a big ball of burning gas and I know how it began and I know how it ends...and I was probably there both times. After a while everything is just stuff. That's the problem; you make all of space and time your backyard and what do you have? A back-yard. But you; you can see it. And when you see it I see it.

  • Jumping Out of a Cake: The Doctor does this at the very beginning.
  • Kill Them All: And there goes another species.
    • And the rest of the supporting cast. Seriously, the only characters (whether they had any lines or not) who survive, apart from the main trio, are the steward, that remarkably lucky flower girl who typically might have bought it, and the official at the start.
    • The silence suggests that they not only didn't survive, but maybe never existed. Together with the rest of Venice.
  • Like Brother and Sister: Subverted. Rory would appreciate it if he was not introduced as Amy's brother.
  • Literal Minded:

 Rory: And you kissed her back?

The Doctor: No, I kissed her mouth.

  • Mars Needs Women
  • Monster Misogyny: An odd example, considering that the monster in question is female, and acquiring some more females was the entire point of her actions. But Rosanna sends the converted girls to attack our heroes, instead of the thousands of available males, even though their deaths ruin everything.
    • Well, to be fair, the males were her own offspring. What Mother would send her own sons to die when she could send some hybrids instead.
  • Mummys Boy: Francesco
  • Nice Hat: Francesco.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: The Doctor is called out again by a race for genocide as he's genociding it.
    • It's a bit troubling that this is a series that requires viewers to use the word "genocide" as a transitive verb. More than once.
  • Non-Action Guy: Rory is Mickey Smith v 2.0.
    • Or Rhys v 2.0.
    • Quite a lot like Larry from "Blink", too.
  • Non-Mammal Mammaries: Joked about. "Blimey, fish from space have never been so... buxom."
  • Noodle Incident: The Doctor owes Casanova a chicken. (Bonus Actor Allusion points because we could easily write "Matt Smith owes David Tennant (and Russell T. Davies) a chicken" in regards to the 2005 BBC mini-series. On that note, Helen McCrory (Rosanna) played Casanova's mother in the 2005 American movie.)
    • Also, apparently he accidentally crashed at least one incorrect bachelor/bachelorette party by hiding in a cake before happening upon the correct Rory.
  • Not So Different: Inverted subtly between the Doctor and Rosanna. At the beginning, the Doctor makes a point of asking if someone could bring in from the cold the bikini-clad girl who was supposed to be in the cake he burst out of in front of Rory, in the process revealing that he's learnt her name (Lucy) and that she's diabetic. Contrast with Rosanna, who couldn't even be bothered learning the names of the human girls she was converting into breeding stock for her sons.
  • Oh Crap: Rory swings the broom around, jabbing it at Francesco. Francesco draws an actual sword. Rory panics.
    • The Doctor gets an Oh Crap moment himself when he realizes that Guido is going going to use the gunpowder stored in his house to perform a Heroic Sacrifice.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: These are not the vampires from "State of Decay". Or the Plasmavore from "Smith and Jones". Or the Haemovores from "The Curse of Fenric".
    • They're actually fish-like. The lack of reflections is a simple bug of their perception filters. The fangs peek through the filter thanks to a subconscious override of the filter due to the observer's survival instinct.
  • Patriotic Fervor: Both Isabella and Guido attempt to intimidate the enemy with proud proclamations of being Venetian.
  • Poirot Speak: Guido works at the arsenale and Italian honorifics like signor are used.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: Oi! Mummy's boy!
  • Reality Is Unrealistic: Some people have lambasted the appearance of Isabella and her father as tokenism and Politically-Correct History. Venice was a port and trade city in Real Life, and it wasn't unheard of for African traders to move and set up shop there in the 16th century. See also a moderately well-known play called Othello, the Moor of Venice.
    • Also an earlier episode points out the fact that even England in 1599 wasn't just fair youths by this point; there were a lot of dark ladies around as well.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Rory chews the Doctor out for how he instills people with the desire to do risky things to impress him.
  • Scenery Porn: This is one of the prettier episodes, and the scenery is shown off with some really stunning cinematography.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: When Rosanna enacts her plan, her chamberlain (who appears to be completely human) is last seen running away with a bag full of what appears to be everything valuable in the mansion that wasn't bolted down.
  • Self-Destruct Mechanism: It's a switch. A tiny one.
  • Shipper on Deck: The Doctor with Amy and Rory.
  • Shoo the Dog: One of the main ways the Doctor goes about shipping Amy and Rory. Consistency and success rate are both variable so far.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Sickly Green Glow: The blood-draining torture chamber. See also the picture at the top of the page.
  • Solar-Powered Magnifying Glass: Amy uses the mirror in her makeup kit to fry a vampire.
  • Stay In The TARDIS: Although he may have done that to get her off his back, romantically.
  • Stealth Pun: It's a race of fish people disguising themselves as an educational institution.
  • A Storm Is Coming
  • That Came Out Wrong: In retrospect, the Doctor's attempting to reassure Rory about Amy kissing him by insisting that she's a great kisser was probably a mistake.
  • This Is Sparta: "We! Are! VENETIANS!"
  • Totally Not a Werewolf: ...or vampire, in this case.
  • Tranquil Fury: Rory may have successfully pressed Francesco's Berserk Button, but the only sign on his face is that he stops grinning, then quietly asks Rory what he just said.
  • Unwanted Harem: Of a kind. In an "extra scene" that takes place right before this episode proper, the Doctor is trying to evade a very flirty Amy, who eventually gets around to questioning him about any and all previous companions he's had. He admits that there have been a few, and a couple of them have been female. Amy tricks him into calling up a visual record of all the other TARDIS inhabitants over the years (mostly attractive women, as we know). He nearly dies of embarrassment.
  • Villainous BSOD: Rosanna's son is dead, her vampire converts are dead, and the Doctor has prevented the destruction of Venice. She feeds herself to her sons.
  • Walk the Plank: It's not the fall that kills you this time. It's the sudden vampire-fish-husbands at the end...
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Calvierri's intention, to save her race and her family, is rather understandable and sympathetic. The way she goes about it on the other hand...
  • What Do You Mean It's Not Awesome?: The Doctor shuts down the weather machine by... flicking a switch. A small one.
  • What the Fu Are You Doing?: Rory trying to threaten a skilled swordsman by madly swinging a broom around.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Two for the Doctor this time.
    • After Amy gets grabbed and they find a skeleton, Rory tells the Doctor that he's dangerous because of what he makes people want to do for him. (Essentially the same point Davros made in "Journey's End".)
    • Rosanna implying that he didn't fight hard enough for his own people, and asking if he wants to have another doomed race on his conscience. Of course, she doesn't know that he blew them up on purpose.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Rory trying to defeat one vampire/fish alien with a selfmade cross. It doesn't really work.
    • Amy calls him out on this because they already knew that the vampires were alien fish and would not have this weakness.
    • The Doctor also has a minor case on his part when he first meets the Calvierri girls. He orders them to tell him the whole plan, before bemoaning to camera that one day he'll get that to work.
  • The X of Y
  • Your Mum: "The only thing I've seen uglier than you is your mum!"

Notes

  1. Well, okay, not real ones, but nevertheless.
  2. The tension of this whole scene is slightly spoiled by the fact that it was shown on Jonathan Ross and after that was fair game, but it's still impressive.
  3. Though we as viewers know that in fact he has many, many more.
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